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Critical reading of assignments leads to skills in other types of reading and writing. If you get good at figuring out what the real goals of assignments are, you are going to be better at understanding the goals of all of your classes and fields of study.
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It has been useful to know these as it seems biologists and latex don't mix!I strongly recommend sitting down with the adviser and making up a timetable for writing it: a list of dates for when you will give the first and second drafts of each chapter to your adviser(s).
c. Provide the committee members with a well-written proposal well inadvance of the meeting. Make sure they have ample time to read the proposal.
In an essay of 4 to 6 pages (1,000 to 1,500 words), please answer the following question by July 19 (6:00 pm). I expect you to write your essay based on the assigned readings, on class forums, and on lectures and other video materials presented on the web site. I do not expect you to supplement these sources with outside research.
Try to avoid false associations of a particular field with a style (“art historians like wacky creativity,” or “political scientists are boring and just give facts”) and look instead to the types of readings you have been given in class. No one expects you to write like Plato—just use the readings as a guide for what is standard or preferable to your instructor. When in doubt, ask your instructor about the level of formality she or he expects.
You cannot always tell from the assignment just what sort of writing style your instructor expects. The instructor may be really laid back in class but still expect you to sound formal in writing. Or the instructor may be fairly formal in class and ask you to write a reflection paper where you need to use “I” and speak from your own experience.
Make sure you are clear about this part of the assignment, because your use of evidence will be crucial in writing a successful paper. You are not just learning how to argue; you are learning how to argue with specific types of materials and ideas. Ask your instructor what counts as acceptable evidence. You can also ask a for help. No matter what kind of evidence you use, be sure to cite it correctly–see the .
For most of them, you might try the method that I use for writing papers, and which I learned from my thesis adviser (Stjepan Marcelja): Assemble all the figures that you will use in it and put them in the order that you would use if you were going to explain to someone what they all meant.
Now this is the part we've been waiting for. I must assume that youhave come up with a good idea for research, had your proposal approved,collected the data, conducted your analyses and now you're about to startwriting the dissertation. If you've done the first steps well this partshouldn't be too bad. In fact it might even be enjoyable!
In an experimental thesis, the Materials and Methods chapter is often the easiest to write – just write down what you did; carefully, formally and in a logical order.
11. What is a proposal anyway? A good proposal should consist of thefirst three chapters of the dissertation. It should begin with a statementof the problem/background information (typically Chapter I of the dissertation),then move on to a review of the literature (Chapter 2), and conclude witha defining of the research methodology (Chapter 3). Of course, it shouldbe written in a future tense since it is a proposal. To turn a good proposalinto the first three chapters of the dissertation consists of changingthe tense from future tense to past tense (from "This is what I wouldlike to do" to "This is what I did") and making any changesbased on the way you actually carried out the research when compared tohow you proposed to do it. Often the intentions we state in our proposalturn out different in reality and we then have to make appropriate editorialchanges to move it from proposal to dissertation.
17. The major myth in writing a dissertation is that you start writingat Chapter One and then finish your writing at Chapter Five. This is seldomthe case. The most productive approach in writing the dissertation is tobegin writing those parts of the dissertation that you aremost comfortable with. Then move about in your writing by completing varioussections as you think of them. At some point you will be able to spreadout in front of you all of the sections that you have written. You willbe able to sequence them in the best order and then see what is missingand should be added to the dissertation. This way seems to make sense andbuilds on those aspects of your study that are of most interest to you at any particulartime. Go with what interests you, start your writing there, and then keep building!
Convincing the reader of your argument is the goal of academic writing. It doesn’t have to say “argument” anywhere in the assignment for you to need one. Look at the assignment and think about what kind of argument you could make about it instead of just seeing it as a checklist of information you have to present. For help with understanding the role of argument in academic writing, see our .