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W.J.

Sturrock

LN0158/10/01

MSc Thesis Writing Guidelines and Advice

Plan

Draft

Revise

W.J. Sturrock

LN0158/10/01

MSc Thesis Writing Guidelines and Advice

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1 STAGE ONE: Writing the proposal 1.1 THE RESEARCH PROPOSAL ...........................................................1 1.2 LITERATURE REVIEW for the proposal ...........................................20 1.3 CITING .................................................................................. 24

2 STAGE TWO: The Thesis 2.1 CHAPTERS AND STRUCTURE ...................................................... 28 2.1.1 Make a good start with your writing............................................. 29 2.1.2 Overview of the thesis ................................................................. 30 2.1.3 Individual Chapter Structure ....................................................... 31 2.2 THE ABSTRACT ............................................................................... 34 2.3 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ................................................................. 36 2.4 INTRODUCTION............................................................................... 37 2.5 BACKGROUND and LITERATURE REVIEW .................................. 44 2.5.1 Literature Review for the Thesis ................................................. 44 2.5.2 Step-by-step process of writing a literature review ..................... 47 2.5.3 Example Text: Detailed Problem Statement & Research Questions ... 49 2.6 MATERIALS AND METHODS .......................................................... 51 2.7 RESULTS ......................................................................................... 52 2.8 DISCUSSION .................................................................................... 54 2.9 CONCLUSIONS ................................................................................ 56

3 WRITING AND PRESENTATION 3.1 PRACTICAL TIPS FOR CLEAR WRITING ..................................... 59 3.2 CONSTRUCTING ARGUMENTS .................................................... 62 3.3 DEALING WITH WRITER'S BLOCK ................................................ 66 3.4 FORMATTING THE THESIS ........................................................... 72 REFERENCES ........................................................................................... 78 APPENDICES APPENDIX 1 Example Structure of a Proposal (WSE-HWR) .................. 79 APPENDIX 2 Example Structure of a Thesis............................................ 81 APPENDIX 3 The Passive Voice .............................................................. 83 APPENDIX 4 Using Grammar in Writing .................................................. 87 APPENDIX 5 Sample Introductions .......................................................... 90 APPENDIX 6 Recommended Reading ..................................................... 95

1 STAGE ONE: Writing the proposal


Stage one of this lecture note provides advice on the processes and formats needed for writing your MSc thesis proposal. Note that proposals may differ widely according to their field or topic and you should adapt the advice given here to suit your needs.

1.1

THE RESEARCH PROPOSAL

A proposal requests support, usually money, for work that a proposer wants to do. To be successful, the proposer must convince the reviewer (usually potential funder) that the proposed activity is a good investment that will advance the reviewer's goals, produce high quality results and will do this better than other activities competing for the same funds. To be convincing, you must quickly and clearly answer the reviewer's probable questions: What does the proposer want to do? How much will it cost? Is the problem important and relevant to the reviewer's interests? Will the proposed activity solve or reduce the problem? Can the proposed activity be done? Will it duplicate other work? Is the method or approach appropriate, clearly defined and well thought out? Can the results be adequately evaluated? Is the proposer qualified to do the work in question? Will the results of the activity be available to others? Are the proposed schedule of activity and budget reasonable? The answers to these questions will depend, to a large degree, on the expectations of a given reviewer: therefore, make sure to find out all you can about the interests of your "audience", that is, your prospective sponsor or funder. With that knowledge in hand, you can make your argument persuasively.

The organisation of a formal proposal Most proposals, depending on their length, will follow one of the two general outlines presented below, although they may be modified according to the needs of the readers and the nature of the project proposed. 1

There are several ways to structure your proposal. Indeed, your mentor or supervisor may already have specified a format. If not, you can adapt the formats given here to help you structure your ideas clearly. Alternatively, you may prefer the approach and structure suggested in the model on pp14-19. See also Appendix 1: Example Structure of a Proposal (WSE-HWR)

STRUCTURE OF A SHORT PROPOSAL Title page (ideally, with abstract) Introduction Problem addressed Purpose or objectives of proposed work (research questions) Significance of proposed work Plan for accomplishing objectives Plan for evaluating results Schedule for project completion Institutional resources and commitments Personnel Explanation of proposed staffing Relevant experience of major personnel Budget Budget in table format Justification of budget items, where necessary List of references Appendices or attachments, if needed

STRUCTURE OF A LONG PROPOSAL Title page Abstract Table of contents Introduction Problem addressed Purpose or objectives of proposed work (research questions) Significance of proposed work Background / Literature Review Description of proposed activity Plan for accomplishing objectives Plan for evaluating results Schedule for project completion Institutional resources and commitments Personnel Explanation of proposed staffing Relevant experience of major personnel Budget Budget in table format Justification of budget items List of references Appendices: Letters of endorsement Promises of participation, subcontractors proposals Biographical data sheets (vita sheets) Reprints of relevant articles, reports, background documents

Title page This will usually include most of the following: 1. The title of the proposal: as short and as informative as possible 2. A reference number 3. The name of the reviewer [or potential funder] 4. The name and address of the proposer(s) 5. The proposed starting date and duration of the project 6. The date of submission 7. The signature of the project director 8. The total funds requested (in some cases)

Abstract This should be short, around 200 words, and should provide a summary of the entire proposal. It is important because it is the only part of the proposal some decision-makers will ever see. It should outline the problem and its importance, the objectives of the project, the method of evaluation, and the potential impact of the project. It does not normally mention cost. Table of contents Introduction This should orient all readers, especially non-specialists, as to the subject and purpose of the document. It should treat: The problem being addressed

Before your proposal can make sense to a reader, s/he must understand clearly what the proposed research will be about. (You should not assume that your reader is familiar with your subject: write as if to a stranger). Therefore, you would do well to begin this section with a clear and simple (re)formulation of your research question. Read the following example:
Many community projects in rural Mpumalanga rely on microenterprises, to extend the income generating potential of communities. The following is an investigation of the extent to which these micro-enterprises do actually influence the broader economic position of these communities. The objectives of the project

Once the topic is established, come right to the point. What are you going to do? What specific issue(s) or research question(s) will your work address? What will we learn from your work?
[see Appendix 1 for examples of Research Questions and Objectives in a proposal]

The significance of the proposed project.

This section, often referred to as the rationale is crucial, because it is one place in which the researcher tries to convince the reviewer that the research is worth doing. What contribution will your research make to advancing science and solving a real and pressing problem? For example, think about how your research: may resolve theoretical questions in your area may develop better theoretical models in your area may influence public policy may change the way people do their jobs in a particular field, or may change the way people live. Are there other contributions your research will make? If so, describe them in detail. In the economic example of micro-enterprises in rural communities, the researcher might argue that the research will:
* provide an understanding of the economic impact of micro-enterprises * support the government's plans for start-up loans to micro-enterprises * demonstrate the usefulness of micro-enterprises as part of rural development, thereby contributing to the work of government and non-government rural development organisations.

Detail regarding each of these three points should be added to produce a convincing argument as to the usefulness of the research.

Background / Literature Review As a separate section, this allows you to fill in important technical details not yet mentioned in the abstract and introduction. It should discuss the history of the problem and provide a survey of previous work on the topic, leading up to the gap which your project hopes to fill. You need to demonstrate your awareness of previous research and its limitation by carefully selecting and evaluating the works you cite, thus establishing yourself as expert enough to deal with the project proposed.

Description of proposed activity This is the most important section in the whole proposal. It should contain: 1. The plan for reaching the stated objectives 2. The plan for evaluating the results 3. The schedule for completing the work Be as detailed as possible about the schedule of the proposed work. When will the first step be completed? When can subsequent steps be started? What must be done before what else, and what can be done at the same time? For complex projects a calendar detailing the projected sequence and interrelationship of events often gives the reviewer/sponsor assurance that the investigator is capable of careful step-by-step planning. These plans will be carefully reviewed by a knowledgeable, hostile audience, whose task is to eliminate all inadequate proposals. Therefore you need to provide the reviewer with the details s/he needs for assessment: 1. Any assumptions or hypotheses the research is based upon 2. The specific problem(s) or question(s) you are trying to address 3. The particular work and evaluation methods you are using 4. The appropriateness of your methods for the proposed problem Of these, the last is particularly important, if the appropriateness of your method(s) is not clearly demonstrated, the rest will not mean much.

Resources If your project requires special equipment already available in your institution, it is important to list it, since it means that the funding organisation won't have to pay for it and it implies the interest of the institution in having the proposer work hard!

Personnel (for formal or external proposals) The purpose of this section is to explain who will be doing what, and to demonstrate that the people listed are competent to do it. It normally consists of two sections: one outlining the different responsibilities and the linking organisational structure, the other providing relevant biographical information about the main project participants.

Budget (for formal or external proposals) This section has two purposes: to explain how much things will cost and to justify those items of expenditure whose value may not be obvious. Typical headings are Personnel, Equipment, Supplies, Travel, Computer time, and Indirect costs. It is usually presented in tabular form, with accompanying explanation. References If you refer to some other studies, articles, research, etc you should include a list of References, listed alphabetically at the end of your proposal. Appendixes These are reserved for necessary supporting documents that would disturb the flow of the proposal: they include biography sheets, letters of endorsement or promises of participation. Only include those items which are really necessary to establish the importance of your topic.

Editing Once you have written a proposal, it is a good idea to analyse it for any weak spots, where additional detail or proof may be needed. As a guide, you might refer to the analysis below of the problems detected in research proposals rejected by the National Institutes of Health in the USA.

A PROBLEM (58%) 1. The problem is not of sufficient importance or is unlikely to produce any new or useful information. 2. The proposed research is based on a hypothesis that rests on insufficient evidence, is doubtful, or is unsound. 3. The problem is more complex than the investigator appears to realize. 4. The problem has only local significance, or is one of production or control, or otherwise fails to fall sufficiently clearly within the general field of health-related research.

% 33.1 8.9 8.1 4.8

B APPROACH (73%) 1. The proposed tests, methods, or scientific procedures are unsuited to the stated objective. 2. The description of the approach is too nebulous, diffuse, and lacking in clarity to permit adequate evaluation. 3. The overall design of the study has not been carefully thought out. 4. The statistical aspects of the approach have not been given sufficient consideration. 5. The approach lacks scientific imagination. 6. Controls are either inadequately conceived or inadequately described.

34.7 28.8 14.7 8.1 7.4 6.8

C 1. 2. 3. 4.

INVESTIGATOR (55%) The investigator does not have adequate experience or training for this research. The investigator appears to be unfamiliar with recent pertinent literature or methods. The investigators previously published work in this field does not inspire confidence. The investigator proposes to rely too heavily on insufficiently experienced associates.

32.6 13.7 12.6 5.0

D OTHER (16%) 1. The requirements for equipment or personnel are unrealistic. 2. It appears that other responsibilities would prevent devotion of sufficient time and attention to this research. 3. The institutional setting is unfavorable. 4. Research grants to the investigator, now in force, are adequate in scope and amount to cover the proposed research.

10.1 3.0 2.3 1.5

Finally, remember to keep your sponsor informed of progress, you never know when you may need further funding!

1.2

LITERATURE REVIEW for the Proposal

Preparation You are normally expected to begin working on a general survey of the related research literature at the earliest possible stage of your research. This survey stage ranges far wider in scope and quantity than the final review, typically including more general works. Such a preparatory survey (which exists only as your own notes) should help you in several ways: to decide on the issues you will address; to become aware of appropriate research methodologies; to see how research on your specific topic fits into a broader framework; to prepare you for approaching the (critical) review.

A Review of the Literature The use of the term (critical) review is not usually meant to suggest that you should focus on criticising the work of established researchers. It is meant to indicate that: the review should not be merely a descriptive list of a number of research projects related to the topic; you are capable of thinking critically and with insight about the issues raised by previous research. Discussions of work done by others should therefore lead the reader to a clear impression of how you will be building upon what has already been done and how your work differs from theirs. It is important to establish what is original in your approach, what circumstances have changed since related work was done, or what is unique about the time and place of the proposed research.

The review can serve many functions, some of which are as follows: to indicate what researchers in the field already know about the topic; to indicate what those in the field do not yet know about the topic the 'gaps'; to indicate major questions in the topic area; to provide background information for the non-specialist reader seeking to gain an overview of the field; to ensure that new research (including yours) avoids the errors of some earlier research; to demonstrate your knowledge of the topic.

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Select Relevant Information In the formal review of the literature you should refer only to research projects which are closely related to your own topic. The formal review is not a record of 'what I have read'. If your problem is how to choose what to leave out, one way might be to focus on the most recent papers. You should normally aim to include key studies which are widely cited by others in the field, however old they may be. Where there are several similar studies with similar findings, you should review a representative study which was well designed. NB: Reviewers do not want to read through a voluminous working bibliography; they want to know the especially relevant works and your evaluation of them. A list of works with no clear evidence that you have studied them and have opinions about them contributes almost nothing to the proposal.

Which methodologies? Some tutors encourage their students to refer to a range of relevant projects representing various research methodologies; others may prefer you to concentrate on those employing the methodology which you intend to use (e.g. experiments or field studies). Where you have been advised to review studies representing different methodologies, do not over-represent any single methodology unless it represents that which you intend to use.

Not enough literature? If you find that very little seems to exist which is closely related to your topic you should discuss this with your supervisor. In such a case the most obvious options would be either to widen the net to include less closely-related studies or to reduce the length of the review. However, you should make quite sure that your search for relevant papers and books has been adequate.

How long? The length of a literature review varies but, for a thesis, the review of literature must be extensive, because it has to begin at a general level and narrow down to a very specific one. Unlike journal article writers, you must make a display of your knowledge. It is important that you are able to provide an integrated overview of your field of study. This means that you show awareness of the most important and relevant theories, models, studies and methodologies.

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A literature review is not just a summary You are not just making a summary of the literature you have read, but a conceptually organised synthesis of the results of your search. You should organise information and relate it to the research question/viewpoint you are developing synthesise results into a summary of what is and what isnt known identify controversy when it appears in the literature develop questions for further research It is also important to keep your audience in mind. Your mentors will expect you to show not only that you understand the basic concepts related to your topic, but also that you are aware of any additional or opposing points of view, data etc. For the proposal, not every piece of research needs to be evaluated. However, providing some kind of evaluative commentary gives the impression of an intelligent and organizing mind at work. If you can make such an impression, this will substantially contribute towards your research positioning1.

