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Writing your thesis 17th February 2015 Carmen Tsang

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1 Writing your thesis 17th February 2015 Carmen Tsang
Department of Health Services and Policy, PHP

2 Writing your thesis Overview of PhD process and milestones
Thesis planning Thesis writing Preparing for your viva voce Sources of information (and inspiration)

3 Initial thoughts about your thesis and viva
Activity 1 Initial thoughts about your thesis and viva

4 Introductions Name Department/faculty PhD subject
Pre- or post- PhD upgrade? Full-time or part-time study? Something about the person, not-PhD-related!

5 What is a PhD thesis? A statement of your position on a research question/hypothesis A (concise and succinct) account of your journey in examining the research question Personal story - your voice and style Book versus paper style thesis Lunchtime Seminar on “Paper Style Thesis” – Professor Judith Green, Thursday 26 February - Jerry Morris A, Tavistock Place,

6 LSHTM description of a PhD thesis
“The scope of the thesis shall be what might reasonably be expected after three years of full-time study.” Consist of the candidate’s own account of their investigations and indicate how they advance the study/knowledge of the subject. Form a distinct contribution to the knowledge of the subject and afford evidence of originality shown by the discovery of new facts and/or the exercise of independent critical power. Be an integrated whole and present a coherent argument. Give a critical assessment of the relevant literature, describe the method of research and its findings, and include a discussion on those findings, and indicate in what respects they appear to the candidate to advance the study/knowledge of the subject. Be written in English with satisfactory literary presentation. Include a full reference list. Not exceed 100,000 words including tables, figures and footnotes but excluding references and appendices. LSHTM Research Degrees Handbook 2014/15, p61-62 and Regulations for the degrees of MPhil, PhD AND DrPH, p8

7 Timeline for thesis submission
Example for full time student (initial registration 2012/13 onwards), no interruption of studies and no extension of maximum submission time Yr1 Yr2 Yr3 Yr4 Upgrade from MPhil to PhD Expected thesis submission Required (maximum) thesis submission Part-time students registered 2012/13 onwards: expected to submit within 5 years, required to submit within 6 years Registration before 2012/13: full-time expected to submit within 4 years, completed (all thesis corrections and award approved) within 5 years. Expected to submit within 6 years, completed within 7 years (part-time)

8 LSHTM regulations Check the regulations in your department/faculty
Examination entry Submit forms to your Faculty Research Degrees Administrator, preferably 3-4 months before you plan to submit thesis 4 forms: Examination entry, Reproduction of thesis, Description of thesis and Nomination of examiners (completed by supervisor) and, if appropriate, Statements on conjoint work and/or work previously submitted for another award Submitting your thesis for examination 2 hard copies and 1 electronic copy 3 forms: Abstract, Declaration of word count and Declaration of own work Restriction of access form? Final thesis submission post-viva 1 hard copy and 1 electronic copy FAQs, Research Degrees Handbook 2014/15, Logbook, etc

9 Thesis planning (1) Upgrade from MPhil to PhD
Expected thesis submission Required (maximum) thesis submission Yr1 Yr2 Yr3 Yr4 Year 1 - Develop a clear, appropriate, realistic and feasible project plan, supported by feedback from your upgrade Year 2 - Discuss thesis with supervisor (title, structure, content, timescale, drafts, submission) End of Year 2/start of Year 3 Confirm target submission date, identify examiners, submit forms, plan publications, think beyond your PhD PhD Logbook

10 Thesis planning (2) Structure your story
Remember your hypothesis/research question Remember who your readers are Clear/not ambiguous (can others understand it?) Logical (does the order/structure make sense?) Accurate (is it correct?) Precise (is it exactly as I intend?) No repetition (have I said it before?) Relevant (does it need to be said?)

11 Thesis planning (3) "Piled Higher and Deeper" by Jorge Cham

12 Thesis planning (4) Keep a log (e.g. Excel spreadsheet) or journal during your PhD A reminder of your journey (motivation during PhD) Record of challenges, solutions and achievements (skills and experience) Useful for viva and moving on after your PhD (job interviews) Speak to other PhD students, researchers and supervisor Look at theses for recently awarded PhDs Be prepared for your research to change during your PhD Go FAR - Flexible, Adaptable and Resilient Factor for unforeseen and unavoidable delays (e.g. ethics approval complications, setbacks in data collection or problems with fieldwork, illness or other life events) Balance versus burnout

13 Slow and steady wins the race…
© Artisticco | - Tortoise And Hare Photo

14 Thesis outline Core of your thesis Other parts of your thesis
Introduction (and literature review) Statement of the problem, hypothesis or research question Methods Results Discussion Conclusion Other parts of your thesis Abstract Acknowledgements Abbreviations References - Endnote Appendices FAQs, Research Degrees Handbook 2014/15, Logbook, etc

15 Thesis writing Check university regulations on style (clear and readable) and binding Write regularly to develop a consistent writing style Writing your thesis will take longer than you think, approx. 3 times longer Leave time for editing and redrafting (including trimming) Leave enough time for binding! Back up your work frequently and in multiple places!! (check IT guidance on appropriate back up options) School policy on third party copy editing and proof reading Writing up status -> X Status Post-viva revisions/corrections

16 When am I ready to submit my thesis?

17 When am I ready to submit my thesis?
Set yourself goals, but realistic goals Communicate regularly with your supervisor Review your plan with supervisor(s) so you are both clear about each other’s expectations Agree timetable and deadlines for sending and reviewing drafts Discuss research dissemination early on, e.g. papers and conferences Allow extra time for unexpected delays Funding constraints

18 Preparing for your viva voce
Viva can only be organised when examiners have been appointed Find a suitable date for all parties as soon as possible (more difficult than you might think!) The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition – April to June 2015 Departmental seminars, student groups, special interest groups, conferences Talk to people outside of your research circle – friends, family and strangers(!) Mock viva

19 Before your viva Prepare a summary of your research (often starting point of viva) Re-read your thesis before your viva Review the literature for new research You are required to take a copy of your thesis into your viva Check the exam room before the day of your viva Plan your journey, allow extra time for traffic

20 Sources of information (and inspiration)
Resources on academic and thesis writing - Research Degrees Handbook 2014/15, p73 LSHTM library, e-theses online system (eThOS) Beware different thesis formats at other universities Guardian blog Piled Higher and Deeper (PhD) comic strip

21 Planning for yourself…
Activity 2 Planning for yourself…

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