10. With the ready availability of photocopy machines you should beable to bypass many of the hardships that previous dissertation researchershad to deal with in developing their literature review. When you read somethingthat is important to your study, photocopy the relevant articleor section. Keep your photocopies organized according to categories andsections. And, most importantly, photocopy the bibliographic citation sothat you can easily reference the material in your bibliography. Then, whenyou decide to sit down and actually write the literature review, bring out yourphotocopied sections, put them into logical and sequential order, and thenbegin your writing.
This is sensible because of the length of a thesis: you may have several chapters of results and, if you wait till they are all presented before you begin discussion, the reader may have difficulty remembering what you are talking about.
(For a 5-page paper, a suitable outline might take up a full page or even more.)I find that making an outline is at least 80% of the work of writing a good philosophy paper.
I recommend against writing "Chapter 2: Literature Review." Suchchapters are usually boring: they're plonked down like the author'sobligatory list of what he or she was "supposed" to cite. They blockthe reader from getting to the new ideas, and can't even be contrastedwith the new ideas because those haven't been presented yet.
What are you trying to do? What verb captures your intent? Are you trying to inform? Convince? Describe? Each purpose will lead you to a different set of information and help you shape material to include and exclude in a draft. Write about why you are writing this draft in this form. For more tips on figuring out the purpose of your assignment, see our .
When all else fails…this is a tried and true method, loved for centuries by writers of all stripe. Visit the library reference areas or stop by the Writing Center to browse various dictionaries, thesauruses (or other guide books and reference texts), encyclopedias or surf their online counterparts. Sometimes these basic steps are the best ones. It is almost guaranteed that you’ll learn several things you did not know.
e. What if you have the opportunity for conducting your researchin conjunction with another agency or project that is workingin related areas. Should you do it? Sometimes this works well, but mostoften the dissertation researcher gives up valuable freedom to conductthe research project in conjunction with something else. Make sure thetrade-offs are in your favor. It can be very disastrous to havethe other project suddenly get off schedule and to find your own research projecttemporarily delayed. Or, you had tripled the size of your sample sincethe agency was willing to pay the cost of postage. They paid for the postagefor the pre-questionnaire. Now they are unable to assist with postage forthe post-questionnaire. What happens to your research? I usually findthat the cost of conducting dissertation research is not prohibitive andthe trade-offs to work in conjunction with another agency are not in favorof the researcher. Think twice before altering your project to accommodatesomeone else. Enjoy the power and the freedom to make your own decisions(and mistakes!) -- this is the way we learn!
If you’re looking at a hard copy reference, turn to your most important terms and see what sort of variety you find in the definitions. The obscure or archaic definition might help you to appreciate the term’s breadth or realize how much its meaning has changed as the language changed. Could that realization be built into your paper somehow?
Chapter 1 traditionally ends with a "road map" to the rest of thethesis, which rapidly summarizes what the remaining chapters orsections will contain. That's useful guidance for readers who arelooking for something specific and also for those who will read thewhole thesis. It also exhibits in one place what an awful lot ofwork you've done. Here's a .
The downside is that such sections or chapters can seem boring andfull of not-yet-motivated concepts. Unless your definitions are noveland interesting in themselves, they block the reader from getting tothe new and interesting ideas. So if you write something like"Chapter 2: Preliminaries," keep it relatively concise -- the point isto get the reader oriented.
Thrift shop. Use well-known notation and terminologywhenever you can, either with or without a formal definition in yourthesis. The point of your thesis is not to re-invent notation or to re-presentwell-known material, although sometimes you may find it helpful to doso.
That is why it is important to think about these questions before you begin to write.I strongly recommend that you make an outline of your paper, and of the arguments you'll be presenting, before you begin to write.