3.6 Initial Stages in Your Thesis
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The first thing you must do after your research has been approved is to meet up with your appointed supervisor. It will be a great help in planning effectively if you take the list outlined above with you and use it as a basic framework.
Decide with your supervisor on the correct methodology for you. What works for one person does not always work for another and it is essential that you get it right. Your supervisor has the experience to guide you into the right way of working which should take account of:
- Your personal way of working – you will have established this during your academic career up until this point and you should not discard the experience you have gained just because you are writing at a higher level.
- The requirements of the academic board – you will have been made aware of these before you submitted your Ph.D. proposal but it is a good idea to clarify any points about which you might have queries. Your supervisor will be able to clarify this for you.
- The methodology which is appropriate for your thesis – every subject and approach has its own particular requirements, which is why it is impossible to say definitively what methodology you should adopt. Again, your supervisor will advise you on this but you should know which direction you envisage your work taking, after all it is your thesis!
- The basic structure you intend to use – this will be initially based upon what you said in your thesis proposal but you should focus more specifically, now, on which areas you feel you want to develop most.
- The order in which you intend to write your thesis – this is not as strange as it sounds, very few theses are written in chronological order, unless the subject matter dictates it.
"Most students focus first on the strongest and/or most interesting area, the one with which you feel most comfortable, the one which made you want to write the thesis in the first place! Beginning with the area of greatest interest can be a vital impetus to reawaken your first ideas and get you started."
Ensure that when you leave your meeting with your supervisor you arrange the next – it is vital to keep up the momentum!
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