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Quick Tips To Help You Compile A Good PhD Thesis

Has that time of your life come wherein you need to transform all of the years’ hard work into an impressive Ph.D. Thesis? Then you are the perfect place. I know you will be super nervous & tensed, rushing up with the final PhD thesis compilation with the deadline over your head. But worry not. This article can help you calm your nerve down. Writing a thesis brings with it the feeling of accomplishment of practical assignments along with the anxiety of shaping that productiveness into a presentable and concise framework. For most of the students, this last phase of degree involving PhD thesis writing brings a state of excitement accompanied by apprehension as they are usually unaware of the style they should follow to design perhaps the most important document of their life. Here are a few tips which may help you to plot your significant piece of independent writing for which you may like to feel proud of, for years to come.

1. Prepare a checklist ✔️

It is very crucial to have a distinct picture in mind before initiating with the central task of compiling a thesis altogether. Organize and prioritize tasks and construct a checklist which you can do manually or using various apps or project management tools available online.

2. Having a clear awareness for thesis format is the first step towards building up a virtuous thesis. 🧘

To begin with, you should be entirely clear with the norms and requirements for Ph.D. thesis format (if any) in accordance with your organization/institution. It is certainly not recommended to edit the whole document once it is structured. It is advisable to prepare a checklist in terms of the essential layouts that should be met up complying the organization’s protocols. This may include total no. of pages in the thesis, font style and size, headings style, line spacing or page spacing, page numbering, page margins, the format of tables and graphs, total no. of thesis copies need to be deposited etc..

3. Put together a list of absolute must packs 📑

Here, of course, we are not discussing about packing your stuff for vacations rather compiling of all the essential documents for writing the doctorate thesis on your working table. You need to gather all the protocols, reference research papers, data collection, and analysis reports, certificates of analysis (if outsourced), electron micrographs, summaries, research publications if any along with reviewers’ comments, conference or poster presentations at one place before commencing the thesis writing. Review this material as many times as you can to ripen the precision which may show up in your writing later.

4. Writing a rapid draft can give you a kick start ✍🏻

Have you ever stood right in front of the mirror trying the wonderful clothes and accessories to be worn for some special event? Just in the similar way you need to write a rough draft compiling whatever best you have in terms of experimental results obtained during your research work. This requires having more and more discussions with your mentor so that you may figure out collectively what should be included in the thesis and what needs to be skipped. This is quite significant and analogous to formulating a frame in which the right image can be incorporated. Once your rough draft is set, you get yourself available in the right direction to follow.

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5. Now time to act technically 💻

Your swift draft will assist you to decide how many chapters are needed to present all the research details and data in the right way. Once it is decided you may start up writing with the chapters. You definitely don’t need to pen down the chapters in chronological order. That means you have all the freedom to start with the writing of any chapter probably for which you have just wrapped up the experimental work. That can help you to reduce time in writing of that particular chapter as it is much easier to recapitulate the recent findings. Don’t forget to come back to this chapter and restructure to make it coherent and consistent with the rest of the chapters. By now you will be able to allocate an impressive and relevant title for the ongoing chapter.

6. Writing style describes your personality 😎

Nevertheless, a flawless writing style must be chosen for structuring the thesis. If you think you do not possess good writing skills, don’t be anxious as a little effort and a right click of putting the words in an impressive manner can make you master of an exemplary Ph.D. thesis.

  • Incorporate flair while you write.
  • Avoid any intricate or jargon words and try to replace them with everyday English equivalents.
  • Prefer active to passive whenever you can. Choose the first person to the third person while forming the sentences.
  • Avoid adjectives and adverbs for framing an unambiguous scientific technical piece of writing. It acknowledges the existence of significant events and results leaving no room for doubt and comparison
  • Common errors like dangling modifiers, the inconsistency of matter or subject-verb disagreement shall be killed out while writing
  • Spelling mistakes should be taken care of as they imprint a bad impression on the reader about the proficiency of the author.
  • Don’t use any quotes in the main content

7. An abstract is the entrance gate to the world of your research findings. ↪️

Always remember more notable is your abstract more motivating it will be for a reader to go through the main context. Foremost abstract should comply with the word limit your organization prescribes. It should incorporate in the first start exactly what is the problem which encouraged you to pick up your Ph.D. work followed by what the literature comprises in relevance to undertaken work. If the previously cited obstacles have been resolved to a certain extent by your contribution of work and the approach you adopted throughout to resolve those hindrances. A very brief description of the methods and techniques used can be mentioned. Finally the resilient consequences your research work could bring in that particular field i.e. the impact your thesis might have in the concerned area.