Basic Evaluation Techniques There are two simple strategies which can successfully be used to reveal your viewpoint of the literature (your 'stance'). One is to provide a closing assessment that focuses on shortcomings in the existing body of literature or suggests future directions. [See text box] Example closing assessment: Overall, researchers seem to agree with the importance of real-life context in engineering communication courses. Despite the apparent consensus about what to teach, there still remains the problem of how to teach. Researchers have tried various methods to teach engineers how to communicate and each method appears to be successful for a specific purpose and a special population. Considering that the effectiveness of a specific method depends on some moderating variables, future studies should focus on the effects of these moderating parameters, such as the purposes of the course, educational and cultural settings, and target population.

'Positioning' of the research writer means: the way in which s/he creates in writing a credible image as a competent member of the chosen discipline.

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Another strategy is to open the Literature Review with a general assessment. Some examples: There have been surprisingly few studies on .... The 1990s saw an upsurge of interest in .... To date, studies on .... are scattered, poorly controlled, and have had very small sample sizes. One impressive feature of the literature on .... is its international scope. There have been a surprisingly large number of studies devoted to the specialized topic of .... Thirdly, you could opt to apply some adjectives when describing individual papers or research in your review, eg; short, large-scale, preliminary, early, quantitative, limited.

Key points You must impose some order on the material of your literature, not least to prove you have an organizing mind You must exhibit some appropriate level of evaluation

Language Focus Common verb forms for the Literature Review section: present tense

When a scientific paper has been validly published in a primary journal, it thereby becomes knowledge. Therefore, whenever you quote previously published work, ethics requires you to treat that work with respect. You do this by using the present tense. For example, it is correct to say "Streptomycin inhibits the growth of M. tuberculosis (ref)". So, whenever you cite or discuss previous work, use the present tense because you are quoting established knowledge just as you would say "The Earth is round".
Note: Your own present work must be referred to mainly in the past tense. Only established knowledge is treated as fact and hence written in the present tense. Your work is not presumed to be established knowledge until after it has been published.

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1.3

CITING

One of the most important aspects of academic writing is making use of the ideas of other people. This is important as you need to show that you have understood the materials that you have studied and that you can use these ideas and findings in your own way. There are several reasons why we refer to literature:
1. You need to show that you are aware of the major areas of thought in your specific subject. This allows you to show how your contribution fits in, by correcting previous research, filling gaps, adding support or extending current research or thinking. 2. You need to support the points you are making by referring to other people's work. This will strengthen your argument. The main way to do this is to cite authors that agree with the points you are making. You can, however, cite authors who do not agree with your points, as long as you explain why they are wrong. Do not make a statement that will cause your reader to ask, "Who says?" 3. You must not present another person's words, ideas, illustrations, etc as your own, so you need to say where they are from.

To do this you can either paraphrase if you want to keep the length the same, summarise if you want to make the text shorter, or synthesise if you need to use information from several sources. Do not forget, though, that the central line of argument, the main voice, should be your own. This means that you will need to comment on or evaluate any other works that you use. If you do not do this, you will be accused of not being critical or analytical enough, or of not producing a clear argument. (See Avoiding Plagiarism handout, section on Referring
Verbs)

Avoid plagiarism
Failure to acknowledge sources is plagiarism, and this is regarded as a very serious offence! It is not simply 'bad manners'; plagiarism is theft and may infringe the laws of copyright. Large sections of copied text are quite easy for tutors to spot and will be rejected or failed. Make sure you do not suffer from accidental plagiarism always acknowledge the source! See the handout Avoiding Plagiarism for specific advice on how to paraphrase texts See the Librarys Referencing Guidelines for a detailed explanation of how to make references to texts using the Unesco-IHE house-style. [Find these on: intranet->academic affairs->English support]

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There are two ways in which you can refer to, or cite, another person's work: a) by paraphrasing or b) by direct quotation. a) Paraphrasing This simply means reporting the other writer's ideas in your own words. To acknowledge the source, use one of the following types of in-text references: integral
According to Peters (1983) evidence from first language acquisition indicates that lexical phrases are learnt first as unanalysed lexical chunks. Evidence from first language acquisition indicating that lexical phrases are learnt first as unanalysed lexical chunks was given by Peters (1983).

OR non-integral
Evidence from first language acquisition (Peters 1983) indicates that lexical phrases are learnt first as unanalysed lexical chunks. Lexical phrases are learnt first as unanalysed lexical chunks (Peters 1983).

depending on whether or not the name of the cited author is part of the sentence.
In References list: Peters A (1983) The units of language acquisition. Cambridge University Press.

b) Direct Quotation Occasionally you may want to quote another author's words exactly. For example:
Hillocks (1982) similarly reviews dozens of research findings. He writes, "The available research suggests that teaching by written comment on compositions is generally ineffective".
In References list: Hillocks G (1982) The interaction of instruction, teacher comment, and revision in teaching the composing process. Research in the Teaching of English, 16: 261-278.

Keep quotations as brief as possible and quote only when it is necessary. You must always have a good reason for using a quote and feeling unable to paraphrase or summarise is never a good reason. Your literature review should be a synthesis of information from sources, expressed in your own words, not a collection of quotations. The quote should support your point, by quoting evidence or giving examples or illustrating. It should not repeat information or disagree with your point.

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Reasons for using quotations: 1. quote if you copy another person's words: you must not present another person's words as your own 2. you need to support your points, quoting is one way to do this 3. quote if the language used in the quotation says what you want to say particularly well Reasons for not using quotations: 1. do not quote if the information is well-known in your subject area 2. do not use a quotation that disagrees with your argument unless you can prove it is wrong 3. do not quote if you cannot understand the meaning of the original source 4. do not use quotations to make your points for you; use them to support your points

When you are using a direct quotation of a single phrase or sentence, quotation marks should be used around the words, which must be quoted exactly as they are in the original. However, note the following:
1. You may wish to omit some of the authors original words that are not relevant to your writing. In this case, use three dots (...) to indicate where you have omitted words. If you omit any of the authors original words, make sure you do not change the meaning. He stated, "The placebo effect, ... disappeared when behaviours were studied in this manner" (Smith 1982), but he did not clarify which behaviours were studied. 2. If you need to insert material (additions or explanations) into a quotation, use brackets, [...]. Smith (1982) found that "the placebo effect, which had been verified in previous studies, disappeared when [his own and others] behaviours were studied in this manner". 3. If the material quoted already contains a quotation, use single quotation marks for the original quotation .... He stated, "The placebo effect, ... disappeared when behaviours were studied in this manner" (Smith 1982), but he did not clarify which behaviours were studied.
In References list: Smith G (1982) The placebo effect. Psychology Today, 18:273-278

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Referencing FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q
A

How can I refer to a document which is cited within the book I am reading?
This is known as a secondary reference as you have not seen the original source yourself. You should refer to the secondary document, then say Cited in: followed by the reference for the literature you are reading. Eg:

According to CBI (1989) as cited in Bluck et al. (1994),


CBI (1989) Towards a skills revolution: a youth charter. Confederation of British Industry, London. Cited in: Bluck R, Hilton A, and Noon P (1994) Information skills in academic libraries: a teaching and learning role in higher education. SEDA Paper 82. Staff and Educational Development Association, Birmingham, p.39
TIP: Secondary references are not popular with professors. Try to get hold of the original whenever possible.

Q
A

If a work has more than one author, how do I choose which name to use first?
Copy the way this has been done on the original book or article, ie use the names in the same order as they are printed on the cover. You should not rearrange a group of joint authors into alphabetical order.

Q
A

What if I want to refer to more than one work written by the same author?
Place separate entries in your list of references in date order, starting with the earliest date. For example:

Philips J (1992) ...... Philips J (1996) ...... Philips J (2003) ......


Q
A

What if I am using different works by the same author published in the same year?
Add suffixes a, b, c, etc to the date of publication. For example: In-text In References

(Smith 2007a) (Smith 2007b)


Q
A

Smith AL (2007a) ...... Smith AL (2007b) ......

Supposing a lot of my writing refers to the same piece of literature? In the text, do I have to keep repeating the reference after each sentence or paragraph?
No. Try to group ideas from one book or article and only put in the reference at the end of a group of sentences or paragraph. If you insert one or more paragraphs of your own ideas and then another paragraph referring to the same author again, you could use (Ibid), meaning in the same place. This is only used to avoid repeating an authors name where the reference is from exactly the same work as the immediately previous one. Use sparingly!

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STAGE TWO: The Thesis

In this section we consider how to plan and organise writing the thesis. Advice is given first on overall planning and structure of chapters generally, and second on the content and organization of each part of your thesis, including guidelines on how to make your ideas as clear as possible to your potential audience.

2.1

CHAPTERS AND STRUCTURE

Sequence and Planning TASK: Consider how best to organise the research-writing relationship. Number the following tasks in chronological order. If you think two things should be done concurrently, then use the same number. Please add any items you feel are missing! Writing a proposal Writing the abstract Listing references Writing the materials and methods section Writing up the results section Performing and writing up experiments Researching literature/writing a literature review Writing the introduction Revising and editing Planning a work and writing schedule Writing the discussion Writing up the conclusions Have you already planned all of these things into your research schedule? Give an approximate idea of how much time you think you should spend on each. So, the sequence of writing is very different from the final sequence of chapters in your thesis. Chapter two arranges the chapters according to their sequence of presentation in your final draft, but you should refer to each section as and when you need to. 2 1 2

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2.1.1 Make a good start with your writing You should start writing as soon as you can. There are a number of reasons for this. The most obvious one is that the writing will take a long time and the sooner you get started the better. However, there are a number of other aspects of writing that are important. Firstly, writing is a skill that develops and improves with practice. You will probably find that your first sections of writing take a long time and need a lot of revision and re-writing. In fact, it is very likely that you will drop some of your earlier efforts. However, over time you will become better and the quality of your writing will improve. Secondly, it is important to write things as you do them. You should be able to write the first draft of your Background chapter almost as soon as you start the project. Similarly, the Literature Review can be adapted from your Proposal, and added to as you read more. The Methodology chapter can be drafted as soon as you have decided what you are going to do. The advantage of this is that the thinking you have done is still fresh in your mind. This does not mean that you will not need to rework these chapters but at least you will have a good first draft of what you want to say. Thirdly, getting an early first draft of some of the chapters is a good thing to do psychologically. You will feel you are making progress and will have something to show for your efforts. Fourthly, and most importantly, is recognising that thinking and writing are very strongly connected. By writing you will be forced to get your ideas sorted into a logical order and to clarify why you think what you do. You will need to bring the evidence forward to back up your ideas. This means that as you write, your ideas and thinking will improve and develop. It will also raise new questions in your mind, which you will be able to go back to the literature or data to check and work through. Be prepared to write a first draft and a second draft of each chapter together with several drafts of the whole thesis before having a final draft of the whole work. How can I develop my writing? The only really effective way to improve your writing is to practise, and you will see your own skills develop as you progress through the work. Your tutor will give you some feedback on your writing each time you submit a draft of a section. There are three other approaches you can use to improve: Read as much as you can. Reading journals will make you increasingly familiar with good (and poor) academic writing style. Share your writing with friends and fellow students and give each other feedback on style, grammar, English language and academic writing. Refer back to the academic writing course you did earlier in the year. Build on the skills and techniques you learnt then.

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2.1.2

Overview of the thesis

Consider the sections of the thesis listed in the left-hand column and the corresponding list of possible purposes on the right. It is essential that you structure your thesis in such a way that you take the reader from the aim to the conclusions in the clearest possible way. Section of thesis Title page Abstract Purpose(s) To identify and locate thesis To provide a short overview of thesis (about 250 words). It summarises the problem and its importance, principal methods, results and recommendations so that potential readers can quickly assess essence/relevance of the work. To thank those who have helped in producing the thesis. To provide a detailed overview of thesis; to guide potential readers to relevant sections.

Acknowledgements Table of contents

List of symbols and/or To provide a detailed overview of all symbols and abbrevabbreviations [optional] iations used and a clear explanation of their meaning. Introduction Simply, to introduce the research. To outline the problem you intend to investigate, to state the aim of the research, to limit the scope of your investigation and then to provide an overview of what lies ahead. To position your study in the context of what has gone before, what is currently taking place (state-of-the-art research), and how research in the area is conducted. It may begin with a historical review or describe the study area and its characteristics. It will also review current theory or practice.

Background/ Literature Review

Materials and methods To demonstrate how the work was done, using a valid method; to validate your results; to enable others to reproduce your results accurately. Results To display and describe the data obtained; to present the data in compact form; to enable the reader to see if your hypotheses have been tested or your questions answered. 30

Discussion

Discusses the results their meaning and importance (implications); to compare and relate results to other work, both theoretical and experimental in your field; to raise any further area of enquiry the results (or lack of them) suggest. To draw conclusions from your whole research project; to indicate how you have fulfilled the aim stated in the introduction. To acknowledge all sources cited, to enable others to verify/continue your work.

Conclusions

References

NB: Alternative structures are possible! You will need to adapt this information to suit your discipline and your topic. See also Appendix 2 for a different format.

2.1.3

Individual Chapter Structure

Just as the thesis itself must be properly structured to ensure that the reader always knows exactly what is going on, so must individual chapters. Why is a particular chapter there? What is its function in the thesis? You must make this absolutely clear. The best way to ensure this is to write a formal introduction to every chapter. Follow this with the main contents of the chapter itself, then a formal conclusion. A formal introduction is a short section at the beginning of each chapter, which typically has just three short paragraphs, each with a specific function as shown in the text box. Paragraph 1: create a link back to earlier parts of the thesis, especially the previous chapter, to make it obvious why we need the chapter, where it contributes to the logic flow of the whole thesis. Paragraph 2: crystallize this by stating the aim of the chapter, what function it is to perform in the thesis. Paragraph 3: outline how you intend to achieve this aim. This third paragraph often has a table of contents style that many writers assume is enough for a chapter introduction. However, it is only one part of the introduction, and without the other two parts the reader may struggle for a sense of direction. Also, the reader needs more than only the contents of the chapter, s/he needs a logical connection between the various sections. 31

Paragraph 3 of the introduction could follow, for example, a listing structure: - First, the history of the delta will be reviewed... - Secondly, the theory of barrage works will be examined... - Thirdly, the most interesting developments will be analysed... - And finally... A chapter introduction should ideally list your key words and section headings, so that the reader has a kind of sign-posting system through the text.

