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SERVICES

For students and researchers

SERVICES

For students and researchers

We help in planning and writing up your thesis

 

Many students spend enormous amounts of time and effort on their thesis. Some only get text on paper with extreme difficulty. Others produce long pieces that are beside the point. As long as it is not completely clear what you want to say, there is a real danger that the work will go off in all directions. Eventually, it will derail. You need to come up with a problem, formally called a thesis. You need to work out hypotheses that you can either logically accept or refute. And your work needs to have relevance for your discipline.

 

This may sound daunting, but it is not that very different from having a discussion with your friends. It’s only more formal. Start by reading overview articles and seminal texts. There will be disagreement, there always is. What do you think about it? Delve deeper. Select one issue that you are particularly interested in. This is not the time to write. Read, think, discuss. Eventually, you will get a broad idea of the argument that you want to make. What, you think, would you like to prove or contribute to? Try writing up a first short plan. At this point, this is just a broad outline, but it’s nonetheless essential to have. It tells you how to proceed. As you read up more, your thoughts will continue to evolve. You will discover new authors, new approaches, new problems and new discussions. The time will come to compose a second outline. You really need to think this through carefully. Talk to your supervisor. Anything that is not absolutely essential for your central point has to go. Be ruthless. It’s essential to keep things concise, analytical, cool, elegant. That is how your start your intellectual voyage.

 

All of this sounds extremely sensible. Indeed, it’s only common sense. But common sense is often notoriously difficult to apply. When students struggle with their thesis, it is often because they don’t succeed in formulating a proper plan. Without a plan, there is no structure to your work. You sail without a compass. Even a mediocre or a bad plan is better than no plan at all.

 

Don’t give yourself too much work – you are a student, not a research institution. Here the same problem reappears. How can you be concise if what you are doing is not clear to you? When you present theory, findings or opinions don’t be afraid to agree or disagree – that is your job! You can design empirical research to see how your results fit the theory. If you are more theoretically inclined, you can be more like an ‘arm-chair’ scientist, examining previous work, looking for omissions, unexamined assumptions, logical fallacies, outdated views, group think or relevant insights from other disciplines.

 

 

 

 

Organisation is the most important factor of all writing. Writing up a thesis requires extensive organisation. You need to work methodically, never lose sight of what exactly you are trying to say. Ultimately, you need to rule like a judge: this is right and this is wrong for this and that reason; this constitutes a valuable contribution; this particular author made a mess of it. Argue your case. That is what you are supposed to do. Don’t produce hurdles for yourself, standards you can’t meet. You are not writing up a masterwork. Your thesis is an exercise.

 

There are excellent books on how to write a thesis (I provide a short list below). These books tell you everything you will ever need to know. The problem, of course, is that there is a world of difference between understanding and application. No books can replace a skilled thesis advisor.

 

There are pitfalls at every stage. Some people find it difficult to decide upon a subject. Depending on your level, you will spend weeks, months or even years working on a thesis. Choose something you feel deeply about, something that makes you curious or that upsets you. Writing is difficult. You need to make yourself understandable. Anyone who explains things to other people should be interested in being understood. Intellectual and linguistic clarity is essential. A text full of technical terms and digressions completely misses the point. It doesn’t make you sound smart either. As Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it to a six-year old, you don’t understand it yourself.” Learn to express yourself as simple as possible.

 

 

What can we do for your thesis?

 

 

Thesis planning and development: We device a general outline together, work on thesis formulation and the hypotheses that go with it and we discuss the literature that you should read. We can assist with the organisation of the text in chapters and the formulation of the general conclusions. Even if we are not an expert in your field, it will feel good to talk to an academic outsider. The biggest problem of all is most often the lack of a valid or a realistic plan. It is essential to talk this through.

 

Thesis evaluation: We read through your work, examining the overall quality and merit, consistency, the value of the argumentation, the logic of the exposition and its relevance. You will get comments like “explain to me, why is this part necessary?”, “I understand what you mean now, but is this sufficiently clear to the reader?”, “are you sure this is right?”, “could this discussion be put somewhere else?”, “expand on this a bit!”, and so on. We discuss together where the problems lie and make suggestions that improve your thesis.

 

Thesis editing: We also edit. Here we go over the text, sentence by sentence. We correct grammatical mistakes and typos and make suggestions for better formulations. We help you to polish up the text so that you submit the best thesis possible.

