How long to write up?


Hi all,

I've just gone into my 3rd and final year of a psychology PhD. I'm running my 4th experiment and I think I need to do a 5th one. I was just wondering, realistically, how long I should allow to write up. So far, I've written bits and pieces. I have a lit review that will act as a framework but will need re-writing to form my introduction. I've got methods and results sections for my experiments so far and (very) rough drafts for introductions and discussion sections. Basically, I've often started writing things up and then have become side tracked with the next set of data collection but at least the ideas are there. 0 publications sadly but I'm just going to go into panic mode if I start thinking about that.

So I know it's a 'how long is a piece of string' kind of question but I was just wondering what the recommended length of time is. (My supervisors don't have a clue). If I'm being optimistic I can finish my final experiment my March which would leave 6 months until my funding runs out. Does this sound feasible?



Six months before my hand in I had about 15-20000 words written but no first draft of any chapter. Definitely doable if you've got some stuff written up as you go along.


The bulk of my thesis was written between Feb and May this year but I did have basic drafts of most of the chapters before then, in some cases there had been a couple of drafts. I reckon six months is a good amount of time if you can really hammer it out for those six months and you already have some stuff drafted.

Good luck!


Completely agree with others, I'm writing in 4 1/2 and really struggling as didn't have many drafts beforehand.

I haven't had too much of a life whilst writing so I don't recommend it to anyone. If I could go back time, I would have written much more, even if these were very rough drafts. If you can start writing now, then the earlier the better!


I am doing a Psych PhD also, and was just wondering how you are doing 4/5 studies? I have 2 done and my sup wants me to do 3. Last month he started talking about a 4th and I got really fed up and have done very little since tbh!! Now I am extending the sample of my 1st study (surverys) and hoping to do some more for the 2nd (interviews), in the hope that this will be enough to leave me with 3.

I suppose I thought my supervisor was being ridiclous asking me to do 4 studies. Collegues and friends have done much smaller studies and only 1/2 and that has been enough. Is this common in Psych??

I am p/t student, in my 3rd year now and sometimes feel I know less about PhD than when I started!!:p


I'm personally not very good at hardcoring things - especially writing - which is why I want to try and plan to leave a suitable amount of time to write up, although obviously things very rarely go to plan when you're doing a PhD! It's such a slow process, I spend hours reading just to write one paragraph.

VidMaria - I get a bit obsessed with counting how many studies fellow PhD students are doing but it varies massively - even within psychology. I guess it depends on a.) how interesting your results are and b.) how time consuming your methods are. All my research involves neuroimaging so I only did 1 study in my first year because I had to learn the techniques from scratch. I feel as though my 5 experiments will only just about be sufficient. I've had to waste a lot of time piloting things that didn't work. Plus, although I believe my experiments were well designed and well ran, I haven't really found that much of interest. I have consistenly stuggled with knowing how much is 'enough' throughout my PhD. Alas, I will keep plodding on!