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  • The “Organic Thesis” Method

    1. Start with a small seed, your “mini-thesis”, of 100 words.
      Press ‘w’ to see the word count.
    2. Expand on your work, by adding children cards to the right.
      Split and branch as necessary.
    3. Write every single day.
      Even if it’s only a few words.
    4. Share a private link to this three.
      > Tree Settings > “Anyone with link”

    You can delete this card once the process is a habit.

  • The Seed

    The seed is just a starting point.

    The goal is to write a “low-resolution” version of your thesis first. Here “low-resolution” means it’s small (a few hundred words), and blurry (results aren’t sharp yet).

  • Branching

    As you’re “mini-thesis” seed becomes more and more solid, you can start to expand on it.

    Create one or more children (cards to the right), and start writing out the sections as they occur to you. Don’t worry too much about the ordering, as you can easily move cards around and organize as you go.

  • Growth

    Start a Mini-Habit to write daily.

    Mini-habits are an extremely effective way of starting, and keeping, new habits.

    Here are the steps:

    1. Decide on your cues (when/where will you write).
    2. Commit to writing at least 20 words every single day. Consider everything else you may write a bonus.
    3. Track your streak on a calendar or app.


    Seem silly? Try it anyway.
    I highly recommend checking out the book, “Mini-Habits“.
    It’s the best 99 cents you’ll ever spend.

  • Exposure

    Often, as graduate students, we find ourselves afraid of asking for help, of “looking stupid”.

  • Repeat ad doctorum

    Keep going until you meet the requirements. Note that if you want to finish quickly, the actual university regulations might be far less than what you imagined they’d be.

  • If you don’t have experimental results, write down how you intend to get them. If you don’t have an answer, right down your current hypothesis, and how you intend to test it.

    As soon as you have any results, no matter how “weak” they might seem, put them in.

    “Test simulations with a small number of particles, show that the effect does seem to be present, at least in a portion of the parameter space.”

    “The hypothesis seems to hold up against X and Y. Need to test further.”

    “?”

    You can keep a running checklist of the gaps you need to fill:

  • Use Assertive Titles

    DON’T:
    Generic Title
    DO:
    Assertive Statement
    Introduction Previous results showed A.
    Results Our results are X and Y.
    Discussion Which implies that Z is true.
    Conclusion Since Z is true, we know that…
  • Each Column, A Complete Thesis

    Each column should contain your whole thesis, at higher and higher “resolutions”. The first column has the “mini-thesis”. The second one will have a slightly longer version, and so on.

    Keep this image in mind:

