Writing and Structuring an Effective Thesis

Years: 1,2,3

This session is delivered as part of by the University of East Anglia (UEA) Online Training Series. A programme of online, live-taught sessions delivered at a set date and time each week.


This session, as the name suggests, will focus on the writing - style, structure and presentation - of an effective PhD thesis. Using examples throughout, attendees will be shown how to access relevant exemplar theses in their subject area and issues covered will include the overall chapter structure, the aims and presentation of specific chapters (including the introduction, literature review, theoretical/methodological chapters, study chapters, and general discussion), and the manner in which they might or should be combined to create an effective and impactful thesis. The need to create a single ‘golden thread’ or ‘guiding narrative’ for the thesis will also be emphasised. Writing an 80,000 to 100,000-word document is very difficult indeed and this session is designed to help break the task into manageable chunks.

Access Instructions

Bookings for these online courses are via: https://bookwhen.com/ueaonlinetraining

The demand for these courses is high and you are advised to book your place as soon as the booking system goes live.

Information on the booking dates will be circulated by email.

Indicative Student Feedback for this Session

I just want to express how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to attend this session. It was just what I needed. It clarified a lot of issues for me and…I now fully grasp what is…expected. Thank you very much for the good and useful support you are giving…I also greatly appreciate the generous illustrations and examples - they are so important and so appropriate (Univ. of Sussex).

Just writing to thank you for a wonderful session yesterday.  I enjoyed it so much because the way you explained everything made the whole thing make sense to me. I have been consumed with anxiety because of all the elements required to construct an effective thesis, but it has never been explained to me…the way that you explained it all yesterday. I feel I will be able to do it now! (Goldsmiths).

[This is a] very helpful session that emphasises the ‘purpose’ of, and interrelations between, each component in the…thesis. Thanks! (Surrey).

Thanks so much, I am listening [to the session recording] today and it's very clear and useful. Much appreciated! It's particularly useful for me now in writing up year, but I can see how this training is invaluable for PhD’s at every stage…in order to stay on track and feel informed about what examiners are looking for in a…thesis. The examples were also really great for seeing the concepts, tips, and ideas in practice. Breaking the thesis down into the requirements of each chapter also helps…the whole (intimidatingly huge!) project to seem more like a series of focused, manageable tasks (City).


  • Simon Watts

    Dr Simon Watts is a Postgraduate Research Training Coordinator for the Faculty of Social Sciences in University of East Anglia.  He teaches the majority of the sessions on the UEA Online Training Series which are open to Ulster PhD Researchers as part of the overall Researcher Development Programme. The Online Training Series offers research and professional training skills training for PhD Researchers in a ‘live-taught’ online format.  Training session are delivered via a virtual classroom on Tuesday evenings between 7pm-9pm.

The Vitae Researcher Development Framework

This session maps on to Domain A of the Vitae Framework: Knowledge and intellectual abilities which includes the sub-domain areas of:

  • A1: Knowledge base
  • A2: Cognitive abilities
  • A3: Creativity
The Vitae Researcher Development Framework