How to write the first draft of a PhD thesis

Many students encounter challenges when writing their PhD dissertation because they want it to be perfect. However the trick lies in developing the paper step by step. A good paper often begins with an outline and then a first rough draft. Here are a few ideas for writing the first draft.

a. Developing the main idea

The student should have an idea of what he or she is researching on. This might involve writing down the research statement for the paper. However the final polished research statement can be written after the body of the paper is completed.

b. Start writing fast

The student should start writing quickly anything relevant that comes to mind. As long as the main point or ideas are captured, it does not matter whether the grammar is correct or if the sentences are incomplete. One should write when they are energized and where there are no distractions. One should leave gaps and use abbreviations where necessary.

c. Write in the writer’s own voice

The writer should express themselves using their own voice. This helps a person to precisely say what they mean and it becomes easier for the reader to understand.

d. Do not edit

When writing, although the student might realize that the article has got a number of errors, the student should fight the urge to start editing the article. This is because it will disrupt his or her train of thoughts and result in time wastage.

e. Stick to the outline plan

The student should stick to the plan of the outline and focus on the structure of the paper. This would involve using headlines from the outline as guidelines of what is needed to be said.

f. Write the paper in bits

The students should not attempt to write the whole paper at once, but rather he or she should focus on working on the paper in sections or bits. Each section should be treated as a mini essay. One should ensure that each section helps them to accomplish their objective. Do this until all the sections are complete.

g. Put the paper aside for a day or two before proofreading it

The student should then take a break for a day or two. This would give them an opportunity to get a ‘new mind’. The student should then proof read and edit the paper. This would involve completing the unfinished sentences and expounding on the brief ideas to ensure that it flows systematically

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