繼續工作

 

時程表

 

  我強烈建議您與您的指導教授促膝長談並製作一份論文撰寫的時程表:該表應該包含您將提出交與指導教授每章節的初稿及二校稿。這種作法將可讓您組織您的時間,並且提出您各時間點所需要達到的階段性目標。假若您僅只預計「在某個(很遙遠的一日)的時期」前完成所有的工作,那麼您僅是欺騙您自己,並且易於耽擱您完成學位的時程。舉例來說:假若您能夠明確地對您的指導教授說明將於周三寄付第三章的草稿給您的指導教授,那麼您將能夠集中您的注意力來執行您的工作。

  您可能會寧願將您的時程表製作為圖形並進行查核點確認,並且加上您可以自行確認各項事務進度的記號。對於您來說,當論文快完成、如火如荼進行時刻這張注記好的時程表將會非常有用。

 

論文中反覆地論證

 

  無論何時您坐定並開始進行著作時,最重要的事就是務必寫作出一些實在的東西。所以確實寫下一些具有內涵的文字,即使只是您不會正式發表的一組筆記或者是幾段短的章節。當然靈光乍現,您由打字鍵盤上跳躍而出清晰而正確的散文機會難得,一般來說常常難以下筆。但是通常我們會發現,針對已經打好草稿的文章進行修改,會比從一片空白的稿紙上產生文章要來得容易得多。是以,先興之所至進行粗略之草擬,稍為刪減冗長片段後交付予您的指導教授以閱讀。文書處理軟體在此發揮了其優點:在第一版的草稿中,您不必開始將論文草稿作起頭工作。您也可以在文中留下空隙,您可以為您自己進行一些注記,然後您可以於稍後將草稿上的註記清除乾淨。

  您的指導教授會希望您將論文的草稿呈交其閱讀。當指導教授閱畢,將會在草稿上註明建議以及評論。假若您的各章節草稿尤其是其您所撰寫的第一章之草稿,被指導教授以墨水筆刪改得滿江紅,您不需要感到任何的煩惱。您的指導教授期望您能夠將您的博士論文觀點論證得盡善盡美,這是因為最後成稿的論文對於您指導教授的名譽之影響並不亞於對您以後的學術地位的影響。科學性文章的撰寫是一項艱鉅的任務,這需要花費時間去學習。因此對於您第一版的草稿將會有許多修改的空間及方式。因此對於您指導教授潦草地修改您文章的字跡抱持正面的態度。教授的每一項評注都可供您作為改善論文的一項途徑。

  當您撰寫您的博士論文時,您科學寫作技巧無疑地獲得改善。對於以英文為母語其他型式文學之優秀的作家,也會發現您的寫作能力由第一章起逐漸改善並且在最後一章臻至完美。論文寫作為科學寫作訓練的一項過程。並且您可以發現每一章節都好比一堂寫作教學,這種過程是一種教學而並非是對您的論文評分。值得注意的是:論文的最終版稿將接受檢視並評以分數:而由您指導教授對於第一或第二版草稿所提供的建議量愈多,對於您論文品質的助益將愈大。

 

  將草稿遞交予您的指導教授之前,先以文書處理軟體進行拼字檢查以免指導教授將時間浪費於那種瑣碎的事情上。並且對於您文法慣常出現的錯誤進行檢查校正。

A timetable

I strongly recommend sitting down with the adviser and making up a timetable for writing it: a list of dates for when you will give the first and second drafts of each chapter to your adviser(s). This structures your time and provides intermediate targets. If you merely aim "to have the

whole thing done by (some distant date)", you can deceive yourself and procrastinate more easily. If you have told your adviser that you will deliver a first draft of chapter 3 on Wednesday, it focuses your attention.

You may want to make your timetable into a chart with items that you can check off as you have finished them. This is particularly useful towards the end of the thesis when you find there will be quite a few loose ends here and there.

Iterative solution

Whenever you sit down to write, it is very important to write something. So write something, even if it is just a set of notes or a few paragraphs of text that you would never show to anyone else. It would be nice if clear, precise prose leapt easily from the keyboard, but it usually does

not. Most of us find it easier, however, to improve something that is already written than to produce text from nothing. So put down a draft (as rough as you like) for your own purposes, then clean it up for your adviser to read. Word-processors are wonderful in this regard: in the

first draft you do not have to start at the beginning, you can leave gaps, you can put in little notes to yourself, and then you can clean it all up later. Your adviser will expect to read each chapter in draft form. S/he will then return it to you with suggestions and comments. Do not be upset if a chapter—especially the first one you write—returns covered in red ink. Your adviser will want your thesis to be as good as possible, because his/her reputation as well as yours is affected. Scientific writing is a difficult art, and it takes a while to learn. As a consequence, there will be many ways in which your first draft can be improved. So take a positive attitude to all the scribbles with which your adviser decorates your text: each comment tells you a way in which you can make your thesis better. As you write your thesis, your scientific writing is almost certain to improve. Even for native speakers of English who write very well in other styles, one notices an enormous improvement in the first drafts from the first to the last chapter written. The process of writing the thesis is like

a course in scientific writing, and in that sense each chapter is like an assignment in which you are taught, but not assessed. Remember, only the final draft is assessed: the more comments your adviser adds to first or second draft, the better. Before you submit a draft to your adviser, run a spell check so that s/he does not waste time on those. If you have any characteristic grammatical failings, check for them.

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