EXAMPLE OF AN INTRODUCTION SECTION FROM A TYPICAL BACKGROUND CHAPTER Chapter 3 A Different Approach: Privatisation One of the more important observations of Chapter 2 was that privatisation is spreading worldwide, both in developed and developing countries, as an alleged response to the problem of delivery of housing (including infrastructure) in large cities. Therefore it is likely to be prominent in any proposal for improving housing delivery in developing countries. For this reason it is important to understand what privatisation is, and why and how it is being applied to urban housing. Section 3.1 defines privatisation. It then discusses the reason why governments are turning to it, and examines how it is being used and what effects it has had. Section 3.2 reviews its application to the housing sector. Section 3.3 examines the implications of these applications for housing delivery in developing countries.
[Source: Sivam A 1999. An Approach to Improved Housing Delivery in Large Cities of Less Developed Countries, PhD, University of Melbourne]

After the introduction comes the main body of the chapter. Its precise contents and structure will depend on the type of chapter you are writing and the type of research you are reporting. Nevertheless, it is important that the chapter flows logically from its purpose, as stated in its introduction, to its conclusions.

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Every chapter in a thesis should have a conclusion (with the possible exception of descriptive chapters and the discussion). The reader needs to have a sense of what has been achieved, what is established now that wasnt established at the beginning of the chapter. And the conclusion should respond to the stated aim of the chapter. Beware: summaries are not conclusions. A summary states what you found out, whereas a conclusion states the significance or implications of what you found out. So, a conclusion has to respond to the statement of purpose of the chapter, whereas a summary is just a shorter version of what is in the chapter. Finally, throughout each chapter, remember that long unbroken passages of text are difficult to follow: it is better to write shorter one-idea paragraphs and use plenty of white space; again this is reader-friendly. However, format should reflect your logic and not just be breaks in the text to make it look interesting! Good paragraphing is supposed to help guide your reader through your text.

KEY POINTS Apply an organised structure to each chapter: a formal introduction (link/aim/contents) the main body a conclusion Write short one-idea paragraphs

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2.2 THE ABSTRACT


The abstract should be viewed as a mini-version of your thesis and is a very important document for both specialist and non-specialist readers. It is intended to outline the whole of your work so that busy readers can quickly discover the main essence of your research. It should introduce the research topic, describe the methodology used, the main results, and major conclusions. A well-written abstract is the best means of convincing the right people to read your report. An Economy of Words The abstract is almost always the first part of a thesis any reader will look at. Therefore, it is of great importance that it be written clearly and simply. Readers are often inclined to make a judgement of your thesis after reading the abstract alone! The general concensus is: A good abstract is followed by a good thesis; a poor abstract is an indication of poor work to come.

Purposes and functions of the abstract: 1. Its a screening device; readers decide whether they want to read your thesis or not. 2. It can be read as an independent text; researchers may never read the article but keep the abstract on file because of the interesting data it may contain. 3. It provides a preview, preparing the reader for the main points to come. 4. It facilitates indexing in libraries and institutions. Therefore, it usually contains some or all of the following: A description of the problem and aim A short description of the methodology used An outline of the main results An outline of the major conclusions

Abstracts describe complex scientific research in very few words and, therefore, must be extremely concise. The abstract should never give any information or conclusion which is not already stated in the thesis. Similarly, references to literature should not be cited in the abstract.

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Note how the use of tense marks the four distinct 'moves' in this abstract:
A.J. Boulton, J.H. Bowker, M. Gadia, J. Lemrman, K. Caswell, J.S. Skyler and J.M. Sosenko (1986). Use of Plaster Casts in the Management of Diabetic Neuropathic Foot Ulcers. Diabetes Care 9(2):149-152 Neuropathic foot ulceration is a major medical and economic problem among diabetic patients, and the traditional treatment involves bed rest with complete freedom from weight bearing [1]. We have investigated the use of walking plaster casts in the management of seven diabetic patients with long-standing, chronic foot ulcers [2]. Although all ulcers healed in a median time of six weeks, this therapy was not without side effects [3]. We conclude that casting is a useful therapy for neuropathic ulcers, although several clinic visits, including cast removal and foot inspection, are necessary to avoid potential side effects caused by the casting of insensitive feet [4]. KEY WORDS: Surgical Casts, Foot Diseases, Diabetic Neuropathies, Skin Ulcer Therapy

Language Focus The function of each sentence is clearly marked by the use of different verb tenses. [1] and [4] Present tense: broad statements, not connected to a particular time frame [2] Present perfect: to link the background information to this particular study [3] Past simple: to describe specific results that occurred at a specific time

Try to be particularly careful in writing the abstract of your thesis. Often, abstracts from institutions are published in Dissertation Abstracts, and thus are available to a wider scientific community. Your early reputation and perhaps your job prospects may relate to the quality of your thesis. A clearly written, concise abstract will help get you off to a good start.

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2.3 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The important element in Acknowledgements is simple courtesy. If you borrowed a colleagues computer or friends bicycle, you would remember to say 'thank you' for it. It is the same in science: if your supervisor/colleague(s) provided important ideas, supplies or equipment, you should thank them in print. Firstly, you should acknowledge any significant technical help that you received from any individual, whether in your laboratory or elsewhere. You should also acknowledge the source of any special equipment or other materials. Secondly, in this section you should acknowledge any outside financial assistance, such as grants, contracts, or fellowships.

Take care Before submitting the final draft, it would be wise to show the Acknowledgements to the person(s) whose help you are acknowledging. He or she might believe your acknowledgement is insufficient or too passionate. If you have been working so closely with that person, then they are most likely a friend or valued colleague. It would be very unfortunate to risk either your friendship or opportunities for future collaboration by printing something which could be perceived as offensive. Furthermore, if your acknowledgement relates to an idea, suggestion, or interpretation, be very specific about it. If your colleague's input is too broadly stated, he or she could well be placed in the sensitive and embarrassing position of having to defend the entire paper. Indeed, your colleague may not agree with some of your central points, and it is not good ethics for you to phrase the Acknowledgements in such a way that seemingly represents their approval.

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2.4 INTRODUCTION
It is widely recognised that writing the introduction can be troublesome for both native and non-native speakers of English since it must present a great deal of information in a relatively short space. Here are some guidelines that may help you in organising the information in your introduction.

A typical basic format for introductions is as follows: 1. A clear statement of the problem identify and define the problem/research topic explain why it is important (significance)

2.

A statement of purpose what is your overall aim (research question)? [optional: very brief] type of investigation or type of response to problem (methodology/approach)

3.

State scope and give an overview of the study establish the limits of your study: what does it include and what are the limitations (scope*)? what was done (eg. This report aims to show ..) [possibly: state the principal findings and conclusions] tell your readers where to find what: an overview of the contents**

* Scope. Make sure that you establish the limits of your study. What is the main focus? What is not included? ** Sketch out how the thesis is structured. Avoid producing a bare list of chapter headings: instead, explain the purpose of each chapter and show how they are logically interlinked. So, rather than a list, a flowing section of sentences (or paragraphs) should be written to explain why each chapter is necessary and how the various parts relate to each other.

In order for writers to gain acceptance and recognition, an organisational pattern following three 'moves' has been suggested for introductions to research papers/theses, as can be seen in the following table.

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Moves in Research Paper Introductions Move 1 Establishing a research territory a. by showing that the general research area is important, central,
interesting, problematic, or relevant in some way. b. by introducing and reviewing items of previous research in the area.

EXAMPLE: Freshwater fisheries in Africa provide food for an estimated 20% of the continent's population (O'Keeffe, 2009). Lake Billabong in central Africa provides livelihoods to 5000 fishermen, but in the past 10 years, the fish catch has declined to less than half its previous level. Move 2 Establishing a niche*
a. by indicating a gap in previous research, raising a question about it, or extending previous knowledge in some way.

EXAMPLE: Reasons for this decline are unclear, but Snodgrass (2008) has documented a deterioration of water quality in the lake, and he suggested that this may be the reason for reduced fish populations. Move 3 Occupying the niche
a. by outlining purposes or stating the nature of the present research.
b. [PERHAPS: by announcing principal findings]

c. by indicating the structure of the research paper

EXAMPLE: This project will investigate Snodgrass' (2008) hypothesis, by examining fishing records over the past decade in relation to changes in water quality in heavily populated areas compared to a protected area in a national park. In addition, laboratory experiments will be conducted to investigate the effect of increased phosphates on breeding success in cichlid fish species endemic to Lake Billabong.
* In ecology, a niche is a particular microenvironment where a particular organism can thrive. In this case, a niche is a context where a particular piece of research makes particularly good sense. [Source: Swales & Feak, 1994, Academic Writing for Graduate Students, University of Michigan Press]

From the table we can see how, generally speaking, Move 1 focuses on 'what is the problem (hence can be related to the 'problem statement') and what has been done' while Move 2 establishes the motivation for the study. Move 2 is a key part of the introduction and can be either very short or quite complicated. By the end of Move 2, the reader should already have a good idea of what to expect in Move 3. Move 3 focuses on 'what the present research is about'. The writer can choose a purposive style: indicate the main purpose(s), or a descriptive style: describe the main feature(s) of the research.

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Developing a Problem Statement Once you have decided what you want to say, you need to try to attract the attention of your audience. One of the best ways to start your communication is by writing a clear and concise statement of the problem, which underlines the relevance of the research to your reader. By stating your problem in the form of two conflicting statements linked by a signal word, you will 'hook' your reader into reading your thesis further to the solution.
OUTLINE OF AN INTRODUCTION BY PROBLEM DEFINITION A perception, fact, value expectation or belief but but however although in contrast in spite of, etc B perception, fact, value, expectation or belief

It has been suggested that the reduction in fishery catch from Lake Billabong may be linked to increasing nutrient concentrations causing eutrophication and lowering DO concentrations.

Although cichlid fish are known to be sensitive to low DO levels,

there has as yet been no direct evidence to show that higher nutrient concentrations are the cause of the reduced catch.

As you can see from the figure above, the conflicting terms may be perceptions, beliefs, facts, values or expectations. Frequently, an external fact or perception conflicts with a fact or belief in our mind: this A-but-B tension forms the basis of an effective problem statement. Obviously, if you use this form to identify a problem for your audience, the two terms must really conflict, otherwise your introduction will make no sense at all.

Example Problem Statement, from an MSc on Ignition of Brown Coal Particles Over half the energy used in the world today is obtained from coal, mostly through the combustion of pulverized coal. Despite a great accumulation of empirical information since the first trials in 1818, very little has been discovered about the detailed mechanism of the combustion of pulverized coal. In Victoria, the indigenous brown coal is being used to provide much of the states energy, mostly through the combustion of pulverized brown coal in power station boilers. Although the first such trials were carried out in the 1920s, no study of the fundamentals of pulverized brown coal combustion has been reported. This represents a serious gap in the knowledge required for the efficient use of pulverized brown coal.

See 2.5.3 for an example of a detailed Problem Statement and Research Questions

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Revising your introduction It is necessary to revise the introductory chapter as you make new discoveries in your work. During a research project it is quite normal to revise an aim, narrow or expand the scope of study, and so on. Your aim can change as you go along, or your work may no longer lie within the scope you first established. Also, your thinking will become more sophisticated as you gain confidence and authority through experience. For this reason, it is strongly recommended to revise your Introduction regularly. Stay aware when you change direction and revise your Introduction to take account of those changes: check and refine the problem statement and objectives, add or delete limitations to the scope of study and think about the overall structure. Although you may write the thesis over a period of weeks or months, the examiners will read it over a period of a few days and any discrepancies between the aim, the content and the conclusions will be very obvious to them.

Language Focus
Much of the introduction should be in the present tense, especially parts which emphasise previously established knowledge. For example, typical sentences might be: Streptomycin is an antibiotic produced by Streptomyces griseus. This antibiotic inhibits the growth of certain other strains of Streptomyces. The effect of streptomycin on S. everycolor is reported in this paper. The verb tense used in the 'purpose statement' depends on whether you refer to your work by: 1a. Referring to the type of text thesis, research paper, report, etc or 2a. Referring to the type of investigation investigation, study, survey, etc 1b. If you choose to refer to the type of text, you must use the present tense. If you write "The aim of this thesis was to ....." it suggests that you are referring to an original aim that has now changed. If you choose to refer to the type of investigation you can use the past (was) or the present (is). However, many writers now opt for the present, since it makes the research seem relevant and fresh and new.

2b.

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2.5

BACKGROUND and LITERATURE REVIEW

Depending on the nature of the thesis, the background chapter (or chapters) may take many different forms. However, its function is always the same: to provide the context for your own work. The three most common types of background chapter are: Descriptive material to locate study areas in space, time or culture (historical, geographical or other types of description of your study area; reviews of existing practice in the field of research) Reviews of existing theory or practice (reviews of theories or ideas about your research topic developed by other researchers), also known as Literature Review Preliminary investigations can help you formulate hypotheses for the major research to follow. If you have used surveys or experiments to test results or theories of earlier research, you could report the work as one of the Background sections. You may have one or more of these, depending on the type of research you are doing. For descriptive material, it can be difficult to know how much to include (to sufficiently inform your reader) and how much to leave out (what they may know already or may be irrelevant). As a rule, only include material that the reader needs in order to understand what will follow do not include anything in your main text if it is going to disrupt the development of your logic; instead, put it in an appendix.

2.5.1 Literature Review for the Thesis First of all, a warning: Most proposal writers tend to believe that when their research is finished, they can simply cut the Literature Review from the proposal and paste it into the thesis dissertation. In the vast majority of cases this strategy will be unsuccessful!. First, during the research process additional items from the literature will be discovered. Second, new research will likely be published during the research period. Third, the scope and direction of your research may well have changed. Last, and most important, you now have a body of research findings and this will affect how you view previous research: you are now in a position to make a critical review of the literature.

