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PhD Candidate at Griffith University, mummy, wife, teacher, social media enthusiast, avid reader

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Writing to an outline and #tweetingmythesis

Where I road test outlining a chapter and writing the paragraphs. The following is a little bit auto-ethnographic and a little bit meta-cognitive.

  1. Last week I wrote my methodology outline by deconstructing the methodology chapter of a completed dissertation. I don't know why the methodology chapter made more sense to me at this stage in my thesis but golly I'm glad it did.
  2. I had a bit of trouble getting going this week so decided to do some reading to find inspiration.
  3. Looking at the language of methodology in the literature over brekky. Getting in the head space. #tweetingmythesis
  4. No matter how many times I read an article, there is always something new to be found. At the moment I am focusing on completing my draft by Christmas. How researchers in my field phrase their findings and ideas has been of particular interest of late.
  5. It's amazing the different things you notice each time you read the literature. This time efficiency in language #tweetingmythesis
  6. I like working with tables.  The outline style I developed is broken down into single paragraphs. I extracted the content of each paragraph from the theses I have read. I also noted the literature referenced in each paragraph.

    My lifestyle dictates I rarely have long periods of time to write. This outline style allows me to approach the methodology chapter piecemeal. I can write a paragraph (any paragraph) whenever I get a moment. I start by re-reading the literature to get a gist of the paragraph and go from there. 
  7. I am committed to just writing the paragraphs at the moment. When they are all written, I'll extract them from the outline and re-order to suit the needs of my methodology. Too often I get distracted by linking sentences. I'm usually so desperate to make the flow work that the process becomes counter-productive. Writing any old paragraph at any time is a bit more like free writing. It frees my mind from overall structure so I can just concentrate on the meaning of each individual paragraph.
  8. Can see a change needed in my outline but its a distraction. Need to write paragraphs. Order comes later #tweetingmythesis #PhDchat#socphd
  9. I quite like using the pomodoro techinique (road tested in a previous #tweetingmythesis). It is not quite working with the outline method so I have made some modifications. Instead of sticking to the strict 25 minutes writing and 3-5 minute break, I write a paragraph and then have a break. 
  10. #Pomodoro isn't working today. Having a rest after every paragraph inserted into my outline. 5 paragraphs down#tweetingmythesis #PhDchat
  11. I haven't finished my methodology chapter. I envisage it will be the star of #tweetingmythesis for a couple more weeks. I feel this technique, recommended by Studious Jenn (@mystudiouslife) will be a stalwart addition to my academic writing (#acwri) repertoire.

    If you have any feedback, comments, recommendations, corrections, I am all ears and thank you in advance. 

    I am also keen to road test some more #acwri techniques. Make a recommendation. I still have a long way to go and less and less time to get there so willing to try anything.


  1. This is a nice approach. I am currently working in science, now being on my 3rd career and would have found this writing structure beneficial during my studies.

    While I would like to study further, I am not sure if cost outweighs benefit. However your approach to writing is very interesting and valuable.

    I will have to revisit and go over it more thoroughly some day.

    You sound like a very structured person, at least in this part of your life. Good luck.


    1. Thanks Greg. I do work best in a structured environment. Have you tried Scrivener? I got pointed in that direction after by a reader. It's great. Has a 30 day trial too. Good luck with your new career!

  2. It looks like you are doing such a great job with your thesis writing. At thesis help desk you can find for best suggestions or recommendations that might help you in with your task and make it faster and easier. may you keep on doing your best with your thesis and complete it in time.