Planning your thesis
Planning Your Thesis
Planning your thesis
Writing can be a messy and frustrating process with many steps back and forth. For most of us, it is a process of reading, thinking, and writing, and there are many things happening at the same time, for example finding information, reading a bit, writing a bit, reading a little bit more, moving text around, writing a little bit more, talking to someone, writing about something, reading, deleting etc. It can be useful knowing of some different methods to use to get started, but of course you decide what is most useful for you.
Interpreting the assignment
If you are working on a thesis with an assignment text, like an exam, it is important to understand what you are being asked to do. Read the text closely and look for command words, as they often decide your position as the author.
Here are some common command words:
- account for
The use of these words can make a significant difference in how an assignment is interpreted and can make thematically similar assignments turn out quite different in style.
Eksempler - planlegge oppgaven
- Account for immigration policies in Norway from 2013 to 2016.
In this example you are simply asked to recount facts. This requires little involvement of your own; tone down your personal voice, because you are simply asked to present key facts and statistics about the topic.
- Analyse immigration policies in Norway from 2013 to 2016.
This example calls for the writer to have a clearer voice, because you are asked to analyse the policies. This means not only recounting facts, but also analysing what these facts mean.
- Discuss immigration policies in Norway from 2013 to 2016.
This assignment requires a very clear voice and stance. When writing this text, you need to discuss implications, perceived advantages and disadvantages, as well as perceived strong and weak points of the policies. This means that you also need to offer up your own evaluations of the policies.
When interpreting an assignment, it is also important to keep in mind that there might be more than just one command word. If we continue with the examples from above, one possible assignment could have been “Account for the immigration policies in Norway from 2013 to 2016 and discuss whether or not they have been good or bad for the Norwegian economy.” In this assignment you are first asked to account for the policies, and then to discuss them. This involves structuring your text in two parts, where you first present facts and figures about the policies, and then discuss their implications and level of success.
There are many methods of brainstorming but what the methods have in common is they all are something you write for yourself and aren’t meant to be seen by others. They can be notes you write while reading or watching a presentation. They might be a mind map you made to get your ideas from your mind and into a system of sorts, or they could be lists of points you wish to include.
Found or been given a topic for your paper and feeling unsure on how to proceed? Which sub-topics should be included? How much space should they get? How do you get the right elements towards your research topic? A mind map may be of help.
Write your topic and place some of the sub-topics in relation to your main topic. Add keywords, connect with the sub-topics and so on. This way you will get a nice overview of everything you must include, and it will be easier to structure your text.
Brainstorming can also be a session where you “empty your brain” by making a keyword list of the things you already know about the topic. Do not censor yourself, just write a list of things you already know. It will make it easier for you to see what you need to learn more about.
Your notes are one of the most important tools you have when you are writing. It can be notes from lectures or classes, from teamwork or from your own studies. Some notes are keywords and others are more complete. Notes can be drawings, graphs, models, tables, and text. Your notes are especially important because they hint at what you were thinking about while working on your studies. It contributed to reflection and learning in the moment. It is easier to remember when you write using your words or drawings. Therefor it is important that you not only write from presentations but that you take time to write something of meaning to you.