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5 Helpful Hints For Writing A Thesis Timeline


The timeline for your thesis is one of the most important sections you need. It would be so easy to get lost in research, going off at a tangent and finding the most wonderful information. Perhaps you are just managing to get to grips with chapter three and you spend so long polishing the beautiful words that you end up having to rush the rest of your work.

A timeline is a way of tracking where you should be in your work. It is important that at the same time as you are choosing a supervisor, you start organizing your work schedule.

What should your schedule look like?

This is going to be like an outline but with the extra added elements of dates.

  1. First of all, break your thesis down into sections. Perhaps you want to do it by chapter or by evidence type, anything that make sense to you. Setting aside your introduction and conclusion for the moment, arrange them into what you see as hardest to easiest.

  2. Decide how long it should take to write each section. If this is difficult try “backwards planning” – imagine that you have finished the work and “remember” how long it took. Add a little extra time for any problems and that is how long you allow yourself to write that section.

  3. Get an academic calendar wall chart. Block out the dates in which you will do each section. You will probably find you have a lot of spare time on your calendar at this point. Stick rigidly to your time periods for each section as you work.

    • If you find you have not finished in the time allowed you can fill in the blank spaces to complete the work with a better understanding of how long it will take.

    • From this you will see that the timeline you create at the beginning is not a fixed entity but fluid to allow for unscheduled emergencies and unexpected extra work.
  4. You can list writing your Introduction first if you like – it probably is the most difficult part of your work to get correct. But remember to schedule for extensive changes after you have completed the main body of your paper.

  5. And of course the Conclusion can along be written at the end. Make sure you schedule plenty of time for revising the work before you hand it in.