Your Thesis Writing Strengths and Challenges



Your Thesis Writing Strengths and Challenges

Essay and Thesis Writing Series



Grant Andrews

Academic Coaching



Copyright © 2017 by Grant Andrews


All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher at the address below.



Academic Coaching

Editing, Coaching and Counseling Services

For Thesis Writing



Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: The Mammoth Task

Chapter 3: The 10 Core Components of Thesis Success

Chapter 4: Harnessing Your Strengths & Overcoming Your Challenges

Chapter 5: Your Free Report on Thesis Readiness

Things to Remember

Academic Coaching

Academic Coaching is run by Dr. Grant Andrews and Malan van der Walt

The Academic Coaching team offers free content to help anyone writing a thesis, essay or article. We provide free short books on every topic relating to thesis writing, as well as step-by-step guides on how to plan, research and write your academic piece. If you would like to request that we compile a tutorial or eBook that you need, or if you have any questions, please email us at [email protected].

Our services also include editing, coaching and counseling. We coach our clients through all stages of essay and thesis writing, and host online workshops and writing marathons. You can find our pricing guide on our website, www.writeyourthesis.com.

We hope this short guide can help you to make a success of your academic work!

Chapter 1: Introduction

Writing your dissertation will be one of the most demanding tasks you will take on in your life. You will have a love/hate relationship with your dissertation; at some points, you will feel like you are learning so much and you’ll feel capable and proud of yourself for your work, and at others you will feel completely lost and frustrated, and you might even wish that you could forget about the dissertation forever.

All of us have certain strengths and challenges in our academic skillset. Maybe you’re very inquisitive, and you have a natural love for learning, but someone else might struggle with new concepts and find learning frustrating. Maybe you have great mental endurance, and you’re able to sit for long hours to put in the work that is needed to complete your dissertation. Or you might become easily bored, frustrated and distracted, and procrastinate from doing the things that you should be doing.

Whatever your strengths and challenges, it’s a good idea to get a handle on them as early as you can in your thesis writing process so that you can use your strengths to your benefit and mitigate or improve on your areas for growth. In this short guide, we’ll explain all of the aspects that go into being ready and capable for writing a thesis. You can measure yourself in each of the 10 core components of thesis readiness to see where you might need to grow. You can also take the quiz from our academic coaches and our team will send you a free report with your greatest strength and your greatest challenge, as well as your “Ready for Success” level. In addition, your free report will contain graphs, info and advice about your personalized confidence score and your mental endurance score. We’ll explain all of these concepts in this short guide, but if you’d like to take the quiz right now and find out about your greatest strengths and challenges, head over to the Academic Coaching website to get your free report.

For now, let’s look at what writing a college, master’s or doctoral dissertation is all about.

Chapter 2: The Mammoth Task

Writing a dissertation is an important part of earning an advanced degree in most fields. It shows that you’ve mastered the skills of research and that you have gained a large amount of knowledge in your field, especially the particular aspect of your field that your dissertation is focused on. It also shows that you’re familiar with academic conventions; you know how to do structure your thoughts, how to reference and incorporate information from other scholars, and how to extract and analyze data from a focused study. All of these skills are very important in many careers, and having an advanced degree like a master’s can be a great stepping-stone towards career progression. But getting there is not always easy.

For a full master’s degree, you’ll be expected to write between 40 – 100 pages, or up to 50,000 words on your topic in some disciplines. (You can find a full guide on exactly what’s expected of you for a master’s degree, including an outline of your chapters, at the Academic Coaching resources page). For a doctoral degree, these numbers are usually doubled, and unlike with your master’s where you merely demonstrate the skills and perform a limited study, you’ll be expected to expand on your field in a significant and new way.

These are very high expectations, and it can put a lot of pressure on a budding researcher. You might have had moments of feeling overwhelmed or wondering if you’re up to the task. You might still be unsure of exactly what is expected of you, or how you will get through the months or even years that it will take you to do the research and writing for your dissertation.

The truth is that even an undergraduate dissertation or “half-thesis” can still be very challenging. You’re being required to demonstrate all of the academic skills which are tested in advanced degrees, even if the size of your dissertation and study aren’t as large. That’s why it’s important to recognize the requirements as early as possible.

For some researchers or students, they struggle immensely with the work on their dissertations, and they might not know why. It can be a real challenge getting words on paper, and lots of factors can hold you back from working efficiently and effectively.

The Academic Coaching team has identified 10 core components which are vital in dissertation success. Struggling with any of these 10 core components can mean that you begin to develop bad working habits and might even be unable to complete the work on your dissertation. Alarmingly, a high number of students who enroll for a graduate program don’t complete the program. For PhD students, the number of students who discontinue their studies is [+ as high as 50%.+] Many students suffer in silence, thinking that there must be something wrong with them if they can’t get their dissertation to work, or that they’re just not cut out for earning their degree.

