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Writing Your Master's Thesis


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Table of Contents

1. Your Master's thesis and you: Moving towards academic Zen 2. From topic to question to design: Planning your journey 3. Ethics: Making good choices 4. You are what you read: Building a foundation of knowledge 5. Writing as thinking: From rough draft to final document 6. Supervision and guidance: Getting help along the way 7. Structure and argument: What's the logic of your story? 8. Your introduction: How do you fit into the conversation? 9. Your theoretical and conceptual framework: What ideas are you using? 10. Your method: What did you do to answer your question? 11. Your results and analysis: What are you building your argument on? 12. Your discussion and conclusion: So, what does all this mean? 13. The finishing touches: Polishing and submitting your work

About the Author

Since moving to Norway from the US in the late 1980s, Lynn P. Nygaard has provided editorial support, writing instruction, and coaching for researchers in a wide variety of disciplines. A native English speaker, Nygaard started as a freelance copyeditor and translator for Norwegian academics aiming to publish their work in international journals. In 2000, she became the editorial advisor at the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research - Oslo (CICERO). This position allowed her to view researchers and the writing process from close quarters, and she discovered that language was seldom the main explanation for what was going wrong. After several years of leading workshops on academic writing that focused on developing an awareness of audience, formulating the core argument, and structuring the story, she published Writing for Scholars: A Practical Guide to Making Sense and Being Heard (originally published by Universitetsforlaget in 2008, and published in a second edition by Sage and Universitetsforlaget in 2015). In 2008, she became a special advisor at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), and continues to develop her expertise in how to support scholars through the writing process. With an undergraduate degree in women's studies from the University of California at Berkeley and a graduate degree in political science at the University of Oslo, she is currently pursuing a doctorate in education from the Institute of Education, University College London, focusing on research productivity, academic writing, and gender gaps in academia.


This book is both a delight to read and extremely useful. Nygaard brings the topic of thesis writing alive while also leading students through what they need to know and be able to do write a successful thesis. I highly recommend it.
-- Brian Paltridge
The distinctive focus of this ground-breaking study skills book is on the beginner thesis-writer as an individual shaped by experience-based academic assumptions and desires. From this perspective conventional assessment criteria can be transformed into a pedagogically helpful conversation with different readers.
-- Mary Scott
What makes this book unique is how every step of the writing process is framed to engage the writer's awareness. Thesis writing, under Nygaard's guidance, becomes an experience of discovery and self-realization. It's invaluable for students aiming for an academic career. -- Ingerid Straume

This book is many things: interactive, multi-dimensional, technical, philosophical, and incredibly witty. Packed with valuable life-lessons, it demystifies academic writing and shows you how best to communicate topics outside of your own head, department, or community.

-- Christian Davenport

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