Producing an overall framework The table of contents and abstract At a certain point during the first year of research, it is likely that your general approach to writing will begin to change. Developing the research topic, managing reading and generating research questions will gradually give way to a consideration of what the written end product is going to look like. You will start thinking in terms of chapters, and you will begin to consider your readers and their expectations. PhD supervisors often ask for a rough overview of intended chapters during the early stages, but your initial reaction may be that you do not feel ready to provide this. There are understandable reasons for this reaction. Before you can define the end product, you will first need to consider the scope and the parameters of your research: however, at this stage you may have more questions than answers in this respect. Whatever you do in terms of trying to plan your writing, you will need to be aware that your thinking and therefore your planning will inevitably change as your research progresses. Before you begin to plan your writing, you will also need to think in very general terms about the task that lies ahead. It is possible that this could be the longest piece of writing that you will ever attempt, and one key area of difficulty is the requirement for overall coherence. You will need to develop arguments that readers can follow without getting lost throughout a lengthy text. Meanwhile, you will also need to prevent yourself from losing your way as you gradually and painstakingly construct this text. Ensuring that coherence is maintained will eventually be achieved in different ways (some of which will be discussed in detail in Chapter 8). At this initial stage of chapter writing, the first step will be to focus on a draft structural framework.
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- Building a Structured Chapter Framework
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