Dissertation Strategies

What this handout is about

This handout suggests strategies for developing healthy writing habits during your dissertation journey. These habits can help you maintain your writing momentum, overcome anxiety and procrastination, and foster wellbeing during one of the most challenging times in graduate school.

Tackling a giant project

Because dissertations are, of course, big projects, it’s no surprise that planning, writing, and revising one can pose some challenges! It can help to think of your dissertation as an expanded version of a long essay: at the end of the day, it is simply another piece of writing. You’ve written your way this far into your degree, so you’ve got the skills! You’ll develop a great deal of expertise on your topic, but you may still be a novice with this genre and writing at this length. Remember to give yourself some grace throughout the project. As you begin, it’s helpful to consider two overarching strategies throughout the process.

First, take stock of how you learn and your own writing processes. What strategies have worked and have not worked for you? Why? What kind of learner and writer are you? Capitalize on what’s working and experiment with new strategies when something’s not working. Keep in mind that trying out new strategies can take some trial-and-error, and it’s okay if a new strategy that you try doesn’t work for you. Consider why it may not have been the best for you, and use that reflection to consider other strategies that might be helpful to you.

Second, break the project into manageable chunks. At every stage of the process, try to identify specific tasks, set small, feasible goals, and have clear, concrete strategies for achieving each goal. Small victories can help you establish and maintain the momentum you need to keep yourself going.

Below, royalnauticals.com we discuss some possible strategies to keep you moving forward in the dissertation process.

Pre-dissertation planning strategies

Get familiar with the Graduate School’s Thesis and Dissertation Resources.

Learn how to use a citation-manager and a synthesis matrix to keep track of all of your source information.

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Skim other dissertations from your department, program, and advisor. Enlist the help of a librarian or ask your advisor for a list of recent graduates whose work you can look up. Seeing what other people have done to earn their PhD can make the project much less abstract and daunting. A concrete sense of expectations will help you envision and plan. When you know what you’ll be doing, try to find a dissertation from your department that is similar enough that you can use it as a reference model when you run into concerns about formatting, structure, level of detail, etc.

Think carefully about your committee. Ideally, you’ll be able to select a group of people who work well with you and with each other. Consult with your advisor about who might be good collaborators for your project and who might not be the best fit. Consider what classes you’ve taken and how you “vibe” with those professors or those you’ve met outside of class. Try to learn what you can about how they’ve worked with other students. Ask about feedback style, turnaround time, level of involvement, etc., and imagine how that would work for you.

Sketch out a sensible drafting order for your project. Be open to writing chapters in “the wrong order” if it makes sense to start somewhere other than the beginning. You could begin with the section that seems easiest for you to write to gain momentum.

Design a productivity alliance with your advisor. Talk with them about potential projects and a reasonable timeline. Discuss how you’ll work together to keep your work moving forward. You might discuss having a standing meeting to discuss ideas or drafts or issues (bi-weekly? monthly?), your advisor’s preferences for drafts (rough? polished?), your preferences for what you’d like feedback on (early or late drafts?), reasonable turnaround time for feedback (a week? two?), and anything else you can think of to enter the collaboration mindfully.

Design a productivity alliance with your colleagues. Dissertation writing can be lonely, but writing with friends, meeting for updates over your beverage of choice, and scheduling non-working social times can help you maintain healthy energy. See our tips on accountability strategies for ideas to support each other.

Productivity strategies

Write when you’re most productive. When do you have the most energy? Focus? Creativity? When are you most able to concentrate, either because of your body rhythms or because there are fewer demands on your time? Once you determine the hours that are most productive for you (you may need to experiment at first), try to schedule those hours for dissertation work. See the collection of time management tools and planning calendars on the Learning Center’s Tips & Tools page to help you think through the possibilities. If at all possible, plan your work schedule, errands and chores so that you reserve your productive hours for the dissertation.

Put your writing time firmly on your calendar. Guard your writing time diligently. You’ll probably be invited to do other things during your productive writing times, but do your absolute best to say no and to offer alternatives. No one would hold it against you if you said no because you’re teaching a class at that time—and you wouldn’t feel guilty about saying no. Cultivating the same hard, guilt-free boundaries around your writing time will allow you preserve the time you need to get this thing done!

