Thinking about chapters (first year)


I started this year and my superviser keeps saying I should start drafting my first chapter already. However, it seems to be really complicated to sit down and start writing on something specific because lots of other ideas keep coming to me.
How do you define your chapters so that you don't end up going off in tangents, or is that the nature of it? It just seems that my head is full of all different angles I can take my research (social sciences), and yet I can't pin point anything enough to let it settle in to one chapter. If I write about a specific subject within my broader topic, won't I be neglecting the other areas? Should I be trying to look at everything at the same time to see how it fits in?
This could all be hindered by the fact that I think I don't have a very defined topic yet, although my superviser must think that I have some sort of idea because otherwise they wouldn't have suggested I start considering my first chapter...


identify ur subject first, exact one, not broad one. I think you can write up a report of review, or sth like that, which could be useful to your future thesis ,if it is cannot be used as the 1st chapter. that's what i am doing now.


I hear you--going through the same thing at the moment. It's tough isn't it? What I've tried to do is just sit down and write about the material I've read thus far, without thinking too much about language, format, etc.--just to capture my tangential thinking onto the page. Then, you can go back later and formalise it. What do you think mokey?


Relax. Its unlikely anything you write now will remotely resemble a final thesis chapter but it is always a good idea to write your ideas down early and keep writing. Not only will you go off on tangents, you NEED to go off on tangents because one of those 'tangents' may very well become a central theme or issue down the track.
My supervisors are cool with tangents but every now and then make me look up and see the bigger picture. Its a kind of silo mentailty but it works for me and eventually, when all the silos are full, I can feed the world...


I think it's not easy for student of my subject to go off on tangents. if i can go a little bit away from my subject, it means i need to do another phd.


Thanks for the advice everyone... I have been writing a small summary about everything that I've read so far over the past few weeks, and I have tried hard not to overly worry that I am just reading and seeing where it takes me (something that you will know I worry about if you have read any of my previous posts!). However, all those summaries I wrote are piling up and up and it seems to be getting on top of me. I seem hesitant to focus on one theorist at the moment (something which I am planning on doing) because I think that in these early stages it might be too soon - I know, it sounds ridiculous when I write it out like this! But not focussing is leading me into a vague mess.
I have tried to draw all the ideas out into a sort of diagram and it has helped a bit however when drawn out it looks like I haven't done much at all, when I have been working on it nearly every day. I have a report due in soon and I am worried that I don't really have anything to put into it.