Coming up to writeup time :S



I'm coming up to the end of the third year in october and I plan to begin writing up proper around that time. My funding obviously runs out then also and I'm wondering about how long it generally takes to write up. My supervisor says it will probably take an entire year, which i sincerely hope it won't as i've done a fair bit of the easy stuff (methods/materials) already plus I will have to try and get a job to support myself while writing up, not an easy thing to do in the current economic climate :S Anyway I was just wondering what other people's experiences of writing up were like and if they have any tips or amusing anecdotes to help settle my mind down :)




I think a lot depends on what you have already written. My supervisor has had me writing from day one and hopefully some of that material will actually go into my dissertation. If you really are starting from scratch with the writing then it could easily take a year I should think but it sounds as if you are already on the way.


Don't people write as they go along these days? Or at least write to the deadline that is the end of funding? The idea of researching for three years THEN writing for six months doesn't sound like a smart way to work.


======= Date Modified 24 Mar 2009 07:07:15 ======= sup insists on writing as you go along, changing, modifying, working in versions till even Version 15, something which fits my style as I am a compulsive writer (ouch!), I write more than I read I think which is disastrous!

But agreed, while the full picture emerges towards the end, writing as you go along captures the crucial transitions, makes it a habit, and does generate a huge lot of matter which is not necessarily all's unfinished, and you need to keep chiseling I guess..

But I think what OP is referring to is the final countdown, the proper chiseling, the final shaping of things, which I agree is a distinct phase in itself, so all the best and remind yourself to work with deadlines, and baby steps!



Hiya- I just wanted to say that I'm in a similar boat. My funding/registration period ends in September and I'm worried about the write up!

Even though I've written a substantial amount (80,000+ word upgrade report), only have a tiny amount of fieldwork still to do, have completed reliability anaylses, but my supervisors feel that I need to submit at the very latest by September 2010. It doesn't look like they have much faith in me to get it all ready to submit, but I'm going to try and get as much as I can done before September 09 comes. Anyway, I must remain positive!

My supervisors have already said that I'll need to get a job to support myself whilst writing up. I figured they might want to keep me on to help with the bigger project, but it doesn't look that way! :( I too am worried about the likelihood of getting a job and I'm going try and save as much of my studentship as a I can!

I'm trying to keep as calm as possible and take it all very slowly and trying not to panic about the end product. I'm in the middle of planning my result chapters, so I'm not really writing now, I'm just planning and designing what my tables will look like.



I am at the moment finishing the writing-up of my thesis... and I was in your position some months ago. My advice is: it will take more time than yout think it would, so, give it at least one month per chapter. I assume you are doing a science/engineering PhD? start inside out, write your results first, and once you gain confidence the rest will follow much more easily. Do the intro at last, because you'll need to re-write that again. Also, I would advice you to keep each chapter separately (on something practical), and do you referencing per chapter, so you dont leave that to the end (when you already forgot who says what). Finally, dont give up! You are nearly there! Good luck!

For the one that thought that writing after the research is not a good idea, I think it is the most common way of doing it in engineering/science. First you do the research and keep track opf your results/progress on a log-book. Then you write the thesis, once you have something to say. Writing per se is not research, and wont get you anywhere if you dont have consistent results first.


Quote From athos78:

For the one that thought that writing after the research is not a good idea, I think it is the most common way of doing it in engineering/science. First you do the research and keep track opf your results/progress on a log-book. Then you write the thesis, once you have something to say. Writing per se is not research, and wont get you anywhere if you dont have consistent results first.

Hmm...was this me? Anyway, it differs across fields I am sure, and I shan't comment on the sciences, but in the humanities and social sciences. 'results' are often as much the crystallisation of 'data from fieldwork' (which I am taking to be the science equivalent of experiments) as they are the crystallisation and gradual evolution over time of one's own thinking..

So, for instance, as I go along, and write, thoughts continue to evolve, become clearer in my own head, get deleted, changed, reframed and then one day it becomes clear. This continuous process isn't meant to repalce the final wriiting up phase, but perhaps, in the humanities and social sciences, writing is as much a 'tool' for thought, a 'medium' for ideas to find expression as it is a destination that takes the form of a well written thesis.

The latter is surely most done during writing up, but the former is for reporting from the empirical, well,yes, that follows a sequence...

for instance, as a doctoral student, I find much of my work is to make sense of what people have been saying, and what is clear, and what the debates are. Not only does this form half of my thesis in the form of lit review, conceptual framework etc, but this is also the backdrop in which i will frame my data...and it is here that I find continuous writing a great tool for helping me clarify thoughts to myself...

that's all i meant!


I'm in a science field and I wrote up mainly at the end - or rather, the analysis and writing up were done together over the course of about 9 months. I did some writing before - but very little was used.


What ever time scale you decide, add 3 months. I'm in year 3.5 and wrote up as I went a long (in the sciences). You'll need this time for the revisions your supervisor asks you to do, then the changes to the revisions they asked you to do, apart from the fact that when we write something it is the only thing on our mind, but when a supervisor reads it there's a time lag, because we are just one of 100 things on their mind.


My supervisor keeps telling me I should start writing but I never seem to find the time. I'm in second year, and I know I'm giong to seriously regret not doing more now.


Hey I also coming to the end of my third year in september of a science phd and have found the best way to right up is doing it as you go along.

After my 21 month (july 08) report i cut and pasted the results that i had then into a seperate document and have added the results from all my experiments since into it. Its worked out really well as both my supervisors can see the results of all of the experiments i have done and its all there in one document so if we are having a discussion and something interesting comes up then we can go back and see if i already have the info or need to do a new experiment. Also it has given me an idea of what the key experiments are that need to be done before september so i dont realise before its too late to do them. Its in no way thesis quality but i have all of my graphs drawn, in the same format and all of my diagrams done which from experience can take hours and bonus its over 10,000 words. Anything that can be done now like graphs and diagrams will save lots time in october

Just last week i gave my supervisors a copy of my thesis plan which was made up of all the things that cant change between now and september so they at least know that i am thinking about writing up and its not a last minute panic (which tends to happen)

On looking for a 'proper' job starting as soon as you finish third year is not something i would recommend - in my research group no one has submitted within the year if they started a industry full time job - its taken some at least 2 years to submit. I plan on saving as much money as i can between now and september and submit as close to xmas as possible as i cant afford to have no money much longer than feb.

good luck