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  • Kyle van Heerden

The ins and outs of writing a thesis

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The dreaded cursor-on-a-blank-screen experience for all writers – amateur or professional, aspiring or experienced, now and dead. I would argue that nowhere does it plague writers more than in academic writing.

The daunting task called ‘academic writing’ was dealt with at the Academic writing skills: theses and dissertation workshop held on 12 – 15 March 2018 at the Language Centre of Stellenbosch University. One of the Surgor members, Kyle van Heerden, attended the workshop and gave some insightful feedback at our research group meetings.

In this four-day workshop, an in depth explanation is given on all aspects of academic writing. Examples include a discussion on what academic writing is defined to be, how academic writings are structured and what good academic content is. An interactive and practical approach to the workshop allowed for interactive discussions between fellow attendees on their writing struggles and experiences, as well as possible solutions.

One of the main themes highlighted throughout the workshop was coherence. Emphasis was laid on coherence not only in the greater writing piece but in smaller sections such as sentences and paragraphs. Numerous techniques were introduced on how coherence could be achieved.

The workshop equipped the attendees with the necessary skills to overcome the dreaded writers block experience and ended of with the words of Gail Sher:

“ Writing is one continuous mistake”,

encouraging all writers to not be taken aback on their first attempt and feedback from their peers and study leaders, but to remember that it is a work in progress.

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