Make Your Thesis More Alluring

Make Your Thesis More Alluring

Let’s face it, most theses are never going to be read by the masses. Complex sentences with complicated language referenced a thousand times… it’s not really going to be a Christmas number 1. Not unless you’re Stephen Hawking, anyway. As a mentor and having to wade through endless pages of academic text, it can get tedious and overbearing. Occasionally, your heart leaps when you come across a thesis that just shouts “Look at me!” for all the right reasons.

Here are some ideas to give your thesis that extra zing:

1. Always judge the book by its cover

Sorry PC people… but you can never make a second first impression. If you can’t be bothered to spell check, use correct grammar, or do basic housekeeping, people are just going to think you are sloppy, lazy, or even worse, incapable. So, get your house in order.

2. Organise, organise, organise

Lay things out in a logical manner. Don’t send your readers to the moon and back only to realise that you forgot to say something in an earlier chapter and then trying to slip it into the conclusion.  A thesis should be a smooth one-way journey to the end, not an academic copycat of Memento.

3. A picture is a worth a thousand words

I’m a firm believer in keeping word count low. If you can get your points across succinctly and coherently, why not? Better still, use pictures, diagrams, tables, charts and graphs to say what you need. For example, a flowchart can describe a process far more clearly than 20 long bulleted sentences.

4. Decorate properly

Good decor can sometimes decide whether you sell a house for £200K or £450K. Likewise, think of your examiner(s). Use clear typefaces at a readable size, with suitable spacing. Don’t be afraid to use headings and sub-headings to signpost what we should be reading. Show some flair – use bold, italics, and colour BUT be consistent with your choices. It is still an academic work, not a My Little Pony and Friends storybook.

5. Map the stars

Make sure everything is correctly labelled and in its right place. Your table of contents should be thorough and checked. All references should be reviewed and styled appropriately. This is actually very important. Watch your page numbers, especially if you are using different sets of numerals. Often forgotten are Appendices (I’ve seen students lump everything unnumbered into one giant Appendix).

6.  Your writing voice

If you start yawning or falling asleep when someone reads your thesis back to you, then that’s the same effect it’ll have on your readers. Often, we lose ourselves in our narrow scope of research – it’s what we live and breathe during our period of study. We forget that not every reader is as readily familiar with the topic as you are. As with every story:  set the scene, make it interesting and give it the killer ending that will bag you that academic Oscar.

So get cracking and hopefully you will find writing your thesis as fun as we will find reading it.

Written by Dr Julian Ng
 
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Wise English

Warnborough College Ireland

Go the Distance! How to Do Well in a Distance Learning Programme

Go the Distance!

Or How to Do Well in a Distance Learning Programme

Many people often find it difficult to finish a distance learning programme successfully. Realistically, things happen. Work becomes busy. You become sick. Someone else becomes sick. Your kids are distracting you. You run out of money. All sorts of things – things which conspire to delay or stop you from successfully completing.

It is also different if you do only a short course, but when you are doing a degree programme, that is a considerable investment of time and effort.

Here are some steps for success:

1. Have a clear idea of what you want to achieve

If you know where and what your destination is, it is easier to plan for it. Look at your work and study schedule, see what other events are happening in your life and decide how much time you can allocate. It is worthwhile writing the ‘end goal’ (e.g. what you want to prove in your hypothesis) and sticking it up in places where you will constantly be reminded (e.g. fridge doors, mirrors, back of your front door).

2. Plan a ‘roadmap’ and stick to it

The saying ‘Many people don’t plan to fail – they fail to plan’ often rings true. If you want to be assured of success, you have to plan your studies like a military operation. Successful students build in objectives and milestones into their timelines. Some create Gantt charts, or use project management software – complete with alarms and reminders. This can also serve as a visual reminder and stimulant. You feel more motivated as you see the objectives being achieved/ticked off one by one.

Objectives and Milestones can be set easily through a Gantt chart to help manage your work easily.

Objectives and Milestones can be set easily through a Gantt chart to help manage your work easily.

3. Take regular breaks!

It is important to clear your mind every now and then. Go and do something fun that you enjoy, spend time with people you love. This gets rid of your intellectual cabin fever. You can come back to the work with fresh untired eyes.

4. Get regular feedback

Don’t behave like Superman. Get feedback from your supervisor(s) regularly. It is better to know you are on the right track than to get a nasty shock after 6 months of hard work. Think of your supervisor like the captain of your boat – s/he can give you direction when your boat goes adrift.

5. Use other pairs of eyes

You can get too ‘close’ to your work. Sometimes, it is hard to see the forest for the trees. That’s why it is good to discuss your ideas with other parties and let them read what you have done (whether they are an expert in the subject or not). They might come up with questions or ideas that you hadn’t thought about.

6. Don’t be daunted

There will be times when you feel at a loss, or when things just aren’t going right. Don’t give up. Take a break, come back when you feel better or more motivated. Think of it as building a legacy, and if the Pharaohs had given up, we wouldn’t have amazing pyramids to gawp at today.

