Tips for writing your thesis!
It's this time of the year again: starting to write your thesis (or research project). You might feel completely lost here and most sources only provide you with information about the structure of a thesis, so we are here to give you the actual advice on how to write your thesis.
First, choose a topic you want to write about. Take into account that you have to write about it for at least half a year, so make sure you actually find it interesting. Also, keep in mind that a subject that is a hot topic makes the data collection process more fun.
Next to that, make sure that the supervisors (especially the first) fit the topic but that you are also comfortable working with them. You can always ask other students about their experiences with them. Also, make sure that you communicate your goal with your supervisor. If your goal is passing, your supervisor will give different feedback compared with a 9.0 as your goal.
When you have a topic, you will probably get an overview with the basic information and some literature. Try to read those articles as soon as you get your topic and especially before you meet your supervisor for the first time. You will already have a more-than-basic understanding of what is going on, have the basis to think about a good research question, and leave a good impression.
Next, make a timeline with all the deadlines (there are quite a few). Free the days before each, but try to be finished at least half a day beforehand in case something goes wrong. Also, try to be finished with the actual writing at least a day before the deadline, so you can look at it again with a fresh perspective once more before the deadline. This will improve your work by a lot and results in a happier you and a happier supervisor.
Time management can be a hot topic, especially in your master’s thesis, so it’s important to plan days for when you are writing it (maybe even together with a friend). Write down goals for the day. The goals cannot be specific enough. It is essential to keep track of what you have already accomplished and what you still need to do. Also, stick to the daily goals. If you know you want to go out in the evening (good luck trying!), better risk going an hour later to finish your task first.
For the days you are writing, it is important to take breaks (you can already select your porn so you don’t have to go through that process when you’re done writing). Get some snacks and some nice drinks. You can have an alcoholic drink for writing, it can even help with your creativity. However, please check the next day if it still makes sense or if there are non-existing words in your text (like Spychology).
Always have a brainstorm document or notebook close to you for when you’re having an idea, but you’re busy with something else at the moment. If you’re tired but still have the feeling you have to do something, you can watch YouTube videos similar to your topic or write down the ideas in bullet points, so you won’t forget for the next day.
Another important thing is to do your ethics application as soon as you can. It usually takes 2 days to get a response but can take up to 2 or even more weeks, and you might have to make adjustments, but the more time you have for data collection the better. You don’t want to delay your thesis because you can’t find participants. Also, make sure your participants know what to do so you don’t have to waste data.
If you do quantitative research, already try to analyse the data you have in the beginning, just to see how to analyse everything without time pressure, and you will already have the syntax and enough time to watch YouTube videos about it and perhaps even order a research methods book if necessary.
If you do qualitative research, always remember to record your interview and observations. Also, remember to save and back up your notes, so they won’t get lost. If you have handwritten notes, take a picture, so it won’t be lost when it’s raining or when you spill tea or any other kind of beverage.
Write your methods section while doing data collection if it works for your thesis and implement the feedback of the introduction already during this period to save time in the end.
Create a feedback group with fellow students who are writing their thesis, so you can help each other out.
You’re feeling lost? Have a self-confident playlist for when you are down. Besides that, try to explain your thesis to your grandma or someone who has no idea at all about what you’re doing, because they will probably ask “dumb” questions, but then you know if you understand everything and often those questions will bring you further
Before the green light deadline, ask friends to read the thesis before handing it in, and make sure to ask them days before you need it so they can schedule it in.
After handing it in, party as hard as you can because the only thing you still can do is listen a lot to the song ‘Green light’ by Lorde a lot, and it will be fine!