Massey Thesis Writing Boot Camp

Dedicated solely to getting words down on paper (or a computer screen), this programme is designed to help candidates get over that final hurdle or to kick-start their writing progress if it has stalled. Sign up to join other graduate research comrades at the same candidature stage in a no-excuses, no-time-for-procrastination, take-no-prisoners intensive writing event.

Not for the faint hearted, Thesis Writing Boot Camp recruits will battle through challenges such as third-year blues, writer’s block and thesis fatigue to achieve significant progress on their manuscript – under the watchful eyes of the teams led by Massey’s Deans, Research and Academic.

Tracy Riley (Dean, Research) will discuss goal setting and strategies for writing efficiently and effectively. Support staff will also be on hand and catering provided to ensure an encouraging, distraction-free environment. Attendees will be required to complete pre-programme planning activities and to commit to their own tangible aims for the event. 
Please note: these are not residential Boot Camps.

Schedule (All Stages)

FRI 
5PM-6PM

FRI
6PM-8PM

SAT
9AM-8PM

SUN
9AM-4PM

PALMERSTON NORTH
12th - 14th April, 2019
SIR GEOFFREY PEREN BUILDING;
SGP 2.68/3.24/3.42 

WELCOME

 

SET WRITING GOALS
WRITING

WRITING

WRITING

WED 
5PM-6PM

WED
6PM-8PM

THURS
9AM-8PM

FRI
9AM-4PM

PALMERSTON NORTH
20th - 22nd November, 2019
SIR GEOFFREY PEREN BUILDING;
SGP 2.68/3.24/3.42 

WELCOME

SET WRITING GOALS
WRITING

WRITING

WRITING

MON
5PM-6PM

MON
6PM-8PM

TUES
9AM-8PM

WED
9AM-5PM

ALBANY 
15th - 17th April, 2019
AV PROJ 1 & 2;
ALBANY VILLAGE, SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING & ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY 

WELCOME

 

SET WRITING GOALS
WRITING

WRITING

WRITING

WED 
5PM-6PM

WED 
6PM-8PM

THURS 
9AM-8PM

THURS 
9AM-4PM

ALBANY 
23rd - 25th October, 2019
AV PROJ 1 & 2;
ALBANY VILLAGE, SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING & ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY 

WELCOME

SET WRITING GOALS
WRITING

WRITING

WRITING

WELLINGTON 
17th - 19th July, 2019
FLAX AND FERN 

WELCOME

SET WRITING GOALS
WRITING

WRITING

WRITING

Registration

Albany Wellington PN

Deadline for Registrations

Albany
Sunday, 13th October 2019

Palmerston North
Sunday, 10th November 2019

Wellington
Sunday, 7th July 2019

Massey University Thesis Writing Boot Camp Overview

WHAT IS A THESIS WRITING BOOT CAMP?
BACKGROUND
SUPERVISOR SUPPORT
THINGS TO CONSIDER – BOOT CAMP KIT BAG
PREPARATORY WORK – YOUR MAP


WHAT IS A THESIS WRITING BOOT CAMP?

A Thesis Writing Boot Camp is a non-residential, rigorous two-half day writing event, where you join other doctoral candidates for the opportunity of a focused period of writing in a supportive environment.

Support staff will be on hand and catering provided to ensure the environment is encouraging and distraction-free.  One-on-one sessions can be pre-arranged to assist you in areas you may be struggling with (e.g. writer’s block or development of a writing strategy).

Participants must consent to attending all the sessions, and complete the preparatory work which encompasses pre-programme planning activities and setting objectives (e.g. completing a literature review or thesis chapter draft). This preparation work should only take about an hour to complete, and ensures you are ready to hit the ground running when you get to the Boot Camp.

Descriptions of each stage, required preparatory work and eligibility criteria can be found further along; Please read carefully.

BACKGROUND

The Inaugural Massey University Thesis Writing Boot Camp was held in October 2017.  The majority of your time during the Thesis Writing Boot Camp

 is spent on writing, nevertheless, time is set aside at the beginning for you to reflect on and discuss your goals with group members. This self-reflection and active goal-setting—paying attention to process—helps one become more positively mindful of the writing process which may improve your writing, your understanding of the mechanics, and your ability to remain productive over time.

SUPERVISOR SUPPORT

Supervisor support is required for the application, additionally supervisors are requested to attend the opening of the Boot Camp which their candidate is attending and agree to a Boot Camp follow-up supervisory session within two months of completion of the Boot Camp. Once registrations have closed the Researcher Development team will contact your Supervisor to confirm support, once that is established an invitation will be sent requesting them to attend the introductory session of the Thesis Writing Boot Camp.