 

Note that we do not write for you. We help you in becoming better in developing the text yourself. Contributing text to a thesis is not only illegal, it is also fundamentally dishonest. Even if it is not completely illegal, due to some loophole, as some businesses argue, it is still cheating. It is also counterproductive. You have to be responsible for your work. Do it well and be creative, so that you can be deservedly proud of it.

We help in planning and writing up your thesis

 

Many students spend enormous amounts of time and effort on their thesis. Some only get text on paper with extreme difficulty. Others produce long pieces that are beside the point. As long as it is not completely clear what you want to say, there is a real danger that the work will go off in all directions. Eventually, it will derail. You need to come up with a problem, formally called a thesis. You need to work out hypotheses that you can either logically accept or refute. And your work needs to have relevance for your discipline.

 

This may sound daunting, but it is not that very different from having a discussion with your friends. It’s only more formal. Start by reading overview articles and seminal texts. There will be disagreement, there always is. What do you think about it? Delve deeper. Select one issue that you are particularly interested in. This is not the time to write. Read, think, discuss. Eventually, you will get a broad idea of the argument that you want to make. What, you think, would you like to prove or contribute to? Try writing up a first short plan. At this point, this is just a broad outline, but it’s nonetheless essential to have. It tells you how to proceed. As you read up more, your thoughts will continue to evolve. You will discover new authors, new approaches, new problems and new discussions. The time will come to compose a second outline. You really need to think this through carefully. Talk to your supervisor. Anything that is not absolutely essential for your central point has to go. Be ruthless. It’s essential to keep things concise, analytical, cool, elegant. That is how your start your intellectual voyage.

 

All of this sounds extremely sensible. Indeed, it’s only common sense. But common sense is often notoriously difficult to apply. When students struggle with their thesis, it is often because they don’t succeed in formulating a proper plan. Without a plan, there is no structure to your work. You sail without a compass. Even a mediocre or a bad plan is better than no plan at all.

 

Don’t give yourself too much work – you are a student, not a research institution. Here the same problem reappears. How can you be concise if what you are doing is not clear to you? When you present theory, findings or opinions don’t be afraid to agree or disagree – that is your job! You can design empirical research to see how your results fit the theory. If you are more theoretically inclined, you can be more like an ‘arm-chair’ scientist, examining previous work, looking for omissions, unexamined assumptions, logical fallacies, outdated views, group think or relevant insights from other disciplines.

 

 

 

 

Organisation is the most important factor of all writing. Writing up a thesis requires extensive organisation. You need to work methodically, never lose sight of what exactly you are trying to say. Ultimately, you need to rule like a judge: this is right and this is wrong for this and that reason; this constitutes a valuable contribution; this particular author made a mess of it. Argue your case. That is what you are supposed to do. Don’t produce hurdles for yourself, standards you can’t meet. You are not writing up a masterwork. Your thesis is an exercise.

 

There are excellent books on how to write a thesis (I provide a short list below). These books tell you everything you will ever need to know. The problem, of course, is that there is a world of difference between understanding and application. No books can replace a skilled thesis advisor.

 

There are pitfalls at every stage. Some people find it difficult to decide upon a subject. Depending on your level, you will spend weeks, months or even years working on a thesis. Choose something you feel deeply about, something that makes you curious or that upsets you. Writing is difficult. You need to make yourself understandable. Anyone who explains things to other people should be interested in being understood. Intellectual and linguistic clarity is essential. A text full of technical terms and digressions completely misses the point. It doesn’t make you sound smart either. As Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it to a six-year old, you don’t understand it yourself.” Learn to express yourself as simple as possible.

 

 

What can we do for your thesis?

 

 

Thesis planning and development: We device a general outline together, work on thesis formulation and the hypotheses that go with it and we discuss the literature that you should read. We can assist with the organisation of the text in chapters and the formulation of the general conclusions. Even if we are not an expert in your field, it will feel good to talk to an academic outsider. The biggest problem of all is most often the lack of a valid or a realistic plan. It is essential to talk this through.

 

Thesis evaluation: We read through your work, examining the overall quality and merit, consistency, the value of the argumentation, the logic of the exposition and its relevance. You will get comments like “explain to me, why is this part necessary?”, “I understand what you mean now, but is this sufficiently clear to the reader?”, “are you sure this is right?”, “could this discussion be put somewhere else?”, “expand on this a bit!”, and so on. We discuss together where the problems lie and make suggestions that improve your thesis.