8. Bibliography the savior for your thesis. 📚

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Never allow yourself to miss any references cited in the main text to be mentioned in the bibliography. Cross-checking all the references in the bibliography is a must and it should be done right from the beginning to prevent an occurrence of extra stress which could pile up intend in order to generate a perfect bibliography. You may do it manually or using various reference management soft wares. EndNote, Bookends, Ref Me, Paper Pile are few such soft wares which can be used to manage citations in a convenient way. Using these soft wares will enable you to save time and labor of manually entering the citation information. References cited in the bibliography provide the authenticity to your research ideas and protocols. Try to augment bibliography by adding relevant and genuine paper or abstract references from more reputed journals or books.

9. Three major pillars in building up of a strong thesis 💪

You may visualize your thesis in three main sections (may depend on the format specified by organization/institution):

A. Preliminaries

  • Title page
  • Abstract
  • Acknowledgments
  • Content page(s)
  • List of tables

B. Main text

Introductory chapter/ Introduction

It may sound unrealistic but you may choose to write this chapter at the end. Once you are clear with all the minor and major details your thesis is going to include it will be not more than a child’s play to introduce what your thesis is all about. You have to frame the introduction as if you are creating a narrative to make readers understand from start to end the aims and scopes of research work. Don’t forget the reader is going to find the context in the core work in accordance with the introduction. Introduction in the beginning and conclusion or summary to be placed at the end will work to tie up the thesis together. You need to ensure that you highlight your original work in a succinct way prompting the reader to read further after going through the introduction.

C. Review of literature

Although it is challenging to frame this chapter but remember it is among the most important contents of the thesis. Here you need to assess all the literature available in context to the studies undertaken by you. It offers the reasons to support and defend your topic of research keeping all the surveyed relevant prevailing literature in the background. Summarize the whole established literature in such a creative way so as to prove your work is efficient enough to fill up the fissures present in the existing studies or knowledge. Ensure that you update literature review throughout during research work. You have availability of many search engines these days which may help you in downloading the research papers, abstracts for free. Few of them are PubMed central, Science Gov., Google Scholar etc.

D. Core chapters

No matter how many chapters you need to describe the entire work, they should be well composed having a precise flow of narrative explaining each topic in detail. Chapters should be structured in a way so as to depict the main aim, material, and methods, results and discussions eventually leading to showcase your significant accomplishments. Ensure to append matter where it enhances the value of results and not where it merely bulks out your content. Following considerations should be emphasized while designing the most important part of your thesis:

  • Figures should be clear and properly scaled
  • Tables should be correctly formatted
  • Graphs should be accurate and scaled
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Give subtitles after choosing an illustrative title for each chapter. Break up into further subsections taking it to the paragraph level. This strengthens the structures besides outlining the methodologies and results obtained in your data. Bibliography and appendices also play an important role.

10. Plagiarism blows it down 🚫

Copying the facts and protocols can be considered if quoted with accurate references. Apart from that, you need to be cautious about copying the data or evidence from the available sources on the internet. Plagiarism constricts the quality of thesis and is not acceptable beyond certain limits which may vary according to the standards of the institution.

11. Saving data timely is a must 📥

Don’t miss to maintain a backup timely. Keeping a digital backup of all the rough drafts, tables of contents, figures, references and data entries will prevent the likelihood of mess or chaos during or at the end of this fundamental phase.

12. Don’t feel daunted over reconsidering and rewriting the rough drafts 🤔

Rough drafts are just like the staircase which will eventually lead you to the composed and precise thesis. So don’t back off reading, rewriting and, getting them corrected and rectified by your research guide. Restructuring and rewriting may sound tiresome but undoubtedly it is easier to rewrite than to start from the blank page. You shouldn’t mind as it is going to polish up your thesis to the finest level. You can take the help of a friend or colleague to help you with checking style and sense. It is correctly said that the most beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right the first time.

13. Publications: an honor to your work 😁

Adding a list of Publications to your thesis is placing a cherry on the cake because it will leave the reader with contentment that your work has already been considered and accepted.

You may take up thesis writing as a challenge having all faith in your wisdom and skills. Always believe in saying “What is not started will never get finished”. So give yourself the opportunity to improve and sparkle at every step finally producing the best document reflecting your hard work and uniqueness.

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About the Author:
Dr. Nidhi Hukku is a member of Biotecnika Team and has a keen interest in keeping herself motivated to learn new and more. She has expertise in the field of Biotechnology and Microbiology and has completed her Ph.D. in Biotechnology. Dr. Nidhi has also been awarded at several workshops and conferences and has publications in reputed international journals.
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