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Thesis & Dissertation Overview 

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When writing a long document such as a thesis or dissertation over a sustained time period, writers may find it difficult to stay motivated and make progress. Some institutions offer “dissertation retreats” or camps for helping writers make progress. An Intensive Writing Experience (IWE) is a similar event in which a writer makes a concerted effort both to make progress on a document and to become a better writer. The writer sets aside a predetermined amount of time in order to make progress on a particular writing project, such as a dissertation. The material here is meant to be used to conduct a Personal IWE that a writer can use when a group event such as a retreat or camp is not available. 

This section contains detailed directions for setting up a Personal IWE. We've included vidcasts and handouts useful for a potential three-day event covering a variety of writing-related topics. Writers can view the vidcasts and read through the handouts and then apply what they have learned to their own writing. We suggest starting with the handout entitled “Conducting a Personal Intensive Writing Experience (IWE)”; this will provide details for structuring time and offers a schedule for the order of topics across a multi-day event.