Advice on Doing a Thesis
There is some simple advice that will help you get on well with your supervisor and work effectively. This advice is:
- Meet with your supervisor regularly. Note that your supervisor is not there to tell you what to do, but to advise you. In general, you should take the initiative to organise meetings, and you should drive the work.
- Manage your time. You are responsible for monitoring your own progress and ensuring that you remain on track to meet deadlines. However, your supervisor should be able to tell you whether you are being too optimistic, or whether you need to do more.
- Write-up as you go. Do not under-estimate how much time it will take to write up the work. Writing-up as you go is not only more time-efficient, it also forces you to formulate your ideas more clearly and completely, and this will substantially increase the overall quality of your work. As well, your final mark will depend largely on the quality of the work and the quality of the presentation in the thesis.
- Narrow your focus. Understanding the context of your work is important in placing and motivating the research. However, having a concrete, narrow focus when you are working towards a goal and understanding thoroughly the deeper issues involved is better than working too broadly or tackling too wide a problem. Your supervisor should help you to keep your work suitably focussed.
Many students are too ambitious in Thesis Part A and Part B and find they run out of time with a thesis that is nowhere near finished. Look for doable pieces of work, write-up whenever you can, and keep an eye on the plan.
For additional advice, attend the start of session lectures offered by the School, or view the lecture notes available on the Thesis Noticeboard