Undertaking academic research and then writing it up and making connections should result in a thesis with a new ‘message’ and an original train of thought. The ultimate goal is to achieve something that can make a real impact when put into practice. It goes without saying that the correct research methods have to be followed, but it is equally important that the reasoning that leads to the message (train of thought and supporting evidence) should form a coherent whole.
The same is true for an academic essay that it is a compulsory part of an academic or pre-university course (thesis, graduation paper).
You want to ‘translate’ your thesis for a specific target group
A thesis is often inaccessible for people who are not part of the academic world. Often it is too comprehensive, couched in academic language, and it contains enormous chunks (such as an exhaustive description of the way the study was undertaken and the results of sub studies) that are of no interest in practical terms. If we want to readjust things for a practical use, we have to put in quite a bit of work.
So we take a fresh look at the results and translate them into a practical approach. What can you do with this? Together, we readjust the problem/proposition to the target group. What is their problem, what can they do with your solution, what can it mean for them? Often this means a complete rewrite: a new target group, a different aim. But it is also worthwhile: you can do more with it than you thought! I help you set out the line of the story and work out the proper structure. And the result is something that people can use.
You have to round things off, but you’ve lost the plot
Your supervisor still thinks the line of thinking is not clear. You have the same feeling, but you’ve lost the plot after the umpteenth revision. Now you have to dig deep and round things off. Your mind is more on getting to the end than delivering something good. That’s a pity, because you’ve lost sight of your original intention: to come up with a result that can directly lead to practical improvements.
You give me your work and I start ploughing through it. Together with you, I go back to the start: what was your motivation, what was it about, what has emerged? Are you satisfied with it? We start with the results, the answer to the proposition, and we reason backwards. We look at the structure of the argument. What is the main line? Are there any gaps? We enter into a dialogue about improving the main thrust of the argument, based on your initial proposition and your ultimate aim. Your motivation returns. And you end up with a ‘solid’ piece of work, something you can defend with fervour.
You have a fascinating subject, but you have lost your ‘drive’
You decided to write a thesis several years ago. You chose a fascinating subject that you wanted to develop in depth. You have outlined a problem and solution with which your supervisor is satisfied. You have done the research and learned to use the methodology that will generate results for some interesting insights. But things are far from over. You feel that the emphasis is far too much on the methodological accountability. You have the feeling that the results have not really given rise to something new (‘stating the obvious’) or you don’t have the drive to carry on. You’re stuck.
You send me the text and I start looking for the overall theme, the connection - the logical connection - between the research results and the final message that can be translated into a practical solution. Using my findings and some critical questions, we start thinking together about possible innovative knowledge combinations. You get a new shot of energy, your thesis is once again ‘exciting’ and the line is more sharply defined.