PhD Success is designed to assist doctoral students who are writing theses in the English language. Suitable for use in a wide range of academic and scientific disciplines and subject areas, it focuses on the writing process of a thesis, with its aim being to provide sound practices and principles for reporting and formatting in text the methods, results and discussion of even the most innovative and unique research in ways that are clear, correct, professional and persuasive.

Individual chapters address reflective and critical writing early in the thesis process; working successfully with thesis supervisors and benefitting from commentary and criticism; drafting and revising effective thesis chapters and developing an academic or scientific argument; writing and formatting a thesis in clear and correct scholarly English; citing, quoting and documenting sources thoroughly and accurately; and preparing for and excelling in thesis meetings and examinations.

The assumption of the book is that the doctoral candidate reading it is both eager to write and more than capable of doing so, but nonetheless requires information and guidance on exactly what he or she should be writing and how best to approach the task. The basic components of a doctoral thesis are outlined and described, as are the elements of complete and accurate scholarly references, and detailed descriptions of writing practices are clarified through the use of numerous examples.

PhD Success provides guidance for students familiar with English and the procedures of English universities, but it also acknowledges that many theses in the English language are now written by candidates whose first language is not English, so it carefully explains the scholarly styles, conventions and standards expected of a successful doctoral thesis in the English language.

PhD Success provides guidance for students familiar with English and the procedures of English universities, but it also acknowledges that many theses in the English language are now written by candidates whose first language is not English, so it carefully explains the scholarly styles, conventions and standards expected of a successful doctoral thesis in the English language.

Table of Contents – PhD Success

Chapter 1: The Essential Components and Requirements of a Doctoral Thesis

1.1. Preliminary Matter

1.1.1 Title
1.1.2 Abstract
1.1.3 Keywords
1.1.4 Dedication
1.1.5 Table of Contents
1.1.6 Acknowledgements
1.1.7 List of Abbreviations
1.1.8 List of Figures or Illustrations
1.1.9 List of Tables

Chapter 1: The Essential Components and Requirements of a Doctoral Thesis

1.2 The Main Body of the Thesis

1.2.1 Introduction
1.2.2 Literature Review
1.2.3 Methodology Chapter(s)
1.2.4 Results Chapter(s)
1.2.5 Discussion and Conclusion Chapter(s)