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Critical Review of the Literature

So, only once you have done some work of your own, will it be possible to be critical in the sense implied by a critical review of the literature. How do you convert your initial survey into a critical review of existing theory which will lead logically into the work that you design and undertake yourself? A review of current theory has three functions: To situate the topic, it gives the background information required to contextualize the extent and significance of your research problem To establish a gap, it identifies and discusses attempts by others to solve similar problems It provides examples of methods they have employed in attempts to solve these problems. Make sure you deal with all of these. A thesis is written for a committee of experts who know the field. Its purpose is to convince them that you know the field as well. You must show them that your topic represents an original contribution to knowledge, no matter how minor. Therefore, you must first situate your topic: you must demonstrate familiarity with all of the current knowledge related to that topic, then identify an interesting issue within that body of knowledge. As you read, you should write: the very act of writing will force you to come to grips with conflicting ideas and focus your attention on the most important arguments. You will gain a sense of what parts of the previous research are leading you towards possible ways of dealing with your problem. Now your survey should lead up to some problem or gap in previous work into which you can situate your particular project. You need to show how your work fits into the larger scheme of things, how it builds on previous work and goes beyond it, how it is original and contributes to knowledge in the field. Throughout the second section of your review, interweave various studies to build up the argument that the problem you are tackling is not yet solved and still raises some complex (and unanswered) questions. Eventually, you will come to an understanding of the most recent thinking in the field. At that point, briefly summarize the main points that await research. This summary should set the ground for the questions or hypotheses that you will identify in your chapter on design of your own research (materials and methods). These are the gaps that you will be trying to fill with your own work.

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In the final part of the review you should examine the approaches others used in trying to solve the problem, and where appropriate, point out the limitations to those approaches. Your review should lead to an understanding of which methods can be used to achieve solutions to your problem. You will draw on this in your next chapter, where you select appropriate methods for your own research. After setting the scene through your Literature Review, you could now choose to follow it with a detailed account of the Problem Statement, describing your specific research topic your Research Questions, which should be specific and measurable or Hypotheses, on which you are basing your research These can be presented as sections within the Background chapter, or even be presented as separate chapters. This approach could be useful if you chose to give only a concise overview of the problem and aim in your Introduction chapter. See the example text on pages 49-50 for inspiration.

Reference Management Keep a careful record of your sources and references as you read. If you do not do this properly as you go along, you will find you have an almost impossible task at the end trying to identify them. IHE has software on the computer network (Endnote) to enable you to manage references. Learn how to use this before you start your literature review and your writing, and then use it carefully when you complete your thesis you will be very grateful that you did this.

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2.5.2 Step-by-step process of writing a literature review

Brainstorm

Ask yourself questions to get as clear a picture as possible about exactly what you are going to do. Think about: the purpose your viewpoint your audience (what are the criteria for the writing?) (what is my position/opinion regarding the topic?) (what ideas of my own will the reviewer expect to see?) List all the ideas you want to include in the literature study

Scan read

Pick out the most relevant books and articles by scan reading first: scan introductions to find the authors position; scan conclusions to find a summary of the argument, reasoning and evidence; scan beginnings and endingss of chapters. Identify the authors position: what does the text want you to do, think, accept or believe? Look for sets of reasons that are used to support conclusions. Identify the theoretical perspective: the authors analysis of literature should draw out the theories which have influenced the research. Use clear headings in your notes to help you find what you need; use notes to reflect on what you have read*. Categorising texts, eg according to theoretical position, helps us to: refer to sets of information as a group, hence understand and remember it better, and gives clearly organized writing; track how one piece of research builds on previous research; understand why further research on a topic has been done. Critically analyse, reflect, question, judge, and recombine ideas and information into an argument [See critical notes form, next page] Develop a position/point of view and create an outline Write individual reviews of books and articles chosen Using your reviews, synthesise these with your opinions and experience to start forming chapters or sections From draft paper to final version, test read, revise and edit

Find the Argument

Take notes

Sort

Evaluate

Outline Review Synthesise

Revise

* Questions for reflection Do the reasons support the argument? Is there any supporting evidence? Does it fit what other people say about the subject? Is this relevant and useful to my current purpose? How does this add to previous research on the subject? Are there any flaws in this?

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Concise critical notes: Analysing argument


Names of author(s)/source Title of book Web-site address Date and/or time Publisher Volume of journal Authors position/ theoretical position? Essential Background information Overall argument Or hypothesis Conclusion Supporting reasons 1 2 3 4 Strengths of the line of reasoning and supporting evidence 5 6 7 8

Date downloaded Edition Place published Issue

Flaws in the argument and gaps or other weaknesses in the argument and supporting evidence

[Source: Cottrell S (2005) Critical Thinking Skills, Palgrave Macmillan Ltd]

With this form, there is deliberately very little space for general background. Instead, the form guides you to make a close analysis of the contribution that the research findings or methodology make towards advancing knowledge within the subject area. The form puts the emphasis on your analysis rather than on background information. Recommended: See the Critical Thinking book for similar forms which provide models for critical note-making when reading books (p156), and articles and papers (p157).

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2.5.3 Example Texts Detailed Problem Statement One way to structure a problem statement could be like this: What is the problem? (see paragraph 1) What is thought to be the cause of the problem? What is the hypothesis? (see paragraph 2) What evidence is there that this is the cause (hypothesis), and what is missing? (see paragraphs 2 and 3) So what needs to be done? What research is necessary to support or disprove the hypothesis? (see paragraph 4)

Over 5000 fishermen and their families depend for their livelihoods on the fish caught from Lake Billabong, and a further 100 000 people depend for at least part of their food supply on the lake fish. However, the supply of fish has been declining for the past 10 years, and according to the fisheries records (Department of fisheries, 2009) is now less than half what it was in 2000. During the same period, water quality records indicate that, at least in the parts of the lake adjacent to high density urban areas, there has been a significant deterioration in water quality. In particular, phosphates have increased from an average of 0.1 mg/l in 2000 to 0.8 mg/l, with maximum concentrations reaching 2.8 mg/l in some areas (Department of Water Affairs, 2010). Snodgrass (2008) has suggested that the elevated nutrient concentrations may be the cause of the declining fish catch. He hypothesizes that the increased nutrients result in elevated phytoplankton production. As the algae dies and decomposes, this may be reducing the dissolved oxygen concentration in the lake, a condition observed in many tropical lakes subject to eutrophication (Moss, 1988). The cichlid fish species which make up the majority of the lake fishery are known to be sensitive to low DO levels, which particularly affect breeding success (Skelton, 1999). However, Snodgrass' theory has yet to be supported by direct evidence. He was able to find a correlation between increasing phosphate concentrations and decreasing fishery catch (Snodgrass, 2008), but no research has yet been done to demonstrate the causative links between the elevated nutrient, increased algal growth, decreased DO and reduced cichlid breeding success.

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While it is important to restore the fishery yield, reducing nutrient input to the lake would be an expensive and time-consuming operation, requiring improved sewerage in urban areas, and more efficient use of fertilisers in agricultural areas. Before embarking on such a course, it is therefore important to be confident that this is in fact the most likely cause of the reduced fish catch. The focus of this research project will therefore be to test whether there is a direct causative link between the increased nutrients and the decreasing fishery.

From the above Problem Statement, emerge the Detailed Research Questions Overall aim of the research:

To investigate whether increased phosphate concentrations in Lake Billabong could be the main cause of reduced cichlid fish catches.
Detailed questions to be answered:

Are elevated phosphate concentrations causing increased algal growth in areas of the lake receiving either urban waste or agricultural fertiliser? Is the DO level in these areas lower than in protected areas of the lake? Using controlled experiments in laboratory tanks, can it be demonstrated that lower DO levels cause reduced breeding success in Lake cichlids? Do cichlid populations in protected areas of the lake show a higher proportion of gravid females than those in areas next to urban or agricultural areas?

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2.6

MATERIALS AND METHODS

The Materials and Methods section of a thesis is usually the easiest section to write and is often the section that researchers write first. Materials and Methods refers to the choice and use of particular tools and strategies for data gathering and analysis. This section must be written accurately and with sufficient detail so that others can repeat your research or experiments and arrive at the same results. (Avoid the common error of mixing some of the 'Results' in this section.) Some methodologies cover both data gathering and analysis; other methodologies apply either to gathering or to analysing data (although the distinction is not always clear): data-gathering methodologies include interviews, questionnaires and observation for socio-economic fieldwork. For lab-oriented empirical research, all details of applied analytical, physico-chemical and biological methods should be given, including appropriate definitions data analysis methodologies include experimental, simulation, theoretical and statistical analysis There are many varieties of each methodology and the specific methodological tools you are adopting must be made explicit. For example, interviews are often categorized as 'structured', 'semi-structured' or 'open-ended'. You should also mention which other related studies (cited in your literature review) have employed the same methodology. However, the use of the term critical is not usually meant to suggest that you should focus on criticising the work of established researchers. It is meant to indicate that: Finally, this section should include a rationale (justification) for the choice of materials and methods for data gathering and data analysis. (Although, this is not always necessary if you are using standard laboratory methods.) In the rationale you should consider what alternative methodological tools might have been employed (particularly those which related studies have employed), together with their advantages and limitations for the present purpose. Language Focus Common verb forms for the Methods section:
[See example in Appendix 3]

past passive

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2.7 RESULTS
There are usually two ingredients of the Results section. First, you should give some kind of overall description of the experiments, providing the 'big picture', without, however, repeating the details previously provided in Materials and Methods. Second, you should present the data. Your results should be presented in the past tense. Although the Results section may be the most important part of a thesis, it is often the shortest, particularly if it is preceded by a well-written Materials and Methods section and followed by a well-written Discussion. In most cases, the Results section of a research paper simply reports the data that has been collected; all evaluation and commentary of these findings is left until the Discussion section. However, the distinction between these two sections can not always be clearly made and you may find it easier to combine them. TIP: Always check with your mentor for preferences. One way is to present the major generalisations you are making about your data, then to use the results as support for those generalisations, in compact form (claim to proof pattern). The generalisations should be clearly and obviously stated, eg:
Aerated lagoons consistently produce a better quality effluent than do activated sludge processes or anaerobic lagoons."

The supporting data should be presented fully enough so that the reader can evaluate the strength of your generalisations, but succinctly enough so that the data does not overwhelm the generalisations. Remember, further supporting information that is non-essential or disruptively long should be put in appendices. You may also wish to argue the validity of some of your results. The types of commentary you could use for this include: justifying the methodology interpreting the results citing agreement with previous studies* commenting on the data admitting difficulties in interpretation * You should try to relate your findings to those in any related published studies outlined in your literature review. Where your findings differ, you should offer a suggested explanation. 52

Notes on numeric data You should not include raw, undigested research results in this chapter. Instead, include enough of the data in an appendix for the reader to see how you collected it, what form it took, and how you treated it in the process of condensing it for presentation in the results chapter. Similarly, extensive tabular data is usually best confined to appendices: select only the most important tabular data for inclusion in the main body of your text. Where you refer to total numbers it is often useful to include percentages. Display your results in an informative way; consider where it would be useful to employ graphical displays such as charts or diagrams rather than tables. In doing so, make sure that the data you have gathered is displayed in such a way that it is possible for the reader to see whether your hypotheses have been tested or your questions answered. Label tables as 'Table 1.1' etc and all other graphs and diagrams as 'Figure 1.1' etc. Every table or figure requires some comment in the text but avoid simply repeating the data: help the reader to notice and understand patterns or trends in the data.

NB Take care of the numbering! All tables and figures should start with the same number as the chapter, followed by their own numerical designation. Thus, figures in chapter one will be numbered: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, etc, figures in chapter two: 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, etc, figures in chapter three will be: 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, and so on. The same numbering system should, of course, be used for tables.

Thus, the only major pitfall to be avoided is overwhelming your reader with data. Be selective and put all your other fascinating tables and graphs in appendices.

Language Focus In this section, you focus on the results of various actions, rather than the people who performed the action. Therefore use the passive to focus on the results. (see appendix 3 for more info). Common verb forms for the Results section: past passive

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2.8 THE DISCUSSION


The Discussion section explains the implications of your results. It involves the most creative part of your writing, since you still have to compare the results of your own work with what you might have expected from existing theory to see what new ideas will emerge. One function of the discussion chapter is to respond to the aim you set in the introductory chapter. Also, the Discussion should present a kind of 'mirror image' of the Introduction: in it you narrowed down the scope of your work to focus on your particular problem, now you are expected to broaden out the scope again, that is to re-situate it. You can do this by fitting your results into the context of the field, by relating your results to other work, both theoretical and experimental. This is where you can emphasise the significance of your work, showing how it contributes to the advancement of the field, by 1) 2) relating your findings to the problem statement and aim given in the Introduction; describing the implications of your work for future research.

You should also acknowledge any limitations in your research, if you fail to do so, you could jeopardise your credibility. However, if you evaluate your work carefully and methodically, it should serve to advance your field in some way. Make clear any limitations by answering these questions: what are the limitations of your data? to what extent are your findings specific to a particular context? in what ways is your interpretation of these findings related to your own theoretical assumptions? Your review of earlier studies, combined with your own work, will also have made you aware of the limitations of current research methods and procedures, and you are now in a position to suggest ways to improve them. Consider: what insights into the problem does your study seem to offer? what could others learn from your study? what would you do now if you were starting again, and why?

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Consider what the philosopher John Platt has to say about the importance of a rigorous discussion. Which of his questions do you think could possibly apply to your work?
What do you say in an adequate Discussion? How do you establish the importance of your work for the advancement of your field? If you can, you argue that your work is a crucial experiment, disproving some hypothesis or supporting another. Notice that this view encourages the reporting and discussion of negative results. For example: "Hypothesis A predicted that I would find Y, but I did not. This result questions the validity of hypothesis A or indicates its inadequacy." Such a statement might save researchers from wasting years of needless effort. In arguing that your work is important, ideally because it is a crucial experiment, you typically consider some or all of the following questions: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Were your results expected? If not, why not? What generalisations or claims are you making about your results? How do you interpret these generalisations? Do your results contradict or support other experimental results? Do they suggest other observations or experiments which could be done to confirm, refute, or extend your results? Do your results support or contradict existing theory? Do your results suggest that modifications or extensions need to be made to existing theory? What are they? Could your results lead to any practical applications? What are they?