So, if you organise yourself and keep to your schedule, you will ace your distance learning programme in no time.

 
Written by Dr Julian Ng 
Need more information on Long Distance Learning?

Wise English

Warnborough College Ireland

 

Student Words: Michelle Grey

Student Words: Michelle Grey

BSc in Environmental Science student, Michelle J Grey shares her thoughts on life, work and us.

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science student, Michelle J. Grey, shared her thoughts on why she is doing a degree in environmental science, what she likes about the Warnborough programme, and the things which inspire her.

Read the full article on our blog here.

WCCA 2014: A Great Success

WCCA 2014: A Great Success

This year’s Warnborough College Conference on the Arts was a great success. Click here to read about it and see photos.

wcca2014-graphic

The Warnborough College Annual Conference on the Arts took place from August 18th to 21st in Canterbury. The theme for this year was “Culture, Time and Passion: The Fibres of Art”.

Delegates mingling; Dr Tempest-Mogg opens the event; Dr Jill Kiefer speaks about WCCA 2014.

Warnborough Programme Director, Dr Jill Kiefer, kicked off proceedings with a monumental plenary about art in all its forms be it painting, sculpture, petroglyphs, theatre, architecture, music or film.

Dr Jill Kiefer's opening plenary covered the entire gamut of the arts.

The conference was split into different streams and topics in different modes, namely visual presentations, academic papers, workshops, and an art exhibition. Speakers and participants came from around the world, and Hollywood was particularly well-represented. Film and cinema enthusiasts attending sessions on subjects ranging from stop-motion animation to independent film production, followed by a Short Film Festival with entries from the USA, Spain, India and Brazil. These were presided over by David Chaskin, the screenwriter of ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 2’. Robert Reece, a top Disney screenwriter, offered writing workshops and Drew Brody previewed a film starring Martin Sheen as Henry IV.

Suba Tremmel; Dr Nanyoung Kim; David Lilford and Sandi Hutcheson.

Cultural art history was explored in many presentations and papers. Chris Blaine and Dr Nanyoung Kim presented on Viking Stave churches and Romanesque architecture respectively. Ana Bilbao looked at art as an instrument for social change, while other sessions discussed methodologies on teaching arts and art history. Professors Mark Stine and John Hepp demonstrated how they combined the oral history process with filmmaking, and Bahadir Gulmez spoke on artistic identity.

Café book signing; Professor Mark Stine; Harry Chaskin; Chris McClelland

Participants got their hands dirty with workshops such as grass-basket weaving (courtesy of Endia Plunkett), pencil drawing (with renowned Aussie wildlife artist Chris McClelland), and creative writing (with author Sandi Hutcheson). Canterbury gallery owner, David Lilford, discussed the merits of urban art and led a gallery tour. A café book signing event showcased works by various authors followed by readings from the work.

Drew brody; Betsy Aidinyantz; Dr Jill Kiefer with Dr Bilgehan Cakmak; Short Film Festival at Canterbury Christchurch University

The conference had heart too: Suba Tremmel moved audiences with her presentation on endangered historical artefacts in Tamil Nadu, India. Betsy Aidinyantz motivated with her passionate presentation on how art is used to engender creativity and mental well-being. Dr Datiri Chumang received plenty of practical suggestions to deal with the cultural plight in Nigeria.

Pauan Soares explains his short film; Dr Datiri Chumang, Barrister Ogueche Chinasa, and Ayo Adewunmi from Nigeria; Chris McClelland leading a workshop.

Robert Niosi brought the conference to a close with a humorously entertaining presentation on the construction of a time-machine sculpture, with snippets from the upcoming documentary of the same topic.

Mohamed Ibrahim from Saudi Arabia; Robert Niosi talks about his time machine sculpture; delegates chilling out before another event.

A wonderful time was had by all, and the College wishes to thank Dr Jill Kiefer, Elizabeth Geiselmayr and the staff of Warnborough College, the Canterbury Baptist Church and the Beaney House of Knowledge for making this event a success.

Some of the delegates for WCCA 2014

]Some of the delegates on the Canterbury walking tour

Information about WCCA 2015 will be released very soon.

Graduate Research Centre

WARNBOROUGH COLLEGE GRADUATE RESEARCH CENTRE – ONLINE DEGREE COURSES (BACHELORS, MASTERS, DOCTORATES) – ACCREDITED, NON-RESIDENCE.

Inaugural Arts Conference 2013 A Success!

Warnborough College (Ireland) sponsored the inaugurual Conference on Fine Arts and Arts History in Canterbury in August. Warnborough College (Ireland) sponsored the inaugurual Conference on Fine Arts and Arts History in Canterbury in August. It was a great success with speakers and attendees from around the world. This success has spurred us to turn this into an annual event and planning has already begun. Click here to read about the August conference.