For a large number of these students, it might mean changing their perspective, identifying areas for growth, and being focused on these areas in order to form good working habits.

All of the help you need to make a success of your dissertation is out there. You can find a lot of help at the Academic Coaching website in the form of free ebooks, guides, outlines, examples and even your free dissertation readiness report which will highlight your strategies for success. Additionally, there are student advisors at your college or university who are prepared to give you as much help as you need.

Let’s look closely at the 10 core components so that you can begin to unpack your own barriers to thesis success, and correct any problem areas as soon as possible by getting the help that you need.

Review Your Learning:

p<>{color:#000;}. Your dissertation is your entryway into sustained academic research, and shows that you are knowledgeable about your field and can perform a substantial study

p<>{color:#000;}. Writing a dissertation can be incredibly stressful and taxing, and you need to be ready to take on these challenges.

p<>{color:#000;}. There are many free resources available to help you correct any problem areas before they begin to impact your research and writing.

Chapter 3: The 10 Core Components of Thesis Success

The Academic Coaching team works on the philosophy of developing 10 core components to dissertation success. We’ve found that these skills are vital in making sure that those writing a thesis can work effectively and complete their thesis in good time. We structure each of our resources and coaching materials around one or more of these core components.

The 10 core components are:

Motivation: The ability to find energy and drive to do your research and writing. You need good reasons to keep working on your thesis, and you need internal motivation to return to it as often as possible even when you might have other commitments or feel discouraged. Being motivated means that you can be positive about your work and have clear goals that you are driven to work towards.

Endurance: Mental endurance is the ability to work for long stretches of time and to be productive when you sit down to work. Having endurance means that you push through feelings of frustration, boredom or intimidation when you sit down at your desk, and you can complete sessions of work that get you closer to your goals without procrastinating or being distracted.

Confidence: Having confidence is one of the most important ingredients in thesis writing, and might be the single factor responsible for the majority of discontinuations. You need to be confident in your ability to work on your thesis and to do a good job of your research. You need to have adequate self-esteem and see yourself as a skilled thinker and as adding to the academic discourse. Confidence is about recognizing your own strengths and being willing to face challenges head-on.

Knowledge: In order to do well as a researcher, you need to have a good background of knowledge in your field. You need to know a fair amount of the conventions and the ideas of the major scholars. You need to be able to speak with some authority and carry on a conversation with others in your field. Without a good foundation of knowledge, new information will be difficult to integrate, and you might not be able to put together a coherent thesis or develop new ideas.

Congruence: Congruence is about how compatible you are with your chosen field or topic of study. If your abilities and interests line up with the requirements of your field, you’re very congruent with your work. If you are passionate about the research you are doing, and if you believe in the merits of your work, it becomes much easier to work on your dissertation. Congruence is about being well-matched to the dissertation you’ve chosen to write.

Social Support: Along with confidence, social support might be one of the biggest determining factors of thesis success. You need support from friends and family during the very difficult times that usually arise while writing a dissertation. You also need a good relationship with your supervisor, with a study group and with other support structures in order to do well. Finally, social support is about having someone to talk to or blow off steam with when the stress of your dissertation becomes too much. If you feel like others aren’t supporting your work, you’ll probably struggle to find the motivation to keep going. If you’re not getting help and advice from people you trust, you might feel like you’re completely isolated and begin to dislike your research.

Inquisitiveness: You’ll be learning a lot while you work on your dissertation, and dealing with large amounts of data and information. A love for learning is usually an important trait for a successful researcher. If you aren’t curious about your world, and if you’re not open-minded and a critical thinker, you might find every new article or book to be frustrating. Developing your inquisitiveness could help you to begin to truly enjoy working on your thesis.

Tenacity: Tenacity is closely linked to endurance, but it is more long-term than only pushing through individual work sessions. Tenacity is the ability to not give up on the very long road to completing your thesis. It is also called grit, perseverance and hardiness. If you are tenacious, you can roll with the punches and push through the hard times. You can stick to your goals and you can maintain your motivation all the way to the finish line, rather than simply feeling motivated for short bursts. Tenacity and grit are almost always defining characteristics of highly-successful people in any field; they had to keep going even when things got tough.

Mental Health: Your mental health is a very important factor of an undertaking as stressful and taxing as writing a dissertation. You need to be sure that you are constantly taking care of your mental health, and not allowing yourself to burn out or to become overwhelmed with your work. Those with good mental health can take time for themselves, and they have good emotional resources and coping strategies to work through hardships and setbacks. Your mental health is about understanding your feelings and getting help when you need it.