      {"cards":[{"_id":"5cc45fe3b81a17bbf90000a9","treeId":"5cb927502cd8f92d720000fb","seq":4884093,"position":4,"parentId":null,"content":"# The \"Organic Thesis\" Method\n1. Start with a small seed, your \"mini-thesis\", of 100 words.\n<span style=\"opacity: 0.4\">Press 'w' to see the word count.</span>\n2. Expand on your work, by adding children cards to the right.\n<span style=\"opacity: 0.4\">Split and branch as necessary.</span>\n3. Write *every single day*.\n<span style=\"opacity: 0.4\">Even if it's only a few words.\n4. Share a private link to this three.</span>\n<span style=\"opacity: 0.4\"><span class=\"glyphicon glyphicon-cog\"></span> > Tree Settings > \"Anyone with link\"</span>\n\n---\n<small>*You can delete this card once the process is a habit.*</span>"},{"_id":"5cba431f2cd8f92d72000100","treeId":"5cb927502cd8f92d720000fb","seq":4882806,"position":1,"parentId":"5cc45fe3b81a17bbf90000a9","content":"## The Seed\n\nThe seed is just a starting point. \n\nThe goal is to write **a \"low-resolution\" version** of your thesis *first*. Here \"low-resolution\" means it's *small* (a few hundred words), and *blurry* (results aren't sharp yet)."},{"_id":"5cc7582ba1b49f91b80000a9","treeId":"5cb927502cd8f92d720000fb","seq":4882998,"position":1,"parentId":"5cba431f2cd8f92d72000100","content":"If you don't have experimental results, write down how you intend to get them. If you don't have an answer, right down your current hypothesis, and how you intend to test it.\n\nAs soon as you have *any* results, no matter how \"weak\" they might seem, put them in.\n\n> *\"Test simulations with a small number of particles, show that the effect does seem to be present, at least in a portion of the parameter space.\"*\n\n> *\"The hypothesis seems to hold up against X and Y. Need to test further.\"*\n\n> *\"?\"*\n\nYou can keep a running **checklist** of the gaps you need to fill:\n[ ] Run simulations on simpler systems, reproduce known results.\n[ ] See if the hypothesis holds up against Z.\n[ ] ?"},{"_id":"5cba47002cd8f92d72000102","treeId":"5cb927502cd8f92d720000fb","seq":4882923,"position":2,"parentId":"5cc45fe3b81a17bbf90000a9","content":"## Branching\nAs you're \"mini-thesis\" seed becomes more and more solid, you can start to expand on it.\n\nCreate one or more children (cards to the right), and start writing out the sections as they occur to you. Don't worry too much about the ordering, as you can easily move cards around and organize as you go."},{"_id":"5cc7589ca1b49f91b80000aa","treeId":"5cb927502cd8f92d720000fb","seq":4884091,"position":0.25,"parentId":"5cba47002cd8f92d72000102","content":"## Use Assertive Titles\n| DON'T:<br>Generic Title | DO:<br>Assertive Statement |\n|---------------|-------------------------------|\n| Introduction | Previous results showed A. |\n| Results | Our results are X and Y. |\n| Discussion | Which implies that Z is true. |\n| Conclusion | Since Z is true, we know that... |"},{"_id":"5cc758e1a1b49f91b80000ab","treeId":"5cb927502cd8f92d720000fb","seq":4884089,"position":0.5,"parentId":"5cba47002cd8f92d72000102","content":"## Each Column, A Complete Thesis\nEach column should contain your whole thesis, at higher and higher \"resolutions\". The first column has the \"mini-thesis\". The second one will have a slightly longer version, and so on.\n\n> *Keep this image in mind*:\n![](https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/s/lh5gk0yf4wtm7e0/digital-sketching-captioned.png)"},{"_id":"5cba55252cd8f92d72000104","treeId":"5cb927502cd8f92d720000fb","seq":4883114,"position":3,"parentId":"5cc45fe3b81a17bbf90000a9","content":"## Growth\nStart a Mini-Habit to **write daily**.\n\nMini-habits are an *extremely* effective way of starting, and keeping, new habits.\n\nHere are the steps:\n1. Decide on your cues (when/where will you write).\n2. Commit to writing *at least* 20 words every single day. Consider everything else you may write a *bonus*.\n3. Track your streak on a calendar or app.\n\n<br>Seem silly? Try it anyway.\nI highly recommend checking out the book, \"[Mini-Habits](http://www.amazon.com/Mini-Habits-Smaller-Bigger-Results-ebook/dp/B00HGKNBDK/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top)\".\nIt's the best 99 cents you'll ever spend."},{"_id":"5cc45f77b81a17bbf90000a8","treeId":"5cb927502cd8f92d720000fb","seq":4883122,"position":4,"parentId":"5cc45fe3b81a17bbf90000a9","content":"## Exposure\nOften, as graduate students, we find ourselves afraid of asking for help, of \"looking stupid\"."},{"_id":"5cba49612cd8f92d72000103","treeId":"5cb927502cd8f92d720000fb","seq":4878983,"position":5,"parentId":"5cc45fe3b81a17bbf90000a9","content":"## Repeat *ad doctorum*\nKeep going until you meet the requirements. Note that if you want to finish quickly, the actual university regulations might be *far less* than what you imagined they'd be."}],"tree":{"_id":"5cb927502cd8f92d720000fb","name":"Organic Thesis","publicUrl":"organic-thesis"}}