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Examiners called upon students to state clearly their hypothesis and their conclusions.If students adequately communicate the `thesis' of their dissertations, they usually avoid unnecessary length, lack of coherence, repetitiousness and confusion in their writing.
This manifests itself as an attempt to write a final draft without the intermediate steps of constructing a flowchart of ideas (or a conceptual map), writing a first rough draft, revising and editing, and then rewriting.
In the attempt to move immediately to writing the final draft, the student becomes preoccupied with the fine details, stylistic niceties and attractive presentation, often at the expense of development of ideas or argumentation; as a result, the writing process is inhibited, and the product is often characterised by unevenness of thought and argument. 200) [That is, constructing drafts of a flowchart of the sections of a chapter or the subsections of a section is useful early in the process of reading the literature, with several consequent revisions.
They also were not criticised for failing to conform to conventions of the discipline about referencing or presentation of data.
What frequently was criticised was the students' failure to take a clear philosophic stance or to reach a conclusion.
At many universities, candidates in Ph D programs are usually required to present a research proposal during or at the start of their candidature.
This note provides a suggested outline for a proposal that fits with the structured approach to presenting theses, based on experience and Poole (1993) and Krathowl (1977).
Two helpful strategies are to encourage students to set attainable sub-goals so they use short periods of time efficiently.
For instance, rather than trying to write the whole section on methodology, a student could set the sub-goal of writing only the description of a key piece of equipment.
Of course, if she or he had been writing all along, there would be at least a rough draft of this which would simply need to be refined.
Another helpful strategy for writers who often face interruptions to their work is to leave themselves `pick-up points'.