Writing Ability: Finally, a factor that might feel very demoralizing for students and researchers is writing ability. All of us have something to learn in writing, and there are many conventions in academic writing that make it especially challenging. Working on your writing ability is about going through multiple drafts, and finding an editor and advisors who you can trust. Many guides on developing your writing ability can be found on the Academic Coaching website, and you can also find our professional editing and coaching services.

These 10 core components all work together to help you make a success of your thesis. The key is to recognize where your personal challenges lie, and then to work on those aspects as early as you can in your dissertation writing process. If you allow certain areas for growth to go unchanged, you might find that your dissertation suffers because of it.

Review Your Learning:

p<>{color:#000;}. Each of us has certain strengths and challenges in our academic writing. Understanding your strengths and challenges can help you to ensure that you succeed at your thesis

p<>{color:#000;}. The 10 core components of thesis success are writing ability, mental health, tenacity, inquisitiveness, social support, congruence, knowledge, confidence, endurance and motivation.

p<>{color:#000;}. If you have challenges in any of these fields, it can cause you to have serious setbacks in your dissertation writing.

Chapter 4: Harnessing Your Strengths and Overcoming Your Challenges

Understanding your strengths and challenges is the first part to your thesis success. Once you understand them, you need to make sure that you’re taking the steps to develop yourself in all of the areas where you have a lot of room for growth, and to use your strengths to your benefit.

Below are some tips to make sure that you stay on top of the work of your dissertation, and that you don’t fall prey to the many potential pitfalls associated with thesis writing.

Have a clear plan

One of the biggest mistakes that students make, especially at the start of their dissertation work, is going in without a plan. This usually results in students spending months reading work that might not be fully relevant, or being unsure of what exactly they should be doing.

Your research proposal should have a clear plan for your work, but you should also have your own personal plan that is much more detailed. This could even be as detailed as describing which articles you will read on which days, or which sections of your chapters you will write and how many words you will use to complete those sections. The more detail the better. Once you have a very detailed plan, you can adjust it after a few weeks of work if you see that it’s too rushed.

It becomes very easy to get overwhelmed when you don’t know what lies ahead, and when the task feels impossibly big. But the sooner you start planning, the easier it becomes to see that the work actually is manageable.

Once you know your academic strengths and challenges, you should also plan ways to improve on your areas for growth as early as possible. If you struggle with endurance, you should make an appointment with a writing group. Many colleges and universities host writing marathons on a weekly or monthly basis, like the “Shut Up and Write” campaigns worldwide. Schedule writing goals and make sure that you attend these sessions if they help you.

If you struggle with your confidence, there are many ways that you can improve it. For example, you could improve your knowledge in the field by attending seminars or conferences, or talking to colleagues about your research and hearing about their own interests. This will boost your sense of being capable of doing research in your field. Alternatively, you could download self-esteem apps or take online courses, or make use of an Academic Coach or even a life coach. Take the steps early before your lack of confidence causes you any problems with writing your thesis. Plan how you will work on this challenge, and you’re much more likely to succeed.

In your Thesis Readiness Report, you’ll get some advice on how to improve any of the major challenges that you face in lengthy sections about developing your skills.

Journal your experiences

One of the most powerful tools to improve your skills is to journal about them regularly. This way, you can take stock of where you are and you can have a better sense of the direction you need to go. Journaling can be incredibly useful in reaching your goals.

You could try keeping a “thesis journal”, where you dedicate fifteen minutes every day to talk about any progress, problems, goals or frustrations. You could reflect on how you are developing your skills in the journal so that you can have a record of your progress. Additionally, you could write about which of your goals you’ve achieved and which ones haven’t been met yet, and then try to reflect on why those goals are still challenging you. You could also use the journal to reflect on the articles or books you are reading, and how they add to your understanding of your own study.

Many academics keep a research journal in order to structure their thoughts and keep tabs on their work. It’s a practice that you might find will drastically improve your journey towards earning your degree.

Give yourself space for mistakes

Many researchers are very self-critical. The imposter syndrome is very prevalent with academics and students. This is a condition where, even though you might be very capable and you might be very high-achieving, you still feel like you are a fraud, like you aren’t worthy of being where you are, and that sooner or later everyone will figure out that you are completely out of your depth.

The very fact that you were accepted into your program means that you’re more than capable of doing it. You have already done well in your previous endeavors in order to qualify for even working on your dissertation. It’s important to realize that many people around you, even those who you think are brilliant thinkers, writers or researchers, still suffer from the imposter syndrome because of how competitive academic work can be and how challenging it is to complete a dissertation.

