- Begin with the high level structure
- Expand each point in that structure: what is the main
(see rule #1 and rule #2 below)
- Go back, and once again expand each point: now put down the
Write the structure of your thesis, and add in bullet points
that briefly state what each chapter is about. In the next step,
expand each bullet point into a few bullet points - these will
probably become the sections. Then, refine again, expanding each
bullet point. Keep on doing this until there is a skeleton
argumentation. Then check. Any problems with
argumentation or structure that you can eliminate at the design
stage will save you hours of work later.
Keep in mind the following:
- Rule #1: What do you want to say?
Be very clear: what is the point you are trying to make with
this figure / paragraph / section / chapter? Make sure you can
explain this succinctly to yourself. If the idea is not
clear for you, it won't become clear for the reader either.
- Rule #2: why do you want to say this?
After you're very clear on what the point is you want to convey
to the reader, ask yourself: why should the reader
know this? How does this part fit in with the overall story
you're trying to convey?
The main point of this rule is to keep your writing focused.
This will prevent you from going off on tangents that,
interesting though they may be, act as a distraction from your
- Ensure flow
Does the high-level structure make sense? Does the low-level
structure makes sense? Are the sentences and paragraphs
logically connected? Are the arguments in logical order, and is
the conclusion logically following from ALL provided arguments?
If not, fix it, e.g. by going back to
the design phase.