End the section with a short summary regarding the significance of the work. If this is omitted the readers may be asking themselves "So what?" after reading your Discussion.
NOTE: The Discussion can be combined with the Conclusions section or presented separately you will have to make a choice on how to arrange your data depending on the type of research and the results obtained. Discuss this option with your supervisor.

Language Focus Common verb forms for the Discussion section: present tense a balance of passive and active

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2.9 CONCLUSIONS
You stated the aim of the research project in your first chapter. The Conclusions must indicate how you fulfilled that aim. They should also clearly arise from the argument in the discussion chapter. It is essential to make links between the Introduction and the Conclusions, and also between the Discussion and the Conclusions. (As these are the conclusions to your Discussion, it follows that the discussion chapter does not need its own separate conclusions). During the process of writing your Discussion, a set of conclusions should have emerged in your thoughts. You can now write these down as the conclusions to your research, knowing that you have argued rigorously for all of them, and that you have got them in perspective through your argument. Also, try to arrange them in the same order that they emerge from the discussion, and this will give your Conclusions a logical order and structure. By the time you have reached this stage, you should be feeling a deep sense of satisfaction about the whole thesis!

Some rules about conclusions If the discussion chapter is where you draw together everything you have done in your whole research project (not just your own experiments or surveys, but also your reviews and analyses of the work of others), then you should draw your conclusions solely from the discussion chapter. If you find yourself wishing to include conclusions from earlier chapters that you have not worked over in the discussion, you have probably omitted something important from the discussion. There should be no further discussion in the conclusions chapter. If you find yourself wanting to engage in further discussion, and even still quoting from the literature, you should have incorporated this material in your discussion chapter.

The conclusions should respond to the aim stated in the first chapter. If you take your problem statement and then your aim from your Introduction, and follow these with your Conclusions, the result should be a mini-document that reads logically.

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Summaries are not conclusions. Summaries are a brief account of what you found out; conclusions are a statement of the significance of what you found out what you concluded from it. If you are merely summarizing the argument developed in your discussion chapter, there will be no sense of closure. Also, you will almost certainly have failed to respond to the aim of the whole project.

Conclusions should be crisp and concise. It is important that the Conclusions are stated as clearly as possible, since for many readers it will be among the first sections they examine. (Usually after reading the Abstract and Introduction.)

Recommendations Based on the discussion and conclusions, you can now make some recommendations about, for example, whether further research is needed, or how results might be applied commercially. You may wish to describe options for future consideration or recommend a future strategy, plan, or goal.

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3.

WRITING AND PRESENTATION

3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4

PRACTICAL TIPS FOR CLEAR WRITING CONSTRUCTING ARGUMENTS DEALING WITH WRITERS BLOCK FORMATTING THE THESIS

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3.1 PRACTICAL TIPS FOR CLEAR WRITING


Organising time Making a timetable at the outset helps ensure that you give each stage adequate attention and that you can complete the work on time. (See also section 2.1). To create and use a timetable:
Break down the work into stages Decide on the proportion of total time each stage should take Set realistic deadlines for completing each stage, allow some time for delays Refer to your timetable frequently as you work. If you fail to meet one of your deadlines, make a serious effort to catch up as soon as possible

For practical work, try to start the writing process while this is still fresh in your mind. Another advantage of writing up experiments etc as you do them is that should a gap become obvious (eg a missing control), you might still have time to do something about it.

Organising space Finding a good workspace for writing matters a lot. You need to establish a regular place where you can sit down and work undisturbed, ideally with space to spread out your books and papers, with easy access to your files and with good lighting and heating. You may not be able to arrange everything just as you would like, but try to get as close as you can. If you live with other people, you need to negotiate specific times when you can use a particular table or room and be left undisturbed. Make sure you have a good supply of pens and paper and a good dictionary. Try not to let papers pile up. Instead, be systematic about storing your study materials. You need to develop a filing system using folders, boxes and plenty of sticky labels. In the end, you might find it is not so much what you can remember that counts, as what you can find when you need it!

Organising information and ideas Before you write, you need to gather enough material then decide:
what needs to be included and what doesn't in what order it should appear

For this an outline is essential. For a large writing project, such as a thesis, it can be a good idea to make an outline for each chapter. Start by jotting down headings for each topic area and try to group ideas together under these headings. This will:
force you to think about and plan the structure

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provide a checklist so nothing is missed out ensure the content is balanced in content and length help you organise figures and tables by showing where they will be used

Characteristics of academic English Since English dominates in the publication of academic papers and research, many people wish to acquire this variety of the language. Consequently, a great deal of research has been conducted (Connor, 1996) to find the similarities and differences academic English has with other research languages (eg Arabic, Chinese, French, Spanish). The research concluded that academic English has a number of typical features, listed below. In comparison to other languages, English has been said to be more explicit about its structure and purposes be less tolerant of asides or digressions2 use fairly short sentences with less complicated grammar have stricter conventions for subsections and their titles be more loaded with citations rely more on recent citations have longer paragraphs in terms of number of words point more explicitly to gaps or weaknesses in previous research use more sentence connectors (eg however, therefore) place the responsibility for clarity and understanding on the writer rather than the reader Reflect upon your own first (academic) language: how many of the features above are different to your native language? Try to be aware of these differences, especially when you come to proofreading and editing your document.

How to achieve a clear, readable style Paragraphs


The first sentence should introduce the topic of the paragraph, and the following sentences should explain, illustrate or give examples Keep short and limit one paragraph to one main idea Use repeated key words or appropriate linking phrases (eg 'On the other hand') to connect sentences and emphasise the flow of text

Sentences
Don't make over-long or complicated Make sure you understand how and when to use punctuation If unhappy with a sentence, try chopping into shorter sentences
2

asides = remarks not part of the main subject

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Aim for variety in structure and length

Words and phrases


Choose short clear words and phrases, rather than long ones, eg: 'build' rather than 'fabricate', 'now' rather than 'at the present moment in time' Favour active forms of speech rather than the passive voice Avoid putting too many statements in parentheses: they disrupt the reader's attention to your central theme Avoid clichs or a poetic style of writing, this is inappropriate in a scientific context.

Use metadiscourse Metadiscourse (also known as signposting) is writing about the evolving text, rather than referring to the subject matter. This is an important way for you, as the writer, to help readers follow the development of your thesis. Metadiscourse helps readers make their way through the text by revealing its organization, referring readers back or forwards to other parts of the text, providing definitions, etc. For example: Part 1 of this paper traces the development of.. The negative aspects of recycling plastics will be taken up in the next section. There are many advantages of using metadiscourse, two of the main ones are:
Texts written by non-native speakers of English may not be as clear to their readers as to their writers! Metadiscourse is especially helpful in signposting what is going on, and what the connections between ideas are. Research has shown that the right amount of metadiscourse gives readers the sense that the writer is fully aware of what s/he is doing, thus giving the impression of authority.

Revise your text A total revision of the first draft is strongly advised. After writing, leave the draft to 'settle' for a few days: when you return to it afresh, you will see more easily where improvements can be made. Try the following revision process:
1. Review chapter structure: check each introduction explains the topic and purpose clearly. Conclude by showing how your arguments have moved forward / been developed from the chapter introduction. 2. Examine content. Have you kept to the section topic? Cut out irrelevant material. 3. Is the purpose of each paragraph clear? Write good topic sentences. 4. Is there a logical flow to the writing? Rearrange paragraphs to ensure topics are presented logically, and use link words to improve flow. 5. Does each sentence really say what you want it to say? Are they too long or repeating information? Rewrite sentences to be more concise and precise. 6. Check the grammar and spelling. Add punctuation where necessary.

In conclusion, writing is a skill that can be improved, but not instantly. Keep writing little and often and surprise yourself with the steady progress you make and be proud of your achievements.

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3.2 CONSTRUCTING ARGUMENTS


As a technical professional, you are expected to do more than simply report information: contrary to what is commonly taught, the facts do not "speak for themselves". Instead, you are supposed to show how your information applies to the problem in hand: in short, you need to be convincing. To be convincing, you need to address a problem which is relevant to your readers, and then: 1. 2. 3. 4. Make claims about it, or propose valid solutions Find/recognise proof for these claims Know when you have enough proof Link arguments to build a case

We are going to look at some common ways of building convincing arguments which will form the basis of every kind of writing you are required to do. Strategies All forms of communication use one or more of the following bases of argument: Logic and reason The character and credentials of the communicator (ie. your character determines your opinion) Emotion (ie. how you feel about the subject) In technical writing, logic and reason predominates, of course, but in fact, the other two also play a role. Behind much environmentally protective oriented research lies the underlying fear of destroying the earth and human life, for example. Logical argument Focusing on the most common strategy in technical writing, we can say there are two main types of argumentation: 1. The argument of __________: that is, that something does or does not exist, or that something is or is not necessary or justified. 2. The argument of ___________: that is that something should or should not be done.

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Argument of fact Arguments of fact can be derived from three sources: 1. Questions or subarguments of existence 2. Questions or subarguments of definition 3. Questions or subarguments of quality

To illustrate, we shall look at the outline below:

Argument of fact: argument that something is or exists (or is not or does not exist)
Question or subargument of existence:
Does the thing actually exist? Has something actually happened?

Example

Is Company X discharging material from its manufacturing processes into public waters?

Question or subargument of definition:


If it exists or has happened, what kind of thing or event is it?

Example

If it is granted (or proved) that Company X is discharging material from its manufacturing processes into public waters, are the discharged materials regulated by law, considered dangerous, considered nontoxic even in large amounts, etc.?

Question or subargument of quality:


If it exists and has been defined, how is it to be judged/evaluated?

Example

If Company X is discharging material into public waters, and if those materials are regulated by law (or dangerous), are the materials present in legal (or safe) amounts, illegal (or unsafe) amounts, desirable (or undesirable) amounts, avoidable (or unavoidable) amounts, etc.?

TIP:

Key words for writing arguments of fact:

is and are

It is essential to improve disinfection practices. Costs of desalination are too high.

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Argument of policy The argument of policy is usually derived from two sources: 1. Questions or subarguments of worth or goodness (value) 2. Questions or subarguments of suitability/desirability, advantage or use

Argument of policy: argument that something should (or should not be done)
Subargument of worth or goodness:
Is a proposed activity or course of action worthy or good in itself? Example Company X should stop polluting public waters because it is right (or Company X has a social duty) to protect the environment. Example Companies should make honest claims about the merits of their products because it is good and worthy to be honest.

Subargument of suitability/desirability, advantage, or use:


Is the proposed activity or course of action good for the audience in that it is suitable/desirable, advantageous, or useful? Does the proposed solution fit the need? Is there some advantage to a course of action? Example Company X should stop polluting public waters because doing so would improve its public image and thus improve its sales. Example Companies should make honest claims about the merits of their products because it is advantageous in dealing with customers to have a reputation for honesty and because such honesty will protect the company from charges of fraud, expensive lawsuits, and costly penalties imposed by both the government and the courts (because it will be advantageous for them to do so).

An argument of fact can stand alone, however, an argument of policy is usually based on several embedded arguments of fact.

TIP: Key words for writing arguments of policy:

should and should not

Water losses should be reduced by setting up clear objectives. Drainage by pumping should not lower the water levels in the canals below M.S.L.

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Building A Case Below is given the classical outline for building a case (a convincing set of arguments) developed by Aristotle over 2,000 years ago. It can provide a tool for planning and organising your case: although it will need to be adapted to your particular communicative needs.

OUTLINE FOR BUILDING A CASE


1 Problem/lntroduction/Foreword A Direct the audience's attention toward the problem Credentials A If it is useful, give your credentials, i.e. explain why you can speak with authority on the subject, and establish common ground by pointing out shared beliefs, attitudes, and experiences. Position/Solution/Summary A Briefly state your position or your proposed solution. B Briefly state the major reasons for advocating your position or solution. Background of the Problem A Point out the nature of the problem: (1) its historical background and (2) its causes. B Explain how it concerns the audience. Argument for Position or Solution A State the criteria for judgement, i.e., the standards or characteristics any acceptable solution or position must meet. Include explanation where necessary. B State your position or solution to the problem, along with any necessary clarification. C Demonstrate the soundness of your position or solution by showing how it meets the criteria established in 5-A. This step should be accompanied by ample evidence: facts (illustrations, statistics, examples of successful application of the solution) and statements of authority. Be sure to identify the authorities if they aren't widely known. D If there are competing positions or solutions, demonstrate the superiority of yours by showing how the others fail to meet the criteria as completely as yours do. Conclusion A Explain briefly the benefits to be gained by accepting your position or solution or the dangers of rejecting it. B Summarise your argument: (1) restate your position or solution (3-B); (2) restate the reasons your position or solution should be accepted (3-C).
*

Items 2, 3, and 4 may be deleted depending on the situation, the needs of the audience, and the accepted formats for a particular type of technical communication.
[Source: Huckin TN, Olsen LA (1991) Technical writing and professional communication for nonnative speakers of English, 2nd ed. McGraw-Hill, New York (adapted)]

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3.3

DEALING WITH WRITER'S BLOCK

An approach to writing
There finally comes the day, after all the preparation has been done outlines developed, literature read, most of the practical work done when you just have to write. And you face the blank page. Then your mind starts racing in a million directions, you make yourself a cup of coffee, start three opening sentences and scribble each one out, make another cup of coffee, revise your outline, make another cup of coffee.....and after three hours, still a blank page. This kind of experience can be soul-destroying or at least, discouraging. Therefore, I hope in this unit to deal with the myth of writer's block, and try to share some practical strategies for helping you master the actual process of writing.

