Writing a thesis or a dissertation can seem like an overwhelming task when you are looking at a blank piece of paper. There are so many words to write. It’s hard to know where to begin, and even harder to actually begin. So, my top tip is – don’t.

The WheelDon’t start with a blank slate, don’t reinvent the wheel. Instead, find yourself the thesis or dissertation that you wish you had written. Or ask your tutor to suggest an example that they consider excellent. Something that is powerful, well-structured, and well-written. Read it, save it to your computer, and rename it as if it was your document. ┬áVoila!

While practically, you’re no further forward, at some psychological level, your job is done. You know where the bar is set. You know what you have to produce. It’s sitting in front of you. Now all you have to do is re-fill the pages with your own content. You don’t need to figure out how to insert the table of contents, because it’s already done. You don’t need to look up how to format the references. You have plenty of examples right in front of you. You don’t need to puzzle over what to put in the summary. You can follow the model you’re looking at.

That all taken care of, now all you have to do is the research. Good luck!

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September 30, 2010