I sort of hoped that writing a thesis would be like this:
And, touchingly, there is this advice from the University of Oxford to advisors of students writing theses:
By its very nature, scientiﬁc writing includes the judicious use of diagrams, graphs and tables. When do you present your results using a graph and when do you tabulate them? A table invokes an expectation of regularity. So present dull, unremarkable data (that must nevertheless presented) in a table. Make sure that your variables are in diﬀerent columns. Your rows for any given column should represent diﬀerent observations of a given variable. 18
All the writing done in my classes is done with a specific purpose, so writing to that audience is a given. I teach Spanish for Spanish Speakers classes and right now we are doing cover letters/resumes for SSS1 and cover letters/academic resumes/personal statements and college application essays for SSS2. I show them every step of the way exactly how the reader will react to what they've done. I explain that they have to sell themselves to the reader - to show in no uncertain terms that they are the best people for the job/place at the university in everything they write, Even the resume can be used to sell themselves. They shouldn't just write that they babysit children; they should list the various skills needed to babysit well (organize activities, prepare healthy meals, deal with minor crises, etc.). They should never assume that the reader will assume they have those skills.
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How to Write a Thesis - from Columbia University
The thesis statement should remain flexible until the paper is actually finished. It ought to be one of the last things that we fuss with in the rewriting process. If we discover new information in the process of writing our paper that ought to be included in the thesis statement, then we'll have to rewrite our thesis statement. On the other hand, if we discover that our paper has done adequate work but the thesis statement appears to include things that we haven't actually addressed, then we need to limit that thesis statement. If the thesis statement is something that we needed prior approval for, changing it might require the permission of the instructor or thesis committee, but it is better to seek such permission than to write a paper that tries to do too much or that claims to do less than it actually accomplishes.I am finding out (the hard way) that writing a thesis is not like writing a long essay. It is another matter all together. It’s a bit more like this:Avoid announcing the thesis statement as if it were a thesis statement. In other words, avoid using phrases such as "The purpose of this paper is . . . . " or "In this paper, I will attempt to . . . ." Such phrases betray this paper to be the work of an amateur. If necessary, write the thesis statement that way the first time; it might help you determine, in fact, that this your thesis statement. But when you rewrite your paper, eliminate the bald assertion that this is your thesis statement and write the statement itself without that annoying, unnecessary preface.No matter how good your thesis is, it will become frustrating if it looks like it was written by a seventh grade kid. You want a top-notch spelling check, but you also need professional punctuation. Formatting relates to all these. There is no way for a professor to enjoy and even finish a poorly written thesis, so just think about it - find someone to "do my thesis" instead.