I\’m Too Sexy for My Master\’s Thesis

thesis schedule (starting yesterday)

Posted in progress,thesis by Rae on 8 May 2006

I drew up my tentative thesis outline and schedule last night. After creating my outline, I determined how many weeks I have before my thesis defense (13 weeks), then I subtracted three weeks from that date to determine my thesis "due date." Next, I determined how much time I could use on each chapter by working backwards from the due date to the present, and I figured out how many pages I needed to complete each week.

Here's the schedule as it currently stands:

WEEK 1 (May 7-13): Zionism (10 pages)

WEEK 2 (14-20): Zionism (10)

WEEK 3 (21-27): Zion Mule Corps (15)

WEEK 4 (28-3): Political Steps (5) – I'll be in Austin for my brother’s wedding from the 25th-29th, but I'll certainly have some work with me.

WEEK 5 (June 4-10): Political (5) – My sister is moving to Miami this weekend and I've agreed to help her, so that'll take me away from writing for a few days.

WEEK 6 (11-17):Social Steps (10)

WEEK 7 (18-24): Recruitment (15)

WEEK 8 (25-1): Recruitment (10) – My 5th wedding anniversary is this weekend, so my husband and I will be taking time to celebrate.

WEEK 9 (July 2): Write conclusion (10) and intro (5).

WEEK 10 (9): Wrap up loose ends and FINISH THESIS (by end of week).

WEEK 11 (16): If worse comes to worst, I can finish my thesis this week. My husband won a free trip to Montana, so we'll be gone from the 14th-17th.

WEEK 12 (23): Sit on my tuffet.


This probably sounds like a huge amount of work for such a short time, but there are a few factors that make all of this less stressful (but certainly not stress-free): I've been researching this topic for over a year, I've written numerous papers on these subtopics, and I've done more work than this in less time in the past (while also working full-time). I'm currently planning on a total of 95 pages, and I estimated that I've already written between 30-40 pages.

There are two books that came in handy while creating my writing schedule:

Writing the Doctoral Dissertation: A Systematic Approach (2nd Edition) by Gordon B. Davis and Clyde A. Parker – Instead of reading the whole book (I can easily spend all of my time reading), I just focused on two chapters: The Dissertation Time Schedule and Budget (Chapter 9) and Management of Dissertation Activities (Chapter 11). Obviously I'm not working on a dissertation, but because Master's students are often overlooked when it comes to these kinds of books, I'll take what I can find. And anyway, a lot of the advice is generic and adaptable to my (and just about anyone's) particular situation.

Dissertations and Theses from Start to Finish: Psychology and Related Fields by John D. Cone and Sharon L. Foster. This is another book that's not a perfect fit because the information is geared towards psych and social science people and not history people. But still, there's useful stuff here, especially the following chapters: Starting Out: Assessing Your Preparation for the Task Ahead (Chapter 2) and Time and Trouble Management (Chapter 4). This book presents the reader with lots of self-directed questions; questions one may not think about until it's too late.

I'll post my outline tomorrow.


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