Two helpful strategies are to encourage students to set attainable sub-goals so they use short periods of time efficiently.
Yet it is a crucial preliminary step in the research process, and one which the postgraduate student, who has recently emerged from the security of undergraduate life where problems appear to exist self-evidently, must confront and overcome.
It if is not, and the research proposal remains vague and ill-defined, the student's subsequent activities of researching and note-taking will lack focus, be more time-consuming than is necessary, and largely ineffective. 196) Another crucial phase in the research process is the transition from analysis to synthesis; that is, from the collection and analysis of literature or data to the writing of the first draft.
Supervisors need to emphasise throughout students' candidacies that they are striving in the thesis to communicate one big idea; that there should be a `thesis' or centre to which everything in the document contributes. 174) Educational research and our own experience ...
suggest that it is extremely important for the beginning researcher to define the research problem at a very early stage in the research process.
Of course, if she or he had been writing all along, there would be at least a rough draft of this which would simply need to be refined.
Another helpful strategy for writers who often face interruptions to their work is to leave themselves `pick-up points'.
'; this is frequently a symptom of nerves as the awesome moment approaches when the student must lay aside the security of index cards and plunge into the writing phase.
Our experience suggests that problems particularly arise when the postgraduate student is unaware of the stages and steps through which research and writing normally proceed.
Finally, supervisors who have several research students or whose departments have a group of novice researchers should encourage them to exchange drafts of their work frequently.
The more commentary, the more often a student is asked, `What did you intend to say here?