Myths leading to writer's block


1. The need to produce a perfect first draft. Many times, a sort of perfectionism can really hinder your fluency in writing. You want to write perfectly balanced sentences that perfectly express perfectly logical and clear ideas. A perfectly impossible goal! 2. The need to adopt a certain style. Another problem can be that you feel you must write in a certain, let's say, "scientific" voice. You feel you have to adopt this very impersonal, totally objective tone, which is such a strain, you cannot write at all. 3. Fear of critical responses. There's something about committing your thoughts to paper that can be quite scary. What if your supervisor, mentor, or teacher does not agree, or thinks you are stupid? This kind of underlying fear can result in hours wasted agonising about what these people want to hear, and a bad case of writing paralysis. 4. The pressure of writing in a foreign language. This only multiplies the effect of the first three. You are spending so much time wondering about spelling, grammar rules and wording, that any ideas you might have are blocked before they can emerge. 5. The pressure of time There's nothing more crippling than knowing you have to produce X report within Y

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amount of time. The fear of not producing anything at all can lead you to delay everything until the last minute (procrastination) and then some nightmarish midnight efforts to get it all done.

Strategies to overcome writer's block


Myth 1: Strategy 1: The need to produce the perfect first draft Write quickly to an outline Practice free writing

It's important to realise that the two sides of the writing process: - the creative side and the critical side - do not function well simultaneously. It's a bit like trying to talk to someone and watch TV at the same time: both your viewing and your conversation will suffer. So, in writing a first draft, you need to switch off that critical voice and let the creative juices flow. The process will result in a product, on which you can exercise your critical faculties later. Just suspend judgement until you have something to judge. You can allow yourself the luxury of writing things wrong the first time. Realise that your text is going to go through many drafts and revisions, so just take that outline and start writing about whatever point seems the most inspiring. Don't worry about the opening sentence, just start somewhere. Write your ideas down, in one form or another, as quickly as possibly under the most appropriate heading on your outline. Of course, the process of writing itself may change your outline, but leave that critical revision for later. If you find this particularly difficult and you just cannot seem to concentrate on the subject on hand, you might try free writing. Free writing means writing for ten or fifteen minutes non-stop about anything, whatever is on your mind. Force yourself to keep writing, no matter what. It doesn't matter if you don't have complete sentences or if your grammar is incorrect, or if you change direction mid-sentence, all that matters is that you don't stop. This will help clear your mind of any clutter that may be bothering it. Above all, it will help you separate the process from the product, not just in theory, but in reality. Frequent practice in free writing like this, will greatly increase your fluency and ease in writing. Keeping a journal is another tool which can lubricate your writing skills. Once you have got going, you will be surprised how easy it gets to write about your assigned topic. Exercise 1 Take a blank page and a pen. Write for ten minutes, starting now.

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Myth 2:

The need to adopt a certain style versus real voice

Strategy 2

Write as you speak

especially for your first draft.

The subject of the correct "scientific" voice is quite an interesting one: a writing teacher at MIT, Boston has called it the "bureaucratic" voice and has pointed out that this is one of the most stultifying, deadening trends in modern academic writing. Scientists, engineers and others often seem to hide behind the passive voice and longwinded sentences, as if this somehow makes what they have to say more objective and trustworthy. Usually, it just makes their writing obscure and boring. Compare the following two examples, both written by the same student. Which of the two do you find more interesting to read and why?
In the United States there is supposed to be freedom of expression and yet there are laws against obscenity. No one can say what obscenity really is. And is obscenity really harmful? Maybe some forms of censorship are necessary, but this is just another example of our country being called free when it is not. We should admit that freedom of expression is not truly realised in the States, since censoring of materials which are considered obscene constitute a definite limitation of this freedom.

You may find the second is much clearer, that indeed was the purpose of the revision, but the trouble is that it's as if all life has been hammered out of it: there's no sense of a person speaking. A simple rule of thumb is, write as you speak. Don't try to sound intellectual or pragmatic. First of all, write just for yourself or as if you are talking to a friendly colleague. That is how you will find your own voice. Thus, once you have found your voice, you can revise in whatever style is appropriate to focus your writing for your audience. Exercise 2 Write a short progress report. Describe what you have been doing in the last week, in your own voice. Then rewrite it for your mentor, if necessary.

Myth 3.

Fear of critical responses versus responsibility

Strategy 3

Honesty is the best policy.

Writing in your own voice may sound frightening if you are afraid of criticism. In fact, the previously mentioned study at MIT lists the fear of expressing their true ideas and opinions as one of the hindering factors in students' writing, particularly students coming from developing countries. In the desire to be 'politically correct' , students suppressed their true ideas and opinions, in case they were thought naive.

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This led to one situation, where a student was having tremendous difficulty writing about a certain project, and was writing all kinds of tortured, obscure, meaningless passages. Eventually, it turned out to be quite simply because she felt it would not work, but would not say so for fear of offending those who she presumed should know best. Someone has called this, "intellectual colonialism". If you find yourself unable to produce anything coherent, ask yourself why. It may be that you have unacknowledged reservations about something in your project. Do some free writing on the question and see what comes out of it. Then discuss the matter with someone you can trust before deciding how you should proceed. Write what you believe to be true and decide to take responsibility for your opinions. Ultimately, it will be appreciated.

Myth 4.

The pressure of writing in a foreign language versus fluency

Strategy 4

Make continuous efforts to improve your English.

No-one will deny that it is more difficult to write in a foreign language: you can feel limited by your lack of vocabulary and the inability to say what you really mean. There are several ways of coping with the problem, both short-term and long-term. Right now, you can simply use all the words, phrases and tenses you have to the best possible effect. On your first draft, try to get as close to your real meaning as possible. If you cannot decide the best way to say it, just write as many options as you can think of at first. Later on, you can edit or revise these. This is a simple but effective technique because rewriting your idea like this will help improve fluency. Make use of the spell-check and grammar-check functions in Word. Set the language to UK English (unless you are a native north American): Tools>Language>Set language, then sweep the document for errors. If you still have a lot of doubts, find someone who can read and correct your English. Any reasonable English speaker will do, it doesnt have to be their native language. And finally, in both the long and the short term, you should read, listen to and speak as much English as you can with native (or near-native) speakers and try to limit the time spent speaking your own language, until you are confident of your English proficiency.

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Myth 5.

The pressure of time versus planning

Strategy 5

The Direct Writing Method The Dangerous Method

If you are under pressure of time, then you can use what is known as the direct writing process. This method is ideal to use when you don't have difficulty coming up with material but you do have a tight deadline. It can be used for producing letters, memos, short or long reports, be they formal or informal. All you need is paper, pen, a PC and concentration.

Direct Writing or Getting it down on Paper'


Taking the deadline, divide your total available time; half for raw writing, half for revising. Think about your audience and purpose in writing and then quickly jot down the basic ideas or facts that you want to deal with. Number these in order of argument to create a basic outline. Write as fast as you can about each topic, in the right order if you can, if not just write about whatever comes to you first. Don't let yourself repeat or digress or get lost, but don't worry about the order of what you write, the wording, or about crossing out what you decide is wrong. (If you get a particularly brilliant, but irrelevant idea, jot it down on a separate piece of paper, and then return to the subject at hand: this will preserve it for you, but also remove the distraction of the thought from your mind.) Make sure you stop when your time is half gone and switch to revising, even if you are not quite finished.

Quick Revising or the art of the knife


The most important skill in revising is ruthless cutting: cut out anything which is unclear, substandard or irrelevant. With this attitude, the following steps can be usefully applied. Try to step outside yourself and get into a spirit of pragmatic detachment. Emphasise cutting. Keep your audience and purpose clearly in mind. Re-read your raw writing. Mark the good passages. Cut the rest. Figure out if your main point is still the same as in your original outline. Revise your outline if necessary. Put the good passages in order. Add the pieces that are missing - connectives etc. On the PC, type up a draft - excluding the beginning.

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Write a beginning; make sure it corresponds to your solution. Tighten and clarify by cutting or adding link words where necessary. Get rid of mistakes in grammar and usage. Do a spelling check If you are writing a long report, it can be useful to set self-imposed deadlines for completing first drafts or final versions of various parts, (perhaps in agreements with a mentor or colleague) and then apply this method in order to avoid an overwhelming burden of writing at the end of a project.

The Dangerous Method


Finally, if you feel you are quite an accomplished writer, and you are under pressure of time, then you can try the Dangerous method, or trying to get it right first time. This is basically how you approach exam writing, but with a little more revision time.

Dangerous Writing or Getting it right first time


Thinking about your facts and audience, create a basic outline. You may or may not need to write this down. Write as fast as you can, re-wording, editing and correcting as you go. Re-read and revise where necessary. Do a spelling check It must be emphasised however, that there are few people who can do this well, and it is usually those who have had much practice in writing.

Exercise 3 Take one afternoon to produce a first draft of your literature review or other part of your thesis.

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3.4

FORMATTING THE THESIS

One standard style A thesis consists of several different parts that need to be tied together in a uniform way, according to standard conventions. Without a standard format across the entire document, your work will appear random and unprofessional. Therefore, a template has been developed for you to format your MSc thesis. This is designed to save you a lot of work, as all the formatting conventions have already been made for you. The template consists of several styles which you can apply to all parts of your thesis document. For example, all your chapter headings will have the same style, the same font etc. Also, such things as margin size, paragraph spacing and page numbering have been taken care of for you. This chapter offers instructions on how to use the template and gives an explanation of the various styles and other fixed formats within it.

NOTE: If the concept of using a template is new to you, you may find it useful to read the Styles and Presentation tips (kindly supplied by B. Bhattacharya, PhD) on intranet->academic affairs->MSc Thesis Template. Members of the computer watch can also help with any problems or questions regarding use of templates.

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Thesis Template: Instructions for use The template can be found on the UNESCO-IHE intranet pages under Academic Affairs\ Master Programmes\ Msc Thesis Template. Click on UNESCO-IHE MSc Template In order to use the template, you will need to copy it to your local drive. Please follow these steps. From Intranet: Select the dot file (UNESCO-IHE MSc Template), select File\ Save As\ C:\Documents and Settings\ YourUserName\ Application Data\ Microsoft\ Templates. Save the template file here. Tip 1: If you do not see a folder then run explorer and select Tools\ Folder Options, select the View tab and check Show hidden files and folders. Run MS Word and click Tools\ Options and select the File Locations tab and check the location of template files in your computer. You should either copy the template file to the location mentioned here or change this template folder location to the one described above.

Tip 2:

How to start Once you have copied the template file to your local drive, the MSc Thesis template can be used in two ways: If you have not yet begun to type your thesis: In program MS Word select file, then new, then double-click on UNESCO-IHE MSc template. Now you can start typing your thesis, choosing the correct styles as you type. Remember to save it afterwards with any file name with extension doc. Or, Any existing document (eg draft thesis) can be reformatted with the correct styles by clicking somewhere on the paragraph, then clicking on the desired style on the style selector box on the Format toolbar. In this case, open the UNESCO-IHE MSc template first (In MS Word, file, new, double-click template), then copy your thesis into this template.

Either way, by using the MSc Thesis template, you can ensure that all text in every chapter will always have the same indenting and the same font, all section headings will be in exactly the same style, and so on. It also provides the correct layout for the cover, title page, abstract, etc.

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Explanation of the styles Note: the different styles also include a fixed amount of spacing before and after all types of headings, text, etc. Heading 1 This is the style to choose for your chapter headings. Use initial capitals only (ie only make the first letter of each word a capital letter). Note: Please make sure that each new chapter begins on a new, oddnumbered page. This means that it will always be printed on a right-hand-side page. Heading 2 This is the style to choose for your section headings. For this level of heading, and all the following levels (three and four), you should capitalize only the initial letter of the first word. For example: Phosphorus cycles in wetlands Heading 3 This is the style to choose for your sub-section headings (eg 2.1.1). Note: The same style should also be used for numbered sub-subsections (eg 2.1.1.1). [However, try not to subdivide beyond three numbers. After that point, the
average reader cannot keep the whole picture in mind.]

Heading 4 This is the style to choose for any non-numbered small headings. Normal This is the style to choose for your normal body text, ie sentences, paragraphs, etc. TableCaption and FigureCaption One of these styles should be used to give a number and a title to your tables or figures. The font is different (Arial), and the caption is centred. Therefore, you should also centre your tables and figures. Remember that table captions are placed above the table, whereas figure captions are placed below the figure. NB Take care of the numbering! All tables and figures should start with the same number as the chapter, followed by their own numerical designation. Thus, figures in chapter one will be numbered: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, etc and figures in chapter two will be: 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, etc. The same should be done for tables. ReferenceList This style can be used, per reference, to format your references in the References list at the end of your thesis. References continue to have subtle differences from discipline to discipline it is best to check with your supervisor for the final definite style.

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More fixed formats Table of Contents Your table of contents is automatically generated from the first three levels of headings. As you type them into your document they will become part of your Table of Contents. However, you must update this from time to time. To do so, right-click with the mouse anywhere on the Table of Contents, select update field, then select update entire table. Now all your document headings will be incorporated into the Table of Contents, with the corresponding page numbers shown on the right.

Margins In the MSc Thesis template the margins have been set for you. Most headings and text have left-aligned margins and are also justified (aligned right). Only Heading 4 is slightly indented (for non-numbered small subheadings); references have a hanging indent; and figure and table captions have been centred.

Page Numbering This has also been set for you. The preliminary pages have small roman numerals (eg i, ii, iii, iv, etc), starting from the Abstract. Page number 1 should not appear until the first page of Chapter one. The page numbers have been set at bottom-centre. Note: If you need more pages for Lists of symbols, etc then please be sure to insert a normal page break before the section break which separates these pages from the first page of chapter one. This will keep your page numbering in order.

Language Since UNESCO-IHE is based in Europe, we use UK English. You are requested to always use UK English. Check this is the default set language for your entire document: select all text then select Tools, then Language, then Set language. (Native North American participants may use US English.)

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Modifying existing styles If you are not satisfied with the existing styles, you may change the styles to suit your needs. This is true at the moment, but may change in future when all MSc theses will be required to have the same format. NB ALL departments expressed a preference for normal body text to be typed in font: Times New Roman, size 12. Therefore, it would not be wise to change this without first consulting your supervisor.

Headers and footers If you wish, you may choose to insert your own headers and/or footers. Often, it is considered to be stylish to insert one header on the left-hand-side page (even-numbered) giving the title of the thesis, and a different header on the opposite, right-hand-side page (odd-numbered), which gives the title of that chapter. Footnotes may be required from time to time to give further explanation of an item in your text, but they should not be used to give references.

