The research writing cycle



Writing takes place at every stage of the PhD research process:

STAGE 1: Developing a research topic and the initial research proposal

The initial proposal will be updated as the topic area and research questions are gradually refined. This is a really important writing exercise in the early stages of research.

STAGE 2: Reviewing relevant literature

Reading takes place before and after the refining of the research topic. Beforehand, it tends to be exploratory, but once the topic has been decided an important task will be the production of good quality analytic notes based on key texts.

You may also be required to produce an interim literature review in the early stages of your research. An interim review does not form part of the final version of the thesis: consider it instead as a kind of training exercise in which you can try out your ideas and see how readers respond.

STAGE 3: Producing a thesis framework

This involves the creation of a table of contents and abstract for the thesis itself.

STAGE 4: Writing first draft chapters

Your biggest and most demanding writing task. This will involve:

  • Identifying readership
  • Achieving clarity while taking into account style considerations.
  • Achieving coherence: developing and sustaining arguments throughout a chapter
  • Effective referencing and the provision of substantial evidence to support arguments
  • Managing the size of the text as it grows
  • Getting your own position across and making your voice heard
  • Motivating and disciplining yourself to write

STAGE 5: Editing and completing your work

See the editing checklists elsewhere on this website (to be added)