Please note: this invitation will be sent to your primary supervisor, but other supervisors are welcome to join.  For catering purposes, please contact Marise Murrie or Alexis Boniface to arrange this.

THINGS TO CONSIDER – BOOT CAMP KIT BAG

As mentioned above, this is not a residential retreat Boot Camp. There is accommodation available on the campus to those who would like to take that option, but please note this expense is not covered by the Boot Camp. For more information, please contact Marise Murrie or Alexis Boniface.  This is also a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and a BYOC (Bring Your Own Cup) event. 

BYOD – Please ensure that your device is fully charged before attending each day, so that you can work uninterrupted. You need to also remember to bring along charging cables; you will be able to charge your laptop or device during the Boot Camp, although you may not be able to leave it plugged in to the mains electricity continuously as these will need to be shared. How are you going to save your work?  Do you use a cloud based system, via Massey network or do you need to bring along USB stick/s?

BYOC – Please bring your own cup/mug and water bottle.  Facilities for you to make your own hot drinks will be available to you throughout the Boot Camp, and in order to reduce waste, you are requested to bring your cup/mug and water bottle.  It is also a comfort and familiarity mechanism; you may also want to bring along a cushion or similar to also make you feel more comfortable.

Please think about if you need headphones or earplugs. What type of environment best stimulates your writing - background music or silence?

Make sure that your clothing is comfortable. Consider how you sit and write. What clothes will be most appropriate - loose fitting clothing, track pants, layers or your favourite t-shirt? If you suffer from cold hands and or feet, feel free to bring gloves and/or slippers or a blanket to go over your knees. We will try and keep an even temperature, but as we all know, some like it warmer/cooler than others. 

PREPARATORY WORK – YOUR MAP

Boot Camp will be an intensive writing environment! You want to make the most of your time and avoid getting ‘lost’ along the way. To make sure you stay on track, you’ll need to prepare your own map or writing plan BEFORE commencing the programme. This should not take more than an hour, and this is an hour well spent, as it makes you consider things that you probably have not thought about for a while, and will help you focus your mind on the task ahead. The University of Melbourne suggests setting yourself some SMART goals for the Boot Camp.

What’s a SMART goal?

  • Specific – What are you going to focus on writing?
  • Measurable – How many words or chapters do you want to write?
  • Attainable – On average, Boot Camp participants can write anything from 5,000 words to 25,000 words over a weekend programme.
  • Realistic/Relevant – Boot Camp is about writing – not referencing, editing, or note taking. You do want to focus on producing writing that you will be able to follow up with some rigorous editing, but not have to start all over again, so consider targeting your writing carefully, and producing meaningful prose.
  • Time bound – The programme will be approximately 19 hours long. Set yourself a challenge to write more than you usually would, but keep in mind that not everyone will produce 25,000 words.

Central research questions

You should already know these. Write them down. Think about them. Tweak them if they’ve changed over the course of your thesis. Make sure they’re still relevant and you’ve unpacked all their terms and nuances.

Thesis outline

If you haven’t already, take the time to prepare an outline of your thesis. Even if it is just a single page, including the titles/subject of each chapter, it’s important you start to consider your thesis as a single document with an overarching argument. This is your thesis ‘road map’ and it will help you see where you’ve been and where you need to go to complete the thesis.

Bring this to Boot Camp. It will help you clarify your thoughts and to keep focused on the things your chosen Boot Camp chapter needs to accomplish.

Chapter outline

Now repeat the process of outlining the thesis, by outlining your chosen chapter(s) for development at the Boot Camp. Depending on your writing style you may choose to note down just a few lines of a plan, or you might plan subheadings over several pages. Questions you should ask yourself include (but are not limited to):

  • What are the main points this chapter needs to cover?
  • What resources/evidence will I need to draw on to demonstrate these?
  • How does this chapter relate to my overall argument?

It is recommended that you work on a single chapter at any given time at Boot Camp. If you finish a chapter, you can then move onto the next chapter. Much time can be wasted flitting between chapters, and you want to avoid this time-wasting at all costs.

Key texts only

If you were stranded on a desert island and had to write your chosen Boot Camp chapter, what three books would you take with you? This is how you should think of Boot Camp - you should NOT be lugging a library in your backpack!

Ideally, you will have notes or an annotated bibliography to work from during Boot Camp. If you DO need to bring books with you, choose a maximum of two or three key texts. No more. Boot Camp is about WRITING, not reading. You can plug in exact references after the weekend.

Again, this is the same with journal articles. Internet access will be discouraged at Boot Camp. Any electronic resources should be chosen wisely and saved onto your laptop and/or a USB prior to arriving at Boot Camp.

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