8.3 Tips on Writing PhD Thesis Updates

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These updates on your Ph.D. research are very important in your progress and should be seen as a help rather than as a hindrance. The following tips might help you to complete reports as they should be but remember that requirements differ from one academic institution to another:

  • Find out from your supervisor at your first meeting following the approval of your research how frequently reports will be required from you regarding your progress.
  • If you do this, you will have a deadline in mind from the outset and this will help you to stagger your research correctly and prevent you from drifting which is all too easy during a long course of study such as a Ph.D. thesis.
  • As has been stated, reports can be as simple as completing a form but they may be much more than this so find out exactly what is required.
  • One possibility is that you will be required to provide an overview of the progress which you feel that you have made during the previous year (or however long you have between reports).
  • This personal progress report on your thesis will be matched by a similar report to be submitted simultaneously by your appointed supervisor.
  • You should be allowed to see your supervisor’s report ad to discuss with them what they feel are the positives and negatives of your research so far.
  • If you speak about this in detail before reports on your thesis are due, you can pre-empt what might be challenged by the academic board and suggest ways that you intend to address any difficulties that can be identified.
  • You might also be required to compile a literature review as part of your thesis progress report.
  • If you are required to complete a literature review, this will not simply mean resubmitting the bibliography that accompanied your research proposal.
  • A literature review requires you to focus on texts that have been of particular use to you during the previous year (or however long you have between reports) and for you to say why.
  • As well as this, you will also be required to give some indication of sources you intend to draw on in the next stage of your thesis research.

"Regular reports can seem to be an unnecessary distraction but they can be a help!"

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