Note by blogger Anita H.: After a short break, I am getting back to my series on ‘Why write a thesis?’ , a dialogue that I started some time ago with myself, to remind me of the golden rules in writing skills. So here I am again…
One of the biggest challenges in finishing my thesis some years ago was that, while I continued to pile up with notes to write my dissertation, and although the volume of information may be impressive, they may not satisfy the requirements needed in terms of organising my arguments according to the conceptual and theoretical frameworks.
Freelance authors may not need such requirements if they have a full story in their head, but for a researcher, some rules need to be followed. Therefore the last part of the thesis work was the editorial of the manuscript which plays an important role of the decision of the exam committee to admit or reject our application for defence.
While compiling my reading lists for the index of authors and references, I was struggling a lot between categorizing the books per theme (for my arguments), and following the APA rules of referencing. In the end, I manage to finish my index of authors and references by alphabetical order, but still keep the thematic classification, as it is useful for my own learning.
In my conclusion, as I mentioned the importance of ‘trust’ as a key criteria for a positive evaluation for the privatisation process of Vietnamese state-owned enterprises (thesis), I needed to justify why the lack of trust can harm this process, in opposition to some common beliefs that a positive evaluation should rely on the ‘profitability’ criteria (anti-thesis). To make such a conclusion, my arguments under ‘recommendations’ should list out reasons why ‘profitability’ is not the only criteria for evaluation. Therefore, the thematic classification of my readings will help me with elements collected on this theme that ‘trust’ is a key success factor and that ‘profitability’ is an important element to evaluate in terms of financial return on investment for the firms that are being restructured, and possibly a convincing argument for the FDI investors, but not sufficient to build a sustainable growth for an economy in transition like the case of Vietnam.
The interesting part of trying to classify and categorize my reading references for my thesis is that the list that I compiled has been useful for me even today as my ‘bible’. I find the exercice of quoting correctly the references is a learning process in itself. For example, publishers location, ISBN series, year of publication, edition series are all details that I did not notice while working on the literature review, but they become key elements of evaluation on my final thesis output.
In fact, I spent almost 4 months alone on correcting and putting in place the reference and index list, struggling in doing it manually, and ignoring that there were useful tools of referencing that would have saved me months of work. As it turns out, this exercice did help to improve my handling of notes in referecing my word document, in subsequent research papers. For example, I manage to use the ‘view plan’ function to manage the level of titles and subtitles, and to organize my chapters more effectively and accurately.
In addition, I also use the thematic classification by keywords and SEO optimisation tools to enhance my final dissertation through the index that help search engines to identify my works. This also helped me to strenghthen my writing skills by using precise and concise words in my writing.
In brief, writing a thesis is a process that has helped me to clarify my thoughts based on methodology of research and organizing them in accordance with the theoretical concepts in epistemology. But reading the right literature remains the key success in writing a good thesis, in my view.
Wishing you all good luck, and see you in my next postings, sharing my project on Vietnam Hoc Studies, a research I have started for almost 12 months as of today.