What is it about writing a capstone thesis or a dissertation study that stymies students and their writing? Students have been writing papers ‘since the beginning of their academic career’ where the writing fundamentals should be well honed by now. Yet, many students have trouble taking these writing fundamentals out of context and applying to either the graduate capstone thesis or doctoral dissertation. I can’t help but wonder why?
Whether an email or the great American novel, writing fundamentals are ALWAYS the same: introduction, body, and conclusion. The good news is that there is no new technique to learn. The trick is a memory strategy. Every chapter should have an introduction, body, and conclusion. Chapter 1 and Chapter 5 [or the first chapter or the last chapter] also serve a specific purpose. The first chapter must set the stage for your overall research, where your last chapter must provide the overall conclusion–and tie everything together. One then has a micro strategy for each chapter, and a macro strategy for the entire research.
Remember, that no matter what we write, we must simply create a writing system or follow our writing GPS. With having a terrible sense of direction, I NEVER leave home without driving directions AND directions programmed into my GPS. Why? I know my limits, and my GPS takes me ‘there’ and home—with usually very little trouble.
So, why then do so many good students struggle with these end of program research projects? Why can they not remember the GPS?
I would welcome your teaching strategies on how to help students remember their writing fundamentals as they create their graduate thesis or dissertation research. This writing is very important particularly since these projects will eventually be published, within the university for graduate thesis and external to the university for all doctoral work.
My best to your success!
Dr. Cheryl Lentz