 

Thesis editing: We also edit. Here we go over the text, sentence by sentence. We correct grammatical mistakes and typos and make suggestions for better formulations. We help you to polish up the text so that you submit the best thesis possible.

 

Note that we do not write for you. We help you in becoming better in developing the text yourself. Contributing text to a thesis is not only illegal, it is also fundamentally dishonest. Even if it is not completely illegal, due to some loophole, as some businesses argue, it is still cheating. It is also counterproductive. You have to be responsible for your work. Do it well and be creative, so that you can be deservedly proud of it.

Writing up a research proposal

 

 

When you get ready to write up a research proposal, you need to push it. This can be the chance of a lifetime. Receiving funding may open the door to an academic career. But first you need to convince the referees or jurors. There is no way around it: your research proposal has to be excellent. You need to win this competition.

 

How will you pull it off? Typically, a research proposal is not more than four of five pages, 2.000 to 3.000 words in all. Writing up such a concise text is completely different from composing a chapter for a thesis or an article. First, you will need to decide upon a subject. You will have to show serious expertise – evaluators easily see through a fast read-up. Explain what has been done before by who and why, what the current discussion is about and how you intend to make a valuable contribution. Keep in mind that if your application is successful, you will work on your project for an extended period. If you apply for a doctoral student position, it will be four or five years. Choose something you feel passionate about.

 

It is essential to emphasise the relevance of the work that you propose. The referees understand that you are still a student. You are not an expert yet. But there is no way around relevance. Convince referees that your proposal is exactly the type of research that they are seeking. Nothing works better. You need to strike the right balance between the theory and the empirical work that you propose. It’s not so much the balance that is most important – some projects are very theoretical, some are very technical, some are more empirical. It’s essential that the empirical work is adequate for testing the theory. If there is a problem here, you will never get through. You need to show critical thinking, boldness, confidence and creativity. You will produce several versions. There is no way around it: composing a research proposal is difficult. Even experienced researchers struggle with it.

 

One golden rule is to have your proposal ready weeks in advance. Everybody knows this. It’s practically the biggest cliché in the profession. Yet, the rule constantly gets broken. Great planning and good intentions notwithstanding, typically, students and researchers spend the last days working ferociously against a looming deadline. Yours wouldn’t be the first potentially excellent proposal that goes to pieces. When you miss the deadline, your chance is gone. Keep this golden rule in mind.

 

The work can be even more difficult (and more nerve racking) if you are a member of a research team. Then you are only responsible for writing up one part of a much bigger proposal. This happens, for example, if you apply for EU funding. You will have to discuss the science, the plans and all the details with several people from abroad – research groups consisting of ten or more teams are not an exception. All these people have different ways of working, they might come from different disciplines and they all want as much funding as possible. You should only engage in this when you are already an experienced researcher and you should only work together with other highly experienced researchers. There are a lot of pitfalls here. Writing up a proposal for an EU program typically takes several months. Be sure that this is really what you want. Realise that the competition is enormous and that the chance of being successful remains small – even if the proposal is excellent. Fortunately, calls for mega-proposals such as Horizon 2020 are increasingly being criticised. For one – and this is really bad – there exists no decent, established methodology to evaluate them (see Kevin Gross, Carl T. Bergstrom, Contest models highlight inherent inefficiencies of scientific funding competitions).

 

We can help. We read through your research proposal and give feedback. We assist in writing up new versions. Find yourself an experienced outsider who is capable to evaluate your proposal on logical consistency, creativity, conciseness, scientific merit, promise and originality. It increases your chances of getting funded.

Writing up a research proposal

 

 

When you get ready to write up a research proposal, you need to push it. This can be the chance of a lifetime. Receiving funding may open the door to an academic career. But first you need to convince the referees or jurors. There is no way around it: your research proposal has to be excellent. You need to win this competition.

 

How will you pull it off? Typically, a research proposal is not more than four of five pages, 2.000 to 3.000 words in all. Writing up such a concise text is completely different from composing a chapter for a thesis or an article. First, you will need to decide upon a subject. You will have to show serious expertise – evaluators easily see through a fast read-up. Explain what has been done before by who and why, what the current discussion is about and how you intend to make a valuable contribution. Keep in mind that if your application is successful, you will work on your project for an extended period. If you apply for a doctoral student position, it will be four or five years. Choose something you feel passionate about.