Chapter 1: The Essential Components and Requirements of a Doctoral Thesis

1.2 The Main Body of the Thesis

1.2.6 In-Text References, Footnotes and/or Endnotes

1.3 Tables and Figures

1.3.1 Tables

1.3.2 Figures

1.4 Final and Supplementary Matter

1.4.1 Appendices

1.4.2 Endnotes

1.4.3 List of References, List of Works Cited or Bibliography

Chapter 2: Progressive Writing from the Start

2.1 Writing to Record, Remember, Think and Reuse

2.1.1 Jotting Down and Developing Ideas

2.1.2 Taking Accurate, Critical and Reflective Notes while Reading Sources

Chapter 2: Progressive Writing from the Start

2.1 Writing to Record, Remember, Think and Reuse

2.1.3 Reviewing the Relevant Literature in a Preliminary Way

2.1.4 Recording the Results of Trials, Experiments, Surveys and Interviews

Chapter 2: Progressive Writing from the Start

2.2 Writing and Revising for Your Supervisor: The First Piece(s) of Formal Text

Chapter 3: Writing and Revising the Proposal Chapters

3.1 Writing the Introduction for the Proposal

Chapter 3: Writing and Revising the Proposal Chapters

3.2 Writing the Literature Review for the Proposal

Chapter 3: Writing and Revising the Proposal Chapters

3.3 Writing the Methodology Chapter(s) for the Proposal

Chapter 3: Writing and Revising the Proposal Chapters

3.4 Using Footnotes or Endnotes for Supplementary Material

Chapter 3: Writing and Revising the Proposal Chapters

3.5 Constructing the Title, Table of Contents, Timeline and List of References

3.5.1 The Title

3.5.2 The Table of Contents

3.5.3 The Timeline

3.5.4 The List of References

Chapter 3: Writing and Revising the Proposal Chapters

3.6 Revising the Proposal Draft

3.7 Writing the Proposal Presentation and Anticipating Questions

3.8 Taking Notes and Resolving Problems before Moving On

Chapter 4: Drafting and Completing the Thesis

4.1 Preparing an Outline or Thesis Plan: The Working Table of Contents

4.2 Title, Abstract and Keywords: Setting the Stage

Chapter 4: Drafting and Completing the Thesis

4.3 Revising the Introduction, Literature Review and Methodology Chapter(s)

Chapter 4: Drafting and Completing the Thesis

4.4 Writing the Data Analysis Chapter(s): Results and Evidence

Chapter 4: Drafting and Completing the Thesis

4.4 Writing the Data Analysis Chapter(s): Results and Evidence

4.4.1 Designing Tables and Figures: The Visual Presentation of Information

Chapter 4: Drafting and Completing the Thesis

4.5 The Final Chapter(s): Discussion, Conclusion, Limitations and Implications

Chapter 4: Drafting and Completing the Thesis

4.6 Appendices, References, Acknowledgements and Other Final Things

4.6.1 Appendices

4.6.2 Other Final Things

Chapter 4: Drafting and Completing the Thesis

4.7 Revising, Proofreading and Polishing the Thesis Draft: How Many Times?

Chapter 4: Drafting and Completing the Thesis

4.8 Writing and Revising before and after the Thesis Examination

4.8.1 Preparing for and Surviving the Examination

Chapter 4: Drafting and Completing the Thesis

4.8 Writing and Revising before and after the Thesis Examination

4.8.2 Final Corrections and Revisions: Minor or Major?

Chapter 5: Finding Your Scholarly Voice in Correct and Consistent Written English

5.4 Word Use, Syntax and Sentence Structure

5.4.1 Using Words in a Scholarly Fashion without Bias

5.4.2 The Precise and Appropriate Use of Pronouns

Chapter 5: Finding Your Scholarly Voice in Correct and Consistent Written English

5.4 Word Use, Syntax and Sentence Structure

5.4.3 Nouns and Agreement

5.4.4 Both, Either, Neither, Nor and Only

5.4.5 Beginning Sentences Correctly and Avoiding Dangling Participles

Chapter 5: Finding Your Scholarly Voice in Correct and Consistent Written English

5.4 Word Use, Syntax and Sentence Structure

5.4.6 Adjectives, Adverbs and Split Infinitives

5.4.7 Verbs: Tense, Voice and Contractions

5.4.8 Consistency and Variation in Word Use

Chapter 5: Finding Your Scholarly Voice in Correct and Consistent Written English

5.5 Paragraphs and Lists: Effective Separation and Transition

5.5.1 Structured and Fully Developed Paragraphs

Chapter 5: Finding Your Scholarly Voice in Correct and Consistent Written English

5.5 Paragraphs and Lists: Effective Separation and Transition

5.5.2 Using Lists Effectively

Chapter 5: Finding Your Scholarly Voice in Correct and Consistent Written English

5.6 Punctuating Correctly and Consistently: Errors and Preferences

5.6.1 Commas

Chapter 5: Finding Your Scholarly Voice in Correct and Consistent Written English

5.6 Punctuating Correctly and Consistently: Errors and Preferences

5.6.1 Semicolons and Colons

Chapter 5: Finding Your Scholarly Voice in Correct and Consistent Written English

5.6 Punctuating Correctly and Consistently: Errors and Preferences

5.6.2 Stops, Question Marks and Exclamation Marks

Chapter 5: Finding Your Scholarly Voice in Correct and Consistent Written English

5.6 Punctuating Correctly and Consistently: Errors and Preferences

5.6.3 Apostrophes and Quotation Marks

Chapter 5: Finding Your Scholarly Voice in Correct and Consistent Written English

5.6 Punctuating Correctly and Consistently: Errors and Preferences

5.6.4 En Rules and Em Rules

Chapter 5: Finding Your Scholarly Voice in Correct and Consistent Written English

5.6 Punctuating Correctly and Consistently: Errors and Preferences

5.6.5 Brackets and Slashes

Chapter 6: Formatting Matters: Presenting Your Writing Effectively and Consistently

6.1 Titles, Headings and Subheadings: Not Just Fancy Words

Chapter 6: Formatting Matters: Presenting Your Writing Effectively and Consistently

6.1 Titles, Headings and Subheadings: Not Just Fancy Words

6.1.1 Using Word’s Heading Styles and Constructing an Active Table of Contents

Chapter 6: Formatting Matters: Presenting Your Writing Effectively and Consistently

6.2 Capitalisation and Special Fonts: Order or Chaos?

6.2.1 Capitalisation for Names, Titles and Other Elements

Chapter 6: Formatting Matters: Presenting Your Writing Effectively and Consistently

6.2 Capitalisation and Special Fonts: Order or Chaos?

6.2.2 Special Fonts for Emphasis: Italic and Bold

Chapter 6: Formatting Matters: Presenting Your Writing Effectively and Consistently

6.3 Understanding Abbreviations

6.3.1 Lowercase or Uppercase Letters in Abbreviations

6.3.2 Full Stops with Abbreviations

Chapter 6: Formatting Matters: Presenting Your Writing Effectively and Consistently

6.3 Understanding Abbreviations

6.3.3 Punctuation after Abbreviations

6.3.4 Using ‘a’ or ‘an’ before Abbreviations

6.3.5 Spacing Associated with Abbreviations

6.3.6 Plurals and Possessives of Abbreviations

6.3.7 Adding Italic Font to Abbreviations

6.3.8 Abbreviations at the Beginning of a Sentence

Chapter 6: Formatting Matters: Presenting Your Writing Effectively and Consistently

