The Zombie thesis: walks and talks but isn’t really alive

One of my favourite blogs, The Thesis Whisperer*, has just posted a great article about the problems of what they term a “Zombie Thesis”: a thesis that although it has all the parts, such as title pages, chapters, graphs and charts, somehow isn’t quite hanging together well enough to make it a good and interesting thesis.


How can you tell if you are writing such a thesis? The article lists tell-tale signs such as: the “paragraphs are not purposeful” and the word ‘this’ appears a lot in the text“.


Fortunately the article gives plenty of advice on how to sort out these problems. In particular, they heartily recommend a book that we have in our Library:


The craft of research by Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb and Joseph M. Williams


We have the 3rd edition as an ebook.


And the 2nd edition is on Level 4 in Popular Loan at Classmark K 8.135 BOO.


They also mentioned another book, that I’d not come across before – so I’ve now ordered it for the Stirling Campus Library:


Williams, Joseph M. and Bizup, Joseph (2014) Style : lessons in clarity and grace, 11th ed.


If you are currently writing your thesis hopefully you’ll find some inspiration in this reading.


Here’s my own bit of advice – taken from Max Brooks’, The Zombie Survival Guide:


“Remember; no matter how desperate the situation seems, time spent thinking clearly is never time wasted.”



*The Thesis Whisperer is a blog newspaper dedicated to the topic of doing a thesis.




Clare Allan

Subject Librarian