 

It is essential to emphasise the relevance of the work that you propose. The referees understand that you are still a student. You are not an expert yet. But there is no way around relevance. Convince referees that your proposal is exactly the type of research that they are seeking. Nothing works better. You need to strike the right balance between the theory and the empirical work that you propose. It’s not so much the balance that is most important – some projects are very theoretical, some are very technical, some are more empirical. It’s essential that the empirical work is adequate for testing the theory. If there is a problem here, you will never get through. You need to show critical thinking, boldness, confidence and creativity. You will produce several versions. There is no way around it: composing a research proposal is difficult. Even experienced researchers struggle with it.

 

One golden rule is to have your proposal ready weeks in advance. Everybody knows this. It’s practically the biggest cliché in the profession. Yet, the rule constantly gets broken. Great planning and good intentions notwithstanding, typically, students and researchers spend the last days working ferociously against a looming deadline. Yours wouldn’t be the first potentially excellent proposal that goes to pieces. When you miss the deadline, your chance is gone. Keep this golden rule in mind.

 

The work can be even more difficult (and more nerve racking) if you are a member of a research team. Then you are only responsible for writing up one part of a much bigger proposal. This happens, for example, if you apply for EU funding. You will have to discuss the science, the plans and all the details with several people from abroad – research groups consisting of ten or more teams are not an exception. All these people have different ways of working, they might come from different disciplines and they all want as much funding as possible. You should only engage in this when you are already an experienced researcher and you should only work together with other highly experienced researchers. There are a lot of pitfalls here. Writing up a proposal for an EU program typically takes several months. Be sure that this is really what you want. Realise that the competition is enormous and that the chance of being successful remains small – even if the proposal is excellent. Fortunately, calls for mega-proposals such as Horizon 2020 are increasingly being criticised. For one – and this is really bad – there exists no decent, established methodology to evaluate them (see Kevin Gross, Carl T. Bergstrom, Contest models highlight inherent inefficiencies of scientific funding competitions).

 

We can help. We read through your research proposal and give feedback. We assist in writing up new versions. Find yourself an experienced outsider who is capable to evaluate your proposal on logical consistency, creativity, conciseness, scientific merit, promise and originality. It increases your chances of getting funded.

Proofreading, editing and pre-peer reviewing

 

We proofread Swedish, English, Dutch, French and German texts and edit at fast pace. We evaluate the correctness and the consistency of your argument, the clarity of the exposition and its conciseness, the links between the theoretical exposition and the empirical findings, the validity of your conclusions and the overall quality of the writing. We check whether the article meets specific scientific requirements. This greatly increases the chance of getting published. Journalistic texts can also be proofread, edited and translated. We also translate Swedish texts into English.

Proofreading, editing and pre-peer reviewing

 

We proofread Swedish, English, Dutch, French and German texts and edit at fast pace. We evaluate the correctness and the consistency of your argument, the clarity of the exposition and its conciseness, the links between the theoretical exposition and the empirical findings, the validity of your conclusions and the overall quality of the writing. We check whether the article meets specific scientific requirements. This greatly increases the chance of getting published. Journalistic texts can also be proofread, edited and translated. We also translate Swedish texts into English.

Presentations

 

When the day arrives that you need to prepare for a presentation, how will you proceed? Soon enough, you will be on a stage, talking. You need to be convincing. It sounds daunting. Speaking in public makes everybody nervous, especially when you have never done it before. Provide a small introduction and explain the relevance of what you are going to say. Then move on to the main point – what the problem is, what the literature is saying, highlight your own contribution. Keep the outline of your talk extremely logical. You need to keep an eye on the audience: repeat if you get the feeling that you are losing people. Provide for the opportunity to ask questions and make remarks. Two factors are more important than anything else: you need to convince your audience that you are indeed an expert and you need to communicate enthusiasm. That’s basically it. If you succeed in this, it is absolutely of no importance if you stumble once or twice or if you make a mistake.

 

 

Hannah Arendt

 

 

Talking in public is fun. Now people listen to you! You can talk about your own work. We assist you with the preparation of a presentation. We comment on your text. You can even present your presentation to us first if you like. We will rehearse. We’ll listen and interrupt you. We’ll ask questions and make suggestions. We will rework the outline of the text if necessary.