This is why, when you make a mistake or have a setback in your work, you shouldn’t chastise yourself. Take it as part of your learning experience. Be gentle with yourself and give yourself another chance to get back on the horse. Being a student means that you are still learning, and in the academic world, you are a lifelong student. You’re not expected to be perfect, and you should be humble enough to want to improve but also confident enough to not see a setback as something that means you’re incapable or worthless.

These tips for harnessing your academic strengths and improving on areas for growth might help you to see the journey as more of an adventure. There is a lot of fun, fulfillment and pride to be gained from doing academic work and doing a good study. Try to maintain your perspective, keep your eye on your goals, and take the journey one step at a time, and you can reap the rewards of your research.

Review Your Learning:

p<>{color:#000;}. Having a clear plan of every step of your thesis writing process allows you to track your progress accurately and makes the mammoth task seem more manageable

p<>{color:#000;}. Keeping a research journal will be useful in improving your skills and regularly taking stock of your achievements and challenges

p<>{color:#000;}. No researcher is perfect, and giving yourself the room to make mistakes is vital to thesis success and maintaining your confidence and mental health

Chapter 5: Your Free Report

Now that you know all of the components for dissertation success, it’s time to find out what your individual strengths and challenges are. Your free report from the Academic Coaching team will provide you with your greatest strength and your area with the most room for growth out of the 10 core components. You can take a short, 10-minute quiz on our website, and we will compile your 25-page report and send it back to you within 24 hours.

Your report will also include a “Ready for Success” level, where all of your 10 core components will be evaluated and aggregated to give you a score in terms of your research abilities. In addition, the free report comes with graphs and a detailed outline of ways to improve three of your core components, namely Confidence, Endurance and Writing Ability.

We also offer a full report, which is 65-pages long and looks at all 10 of your core components, as well as identifying and giving detailed advice about your 3 greatest strengths and challenges. In addition, the full report comes with your scores for each of the 9 aspects of writing ability, and personalized advice on how you can improve on all of these skills. If you are interested, you will receive a link to order the full report once you complete the quiz and receive your free report.

To take the quiz now, go to [+ http://www.writeyourthesis.com/p/dissertation-readiness-survey.html+].

[]Things to Remember

You now have a good idea of all of the different components that go into thesis readiness and success. If you can identify your strengths and challenges, and work to improve your skills, you will have a much higher chance of doing well and earning your degree.

Writing a dissertation can be challenging, but there are many resources that can help you along the way. The Academic Coaching team offers editing and guidance for your thesis, and we’re able to help you at any point from the initial idea stage to the final edit. We’ll help you come up with a plan and to refine your ideas, and we’ll give you expert feedback on your rough work so that you can write your thesis with confidence. Go to www.writeyourthesis.com to find out more.

This book is part of a series for researchers and students writing essays and theses. We offer many more books and resources at our website, www.writeyourthesis.com/p/resources.html.

Take the Thesis Readiness Quiz for a FREE Report

Are you feeling unsure of your academic strengths and challenges? We offer a free, personalized report on your readiness for writing an academic essay or thesis, as well as tips and guidelines to improve your skills. Simply take the 10-minute quiz at the following link, and your free report will be emailed to you: http://www.writeyourthesis.com/p/quiz.html.

All the best with your studies!

Grant and Malan

(P.S.: If you’d like to receive links to all of our academic writing tools as soon as they’re released, sign up for our mailing list today. Go to: www.writeyourthesis.com and sign up in the sidebar. As soon as you sign up, we’ll send you a welcome gift of four free academic writing books.)

Your Thesis Writing Strengths and Challenges

Learn about your thesis writing strengths and challenges If you are working on a college, master's or doctoral dissertation, it can be one of the most stressful and challenging undertakings in your life. Many students become so overwhelmed with the work of their dissertation that they discontinue their studies, and the rate for graduate students who discontinue is up to 50%. This guide aims to give you greater insight into your thesis writing strengths and challenges. Learn about the 10 core components of thesis success, and get some basic strategies to ensure that you can harness your strengths and overcome your challenges. You can also take the quiz to find out exactly what your personal strengths and challenges are, and get a free report on how to improve your skills. The guide is written by Dr. Grant Andrews, who has been teaching academic writing for years, and who knows the common pitfalls that students experience in academic writing. This book is part of the Essay and Thesis Writing Series.

  • ISBN: 9781370551408
  • Author: Grant Andrews
  • Published: 2017-07-23 22:50:23
  • Words: 4017
Your Thesis Writing Strengths and Challenges Your Thesis Writing Strengths and Challenges