Tips for dummies: how to start your PhD paper
How to start your paper will greatly depend on guidelines set by your instructor. This will vary so it is important to review guidelines carefully. When you start your paper you can define basic actions. For instance, you will want to review what the purpose of your paper is. Then, think about style, presentation and possible sources that will be cited.
In the beginning, you will probably do more thinking and planning, but this will help you get off on the right foot when starting your PhD paper. The following points provide basic insight on how you can start your paper. Keep in mind you do not have to complete these points in order of appearance, but they are actions many students complete when working on academic papers.
- Make an Outline to Help You Write
- Create a Schedule to Work on Your Project
- Brainstorm Potential Topic Ideas
- Define Main Idea and Resources for Data
The use of an outline will help you understand what your paper will need. You will understand how to organize and structure your content to be suitable for your topic. You can create an outline based on sections or parts your paper is required to have. You can also use outline templates available online. You outline discussion points and supporting points related to your main idea. You can work on your paper one section at a time and work on them out of order.
An outline is easy to make and find, but how you use it may depend on what your assignment needs. Most students make an outline of some sort as it helps to keep up with information included. On a sheet of paper or on the computer you provide topics and subtopics. As you research your topic, information you collect can be placed on the page where you want it to appear. For now, you do not have to worry about information appearing perfectly, but you will have time later to clarify thoughts and concepts.
You need a flexible schedule to help you get the job done. This means you will need time devoted to the project in advance. Your deadline and project requirements will help you do this in the best way possible. Your schedule should allow you to work on your project on a regular basis. Maybe on weekends you can devote more time. You can have a set schedule for research and then make time to write your rough draft. You may also need time to interview people you want a quote from to include. A schedule will give an idea of how feasible your abilities are in getting this project completed in a timely manner.
You can get ideas from practically anywhere and from what is going on around you. Think about your subject matter and content your instructor would expect to see from you. Your guidelines may also help you get some ideas. Based on how long your project should be you may find topic ideas that will help you produce this amount of content. You can use your coursework materials, discuss ideas with colleagues, use media such as newspapers and television, and talk to people who work in the profession of your subject. You can gather information and think about your findings for a couple of days before making a final decision on what to write about.
Make a list of sources to use for research. This should be broad but include multiple sources. You can get ideas from the library and consider sources you may not have used in the past. This can help you find your main idea or hypothesis.