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COMPONENTS OF THESIS IN ORDER OF SEQUENCE


Front Cover Title page [optional Dedication]

Preliminary pages Abstract Acknowledgements Table of Contents If necessary: List of symbols List of abbreviations Most departments have expressed the view that separate Lists of Tables and Figures are not necessary, as these serve no additional purpose. Check with your supervisor.

Main chapters (these will vary): Introduction

Conclusions and Recommendations Additional sections (these should not have chapter numbers) References (not Bibliography) Appendices (not Annexes) [optional Glossary]

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REFERENCES

Blake G, Bly RW (1993) The Elements of Technical Writing. Macmillan, New York Connor, U. (1996) Contrastive Rhetoric. New York, Cambridge University Press Cottrell S (2005) Critical Thinking Skills. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke Cottrell S (2008) The Study Skills Handbook, 3rd ed. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke Day RA, Gastel B (2006) How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper. Greenwood Publishing Greetham B (2008) How to Write Better Essays, 2nd ed. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke Huckin TN, Olsen LA (1991) Technical Writing and Professional Communication. McGraw-Hill, Singapore Northedge A, Thomas J, Lane A, Peasgood A (1997) The Sciences Good Study Guide, Open University, Milton Keynes Swales JM, Feak CB (2000) English in Todays Research World. University of Michigan Press Swales JM, Feak CB (2004) Academic Writing for Graduate Students, 2 nd ed. University of Michigan Press

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APPENDIX 1
Example Structure of a Proposal (WSE-HWR) With extracts of the Research Questions and Objectives sections

TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. 2. INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................ 1 BACKGROUND .................................................................................................................... 1 2.1 2.2 RESEARCH AREA ......................................................................................................................................... 1 PAST AND CURRENT RESEARCH............................................................................................................... 6 Local research ........................................................................................................................................ 6 General research .................................................................................................................................... 7

2.2.1 2.2.2 3. 4. 5. 6.

PROBLEM DEFINITION ................................................................................................... 9 RESEARCH QUESTIONS ................................................................................................. 10 OBJECTIVES....................................................................................................................... 10 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY ........................................................................................ 10 6.1 6.2 LITERATURE REVIEW ............................................................................................................................... 10 DATA COLLECTION AND PROCESSING................................................................................................. 11 Collection of available data .................................................................................................................. 11 Fieldwork ............................................................................................................................................ 11 Storage of data ..................................................................................................................................... 12

6.2.1 6.2.2 6.2.3 6.3 6.4 6.5 7. 8.

HYDRO(GEO)LOGICAL CONCEPTUAL MODEL .................................................................................... 12 COMPUTATION METHODS ...................................................................................................................... 13 MODELLING .............................................................................................................................................. 13

WORK PLAN ....................................................................................................................... 14 REFERENCES .................................................................................................................... 16

With thanks to Patricia Trambauer, author of this proposal (2009), entitled: Analyses of a shallow surface and groundwater flow system with a focus on the reliability of computational and data collection methods

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From this proposal: extracts of sections 4 and 5

4. RESEARCH QUESTIONS
Based on the problem definition, the following research questions are proposed. They form a basis for the more specific tasks to be discussed and answered during the MSc research phase: a) How can the shallow surface- and groundwater system in peat lowland areas best be described? b) How does surface- and groundwater flow take place in these systems and what is the interaction between the surface and groundwater system? c) Are traditional computational methods for surface- and groundwater flow still valid? For example, can the Darcy equation be used to describe the flow in the shallow groundwater system? d) What is the benefit of having direct data collection methods (e.g. by lysimeter) in comparison with indirect methods? e) What is the role of groundwater modeling in answering the above questions?

5. OBJECTIVES
This research study involves two main objectives. The first objective is to have a deep understanding of the surface and groundwater system in the peat areas and schematize the flow paths taking place, including the interactions between surface water and groundwater. The second objective of the study consists on investigating the applicability of Darcys law in the peat soils in the area and validating the model that is used as a management tool in the area. Within the frame of this research new modeling approaches may be aimed for.

With thanks to Patricia Trambauer, author of this proposal (2009), entitled: Analyses of a shallow surface and groundwater flow system with a focus on the reliability of computational and data collection methods

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APPENDIX 2
Example Structure of a Thesis (WSE-HWR)

TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................. 1 1.1 RESEARCH AREA ........................................................................................................................................ 1 1.2 PROBLEM DEFINITION .............................................................................................................................. 3 1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS .............................................................................................................................. 5 1.4 OBJECTIVES ................................................................................................................................................ 5 1.5 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY ..................................................................................................................... 6 1.5.1 Literature review ................................................................................................................. 6 1.5.2 Hypothesis ............................................................................................................................ 6 1.5.3 Data collection, processing and analysis ............................................................................ 6 1.5.4 Hydro(geo)logical conceptual model ................................................................................... 6 1.5.5 Modelling .............................................................................................................................. 7 2. LITERATURE REVIEW ...................................................................................................... 9 2.1 GENERAL PEAT INVESTIGATIONS ........................................................................................................... 9 2.1.1 Validity of Darcys law ........................................................................................................ 9 2.1.2 Humification degree of the peat .......................................................................................... 11 2.1.3 Anisotropy and heterogeneity of peat .................................................................................. 12 2.1.4 Estimation of hydraulic conductivity from piezometer slug tests ....................................... 14 2.2 THE CCL AND MODELLING IN THE WESTERN NETHERLANDS ...................................................... 15 2.2.1 Complex Confining layer .................................................................................................... 15 2.2.2 Hydro-geological model parameterization ......................................................................... 17 2.2.3 SIMGRO-MODFLOW ..................................................... ................................................. 19 2.3 THE ZEGVELD AREA ............................................................................................................................... 22 2.3.1 Flow systems in the Zegveld area ...................................................................................... 22 2.3.2 Land subsidence in the Zegveld area ................................................................................ 23 2.4 CURRENT RESEARCH AT THE EXPERIMENTAL FARM ........................................................................ 23 3. FLOW HYPOTHESIS IN PEAT LAYERS ........................................................................ 25 3.1 THE EFFECT OF ANISOTROPY AND HETEROGENEITY ...................................................................... 25 3.2 THE VALIDITY OF DARCYS LAW ........................................................................................................... 25 3.3 PEAT FLOW OVERVIEW ........................................................................................................................... 26 3.4 ROLE OF MODELLING ............................................................................................................................. 27 4. DESCRIPTION OF THE CASE STUDY AREA ............................................................... 29 4.1 LOCATION ................................................................................................................................................. 29 4.2 CLIMATE .................................................................................................................................................... 29 4.3 TOPOGRAPHY ........................................................................................................................................... 32 4.4 GEOLOGY ................................................................................................................................................. 34 4.5 HYDROGEOLOGY .................................................................................................................................... 35 4.6 SOILS .......................................................................................................................................................... 37 4.7 SURFACE HYDROLOGY ........................................................................................................................... 38 4.8 LAND USE .................................................................................................................................................. 39 5. DATA COLLECTION AND PROCESSING...................................................................... 41 5.1 COLLECTION OF AVAILABLE DATA ...................................................................................................... 41 5.2 FIELDWORK .............................................................................................................................................. 41 5.3 LABORATORY WORK ............................................................................................................................... 44 5.4 STORAGE OF DATA .................................................................................................................................. 47

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6. ANALYSIS OF THE PEAT LAYER .................................................................................. 49 6.1 HETEROGENEITY OF THE SUBSOIL ...................................................................................................... 49 6.2 DECOMPOSITION DEGREE OF THE PEAT ............................................................................................ 52 6.2.1 Decomposition and humification degrees .......................................................................... 52 6.2.2 Decomposition and peat properties ................................................................................... 54 6.3 THE VALIDITY OF DARCYS LAW ........................................................................................................... 57 6.3.1 Analyses of the slug tests .................................................................................................... 57 6.3.2 Soil compressibility ............................................................................................................ 62 6.3.3 Darcys law ........................................................................................................................ 63 6.4 ANALYSIS OF WATER LEVELS ................................................................................................................. 64 6.4.1 Phreatic groundwater and open water levels .................................................................... 64 6.4.2 Phreatic and (deep) piezometric groundwater levels ........................................................ 67 6.5 INTERPRETATION OF SOIL MOISTURE .................................................................................................. 69 6.6 HYDROCHEMICAL ANALYSIS .................................................................................................................. 71 6.6.1 Analytical results ................................................................................................................ 71 6.6.2 Explanation of groundwater chemistry .............................................................................. 72 7. HYDRO(GEO)LOGICAL MODEL ................................................................................... 77 7.1 CONCEPTUAL MODEL .............................................................................................................................. 77 7.1.1 Layer schematization ......................................................................................................... 77 7.1.2 Boundary conditions .......................................................................................................... 78 7.1.3 Groundwater balance ........................................................................................................ 80 7.2 DETAILED MODELLING .......................................................................................................................... 82 7.2.1 Model grid ......................................................................................................................... 82 7.2.2 Data input .......................................................................................................................... 82 7.2.3 Sensitivity analysis of the steady state model .................................................................... 90 7.2.4 Calibration of the steady state model ................................................................................ 93 7.2.5 Calibration of the transient model (winter 2009/2010) .................................................... 97 7.3 COMPARISON OF DETAILED AND SIMPLIFIED MODELS .................................................................. 101 7.3.1 Comparison for homogeneity and anisotropy ................................................................... 101 7.3.2 Comparison for isotropy .................................................................................................... 107 8. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ............................................................ 109 REFERENCES .......................................................,,,,,,,........................................................... 113 APPENDICES

With thanks to Patricia Trambauer, MSc 2009, UNESCO-IHE Delft

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APPENDIX 3
THE PASSIVE VOICE Some common questions about use of the passive: 1. How much of my total paper should be in the passive voice? 2. How do I choose between passive or active? 3. How can I adopt an 'impersonal' voice?

1. Obviously this will vary widely, but a rough guideline is that about one third of all verbs in your finished piece of writing may be in the passive voice. There are many debates about the use of passive forms: some believe it is the traditional and accepted correct form for academic and scientific papers; others believe it is an out-dated, old-fashioned style that leads to unclear, over-long and boring statements. A good idea would be to check with your supervisor what style s/he prefers or expects from you. 2. Again, a rough guideline is presented here, although the final decision is yours. Use the passive voice for: General descriptions
Examples Sri Lanka is an island situated near the south-eastern tip of India. The country is divided into three agro-ecological zones.

Any well-established or standard processes


Examples Rice and peanut crops can be grown in low pH ranges. An acid and a molecule are chemically combined to form an ester by removal of a water molecule. Estimation of effective rainfall can be done in the following way ...

Situations where the agent (one who is responsible for an action) is not important
Examples Sugar cane is harvested out in the fields. The sugar cane is crushed in the huge crushers. The pumping station and gravity inlets are designed to irrigate sector R1,2.

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Use the active voice: To signal something new or unexpected, or a personal viewpoint
Examples Contrary to expectations, we found that ..... In order to test our theory, we examined .... As a result of our experimental analysis, we conclude/believe/doubt that ....

3. There are a number of impersonal verb phrases you can use: It appears to/that It seems to/that It tends to be There is a tendency to/for It is said that And for literature reviews: Some of the evidence shows that Some writers say that It has been suggested that It is generally agreed that It is widely accepted that It is now generally recognised that It is (very) doubtful if/that It would appear to/that It would seem to/that

these phrases indicate stronger evidence

this indicates strong negative evidence

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Example of a Methods discourse

The standard AOAC methods (AOAC, 1975) were used for the determination of total solids, nitrogen, crude fat, ash and vitamin C. Total sugars were determined by the method of Potter et al (1968) and the total carbohydrates (in terms of glucose) were examined according to the procedure of Dubois et al (1956). The method of Kohler and Patten (1967) was followed for determining amino acid composition.

Overuse of the passive: some dangers


Here follow some humorous examples of how readers, particularly hostile or critical readers, may choose to interpret an overuse of the passive voice in your statements. You have been warned!
AUTHOR WRITES: REALLY MEANS: AUTHOR WRITES: REALLY MEANS: AUTHOR WRITES: REALLY MEANS: AUTHOR WRITES: REALLY MEANS: AUTHOR WRITES: REALLY MEANS: AUTHOR WRITES: REALLY MEANS: AUTHOR WRITES: REALLY MEANS: It has long been known. I haven't bothered to look up the reference. It is believed. I think. It is generally believed. A couple of other guys think so too. It is not unreasonable to assume. If you believe this, you'll believe anything. Three samples were chosen for further study. The others didn't make sense, so we ignored them. The 4-hour sample was not studied. I dropped it on the floor. The 4-hour determination may not be significant.

I dropped it on the floor, but scooped most of it up.

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Some Common Errors With The Passive

As described earlier, the passive voice is commonly used in scientific English to describe experimental procedures, chemical processes, cause-and -effect relationships, where the emphasis is more on the action than the agent. Instead of saying, "We then measured the reaction rate", the object of the sentence is put in the head position, like this: "The reaction rate was then measured."

The problem arises with the so-called intransitive verbs which do not take a direct object. For example, you cannot say,
The contamination is occurred frequently.

Following, you will find a list of those intransitive verbs most commonly used in technical English. Don't try to use them in the passive!

'PROBLEM' VERBS: verbs that do not occur in the passive form


appear arise be become begin come consist of correspond depend on differ enable exist fall flow function get go happen have lead let lie live occur possess proceed remain result in rise seem suffer tend travel undergo work yield

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APPENDIX 4: Using Grammar In Writing


VERB TENSES Of the many tenses available in the English language, only five are used frequently in scientific writing: present simple, past simple, present perfect, future (will), and present continuous.

Present simple The most commonly used tense in technical writing. Main use: general actions, (repeated) events and states, not linked to any specific time reference. In other words, not temporary or limited in time.
Ice melts at 0 C. [NOT: Ice is melting at 0 C.] Upstream developments have a direct impact on the health of the estuary.

It should be used not only for facts and generalisations, but also for evaluations, recommendations and other judgements.
The study recommends the application of the working guide. The study concludes that participatory approach at river basin scale requires political support.

In addition, it is good practice to refer to others work in the present tense, to emphasize that it is established (accepted) knowledge.
An estuary is a semi-enclosed body of water which has a free connection with etc (Pritchard, 1963). Van de Kerkhof (2004) also observes that three features characterise a stakeholder.

