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Authoring a PhD Thesis: How to Plan, Draft, Write and Finish a Doctoral Dissertation Paperback – August 16, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-1403905840 ISBN-10: 1403905843 Edition: 0th

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Product Details

  • Series: Palgrave Study Guides
  • Paperback: 297 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (August 16, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1403905843
  • ISBN-13: 978-1403905840
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #267,259 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Dunleavy illuminates the management of text. Following his recommended disciplines, he has produced an elegant, witty and spare guide for the perplexed student."--Herman Schwartz, University of Virginia

"Authoring a PhD Thesis is superb. It is so in three ways: tone; nature of the advice offered; the fact that the book itself is an exemplary illustration of the principles it recommends. After reading it, it is hard to see how many PhD students ever managed to write an acceptable thesis without reading it."--John Peck, Cardiff University

"Pleasantly written, containing a lot of helpful suggestions, sound advice, and illuminating insights into the process of writing a thesis."--Giseline Kuipers, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

"...elegantly written and contains crisp and incisive insights. I will recommend this book widely to students because it will help them significantly with the successful completion of their PhD thesis...I have gained some good ideas from reading the text."--Wyn Grant, Warwick University

About the Author

Patrick Dunleavy is Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science, and a member of the Academy of the Social Sciences, London.

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Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

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I would recommend it to any PHD student.
Osei Akoto Williams
This book is more of a discussion on the topic than series of dot points, and it needs to be because of the topic's complexity and diversity.
Marten K
The book is full of clear guidelines and advice, useful tips, and wit which makes it very readable too.
Jill Stuart

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Gwen A Orel on January 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
I just defended successfully (yay!), after a serious revision, and this book was my guiding light. In all honesty I could have saved myself some serious time if I'd paid more attention to it sooner. It was particularly inspiring when I was first starting to get down on paper my first chapter... I think for anyone in that horrible phase where you have to much research and feel that you've lost your argument the book is an enormous blessing. It demonstrates how to structure a chapter, how to keep it readable, how to break down sections... It was truly my bible.

It also lays out the differences between British and US models, which is interesting to know for future reference.

Not a word that is merely psychobabble or self-help, but a straightforward and clear manual.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jill Stuart on November 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is an excellent guide to an under-addressed aspect of the PhD process: writing, structuring, and developing your thesis. The text fills a niche amongst all of the other `how to get your PhD' books out there, because it goes so far in depth into the authoring process.

Beginning to write your thesis is a daunting thing, and there seems to be a presumption that PhD students will know how to go about the whole procedure. But of course the process is complicated, intimidating, and not always clear-but this books provides an invaluable road map. Indeed it even offers guidance for after the thesis is finished, when you want to move on to publishing. Suddenly the impossible and mysterious looks reasonable and understandable. The book is full of clear guidelines and advice, useful tips, and wit which makes it very readable too. The text is structured according to the methods being recommended, which makes it very easy to read--and that makes you appreciate the soundness of what you are learning!

A book you will want to sit down and read cover-to-cover, and then keep on your shelf for regular referral back to throughout the entire PhD process!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is an excellent guide for anyone in the process of writing a dissertation. Although he is writing from a British point of view, he takes care to make his advice applicable to the dissertation writer in the US university system as well. He discusses structure, drafting, editing, as well as how to prepare the diss for eventual publication.

The main achievement of this book is the idea that the dissertation writer is taking on another role, moving from *student writer* to *writer*. The dissertation propels the student into the position of colleague in training, and the writing is the vehicle for doing that. For the first time, thanks to this book, I have begun to look at myself as a writer contributing to the body of knowledge on the subject, not just a student producing yet another required paper to please a professor.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By D. R. Maurice on April 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
Authoring a PhD highlights lessons that I learned from Professor Dunleavy as a master's candidate at the London School of Economics. Several easy to understand but critical lessons are posed. First, superior organizational skill is key for any PhD student. This is initially conveyed through a seemingly trivial but ultimately useful example of how his study was organized as a proxy for the importance of precision and efficiency in structuring the PhD. Second, above all, persistence is important. In suggesting ways to "Keep the Faith" the PhD can be endured by sticking to the plan once it is developed, and trusting oneself to defend the research. Lastly, the pervasive tone of the book can be summed up as follows: "Say it once and Say it right" a mantra that Professor Dunleavy encouraged his student's to consider seriously and I have tried not always sucessfully to adhere to. These simple, yet straightforward messages that dominate the text, may be one of the reasons why, when I first tried to purchase the book at the 2003 American Political Science Association annual meeting, it was unavailable, having completely sold out. Happily, Amazon helped me resolve this particular dilemma so I could confront the critical real world issue of finishing my thesis.
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23 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Hans on February 25, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is mainly intended for the humanities and social sciences. I found the book rather hard to read. Long sentences and use of paranthesis is not really an effective style. Lots of text before the author comes to the interesting points. Who is interested in information like: "Most women like to give and recieve process-organized explanations, often running through the history of an event or an interaction from beginning to end in narrative succession. But most men prefer to recieve 'bottom-line' information first... Hence men easily get annoyed by what they code as women 'rabbiting on'." The author is surely not the one who gives bottom-line information first. He gives several comments like this one that are of no use when you want to know how to write a good thesis. The book is full of citations from writers and other smart people (which are highlighted), but the things you really want to know are hard to find without a lot of unnecessary reading. There are lots of books on scientific writing, just browse on and you'll surely find some better books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By reader 451 on October 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
Patrick Dunleavy's Authoring a PhD is the manual many academics recommend to their students as they embark on a doctoral thesis. As meticulously structured as the author suggests a PhD itself should be, this can be read cover-to-cover as a book or picked from selectively for reference.

Indeed, Dunleavy's handbook is comprehensive, and different readers will find different uses for it. Some will already have writing experience, perhaps from an undergraduate degree or from professional experience, and may not require or wish to eschew the author's ultra-detailed tips on sub-dividing chapters. Or they may have come across earlier works on clear writing (my favourite remains Strunk & White). Yet this is guaranteed to have insights for all, starting with the recommendation that PhD students establish from the outset exactly what question they expect their thesis to answer. And I found interesting insights in chapters which superficially had no potential use for me: on tables and charts, for example. Dunleavy, finally, writes with humour, and he does not shrink from poking fun at the academic world of which he is part, making this pleasant to read.
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