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If one had to interrupt writing the phD-thesis (for various reasons, that don't belong here):
What is a good strategy to get back and finish the thesis?


The writing would take place while working on a full-time job. Assume that the supervisor already signalled to support this project with reading the 99%-final version and do the necessary formalities. The thesis is done in a STEM field, all lab work and calculations are finished. Before the interruption took place, the thesis itself was around half-written: out of four main sections, two are done, one almost done, one just an idea collection. Additional sections and Appendix are in a draft status, proofreading etc. has to be done as well.

One of the main concerns is the literature-review: As it currently is, it would be awfully outdated. Is it worth the effort to spend time on an extensive literature research (if so: how much?) or should one just draw a line and use the literature as it is (i.e. only the literature from before the interruption)?

The thesis is based on own, already published articles. Which should avoid running into plagiarism issues.

  • Actually I assumed, there was already a question that would cover this, but I couldn't find one. Bear with me and let me know, if this is a duplicate. – Arsak Apr 4 at 16:42
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    "only literature from before the interruption", you might plagiarize something unintentionally. A PhD thesis proves you know the literature in your field and made something new. Did you publish articles and most results before interruption? – user48953094 Apr 4 at 16:49
  • @MichaelSchmidt Good point! Yes, the thesis more or less merges my already published articles. – Arsak Apr 4 at 16:52
  • Did your papers get a lot of citations? If not this saves you probably a lot of work ;-) Yet, without giving an overview in the introduction what happend in your field the past years and outlook how to build up on your work a thesis would feel incomplete to me. – user48953094 Apr 4 at 17:04
  • @MichaelSchmidt I had the same feeling of incompleteness, but was told from co-workers/friends I was too pedantic and in the current situation quickly finishing was more important that overly correctly finishing. – Arsak Apr 4 at 17:08

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