Presentations

 

When the day arrives that you need to prepare for a presentation, how will you proceed? Soon enough, you will be on a stage, talking. You need to be convincing. It sounds daunting. Speaking in public makes everybody nervous, especially when you have never done it before. Provide a small introduction and explain the relevance of what you are going to say. Then move on to the main point – what the problem is, what the literature is saying, highlight your own contribution. Keep the outline of your talk extremely logical. You need to keep an eye on the audience: repeat if you get the feeling that you are losing people. Provide for the opportunity to ask questions and make remarks. Two factors are more important than anything else: you need to convince your audience that you are indeed an expert and you need to communicate enthusiasm. That’s basically it. If you succeed in this, it is absolutely of no importance if you stumble once or twice or if you make a mistake.

 

 

 

 

Talking in public is fun. Now people listen to you! You can talk about your own work. We assist you with the preparation of a presentation. We comment on your text. You can even present your presentation to us first if you like. We will rehearse. We’ll listen and interrupt you. We’ll ask questions and make suggestions. We will rework the outline of the text if necessary.

Studying for exams

 

We can help you study for an exam. If you get stuck or if you find that what you are supposed to assimilate or work out extremely difficult, come talk to us and we will figure it out together. There are effective strategies that make you study efficiently.

Studying for exams

 

We can help you study for an exam. If you get stuck or if you find that what you are supposed to assimilate or work out extremely difficult, come talk to us and we will figure it out together. There are effective strategies that make you study efficiently.

Services for gymnasium students

 

We offer assistance to gymnasium students at or near completion level. We help you to improve your study skills, time management, your organisational skills and your writing competence. Many adolescents struggle with writing (see here). We help you to prepare for tests and overcome test anxiety. We assist in writing up your essay and we prepare for a presentation together. Many students, even at a young age, suffer from severe stress (see here). This is a serious problem which has to be swiftly addressed (see here for an alarming report of the Economic Policy Institute on toxic stress and children’s outcomes). You can come to us or we can visit you at your home if you live in Stockholm. Ideally, we meet up for two hours, with a break in between.

Services for gymnasium students

 

We offer assistance to gymnasium students at or near completion level. We help you to improve your study skills, time management, your organisational skills and your writing competence. Many adolescents struggle with writing (see here). We help you to prepare for tests and overcome test anxiety. We assist in writing up your essay and we prepare for a presentation together. Many students, even at a young age, suffer from severe stress (see here). This is a serious problem which has to be swiftly addressed (see here for an alarming report of the Economic Policy Institute on toxic stress and children’s outcomes). You can come to us or we can visit you at your home if you live in Stockholm. Ideally, we meet up for two hours, with a break in between.

Good books about writing up a thesis or dissertation

 

 

Booth, W., Colomb, G., Williams, J., Bizup, J, Fitzgerald, 2016, The Craft of Research, Fourth Ed., (here).

 

Everything you need to know about writing up a thesis can be found here.

 

Dunleavy, P., 2003, Authoring a PhD: How to Plan, Draft, Write and Finish a Doctoral Thesis or Dissertation, (here).

 

This is also very good. Dunleavy breaks down the dissertation into a logical series of clear and useful step-by-step processes.

 

Bui, Y.N., 2009, How to Write a Master’s Thesis, (here).

 

Petre, M., Rugg, G., The Unwritten Rules of PhD Research, (here).

 

Fisher, C., Buglear, J., 2004, Researching and writing a dissertation for business students, (here).

 

Germano, W., From Dissertation to Book, (here).

 

Written by an experienced editor, this is actually very good. There is a lot to learn here about how to make writing readable, accessible and concise.

Good books about writing up a thesis or dissertation

 

 

Booth, W., Colomb, G., Williams, J., Bizup, J, Fitzgerald, 2016, The Craft of Research, Fourth Ed., (here).

 

Everything you need to know about writing up a thesis can be found here.

 

Dunleavy, P., 2003, Authoring a PhD: How to Plan, Draft, Write and Finish a Doctoral Thesis or Dissertation, (here).

 

This is also very good. Dunleavy breaks down the dissertation into a logical series of clear and useful step-by-step processes.

 

Bui, Y.N., 2009, How to Write a Master’s Thesis, (here).

 

Petre, M., Rugg, G., The Unwritten Rules of PhD Research, (here).

 

Fisher, C., Buglear, J., 2004, Researching and writing a dissertation for business students, (here).

 

Germano, W., From Dissertation to Book, (here).

 

Written by an experienced editor, this is actually very good. There is a lot to learn here about how to make writing readable, accessible and concise.