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The Nordic PhD

Surviving and Succeeding

Edited By Christopher McMaster, Caterina Murphy and Jakob Rosenkrantz de Lasson

The Nordic PhD: Surviving and Succeeding is an edited book written for prospective and current doctoral students by a mix of doctoral students and those who have recently completed their doctorates. The premise is simple: if you could go back in time and talk with yourself when you began your studies, what advice would you give? Isn’t hindsight a bonus? If only I knew then what I know now!

The Nordic PhD: Surviving and Succeeding follows editions focused on study in Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia, the U.K., U.S., and South Africa. What sets The Nordic PhD: Surviving and Succeeding apart from many others on the market is its down-to-earth and practical approach. Furthermore, its originality also lies in the fact that it is grounded in the context of doctoral studies in the Nordic countries.

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Chapter Five: Writing the PhD Thesis: Planning, Getting Started and Getting Done (Jakob Rosenkrantz de Lasson)


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Writing the PhD Thesis

Planning, Getting Started and Getting Done



The process of writing the PhD thesis is surrounded by a mythical aura. From senior colleagues, you may have heard that it is a long and tough process, in which you will be all on your own against the ticking watch of the deadline. For a good part of my PhD project, I dreaded writing the thesis. But as I was approaching the write up phase, an older colleague reminded me that I’ll only ever write one PhD thesis, and that I shouldn’t forget to enjoy the writing process. Enjoying the process is not a goal in its own right, but is an important means to reach your goal, because you’ll write a better thesis if you enjoy the process.

Enjoying writing your PhD thesis is not something you decide, and then it magically happens. Enjoying the writing will happen if you understand the process, get an overview of it, and understand the psychology of why it can be difficult to write. In this chapter, I demystify the PhD writing process (Single, 2009) by breaking it into smaller and more manageable pieces. I propose a three-step procedure to plan, get started, and get done with your thesis writing. Each step has its own key objectives. To plan, you must get an overview of your thesis. To...

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