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Humanities Graduate Research Workshop Writing your Thesis: Having a Story

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Title: Writing your Thesis Author: 227369D Last modified by: Michele Willson Created Date: 8/18/2009 9:25:23 AM Document presentation format: On-screen Show (4:3) – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Humanities Graduate Research Workshop Writing your Thesis: Having a Story


1
Humanities Graduate Research WorkshopWriting
your ThesisHaving a Story
  • Michele Willson
  • m.willson_at_curtin.edu.au

2
Setting out what do you need?
  • Map that shows the terrain
  • Means of travel how will you get there?
  • Timeframe
  • Identifying landmarks
  • Who is accompanying you?
  • What do you need to bring with you?
  • The cost? How will you cover this?

3
  • WRITING APPLIES BOTH TO
  • Traditional Masters/PhD Thesis
  • Masters/Doctorate Creative Arts Exegesis

4
How do you tell a story?
  • Discipline/s rules/conventions
  • Style the way that you do it
  • Format what it looks like
  • Structure how it progresses
  • Other Hitchcock

5
Basic Ingredients
  • Introduction, Abstract, TOC
  • argument/proposition/hypothesis/question
  • Literature review context/background
  • Method
  • evidence

6
Other ingredients a la Hitchcock
  • Clear communication
  • Every paragraph counts (relevance)
  • Importance of flow- connection
  • Suspense not surprise

7
Disciplines
  • Orders and disciplines
  • Identifying your field of studies lit reviews
  • Multi-disciplinarity (inter-, cross-, trans)
  • Language, conventions, debates, voices
  • Topics, keywords, concepts
  • Theories, methodologies, objects, subjects

8
THAT QUESTION
  • What is your thesis about?

9
Breaking (It) Down
  • A collection of essays or chapters
  • Chapter a collection of sections
  • How can these be organised what is the flow?

10
Argument
  • Thesis central argument
  • Narrative demonstration of argument
  • Chapters specific argument
  • How does each chapter contribute to demonstrate
    the thesis argument
  • Mapping

11
Some examples (1)
  • traditional social science linear chapters
  • introduction,
  • Literature review
  • Method
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • conclusion

12
Example 2
  • Creative output /exegesis
  • Relationship between 2?
  • See B.Milech A.Schilo (2004) Exit Jesus
    Relating the Exegesis and Creative/ProductionComp
    onents of a Research Thesis
  • (reference at end of ppt)

13
Example 3
  • Chapters but thematically structured
  • 5-8 chapters of roughly equal length
  • Literature review spread throughout

14
Example 4
  • Chapters as sections or parts book- ended
  • One large question number of ways of answering
    the question

15
My Thesis TOC
  • 2 parts
  • a. theory of key concepts and,
  • b. looking at these through the lens of 3
    writers
  • Bracketed with an introduction and conclusion

16
  • Part One establishing a Framework for
    theorising community, technology and
    inter/subjectivity
  • Chapter One Concept of Community
  • Chapter Two Technology and Sociality
  • Chapter Three Inter/Subjectivity, Technology and
    Community

17
  • Part Two Approaches to Community
  • Chapter Four Charles Taylor and the Social
    Communitarians
  • Chapter Five Jean-Luc Nancys notion of
    community
  • Chapter Six Mark Poster and virtual community/ies

18
Activity
  • Write your current table of contents on a piece
    of paper
  • Think about the story this tells you will need
    to be able to explain it to a non-specialist
    what the relationship between the various parts
    are and why they are there.

19
Group Activity
  • Find a partner from your group (the person on
    your left?)
  • Ask the question
  • Then ask for their map (TOC) to be explained to
    you
  • Discuss how and why it tells a story (consider
    field, key debates, object of analysis,
    methodology, argument etc)

20
Writing Without a Plan
  • Disorientation
  • No sense of location or direction
  • Regular, lengthy re-reading
  • Difficult recall
  • Circular or Disjointed Writing
  • Repetition

21
Writing with a Plan
  • Big/small/smaller chunks
  • One segment at a time/back burner
  • The outline
  • Itinerary-like sequence
  • Thinking linearly and logically
  • A journey or trajectory narrative
  • Rearranging recombining when you are not
    writing

22
Group Activity
  • Individually, using the TOC outline from before,
    write your thesis working title and add a
    content descriptor for each chapter (only 1-2
    line/s per chapter)
  • Find a different partner (person on your right?)
  • Exchange outlines with your partner
  • Rearrange chapter sequence
  • Discuss how you are/have been writing it

23
The End of Reshuffling
  • Endless possible recombinations
  • A flexible structure is still a structure
  • When to stop...or why you might have
    difficulties

24
Facing the Blank Page
  • Option 1
  • Write the first draft from chapter 1 to the last
    chapter, committing words to paper ASAP and then
    do multiple rewrites
  • Option 2
  • Move to a new chapter only when the current one
    is polished

25
  • Early pages
  • Acknowledgements
  • Thesis Abstract
  • Thesis Introduction
  • Body
  • Thesis Conclusion
  • Bibliography

26
References
  • Cryer, P. (1996) The Research Students Guide to
    Success, Open University Press
  • Kirshner, J. (1996) Alfred Hitchcock and the Art
    of Research, PS Political Science and Politics,
    Vol. 29 (3), pp. 511-513
  • Milech, B. Schilo, A. (2004) Exit
    JesusRelating the Exegesis and
    Creative/ProductionComponents of a Research
    Thesis, TEXT, Issue 3.
  • http//www.textjournal.com.au/speciss/issue3/milec
    hschilo.htm
  • Zerubavel, E. (1999) The Clockwork Muse a
    Practical Guide to Writing Theses, Dissertations,
    and Books, Harvard UP

27
Some light relief
  • Piled Higher and Deeper PhD Comics
  • http//www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comici
    d715
  • Or Facebook
  • https//www.facebook.com/piledhigheranddeeper
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