Some Pieces of Advice for MA and PhD. Researchers in English Literature
- Get a recent manual on documentation and regularly consult it to be consistent in your documentation. Use italics in writing the titles of books, and inverted commas when referring to an article, a short poem, or a short story.
- Summarize three books on the literary background or the writer’s works.
- Read the texts you are examining closely and more than once.
- Make an outline of the research.
- Collect your notes according to the main subject of your thesis. Read, read, read, but take what is relevant only.
- Be careful to insert documentation even in your draft. You have to be consistent, so follow one method of research all through.
- Write a tentative bibliography or works cited.
- Always make sure you are using the most recent references.
- Using temporary subtitles, you can start dealing with each element in the following manner:
- Performance (for drama).
- Plot (very briefly, in one or two pages only).
- Enrich your argument by comparison or reference to other similar works.
- Write in your own style. Do not copy as this is considered a form of plagiarism, in addition, you have to train yourself on writing in your own style. Use quotations to support your argument and comment on your quotes whenever possible.
- Consider the following remarks in writing your Conclusion:
- 1) The Conclusion is an important part of your thesis, it should not be written in haste but it should be given special care. It should have a clear structure: a beginning, a middle and an end. The beginning should refer to what you aimed to achieve in your work according to your Introduction; the middle should provide answers to questions asked which is the body of your thesis; while the end or the conclusion of your Conclusion should highlight what has been presented in the three or four chapters and according to the title of your thesis.
- 2) The Conclusion should give and reiterate your own findings in the thesis and should express your own voice and not that of the critics’. So, you should not use any quotations in the Conclusion.
- 3) I repeat, you shouldn’t merely sum up, you shouldn’t concentrate on one part of your work or introduce new material as it is a kind of synthesis of your key findings in the whole thesis.
- For linguistics you have to consult an APA Manual.