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Writing & Structuring an Effective Thesis

This session, as the name suggests, will focus on the writing - style, structure and presentation - of an effective PhD thesis. Using examples throughout, attendees will be shown how to access relevant exemplar theses in their subject area and issues covered will include the overall chapter structure, the aims and presentation of specific chapters (including the introduction, literature review, theoretical/methodological chapters, study chapters, and general discussion), and the manner in which they might or should be combined to create an effective and impactful thesis. The need to create a single ‘golden thread’ or ‘guiding narrative’ for the thesis will also be emphasised. Writing an 80-100000 word document is very difficult indeed and this session is designed to help break the task into manageable chunks.

Aimed at

Doctoral Researchers (early, mid-stage & final stage)



Joining instructions



 In order to attend the session, you need to download the appropriate virtual classroom software, provided by Electa-Live. This can be accessed directly from the Electa website at: do this as soon as possible and do not wait for the day of the session. The software can be downloaded to a PC, laptop, tablet, or even a smartphone. Remember, however, that downloading to a work computer may require administrative permissions to be granted. For this reason, the use of a personal computer is recommended.

Once you have the software, you can join the session by clicking on the following link:

 It’s as simple as that! Please note, however, that the above link will not work until the virtual classroom is open and that will happen 30 MINUTES before the session’s official start time. Please enter the classroom nice and early, especially if this is your first online session, to make sure that your speakers are working appropriately. This can be done via the ‘Audio Set up Wizard’ which is available via the ‘Audio’ menu at the top of the screen (or by clicking the ‘spanner’ icon to the top left). If you do have a microphone, please leave it turned OFF once it’s set up. This is done using the microphone icon at the very top left of the screen. Thanks. Please note, however, that it isn’t necessary to have a microphone to communicate in the session. A text chat function is available (at the bottom left of the screen) and many attendees prefer to use this as a means of posting their thoughts and questions. I will be in the classroom 30 minutes before the session starts if help is required, or you can mail me at any earlier point if you are having set-up problems. I’ll do my best to assist!

ABOUT THE SESSION ITSELF: If you have any particular issues/topics you’d like me to cover in the session, things that are already troubling you or questions you’d like me to answer, please let me know in advance and I’ll do my best to help. Please email-

Otherwise, no advance preparation is required. All the online training sessions take advantage of the skills and academic experience of the presenter – gathered over too many years in my case(!) – as well as many useful tips and tricks-of-the-trade, to render potentially complicated and multi-layered academic tasks a little more simple. We hope you enjoy! The session slides and a session recording will be forwarded after the session, but I’d still recommend that you take some notes as we go along. It’s a sensible thing to do and too few students do it effectively.

Looking forward to seeing/hearing you all during the session…

Best wishes,


Key learning outcomes

By the end of this training, participants will be able to:

  • Write an effective and sensibly structured PhD thesis
  • Understand the six main functions of an effective PhD thesis (the six things it HAS to achieve)
  • Understand the different chapters that are required in the PhD thesis, the aims of each chapter, and their relative functions within the whole
  • Create a ‘golden thread’ throughout the thesis that links the individual chapters into a single, overall narrative

Presented by

Dr Simon Watts, PGR Training Coordinator & Deputy Director of the Graduate School, Faculty of Social Science, University of East Anglia

Specific skills focused on in this session

Approaches to writing long documents

Select a date

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Brunel 3D Development Tool

Develops the following:

Skills needed to do your research and career

Skills needed to disseminate your research

Researcher Development Framework (RDF) Competencies

Develops skills relevant to the following domains of the RDF:

This workshop is provided by

Brunel Graduate School Logo

Email address Telephone number 01895 265935