How to write a better thesis

Just as some prefer some stuffed toys over others, some friends over others, some siblings over others, etc, those in the academia have our sets of preferences. Right now, right here, I am talking about our guiding beacons of light through our journey of sense making and writing. There are those texts that we absolutely have to refer to in our own writings — attributing to it to support or refute our arguments. Then there are those texts that we read and get guidance but never have to really use in our own writing. These texts I say are the most important ones. Like for me, I came across this one book “how to write a better thesis” and I fell in love with the book. Having a book that I can refer to from time to time was not enough. The book was there in the Library; if someone else had borrowed it I could always reserve and have it with me within a week or so. That was not enough. I had to possess the book. I bought it. The book was so important to me that I bought it! I mean how many books that you refer to in your own writing, do you go and buy a copy for yourself?

Hence, therein lies the importance of this book. If you look at a bibliomatric study, this book might not be on the highly sought after, highly used books – simply because it might not have been referred to as much as we refer to seminal works like Creswell’s Designing Mixed Methods Research.

The point of this rant is that book I bought 6 or so years ago while doing my MPhil. Upon completion of my studies I returned home and to be a good citizen I wanted others to benefit from the book. I donated it to the one and only University Library. From time to time, I did direct the students I was supervising to go check the book out. I do not believe they had the time to do that with their one semester research on top of two or three course work units. Nonetheless, the book was there for the taking.

Right here right now, while I am struggling through my research formulation and the candidacy proposal writing, I am reminded of the book. I hiked all the way to the library to seek out the book. For the love of God, I couldn’t recall the title, nor the author. I know! I say the book is important, and yet I have managed to let the important details slide from my mind. So, to trace the book I sought out an online copy of my thesis from the library database and browsed through the reference list hoping to jog my memory. Alas! I then tried to recall the title and what came to my mind was PhD. I remember that the book was mostly centered around a PhD thesis. This keyword failed me. I tried using “research” and still did not find it. I was almost going to give up when an idea hit me. I knew I had donated the book to our library back home. I went on to the library OPAC (Note, there is so much improvement needed to that one) and searched for “research” sorting it in the ascending order of the year. Too many titles were listed but still I labored on until as far as 2003. But the book surely cannot be anything older than 2005 or so – that’s what I remembered. Then, it occurred to me to chase it up by the accession number. I clearly remember a title of another book I donated with that one. Ranjit Kumar’s Research Methodology (2nd ed), another favorite of mine. So, I searched that book, looked up the barcode (C039455) and then searched all the barcodes ascending and descending from that. After some failed attempts I landed on C039453.

Sweet heavens. A rush of relief to see that orange cover; the realization that nothing I thought of was on the title of the book; another search on my reference list and it was confirmed I have not referred to the book. So there goes. We don’t always don’t necessarily refer to authors that have helped us.

Here I go again and find a new edition of the title at Curtin Library. I feel much less burdened to know I can have the book.

That’s how one procrastinate in style. 🙂


For those of you who might want to see what this book is about, here are the details.

How to write a better thesis  /  David Evans; Paul Gruba  (c2002)  – 2nd edition

How to Write a Better Thesis [Paperback] David Evans , Paul Gruba , Justin Zobel   – 3rd edition



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I write as I think. I think as I write.

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