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Writing your thesis: workshop facilitated by Debbie Holley. “Wason (1974) has described the procrastination and incoherence into which many doctoral candidates fall when attempting to represent results in written form”. Writing is ….

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Writing your thesis: workshop facilitated by Debbie Holley


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    1. Writing your thesis: workshop facilitated by Debbie Holley “Wason (1974) has described the procrastination and incoherence into which many doctoral candidates fall when attempting to represent results in written form”

    2. Writing is … Writing is easy – you just stare at a blank piece of paper till your eyeballs bleed! (Sinfield, Burns & Johnson 2009)

    3. Writing is … Thinking and Learning and Struggle However! We ‘write to learn’ Not learn to write 3

    4. SWOT: Reflect on your current piece of PhD writing http://www.online-stopwatch.com/full-screen-stopwatch/ Strengths: what do you like about your writing? Weaknesses: what do you dislike about your writing Opportunities: what’s in it for you ? Threats: what threat does not completing this section pose for you? Write for one minute on each… 4

    5. Developing writing We benefit from being given or making opportunities to: Practise writing (general) what kind of writing do you undertake daily/weekly/monthly? Practise writing in your discipline Free write Reflect on our writing - and other aspects of our learning Reflect on feedback from our supervisors (fabulous chapter in Phillips & Pugh 2000 ‘how to manage your supervisor’ !)

    6. Freewriting: Peter Elbow (1998) • Free-writing encourages us to write at length without fear of censorship. Benefits: Freedom to explore a topic Builds & demonstrates knowledge Encourages understanding Spelling & grammar (3 min):http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlL5W2qA0EA On writing (9min): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDUn1c4uxUE

    7. Academic freewriting Use for: Starting an assignment Overcoming a writing block Writing at length Writing in discipline Structuring writing Proof-reading Editing Reflecting on your day/learning

    8. Free writing: we all think differently My favourite activity for removing writing block! I am going to give you this sentence: The boy walked down the street when….. And an envelope containing a a ‘genre’ of writing Please write for 3 minutes in the ‘genre’

    9. Activities Try freewriting: For 5 minutes on any lecture/presentation/talk A definition of a concept in 1 minute For 5 minutes on previous experiences that will be useful to you for developing your PhD Resources: Freewrite: http://www.cumquat.co.uk/freewrite/ http://www.writethink.co.uk/wordpress/wp-content/fwt/Free_Write01.html

    10. See http://www.arts.ac.uk/cetl/visual-directions/ And for your future writing?

    11. the reflective learning journal • Supports your reflection on discipline specific readings • Promotescritical analysis • Encouragesdeep understanding through questioning • Is creative & appealing • Documents turning points on your PhD journey – great for preparing for your Viva!

    12. Suggested entries Reflections on study sessions: what, why, reaction, learned, new goals … Notes on readings Questions relating to readings Freewriting on a topic Glossary of terms Planning and drafting Notes from the press…

    13. Reflecting on THIS session • What have we done? • What activities have we undertaken? Why? • What was your reaction? • What have you learned – about writing, about yourself as a writer, about yourself as a PhD student? • Will this change your approach? How? • What will you do next? • Make notes for yourself – and don’t forget to let me know:d.holley@londonmet.ac.uk

    14. And other ideas: • It's a long way to Tipperary PhD blog http://longwaytotipperary.blogspot.com/2010/02/epistemology-and-research-design.html • And google the three minute thesis, a competition that runs in Australian Universities http://www.gradresearch.unimelb.edu.au/programs/3minutethesis/index.html

    15. References: With thanks to Sarah Johnson, Sandra Sinfield and Tom Burns Students’ Writing in Transition Symposium, NTU September 15th 2009 Elbow, P (1998) Writing without teachers (2nd ed) Oxford University press New York & Oxford Phillips, E. and D. Pugh (2000). How to get a PHD. Buckingham, Open University Press. Trafford, V. and S. Leshem (2002). "Starting at the end to undertake doctoral research: predictable questions as stepping stones." Higher Education Review 34(1): 31-49.*debbie recommends as essential reading! Wason P.C. (1974) Notes on Supervisions of PhDs, Bulletin of the British Psychological Society, 20: 273-281