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Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day [Paperback]

Joan Bolker
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
RRP: 15.95
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Book Description

1 Aug 1998
Dissertation writers need strong, practical advice, as well as someone to assure them that their struggles aren't unique. Joan Bolker, midwife to more than one hundred dissertations and co-founder of the Harvard Writing Center, offers invaluable suggestions for the graduate-student writer. Using positive reinforcement, she begins by reminding thesis writers that being able to devote themselves to a project that truly interests them can be a pleasurable adventure. She encourages them to pay close attention to their writing method in order to discover their individual work strategies that promote productivity; to stop feeling fearful that they may disappoint their advisors or family members; and to tailor their theses to their own writing style and personality needs. Using field-tested strategies she assists the student through the entire thesis-writing process, offering advice on choosing a topic and an advisor, on disciplining one's self to work at least fifteen minutes each day; setting short-term deadlines, on revising and defining the thesis, and on life and publication after the dissertation. Bolker makes writing the dissertation an enjoyable challenge.

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Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day + Writing Your Dissertation: The bestselling guide to planning, preparing and presenting first-class work (The How to Series) + Writing a Dissertation For Dummies
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Product details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Owl Books,U.S. (1 Aug 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080504891X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805048919
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 14.1 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 60,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

Editor of the best-selling "The Writers Home Companion," Joan Bolker, Ed.D., has taught writing at Harvard, Wellesley, Brandeis, and Bard colleges. She is currently a psychotherapist whose speciality is working with struggling writers. She lives in Newton, Massachusetts.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
89 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do not start your Ph.D. project without it 6 Mar 2001
By A Customer
Bolker's book has been my bible for the past couple of years. It is essential in providing that "you're not alone" awareness that every graduate student needs, using simple language and a sense of humor to outline the commonest stumbling blocks on the way. Although there's no way one can really complete a dissertation in "15 minutes a day" (the author herself admits it's just a marketing trick to catch your attention), it is quite possible to start at 15 minutes a day, and build it up gradually. It is the best of the three or four books on the subject I purchased, and I keep going back to it. A perfect gift for someone writing a dissertation.
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77 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent and invaluable 12 Oct 2000
By A Customer
Before I brought this book I was stalled in PhD hell, but it was full of essential tips which has enabled me to write my thesis. Unlike many other books it is not patronising or judgemental and does not make any assumptions about how much (or how little) work you have already done. Just reading it made me feel better, to realise I was not the only one who was having trouble writing up, but also made me realise how much time I spend faffing ... like surfing the internet ....
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
This book is great for giving you a push to get moving with your writing. It has helped me to feel more empowered about my work and enjoy the writing process more.
It is organized in such a way (frequent subheadings in chapters) that you can read a few pages, break, and come back to it without losing where you are. I spent about three weeks reading it slowly as I worked; it was my break-time read to prompt me onward.
The author knows all the symptoms and procrastinating that go on when writing a dissertation or papers, she even points out a few things we might now realize about our behaviour and gives suggestions on how to overcome these hurdles.
I plan to read it again after showing it to one of my officemates. What a great book! Definitely worth every penny, this one will become an old friend.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical and Inspiring 2 Aug 1998
By A Customer
In the last few weeks I have been spending more time reading about writing a dissertation than actually writing one. Bolker's book broke it down in simple steps and clearly articulated the fears and struggles we face as writers. I laughed several times as I saw myself in her observations and started writing as soon as I put the book down.
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59 of 63 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This is the only book I've found that helps you formulate and shape your ideas for your dissertation. It's about the thinking, writing and editing process, rather than about organising notes and library skills, and for that reason I've found this to be the best book around on writing a dissertation.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars On of the best books on the subject 17 May 2002
By A Customer
Although the 15 minutes a day idea is just a marketing tool, the book is very helpful. Although still not aimed at scientists, it's still helped give some sort of focus and guide to writing up-where to start and how to put it all together. Definitely worth the money!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended 5 Jan 2011
I bought this book while in the middle of writing up a PhD in quantum physics. The book isn't specifically geared towards the sciences (little mention is made of preparation of figures, for example) but is a more general text on how best to pull your writing together.

I found it extremely helpful. I didn't feel judged by the author for how little I'd already written - something that was holding me back at the time. It made me realise the importance of drafting, and that a second draft could be wildly different to the first draft. "Write first" was one of the single most useful suggestions of the entire book and I now apply this to all the writing I do.

Some of the material wasn't relevant to me, or was a little outdated, but overall, it's well worth having. I've been recommending this book to all the other graduate students I know. I've been recommending this book to all the other graduate students I know.

I also began to use reading a short section of the book as a break or as procrastination - much more productive than surfing the internet!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A motivational text 11 Feb 2012
By cbo
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a good book for motivation. It will make you start writing and keep writing. Written very pedagogically, this book also comprises good advice for post-PhD decisions. It's a little dated in places (a whole chapter on how to use a word processor!) but it's really worth buying it AT THE BEGINNING of your write-up - no point in buying it if you're already late on your writing schedule.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars what a discovery
This is a wonderful book, quick to read through. I bought it even if I am only writing a postgraduate dissertation and not a phd thesis. Read more
Published 11 months ago by marina
3.0 out of 5 stars it's right enough
Very out of date, but some interesting tips to read. The computer section is a bit outdated. Wasn't really what I was hoping for as wanted more tips on how to lay out, save time... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Nf1236
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected
I bought this book thinking it would make me a bit wiser but it didn't. It went on and on about the most basic and common things and I felt like I wasted my time reading it. Read more
Published on 29 July 2012 by Grace
5.0 out of 5 stars Good to read
The author has a real experience in helping the Ph.d student and has an interesting point of view in managing your thesis. Read more
Published on 1 April 2012 by J.S
1.0 out of 5 stars Superficial understanding, superficial advice
Superficial understanding of the problems that 3rd and 4th year social science students face when writing up the thesis; and superficial advice on how to deal with problems. Read more
Published on 27 Oct 2010 by M. Sima
4.0 out of 5 stars Writing Your Dissertation
Well, obviously the title is tongue in cheek, but this book does give good advice, in a very accessible way, to help get you out of the doldrums. Read more
Published on 20 Oct 2010 by Barbara C
3.0 out of 5 stars use with caution
This is a good book to get you unstuck if you are totally blocked and not writing at all. It is about developing a writing habit and building momentum, first and foremost. Read more
Published on 24 Aug 2010 by lilyia
5.0 out of 5 stars Very motivating!
This book is a really good read. It has good insights and very valuable information. It is well structured and it can be helpful at any stage of your research. Read more
Published on 25 Jun 2010 by almost.godess
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected
Pulling together a credible dissertation is not an exact science and I understand the need for variance in approach. Read more
Published on 2 Aug 2004
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