Thesis – how to progress with writing it

The most challenging is to start writing a thesis. There is always going to be excuses why you should postpone it until tomorrow, next week or next year. Students usually begin with their thesis at the same time with exams, internship, jobs, future plans considerations etc. This might cause extra stress. Anyway, think about how good it feels to get your degree as soon as possible and to be free for new life experiences!

Thesis writing
Thesis writing can be a challenging task for every student

Find your thesis topic

First of all, try to discover the topic that could interest and motivate you. You should start thinking about it as soon as possible, ideally already during the first year of your studies. Of course, it happens often so that you do not have the topic in the beginning of your study time. In this case do not feel discouraged. You will surely be able to figure something out! Your field of interest should guide you while you are choosing the school courses. Take also a look what other students at your university have written before, attend thesis seminars and get some ideas from lectures and  teachers. Another way is to discover an exciting topic at your current internship or workplace.

Before starting working on your project, you should understand clearly what is the goal of your research, what you want to achieve and what are the requirements for the thesis. If you have any doubts or questions, talk to your supervisor.

Implement effective time management

You have found an awesome topic. Now it is time to implement it! Therefore, you should manage your time in the most effective way. In your agenda be specific and set deadlines. Precisely defined goals are more important than a random list of actions. For example, make it clear for yourself how many pages by a certain date you have to finish to feel you have done some progress. You can also set a certain number of words per day. To do it effectively, you can e.g. use a wall calendar and every day after completing a certain task, put a red X over a day.  After some days you will have a row of red X that is going to have a psychological effect: you are going to feel important to keep and grow this row day by day.

It happens often so that in the beginning you might be excited and feel super powerful to manage the whole project but after some time you lose the motivation. Despite this, it is important  to keep it moving. Remember, it will go forward even if you work only 10-15 minutes on it every day! Fifteen minutes is not too long, so you will be able to keep concentrated. It is better to write in the morning while you still have some energy. Continuous work also helps easily to catch where you stopped before. You then need less time to remember what you did last and what you are going to do next.

Try new writing methods

Why not to start writing a mini version of your thesis and then make it grow day by day. So let’s say begin with 100 words’ thesis and then expand, enrich and rearrange it step by step. This method has obviously some perks. First of all, it is easier to start with something small; second, you can follow the problem  you are trying to solve without difficulty. Moreover, it is easier to get feedback as the text is not too long, as well as to make some necessary adjustments.

While creating your first draft, do not try to make it perfect and logically connected. Just write what comes to your mind. When you go back to it afterwards, you might discover some new ideas you did not think about. Remember that writing is a process where you find out what and how to say! One day you will create a logical text out of chaos.

Stay in contact with your school

It can be useful to attend thesis seminars and information sessions and meet your supervisor even if he/she seems to be busy. Do best to come in contact with the teacher and resolve possible confusions. This will be an extra push as you will be given fix deadlines to follow. You will also be updated about what is happening with other students and you might get new inspirations from other people’s thesis presentations. Many universities offer special courses dedicated to thesis in which, besides getting useful tips, as thesis content and structure, you can master your writing skills and style.

How to get a motivation

However, sometimes you might come to that stage when you cannot stand looking at your thesis. In this case try to do some different but still useful work as e.g. visit a library, prove information sources, get new motivation and ideas from conversation with a friend. Sometimes the more people you ask for a help or advice, the more aspects of the problem you see. So your obstacles might look smaller than you imagine.

What about arranging regular working sessions, e.g. in the library together with  friends who are also busy with their theses? This would give you an extra motivation and allow you to stay in touch with your friends. During working hours you can have a lunch or a coffee break together.  Read more on how you can get motivated in our blog.

Some practical tips to remember

  • Get familiar with the requirements of the institution concerning style, length, format and the overall style of thesis
  • Remember regularly to back up what you have done so that you do not need to write the same text againand again.
  • You might also visit the library to find others theses on similar topic.
  • Ask your friends or study colleagues to proof-read.