Jesse Wegman ’96 posted these thesis writing tips yeeears ago but they are still incredibly good. Here are a couple:
5. Begin research immediately – Again, April 12 may seem far off during the dog days of September, but the days, weeks, and months seem to pass by exponentially faster as the year progresses. Start to use time that you normally would not consider using for academic work (e.g., Saturday and Sunday mornings); often, it seems the mind is more settled at these times.
6. Get to know the library inside out – however much you detest it in there, you will need it far more than you realize, especially Interlibrary Loan (ILL) – This wonderful service was absolutely indispensable to me and many of my friends throughout the year. While Wesleyan has a large number of journals, they are often missing the one you need. And think about it: you can get virtually any article anywhere in the world, for free, within two weeks, usually shorter. How can you pass that up?
7. Establish a note-taking system – If I had had a consistent method of gathering information from the beginning, my work would have been infinitely easier. Whatever method works for you, do it and keep doing it. As the amount of material you gather increases, and you have to bring it all together, coherent notes will help a great deal.
8. Don’t throw away anything – Anything.
9. Set deadlines – This was probably the single most important thing for me. The deadlines that I established with my tutor kept me writing on a regular basis, and turning in chapters even if they weren’t done. This makes you feel like you’re moving along and progressing, which is essential in keeping up your morale.