Thesis Writing in a Group

Doing thesis writing in a group can be a great advantage if you have picked the right partner or group to work with. On the contrary, it can be quite challenging if you pick the wrong one. We are here to help you reaching the right decision.

Katrine Lionett Pedersen

This is “Thesis Writing in a Group”, which is part two of how to write a thesis alone. In that article, you could read about some of the pros and cons of doing thesis writing alone. However, there is also the option of doing thesis writing in a group! As a result, we’ve also stated the pros and cons of writing your thesis with more than just yourself.

Before we get started, we would like to offer you a great tip before choosing to write your thesis in a group; avoid writing with someone you’ve not worked with before unless you’ve really talked the situation through. It’s VITAL to align your expectations and remember that communication is key! Being afraid of confrontations may lead to a lot of unspoken things piling up, which can get kinda uncomfortable for both of you.

The Overview

Increased creativity and immediate feedbackDifferent work methodsMeet halfway
Someone to talk to You are getting tired of your thesis partner Be patient and conscious
Distribution of work tasks Mismatching calendarsCreate a schedule
You can push and challenge each other Your partner does not honour agreements Communication

The Pros of writing thesis in a group

Excelerate Increased Creativity and Immediate Feedback

With a thesis group, you have the opportunity to share your good ideas, approaches, and knowledge with each other. You can do this through the entire thesis process, which can be of great help. No one thinks in the exact same way as you and thank god for that! Hence, you can align both of your brilliant minds and come up with solutions you’d not have found out by yourself. 

Also, if you feel like you’re stuck with something you can easily ask for immediate feedback from your partner. You don’t have to wait on getting feedback from somewhere else. 

Excelerate Someone to Talk to

In a thesis group, you can also share your thoughts and feelings about something else than just your thesis, which can be kinda nice, and relieving to do before getting down to business. And in between work as well. Let’s be real, no one works intensively for 6 hours straight – you’ll need breaks to clear your mind. Sharing other than academic thoughts with your thesis group makes the process a lot more fun!

Thesis Writing in a Group
Remember to have fun as well. Photo by Fausto Bottini

Excelerate Distribution of Work Tasks

Writing a thesis is quite a big fisk to fry. Although you should be able to write every single paragraph on your own, it’s quite nice having the option of distributing work tasks. Within your thesis group, you all most likely possess different skills and competencies in different areas. Therefore, it’s convenient to distribute tasks accordingly. That is one of the great advantages of doing thesis writing in a group.

Excelerate You Can Push and Challenge Each Other

When writing on, what feels like a thesis that never ends, you might lack motivation or even write some paragraphs that were obviously not your best work. Then it’s important that your thesis group can motivate you and tell you how to improve.

How you’re being motivated, pushed, or challenged is something you can talk to your thesis group about. Supporting each other is of utmost importance when doing thesis writing in a group.

The cons of writing thesis in a group

Excelerate Different Work Methods

Are you a morning person or a night owl? Or more productive when sitting intensively for many hours in a row, or when taking lots of breaks while working? Are you ahead of time or do you often procrastinate things? Only you know for sure, who you are. 

Nevertheless, it can be quite challenging if you work with someone who works entirely different from you. Somehow, it can even feel like you work in different time zones. Also, people take on issues in millions of different ways, which for sure can clash with your ways of working.

Solution: Meet Halfway

Before really getting down to business with your thesis, you ought to have a discussion about the terms of your partnership with your thesis group. There is nothing wrong with doing things differently from each other, you just have to say it out loud. Thus, you can arrange when you’re available to each other. Also, you can make arrangements for when you work independently.

Sometimes you’ve to accept compromises and get yourself around with the fact that people don’t necessarily work at the same pace as you. Neither do they necessarily take in or deal with assignments in the same way as you. Be open-minded and flexible.

Excelerate You Are Getting Tired of Your Thesis Partner

So you thought that you couldn’t get tired of your thesis group or partner? Think twice. Because maybe you will. You will spend many hours together and you’ll probably start noticing all the weird habits and sounds that your partner makes. Apple-chewing sounds that your partner makes may even start to bother you. For now, let’s not hope it comes to that. 

Solution: Be Patient and Conscious

If your thesis group or partner truly starts to annoy you, cool down, and think about all the weird stuff that you might be doing yourself. We’re all human beings with flaws and everything will work out for the better if you’re not being too sensitive. Nobody’s perfect. Not even you, whatever your mom tells you. And you’re not going to spend the rest of your life with your thesis group. “Just” 4-5 months.  

Excelerate Mismatching Calendars

Perhaps all members of the thesis group possess jobs and will be working on different days. Additionally, you might have overlapping social calendars or you’re just not available at the same time. What a fuss. It might start to stress you because both of you’ll actually need to talk matters through in person in order to make a coherent thesis at the end of the day.

Thesis Writing in a Group
Use Google Calendar to plan your days. Photo by Fausto Bottini

Solution: Create a Schedule

The very best option for the both of you is to create a shared calendar, for instance, a Google Calendar. Agree on which dates you’re going to sit together and work on the thesis. Plan one month ahead of time and be transparent about your plans. If you’re going on a holiday at some point tell your partner in advance. Remember, it’s okay to have a life outside the thesis writing. 

Excelerate Your Partner Does not Honor Agreements

If any members of your thesis group start to develop bad habits of canceling meetings, show up late and don’t finish tasks as agreed – you’ll get tired and annoyed. You keep the promises and the agreements you’ve made with your partner and it saddens you that your thesis group doesn’t do likewise. It’s quite demotivating. In particular, because to you, the thesis is of first priority. Or at least very high on your list.  

Thesis writing in a group
Studying hard. Photo by Fausto Bottini

Solution: Communication

First of all, it’s all right to make some mistakes every now and then – showing up late can happen to everybody. However, if it turns out to be a habit, it’s not cool. If it becomes a habit that one in your thesis group does not honor agreements there is maybe a reason. It doesn’t necessarily involve you or the thesis. Put it in words! Instead of blaming them at first, ask them if something is bothering them. Maybe they deal with some stuff outside the thesis writing that takes a lot of their energy. Talk it through and mention that it simply does not work for you. Hence, you can find a solution to the problem. 

If you are considering doing thesis writing in a group, we hope that this overview and these tips can get you closer to reach the right decision of your thesis writing. If still in doubt, read or reread “How to Write a Thesis Alone” to get a better overview. Remember that you and your thesis group can sign up on Excelerate to find thesis collaboration with companies. It’s the best way to get hands-on experience, as a student, with a company.

We wish you all the best of luck!