Past simple Used to describe an event or condition which occurred in the past, but which no longer exists or occurs (ie a completed action).
Recently in Switzerland the P content in wastewater was reduced in two ways. The study obtained useful information from literature.

The past simple is often used to describe methods and results.


In all, four telephone interviews were conducted, As can be seen from Table 5, participatory water management contributed to the overall improvement in the socio-economic and environmental conditions of the basins.

Present perfect (have + past participle) This tense refers to completed events, states or actions in the past, but which took place in a time period which is unfinished, or which continues until the present. This research has taken six months to complete.

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COMPARE:

Einstein published many articles. [this period has now ended] Frank Jaspers has published many articles. [we understand that

this is during his life and that he is still alive now] This tense contrasts strongly with the past simple. In a literature review, for example, single isolated studies are usually reported in the past simple: Smith (2003) reported that ..., whereas multiple studies (suggesting an ongoing series of studies) are usually referred to in the present perfect: Smith (2003), de Jong et al (2004), and other researchers have reported that .... Similarly, past actions that are still producing effects in the present are referred to in the present perfect.
Much of the indigenous vegetation has been cleared for agriculture. (passive voice) The phenomenon of salt intrusion has already affected some cultivated areas around Benguelene Island.

Future Will is typically used for formal writing, together with the bare infinitive (or stem) of the main verb.
The government will increase its spending on research by 5%. Very high salinity will retard even the most resistant mangrove species.

We generally use will for unplanned future events or to make predictions: these can be predictions based on characteristic behaviour, or assertions of faith about the future.
If X is red, Y will be blue. Changes in salinity in the estuary will possibly reduce the availability of shrimp for fishery.

Present continuous (be + -ing) Main use: temporary events and actions. We generally use this tense to refer to something temporary which has begun and has not finished. What is important is that the action or event is taking place for a limited period of time which includes the moment of speaking.
The cells are reproducing much faster than predicted. The situation in Lake Brienz is especially intriguing because The idea of involving stakeholders in water resources management at basin scale is gaining wider acceptance. Currently a study on the distribution of nutrients in Maputo Bay is being undertaken.

This tense is also used for describing changing and developing states (using verbs like become, decline, decrease, develop, expand, get, grow , etc). This can be very useful in progress reports and introductions to technical reports.
Moral standards are declining. Today, the computer is finding more applications than were ever thought possible. Mozambique is developing an Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan (ICZM).

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SUBJECT-VERB Agreement In English the verb must agree with the subject (noun phrase) in number. In other words, always have a singular verb after a singular subject, or a plural verb after a plural subject. eg They were ... not They was ... If you use a complicated noun phrase, make sure the verb agrees with the head noun, usually the noun which comes first.
Incorrect: The procedures in the second stage is based on field studies.

The head noun is procedures, not stage, and so the verb must be are. Do not be deceived by the singular noun lot, or a number of, or even one of: these are parts of quantifying phrases for plurals.
Incorrect: A lot of research programmes has been carried out.

The head noun here is research programmes, therefore the verb must be have. Each can also cause problems. It is singular, and when in the head noun position must have a singular verb.
Each of the components has a different function.

However, if components were in the head position, then the verb would be plural.
The components each have a different function.

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APPENDIX 5: Sample a : Introduction


1 INTRODUCTION 1.1 EIA and SEA: Brief overview

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) are environmental assessment tools being used worldwide to provide decisionmakers and the concerned public with essential information to plan for environmentally sustainable economic development. While EIA has been used to assess the environmental impacts of development projects, SEA is used on a higher decision making level to assess the environmental impacts of policy plans and programs. Moreover, these environmental assessment processes have now become a legal requirement of many governments throughout the world. Highly interdisciplinary in nature, environmental assessments work by integrating information from the biophysical and social sciences to objectively analyse and evaluate the immediate and long term impacts and consequences associated with project proposals, strategic plans, policies of government and industry. The potential value of EIA as a tool for sustainable development has been highlighted in several international environment forums key of which was the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The Rio Declaration under its principle 17 calls for all states to introduce EIA on major projects as an instrument to support the overall sustainable development objectives. In addition, Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 7 target 9 calls for ensuring environmental sustainability by integrating the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programs. It is widely accepted that EIA is one of the tools that can help to achieve this integration. In Kenya, where over time, the natural resource base has become severely stressed due to un-stainable use, EIA and SEA have been necessitated under the Environmental Management and Coordination Act of 1999 (EMCA, 1999) which is the statutory law. Subsequent environmental regulations and guidelines mainly Environmental Impact Assessment and Audit Regulations of 2003 (EIAAR, 2003) and Environmental Impact Assessment Guidelines and Administrative Procedures of 2002 (EIAGAP, 2002) also promulgate EIA and SEA. SEA was identified as a prerequisite to develop policies and strategies aimed at achieving reasonably high levels of development and environmental consideration for Kenyas rapidly increasing population. 1.1.1 Statement of the problem In spite of their use in both developed and developing countries, EIA and SEA processes have documented weaknesses that hamper their effective use, thus compromising the effective integration of social, economic and ecological considerations into sustainable development. EIA has weaknesses that include: lack of meaningful partnership with the concerned public, poor quality and incomplete Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and inadequate follow-up mechanisms of the proposed mitigation measures (Rafique, 2005). In addition to incomplete legal and regulatory framework, SEA constraints include poor report content and development of alternatives, poor presentation of information to decision-makers, as well as
Reproduced with kind permission of Nick Okello, MSc 2008, Unesco-IHE Delft

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inadequate human capacity (Onyango and Schmidt, 2007). Furthermore, the inability of SEA to influence both the contents of plans as well as decision making have been reported in South Africa (Retief, 2007). Whether SEA mechanisms have worked or are working for Kenya is a question that deserves an answer. 1.1.2 Significance of the study In his study of the quality of EIA in Kenya, Amombo (2006) identifies the need for further research on EIA and SEA practice in Kenya. Specifically, he highlights the need to carry out an evaluation of the current public/stakeholder participation stage(s) of the EIA process to establish its effectiveness. Onyango (2007) also advocates for this and adds that SEA research is still minimal and requires a deeper understanding. Additionally, despite EIA/ SEA follow-up activities being referred to as the weakest aspect of EIA and SEA worldwide (Rafiques, 2005; Wood, 2003; Sadler, 1996), this area has not been thoroughly researched in Kenya. It remains true that, on the whole, EIA in developing countries tends to be very different from EIA in the developed world. The most conspicuous difference relates to the fact that the first EIAs to be carried out in developing countries were usually demanded by development assistance agencies on a project-by-project basis, not as a response to a widespread indigenous demand for better environmental protection. However, Lohani et al. (1997) noted that the emergence of the sustainable development agenda was also an influential factor in the development of some EIA systems. Studying the trend of EIA and SEA to see the current practice is therefore of interest. Furthermore, useful lessons from both the established EIA/ SEA systems can help in the world quest to mainstream the qualitative integration of economic, social and environmental objectives into sustainable development.

1.2

Statement of Purpose

1.2.1 Objectives The overall objective of this research is to contribute to sustainable development in Kenya through effective and all inclusive Environmental Assessment process. The study was carried out with the intention to meet the following specific objectives: 1. To determine the barriers to public involvement in environmental assessment in Kenya and the extent to which guidelines provided are adhered to in practice 2. To study the quality and effectiveness of EIS in Kenya and the extent to which they conform to professional standards 3. To examine the state and quality of follow-up activities of EIA in Kenya 4. To establish the current role and practice of SEA in Kenya 5. To propose enhancement measures for Kenyas environmental assessment process by examining the strengths and weaknesses of a given established EIA system. 1.2.1 Research questions The following 5 research questions were considered in the formulation of the study. 1. What are the barriers to public involvement in Kenyas environmental assessment process that impede effective environmental decision-making?

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2. Is the quality and standard of environmental impact statement (EIS) in Kenya good enough to guide sound environmental decision-making? 3. Is EIA follow-up in Kenya effective in furthering the goals of sustainable development? 4. Has SEA been fully integrated into the Kenyan environmental management framework? 5. Are the strengths and weaknesses of an established EIA/ SEA system applicable in improving Kenyas environmental assessment process? To answer questions 1-4, regulations and laws governing EIA practice in Kenya and internationally, as well as previous research and literary works on EIA were reviewed. In addition, an online survey and telephone interviews targeted at EIA experts in Kenya (practitioners, scholars, proponents, regulator, and lead agents) as well as the affected public and interest groups was conducted. The surveys were specifically designed for the questions. A confirmation of the results obtained from the surveys was done with EIA experts and scholars attending International Association of Impact Assessment (IAIA2008) conference in Perth, Western Australia in May 2008. To answer question 5, documentations on the EIA system in the Netherlands were critically studied. Also, face-to-face interviews were conducted with stakeholders in the Dutch EIA sector (a member of The Netherlands EIA Commission, an academic, an affected public member, 2 Dutch EIA consultants (from DHV and Delft Hydraulics) plus a Government representative from the Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management. The Netherlands was chosen as a case example of an established EIA system because of the fact that its EIA system is widely recognised as among the best in the world (Wood, 2003). In addition, UNESCO-IHE shares a close proximity and cordial research relation with the NCEIA. 1.3 Scope and framework of the thesis

1.3.1 Scope of the study This study focuses on the general perceptions of EIA and SEA in Kenya both from literature and various stakeholders. For EIA, emphasis is on public involvement, quality of EIS and EIA follow-up activities. Although the extent of SEA application and knowledge among practitioners is looked at, the whole process of SEA from the beginning to the end is not studied in detail. Also, this study focuses only on the strengths and weaknesses of the Dutch EIA system as a case example, without going into the core details of the process. Having been based on online surveys among other methods, there is a possibility that the inadequate or limited availability of internet in Kenya may have decreased the response rate. In addition, data collection was done during a time when Kenya was going through post-election violence over disputed election results. This may have had an influence on internet access for some respondents. 1.3.2 Framework of the thesis The results of this thesis are presented in six main chapters. The following paragraphs provide a brief overview of each chapter. Chapter 1 is a general introduction that gives the objective and justification for the study and a brief description of the research project. Additionally, this chapter 92

shows that this research will provide vital information for the improvement of the practice of Environmental Impact assessment and Strategic Environmental Assessment both in Kenya and other developing countries. Chapter 2 provides a general review of the available literature information on EIA systems. Focus is made on the general EIA system in Kenya where legal documents, research papers, journal articles, conference proceedings and thesis are analyzed to determine weaknesses. The practice of SEA and its current role in Environmental Assessment (EA) in Kenya is also looked into. In addition, this chapter also reviews the advantages and disadvantages of online survey as a method adopted for this study. Chapter 3 focuses on the methods used for this study; it documents the necessary steps taken to obtain results, analyze them and present them in a scientific manner. Chapter 4, which can be considered as the main chapter of this thesis, presents the results of this study. A critical analysis of the results is made for each of the objectives mentioned in Chapter 1. It shows the weaknesses of EIA in Kenya as perceived by stakeholders involved, including the affected public members and also gives an insight into the current practice and knowledge, among experts, of SEA in Kenya. Chapter 5 is designed and aimed at attempting to find answers to Kenyas EIA weaknesses. Based on the objectives of this thesis, it specifically focuses on the strengths and weaknesses of the established Dutch EIA system and highlights areas where Kenya could learn to improve its own EIA system. Chapter 6 presents the conclusions of this research as well as recommendations for adoption into the Kenyan environmental policy framework and further research work requirement.

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Sample b: Problem Statement and Aim


Taken from Paran del Plata Waterway System: Present situation and alternatives for future development by Ignacio Mara Pea, and reproduced here with his kind permission. This is an example of a concise Problem Statement and Aim, as you might write them in the Introduction chapter of the thesis.

These two channels that link Rio de la Plata with the Paran River through the Paran Delta have different features: depths and widths, river morphology, navigation characteristics, maintenance costs, concessionaires of the waterways, regulation authorities, etc; thus creating a unique situation for the navigation in the area. Due to the different ways or options of communication between the rivers Paran and Rio de la Plata, most of the time the waterways are competing with each other and creating a low efficient use of the system resource as a whole. The objective of this study is to analyse this situation in depth, and propose a more efficient system whereby the use of the waterways is improved. Different technical and institutional alternatives are studied looking for a more complete and robust system, under different political and economic regional scenarios.

M.Sc. Thesis WERM 03.20 UNESCO IHE June 2003

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APPENDIX 6: Recommended Reading


A wide selection of books on thesis writing and for English language improvement generally is available in the Library. To mention a few: Writing your thesis / P. Oliver. - Los Angeles : Sage publications, 2008. (Sage Study Skills Series) Theses and dissertations: A guide to planning, research, and writing / M.R. Thomas ; D.L. Brubaker. - Thousand Oaks : Corwin Press, 2008 Writing your dissertation: the bestselling guide to planning, preparing and presenting first-class work / D. Swetnam. - Oxford, UK : How To Books LTD., 2006 Writing Academic English: 4th edition / A. Oshima; A. Hogue. New York : Pearson Longman, 2006 Kaplan technical writing: A reference for technical writers at all levels / D. Martinez ; T. Peterson ; C. Wells ; C. Hannigan ; C. Stevenson. - New York : Kaplan Publishing, 2008 How to Write Better Essays: 2nd edition / B. Greetham New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2008 How to write a thesis / R. Murray. - Maidenhead : Open University Press, 2003 English in Todays Research World: A Writing Guide / J. M. Swales; C. B. Feak. - University of Michigan Press, 2000 Enjoy writing your science thesis or dissertation! : a step by step guide to planning and writing dissertations and theses for undergraduate and graduate science students / D. Holtom ; E. Fisher. - London : Imperial College Press, 1999 Technical writing and professional communication for nonnative speakers of English, 2nd edition / T.N. Huckin ; L.A. Olsen. - New York, : McGraw-Hill, 1991.

Referencing/plagiarism
E-BOOK, available on any PC at IHE APA style guide to electronic references / Editor S. Herman. - Washington American Psychological Association, 2007 Doing honest work in college: how to prepare citations, avoid plagiarism, and achieve real academic success / C. Lipson. - Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2004 95