Woodhill Park Retreat

Scholarship Resources

These items are intended to help thesis writers and researchers to expand, evolve and hone their skill-sets.  Please use and acknowledge them and do tell others about them as well.  Your feedback about their usefulness will be appreciated. By the way, you might be interested to note that if the heading for any item is brown, it is a hyperlink and can be clicked on to go directly to the source document.
This PowerPoint show was developed for the Doctor of Business Studies Symposium that was held at the Manukau Institute of Technology, South Auckland, on August 6th and 7th, 2011.  Essentially, candidates present either up-dates which detail their progress or have a crack at sharing their thesis proposals.  They do this to a discerning audience of academics and peers. 

But as with practically all doctoral candidates who are immersed in producing their 'opus magnificus' the matter of how to actually write a thesis tends to hover, somewhat like the Sword of Damocles, over the proceedings.  The PowerPoint presentation is by no means the complete word on thesis construction but it is included here as a PDF because I'd promised those present that I would upload the work.    

The pathway I followed had one paper in each semester, each ending with a 10,000 word report, presentation and oral defence with external examiners, advisors and peers. ‘Oral Defence?’ Presentation = Power Point = black hole = end of my doctorate.  Or so I thought.

After the first sentence of my first oral defence (for defence, read inquisition), the words just vanished, the cogency of the presentation evaporated, the Ed. Doc. went down the gurglers within my mind and I went home absolutely and utterly shattered.  And then later, Advisor Two declared, “Pick one theory and only one theory” but Advisor One thankfully said, “It’s your project"  These two snippets are but a part of the story...

This paper is about how one person survived the trials and tribulations of the first two years of the Ed. Doc. process.  To view the downloadable paper, click here.

Beginner’s guide to writing a persuasive academic abstract

This is a two page guide to writing an abstract effectively.  An academic abstract is a miniature work of art.  Abstracts are not always produced as a summarising version of completed academic labour; instead, they frequently espouse academic intentions to deliver scholastic outputs and/or research outcomes in time for a scheduled event.  

A robust abstract addresses four central questions which ask: What is it about? What did you do? What did you find? and, How is that important?  An abstract that is concentrated is potent and potency heralds resolute work.  A well constructed abstract is staunch writing that conveys maximum meaning through minimum words.  To access the full guide as a PDF, click here

To access an expanded guide that traverses additional forms of abstracts such as presentations, journal articles, book chapters, posters, or even workshops, click here.

Here are some resources on generating a critical literature review - and please note the emphasis is on the word critical.  Many thesis writers and researchers simply give an account of what the literature proposes and forget about critiquing the materials they review.  This material includes a link to some teaching material developed by Drs. Jens Hansen and Richard Smith.  It also discusses fundamental steps to critiquing reviewed literature.

There are two items which can be accessed: first, a slide-show (click here to access that slide show) and second, some accompanying notes which inform the slide-show (click here to access those notes).

A simple but sensible suggestion to make is that you print off the notes and then trawl through the slide show at your own pace and in your own space within your own place.