Research

Writing your master thesis

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    The process

    First of all, accept the fact that there is no one particular way of writing a thesis. There is no textbook solution to achieving the optimal process for writing your thesis. What works best for you is something that you gradually discover. Read more about finding your best work routines.

    Writing your thesis can at times feel chaotic, messy and confusing, but do not be intimidated by it. Chances are that you will get a better overview, the further you get in the process.

    When you occasionally feel stuck, is it always a good idea to talk with your supervisor, your fellow students, friends, or others you feel comfortable sharing your feelings with. Your fellow students probably have had similar experiences, so it is often beneficial for both you and them to share ideas and help each other in the process. Find more inspiration in this article about motivation.

    Find 6 tips below that will help your process of writing your thesis.

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    1. Make a schedule

    Writing a thesis is a comprehensive process, where you can easily lose track. Therefore, working with a good schedule can do wonders when you need to get started. You can use the following exercise to set yourself some goals and deadlines to get started: Make time for everything

    It is important that your work schedule is realistic, and that you set achievable goals. If your goals are too hard to achieve, you risk losing motivation and overview. So do not set them according to what you think you academically can achieve, but rather according to to the amount of time you can dedicate to working focused with the thesis. Learn about how to plan your studies, and how to set goals: Organising and planning your studies

    The first time you make a plan, you may feel as if you are shooting in the dark. Therefore, it is also a good idea to see your goals as benchmarks for what works well and not so well, so that you can subsequently make a better work plan and set more realistic goals. Consider your weekly schedule as an ongoing process, which can be revised and adjusted. 

    If you find it hard to prioritize your goals and tasks, this exercise may help you: Prioritising your tasks

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    2. Work with your problem formulation

    Your problem formulation determines the direction of your entire thesis, so it is obviously essential that you pay close attention to it. However, do not stress if you find it hard to come up with a perfect problem formulation right from the start. A good problem formulation is often continuously adjusted and clarified, but it is important that you have a clear idea of the direction in which you need to take your thesis.

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    3. prioritize your reading

    You must now start to find articles, books, and journals that can support your study. You have probably borrowed several books, and your supervisor may also have proposed various articles and theories for you to read. Keep in mind that you cannot read everything from cover to cover. Therefore, start off with an overview by reading summaries, introductions, and the back of the books. If they seem usable for you, dig deeper into the most relevant chapters. You can also find good reading techniques here: Optimize your reading technique

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    4. Get started writing

    As hard and unfruitful it is to read your books from cover to cover, it is just as hard to write a master's thesis from beginning to end. Therefore, do not force yourself to write chapters one at a time. It is usually far more productive to alternate between different sections. Writing a thesis is process that constantly fluctuates between production and stagnation. Accept this condition, and when you feel stuck, you may get back on track by moving to another section of your thesis. Some days you will produce more than usual, and some sections are easier to write than others. You can find inspiration for your writing process in the following exercise: kickstart your writing process

    Learn more tips for improving your writing technique.

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    5. Take time off!

    An essential part of your work plan is to set time for breaks and leisure, where you do anything other than studying or thinking about your thesis. Take a stroll or enjoy some fun and healthy exercise, meet up with someone for a cup of coffee, or anything else that will take your mind off your studies. This will help you recuperate and gather new energy to put into the thesis.
    Learn more about good time management.

    You can also do the following exercise, which can enhance your awareness of activities that boost your energy: what gives you energy in your life

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    6. Time management

    Here you can find great tools to help you manage and plan your time. The following is intended as a way for you to keep on track and work with specific goals between supervisor meetings. Have your thesis supervisor review these goals at each meeting, so you not only discuss the content of your thesis, but also your workflow. Learn more about good time management.