Getting Words on Paper

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Sorting through the information you've gathered and actually writing the thesis can feel a bit scary. To help you overcome that feeling and approach your writing process in a planned way, the following section will provide input on how to structure your writing process. You will also find a lot of helpful information about working with Word and how to properly use visualisations. Dealing with format and layout before starting to write will avoid a lot of stress at the end of the thesis.

Peer-to-Peer: Joint Momentum - Accountability in Writing

Collaborating with peers can be incredibly helpful in this phase, because it is a tedious process and it can happen that you no longer know exactly how to proceed. To establish regular writing, it is useful to form co-working groups/pairs, e.g. to have joint work sessions in the library where you work on your own texts. Discussing and exchanging ideas about the current state of your writing process can also help you to overcome hurdles more quickly or to structure the text better and ensure that it follows a common thread. Sometimes it also benefits to share daily or weekly goals with peers and act as accountability partners. It's also great that you can reward yourselves together afterwards, for example by visiting a café or going for a walk together.

Supervisor: Knowing when to reach out

There are many decisions to be made in the writing process and you may have many questions for your supervisor, but do not contact your supervisor for every question or detail unless you have agreed to do so. Instead, go with your gut and ask your peers or tutors questions. If you are stuck for a long time and no one else can provide help, contact your supervisor. At the end of the day, it is your work and one of the purposes of the thesis is learning to make independent decisions and stick to them.

Technical Challenges: Writing and Visualisation Tools

In order to ensure that the writing process runs as smoothly as possible, it is helpful to structure the document in which you are writing. Most students use Microsoft Word to write their thesis. We recommend that you familiarise yourself with Word at an early stage, as this will save you a lot of time and nerves in the end. Take a look at this article, which includes a Word Video Tutorial. A template for the thesis is available under resources. Customise the template and adapt it according your needs and guidelines. Familiarise yourself with the Word settings and install the Word plugin for the citation programme you are using.

It can be very helpful to visualise the methodological design with a figure. To create a good figure, here are a few tips: The figure should follow Occam's Razor, also known as the sparsity principle. Ask yourself what information is essential to understand your design and what are unnecessary details. The figure should be intuitive and not too complicated. You should also avoid empty spaces and disbalances. A balanced color palette and clear fonts are also important for a good figure. In addition, the figure should complement the text and make your. Many students use PowerPoint to create their visualisations, KeyNotes is also a good option. Do not forget to include a list of figures and tables in your Bachelor thesis. The basis for this are the table or figure labels. In most cases, they are positioned behind the table of contents. It also often helps to have a look at visualisations in research papers for inspiration. Under Ressources you will find a checklist and Articcles, which desribes how to use figures and tables appropriately and some tips how to implement tables and figures into the text.

Motivation and Organisation: Writing tips

Before the actual writing process, it is important to visualize the structure of the entire paper with the help of an outline, which contains the central topics and main elements. The creation of a mind map can be useful for the structuring. It will help you to organize your thoughts and find a common thread. This structure will enable you to organize and evaluate the literature you have reviewed and evaluated, as well as your own notes and research findings. While scheduling your thesis and determine intermediate goals try to plan realistically, by including other duties like work, stimate your daily capacities (e.g. how many hours can i work on the thesis per day) and define days off. A small but effective toll is a ‘To Do’ and ‘To Done’ list: the first one contains everything you want/need to get done, the latter is filled with everything you got done, even things that weren’t on your ‘To Do’ list. This way you will see how much you actually get done in a day, even if a lot of things are smaller tasks. Regular and disciplined writing is necessary to get into the flow of writing, for example, when writing the first draft. Writing exercises can help to encourage more relaxed writing without pressure to perform, or to overcome interruptions in the flow of writing due to linguistic and stylistic aspects. Furthermore, a writing journal can help you to reflect on and structure your writing process.

At the end of the writing process, in addition to the linguistic revision and the orthographic-grammatical check, a thorough check of the source references and citation methods to avoid plagiarism is necessary. The writing process can be broadly devided into different phases. Keep in ming that writing is an iterative process and some phases may overlap.

  1. Collect thoughts, e.g. with an associogram (mind map) or brainstorming.
  2. Sorting thoughts
  3. Create an outline
  4. Write a first draft
  5. Revise the content of the first draft
  6. Linguistic and stylistic revision
  7. Check grammar, spelling, references and citation

Useful Resources