How is your day my friends? Here I would like to share wonderful sharing from Elena Tengku (facebook name). May Allah bless her for this fantastic tips and tricks to get ideas for your thesis writing. Today I feel like sharing something that may benefit those who are currently working on their dissertation, like me. A lot of tips have been shared on how to graduate on time, how to write a literature review, and so forth. They are all equally important. But this time, I feel like sharing something else that I find may benefit others. So basically I come from a journalism background before moving to organisational communication and then now placed under the business and management school. Throughout the years of studying journalism, and my short stint in the media industry, I’ve found that there are so many things that I’ve learned during my journalism days that are helping me with my PhD.
So I’ve compiled 9 major areas so far (don’t want to force myself to find another. If it doesn’t sound right, feel free to criticise. If not, do share. Not sure if other courses teaches this but if you’ve studied journalism, or you come from the media industry, you’d probably be taught this. It’s the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How. Normally journalists would use this to write their news lead. In PhD, I believe that you could apply the same! With having these questions in mind, it allows you to write the early (and critical) part of your thesis – the Introduction as it helps tell the readers what your research is about. For instance, Who’s involved (without disclosing their identity), Where is the research conducted, Why you’re doing this (think about the problem, and contribution), and How it’s going to be done (methods). Once all of the questions are answered (not necessary in the same section), I believe that the reader would be able to understand what you’re trying to do!
It’s a pyramid but upside down. Often people use this when they write an article or a story. It means that you start with something broad and slowly narrow it down until the very end – the conclusion. In terms of the thesis, it’s crucial to start off with a broad idea of your thesis.. I’m doing on emotional labour among academics in Malaysia and the UK. I’ve started off talking about emotions in my literature review chapter, followed by emotional labour among other professions, then in the education sector, moving next with emotional labour in the higher education and then academics in other countries. Lastly, ending it with emotional labour among academics in Malaysia and the UK. So broad, narrow, narrow, narrow. I absolutely love this abbreviation. For some it means Keep It Simple Stupid and for others, Keep it Short and Simple (or Sweet). Either way, it means keep your sentences short and direct. No need to beat around the bush. Often people think that the more you write, the better your thesis will turn out.
It’s not really about how many pages you are able to write or produce at the end of the day. It’s all about being able to convey the message without making the reader(s) bored. People have short attention span so the last thing you want to do, is to make them sleepy and ask where you’re heading in this research. Another thing that I’ve learned from journalism is that to achieve good writing, you should remind yourself the 3Cs – Clear, Concise, and Correct. For Clear, you need to make sure that your sentences are clear by using simple language, easy to understand, and also direct. For Concise – While you are trying to write your sentences clearly, make sure that they are written in a few words. Like KISS, keep sentences short but on point. For Correct – Make sure whatever that you write, you’ve checked the facts. Also whatever sentences that are not yours especially making claims, cite them. Doesn’t matter if you refer a person’s work multiple times..just cite him or her!
Other areas to look includes checking your grammar, and punctuation. Something that I’m often struggling! You don’t really need to use technical or difficult-to-understand words unless you’re required to do so in your thesis. The use of jargons makes it very difficult for others to understand especially those who are not an expert in the area of your study. It’s best to use simple words but if required, explain what the term is. For instance in my thesis, I’m using the word ’emotional labour’ extensively. What I have done (so far) is to explain its origin and what it is. That way, normal people would be able to understand the term. This really isn’t just being taught in journalism. Your English or writing class should have taught this. Coherence means that all of your ideas in your thesis flow smoothly from one sentence to the next, paragraph to the next, and also section to the next!