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Thesis Writing Workshop (302)


30 and 31 May 2024

Lang EN Workshop language is English

Dr Lea Sgier


Thesis writing is often a painstaking process and many doctoral candidates sooner or later run into difficulties, either because they do not know how to deal with such a bulky and long-term writing process, and/or because they do not give themselves the best possible conditions to be able to write productively and smoothly. Too often, the writing-up process becomes a major stumbling block that endangers the whole thesis project.

The Thesis Writing Workshop is a 2-day "kick-off" meeting that will equip the participants with a series of practical tools that can make their thesis writing smoother and better organised. It examines the various issues involved in writing a doctoral thesis: getting started, structure and argumentation, time management and self-motivation, getting and handling feedback, publications and composing a thesis from articles.

It will also build the basis for follow-up in the following academic year by peer writing groups, self-organised by participants. An introduction on how to set up and keep these groups running will be provided at the end of the workshop.


Intended audience

This workshop is intended primarily for doctoral candidates in the social sciences, both in the stricter sense (sociology, anthropology, political science, gender studies, etc.) and in the wider sense (researchers that work with social science tools and methodologies in other disciplines, such as geography, architecture, business administration, environmental or health sciences, etc.). Doctoral candidates in the humanities (history and literature in particular) may also find this workshop of interest.

The workshop is intended for doctoral candidates at all stages, from enrolment up to stages of near-to completion of the doctoral thesis. For some exercises, the advanced candidates (3rd year and beyond) and the early-stage candidates will work separately.

The examples and illustrative materials used in this workshop will come mainly from qualitative research. Participants who do non-empirical social research (for example political theory or logic) are welcome, but need to be aware of the fact that the main focus of the workshop is on empirical (observation-based) types of research. Participants who work in a more deductive mode (experimental sciences or quantitative social science approaches) are welcome, but should be aware that some of the issues discussed in the workshop may not be relevant to them.
Potential participants who have a doubt as to whether this workshop fits their needs are advised to contact the instructor before registering.



By the end of the workshop, each participant will have:

  • Understood the key components of thesis writing (the writing process itself; surrounding conditions such as time-management and supervision; emotional issues; publication)
  • Acquired a set of practical tools to deal with each of these components (for example: a concrete writing agenda; competencies in argumentative discourse; text revision and proof-reading; techniques for supportive and productive feedback)
  • Produced concrete outcomes that they can take with them and work with (short texts; a thesis outline for the advanced students; a table of contents; etc.)

Participants who are interested in setting up a writing peer group will have time to set up a group during the workshop and will receive concrete instructions as to how to operate such a group.


Workshop format

The workshop will consist in a mixture of (kick-off) lectures, individual and group exercises and group discussions. For some exercises the group will be split in two (according to levels of advancement with the thesis or language, for instance).


Preparatory work

The participants in this workshop will be asked to provide some samples of their writing two weeks ahead of the workshop, and to fill in a preparatory questionnaire. Details will be circulated a few weeks ahead of the workshop.
There are no preparatory readings ahead of the workshop. A bibliography and some key readings will be distributed at or after the workshop.



The workshop will be held in English and draws quite heavily on the conventions of Anglo-Saxon academic writing. However, it addresses participants who write their thesis in English or in French (the instructor reads and speaks French). Participants who write their thesis in German may be included upon request.



University of Geneva


Date: Thursday 30th and Friday 31st May 2024

Schedule: 9:30 am to 5:45 pm.

Location: University of Geneva



Dr Lea Sgier is a political scientist by training. She works as senior lecturer at the Department of Political Science at the University of Geneva, and as a consultant for qualitative methodology and research ethics (since 2021 she has been the chair of the ethics committee of the Luxemburg Institute of Socio-Economic Research LISER). She regularly teaches in various doctoral programs such as the Essex Summer School (UK), MethodsNet, or the ENS in Paris. From 2010-17, she was an assistant professor in qualitative methodology at Central European University (CEU) in Budapest (an Anglo-Saxon university), and from 2017-19, she was a scientific collaborator at the School of Social Work (HETS/HES-SO) in Geneva. Her recent research has focused on the political citizenship of the elderly in nursing homes in French-speaking Switzerland (Leenaards Foundation project 2017-20, with Prof. Barbara Lucas). Her working languages are French, English, and German.




Participants are eligible for reimbursement of incurred travel expenses by train between the city of their university and the location of the workshop (half-fare card, 2nd class).



Délai d'inscription 23.05.2024
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