Dissertation Guide

Our comprehensive guide to the process of writing a dissertation or thesis. Back to Student Resources

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Do I start by writing the introduction?

“A synopsis is just a tool to help you, the writer, get moving on a first draft. The final structure should be chosen to help the reader. In between there may be all sorts of accidents and revisions. Sometimes, after I’ve written a first draft, I’ll note key points on white postcards and shuffle them around on the floor or a big table until I see a seemingly logical way through.”

“My thesis was structured around five substantial chapters. Each chapter had an overarching theme – a bit like a pack of cards which could be shuffled as to which order I played them in. For almost the entire length of the thesis, the chapter on ‘new issues on the stock exchange’ was going to be my last chapter, and it was definitely the most difficult chapter to write. Then someone suggested putting this chapter in the middle rather than at the end. Why not end with a very strong chapter? And that’s what I did. It sounds very simple but I remember that it was a great relief at the time.”