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Writing up

Getting started

Writing is an ongoing aspect of your thesis. Don't wait for a 'right time' to get started. The writing process can help focus ideas and develop understandings. You should start the writing process as soon as you have something to say.

Writing continues throughout your project as you draft chapters, redraft them, and work at shaping your overall argument. Other aspects of the writing process include how to argue and criticise, consideration of your audience, grammar and punctuation, editing and proofreading, and using tables and diagrams.

Some helpful pointers on editing your thesis can be found at:

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Style and writing conventions

There are rules and conventions of presentation you must adhere to in your thesis. You must follow a recognised style of English usage, citing and referencing (eg Harvard, MLA, Vancouver) consistently throughout your thesis. If you are unfamiliar with these requirements consult your supervisor as to the appropriate style guide for your field of research BEFORE you start writing.

Thesis Presentation

The CDU Common Rules state that a thesis shall:

  1. include a title page stating the title of the thesis in full, the full names and degrees of the candidate, the Faculty in which the candidate is enrolled, the degree for which the thesis is submitted and the date of submission;
  2. include a table of contents citing all major headings and the page numbers on which they occur, followed by a list of all diagrams and illustrations;
  3. include an Abstract of no more than 300 words, which indicates the aims, scope and conclusions of the study;
  4. include indication in the form of citations and a bibliography the sources of information and the extent to which work of other researchers has been used;
  5. include a signed declaration by the candidate that it is the candidate's own account of the research that was completed during the course of study undertaken by the candidate.

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Support from supervisors: tips from staff and students

Supervisors and Students
Supervisors Students
What support should supervisors provide to support the writing of the thesis, eg thesis outline, how to develop a structure? What support should supervisors provide to support the writing of the thesis, eg thesis outline, how to develop a structure?

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CDU related links:

For more information on thesis writing see Chapter 7 of Moore, Chapter 17 of Kumar, and Chapter 8 of Blaxter

Some useful websites:

How to organise your thesis by John W. Chinneck

Writing and presenting your thesis or dissertation by S. Joseph Levine

How to write your thesis by Kim Kestens et al

How to write a PhD thesis by Joe Wolfe

Style and referencing:

Referencing styles

The Elements of Style (Strunk and White)

Style manual for authors, editors and printers

CDU rules:

CDU guidelines for editing theses

HRD Examination Process
Including rules for presentation of theses (Appendix 4)

Common Rules:
Doctor of Philosophy
Master by Research
Professional Doctorate (Coursework)
Professional Doctorate (Research)








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