So, You Have to Write a Plan for Your Dissertation or Thesis. How Do You Do It?When you write a PhD dissertation or Master's thesis, whether it is the methodology section or the literature review you are writing, you must have a clear plan on how you want to go about writing it. The thesis parts, especially the literature review especially needs a lot of planning, and literature reviews must be extensive and must be based on references or resources that are wide-ranging and provide a lot of information on many aspects of the research topic. The literature review has to provide with a broad perspective of things and in order to make this happen, the literature review must be based on a wide range of resources. Thus, identifying the resources would be most important part of a plan when you are writing a thesis. Remember that before you write a thesis, you do have to provide a formal plan for your thesis writing to your supervisors or board and you must provide a list of all the resources that you must use for your thesis and literature review. The methodology section also requires equal planning and structuring. Methodology is how you go about implementing your research problem and what variables you will choose.
It always helps to write a thesis and you can write it fast when you have a plan. The thesis plan includes deciding on the dates for your project. For instance when would you complete your literature review? How do you set the timeline for a literature review or a methodology for your thesis or paper? Setting a timeline is usually done on a table called the Gantt chart which represent the timeline for a thesis and it is necessary to have such a timeline to ensure that the theiss stays on schedule and you meet your deadline.
Setting up a timeline or schedule would help you to decide on the path you would take while writing a thesis and how you could write a thesis that is relevant and yet meets the length or word count requirement. A thesis plan is thus mandatory for a thesis to remain on schedule. Thesis plans will provide the timeline for literature review, methodology, collection of resources, collection and interpretation of secondary research, collection of primary data and also provide the timeline for analysis of findings and interpretation of results. Usually the timeline in a thesis would delineate these activities according to progression and the literature review is followed by methodology, resources, data, findings, results, analysis and interpretations. The progression of a thesis usually follows this pattern and a thesis always begins with a plan and the introduction is written first. However, before the actual writing of a thesis, it may be necessary to collect data and focus on the findings. Findings, data and interpretation are important in the planning of a thesis, although the plan has to be very comprehensive and must involve the stages of the thesis progression. What milestones will be achieved during the thesis writing and how this be planned? The planning stage is perhaps the most important and every student or researcher must stick to the plan as this process helps in maintaining the discipline and the deadline of the research project. If the first stage of the plan is to come up with the thesis topic and research questions, it is best to do that and collect the data, before going back to write the actual thesis because writing usually happens later.
First you need to plan the thesis, collect the data and then go about writing the thesis after the data are collected and results are obtained. The thesis will usually start with an introduction and background or literature review and the literature review planning and implementation or actual writing are both important as the literature review being based on resources, sets the stage for further study on the topic. This is because the literature review already provides background research as based on a wide range of sources and the resources are used to extract the necessary information for the thesis topic. The resources are used to provide a comprehensive background for the thesis and the timeline incorporates the literature review and methodology immediately following the introduction. Data collection is possibly done just after the literature review and the review when complete can be systematically analysed and put in tabular format to show the results of the studies that were consulted for the analysis and the thesis in general. The time taken to conduct a literature search is perhaps the longest, although methodology and data collection would take a longer time for projects that are too complex from a practical aspect and involve extensive data collection and field studies etc.
A thesis plan must be well written and clearly defined as well as strictly followed. The thesis plan is about provide a clear timeline on how the thesis will progress and is often an estimated timeline or progression report rather than any definite progress guideline. However timelines are important as it helps the researcher and the supervisor to estimate when the project will be completed. The data collection happens before the methodology is actually written down and the data are separately collected and analysed and after the completion of data collection and the analysis, the methodology, data collection, findings and interpretation or analysis sections are written down. After all these sections are written, the thesis moves on to the final stages of interpretations, analysis, conclusions and recommendations. These final sections are also included in the timeline. These sections help to finally set the stage for the thesis as the final chapters including the conclusion and recommendations provide insights on the overall approach and results of the thesis. The thesis plan help the researcher to reach these final stages and helps researchers to plan from conception to execution and interpretation and the thesis finally gets done on time, when there is a proper plan. Thus a thesis / dissertation plan almost acts like an execution plan and sets the stage not only for the thesis itself but for further research in the research area.