6.3 Understanding Abbreviations

6.3.9 The Ampersand

6.3.10 Common English Abbreviations Used in References

Chapter 6: Formatting Matters: Presenting Your Writing Effectively and Consistently

6.3 Understanding Abbreviations

6.3.11 Latin Abbreviations

Chapter 6: Formatting Matters: Presenting Your Writing Effectively and Consistently

6.4 Using and Formatting Numbers Appropriately

6.4.1 Words or Numerals?

6.4.2 Arabic Numerals

Chapter 6: Formatting Matters: Presenting Your Writing Effectively and Consistently

6.4 Using and Formatting Numbers Appropriately

6.4.3 Roman Numerals

6.4.4 Dates, Decades, Centuries and Eras

Chapter 6: Formatting Matters: Presenting Your Writing Effectively and Consistently

6.4 Using and Formatting Numbers Appropriately

6.4.5 Time

6.4.6 Currency

6.4.7 Number Ranges

Chapter 7: References: Using and Documenting Sources Effectively and Accurately

7.1 Why, When and Where References Should Be Provided

7.2 The Three Main Systems of In-Text Citation

7.2.1 Author–Date and Other References Based on Author Surnames

Chapter 7: References: Using and Documenting Sources Effectively and Accurately

7.1 Why, When and Where References Should Be Provided

7.2 The Three Main Systems of In-Text Citation

7.2.2 Numerical References

7.2.3 Footnote and Endnote References

Chapter 7: References: Using and Documenting Sources Effectively and Accurately

7.3 The Basic Components of Complete Bibliographical References

7.3.1 Author’s Name

7.3.2 Editor’s Name

7.3.3 Translator’s Name

7.3.4 Title of the Source

7.3.5 Edition

Chapter 7: References: Using and Documenting Sources Effectively and Accurately

7.3 The Basic Components of Complete Bibliographical References

7.3.6 Volume Number

7.3.7 Book in Which the Source is Contained

7.3.8 Journal in Which the Source is Contained

7.3.9 Page Numbers

Chapter 7: References: Using and Documenting Sources Effectively and Accurately

7.3 The Basic Components of Complete Bibliographical References

7.3.10 Date of Publication

7.3.11 Publisher and Place of Publication

7.3.12 Type of Source

7.3.13 Conference Paper

7.3.14 Thesis or Dissertation

7.3.15 Audiovisual Sources

7.3.16 Web Site, Web Page or Online Document

Chapter 8: Direct Quotations: Presentation, Integration and Accuracyctively and Accurately

8.2 Integrating Quotations: Punctuation, Sentence Structure and Argument

Why PhD Success?

To Graduate Successfully

This article is part of a book called "PhD Success" which focuses on the writing process of a phd thesis, with its aim being to provide sound practices and principles for reporting and formatting in text the methods, results and discussion of even the most innovative and unique research in ways that are clear, correct, professional and persuasive.

The assumption of the book is that the doctoral candidate reading it is both eager to write and more than capable of doing so, but nonetheless requires information and guidance on exactly what he or she should be writing and how best to approach the task. The basic components of a doctoral thesis are outlined and described, as are the elements of complete and accurate scholarly references, and detailed descriptions of writing practices are clarified through the use of numerous examples.

The basic components of a doctoral thesis are outlined and described, as are the elements of complete and accurate scholarly references, and detailed descriptions of writing practices are clarified through the use of numerous examples. PhD Success provides guidance for students familiar with English and the procedures of English universities, but it also acknowledges that many theses in the English language are now written by candidates whose first language is not English, so it carefully explains the scholarly styles, conventions and standards expected of a successful doctoral thesis in the English language.

Individual chapters of this book address reflective and critical writing early in the thesis process; working successfully with thesis supervisors and benefiting from commentary and criticism; drafting and revising effective thesis chapters and developing an academic or scientific argument; writing and formatting a thesis in clear and correct scholarly English; citing, quoting and documenting sources thoroughly and accurately; and preparing for and excelling in thesis meetings and examinations. 

Completing a doctoral thesis successfully requires long and penetrating thought, intellectual rigour and creativity, original research and sound methods (whether established or innovative), precision in recording detail and a wide-ranging thoroughness, as much perseverance and mental toughness as insight and brilliance, and, no matter how many helpful writing guides are consulted, a great deal of hard work over a significant period of time. Writing a thesis can be an enjoyable as well as a challenging experience, however, and even if it is not always so, the personal and professional rewards of achieving such an enormous goal are considerable, as all doctoral candidates no doubt realise, and will last a great deal longer than any problems that may be encountered during the process.

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