Develop habits that foster balance. You’ll have to work very hard to get this dissertation finished, but you can do that without sacrificing your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Think about how you can structure your work hours most efficiently so that you have time for a healthy non-work life. It can be something as small as limiting the time you spend chatting with fellow students to a few minutes instead of treating the office or lab as a space for extensive socializing. Also see above for protecting your time.

Write in spaces where you can be productive. Figure out where you work well and plan to be there during your dissertation work hours. Do you get more done on campus or at home? Do you prefer quiet and solitude, like in a library carrel? Do you prefer the buzz of background noise, like in a coffee shop? Are you aware of the UNC Libraries’ list of places to study? If you get “stuck,” don’t be afraid to try a change of scenery. The variety may be just enough to get your brain going again.

Work where you feel comfortable. Wherever you work, make sure you have whatever lighting, furniture, and accessories you need to keep your posture and health in good order. The University Health and Safety office offers guidelines for healthy computer work. You’re more likely to spend time working in a space that doesn’t physically hurt you. Also consider how you could make your work space as inviting as possible. Some people find that it helps to have pictures of family and friends on their desk—sort of a silent “cheering section.” Some people work well with neutral colors around them, and https://azuldentalmexico.com others prefer bright colors that perk up the space. Some people like to put inspirational quotations in their workspace or encouraging notes from friends and family. You might try reconfiguring your work space to find a décor that helps you be productive.

Elicit helpful feedback from various people at various stages. You might be tempted to keep your writing to yourself until you think it’s brilliant, but you can lower the stakes tremendously if you make eliciting feedback a regular part of your writing process. Your friends can feel like a safer audience for ideas or drafts in their early stages. Someone outside your department may provide interesting perspectives from their discipline that spark your own thinking. See this handout on getting feedback for productive moments for feedback, the value of different kinds of feedback providers, and strategies for eliciting what’s most helpful to you. Make this a recurring part of your writing process. Schedule it to help you hit deadlines.

Change the writing task. When you don’t feel like writing, you can do something different or you can do something differently. Make a list of all the little things you need to do for a given section of the dissertation, no matter how small. Choose a task based on your energy level. Work on Grad School requirements: reformat margins, itgamer.ru work on bibliography, and all that. Work on your acknowledgements. Remember all the people who have helped you and the great ideas they’ve helped you develop. You may feel more like working afterward. Write a part of your dissertation as a letter or email to a good friend who would care. Sometimes setting aside the academic prose and just writing it to a buddy can be liberating and help you get the ideas out there. You can make it sound smart later. Free-write about why you’re stuck, and perhaps even about how sick and tired you are of your dissertation/advisor/committee/etc. Venting can sometimes get you past the emotions of writer’s block and move you toward creative solutions. Open a separate document and write your thoughts on various things you’ve read. These may or may note be coherent, connected ideas, and they may or may not make it into your dissertation. They’re just notes that allow you to think things through and/or note what you want to revisit later, so it’s perfectly fine to have mistakes, weird organization, etc. Just let your mind wander on paper.

Develop habits that foster productivity and may help you develop a productive writing model for post-dissertation writing. Since dissertations are very long projects, cultivating habits that will help support your work is important. You might check out Helen Sword’s work on behavioral, artisanal, social, and emotional habits to help you get a sense of where you are in your current habits. You might try developing “rituals” of work that could help you get more done. Lighting incense, brewing a pot of a particular kind of tea, pulling out a favorite pen, and other ritualistic behaviors can signal your brain that “it is time to get down to business.” You can critically think about your work methods—not only about what you like to do, but also what actually helps you be productive. You may LOVE to listen to your favorite band while you write, for example, but if you wind up playing air guitar half the time instead of writing, it isn’t a habit worth keeping.

The point is, figure out what works for you and try to do it consistently. Your productive habits will reinforce themselves over time. If you find yourself in a situation, however, that doesn’t match your preferences, don’t let it stop you from working on your dissertation. Try to be flexible and open to experimenting. You might find some new favorites!

Motivational strategies

Schedule a regular activity with other people that involves your dissertation. Set up a coworking date with your accountability buddies so you can sit and write together. Organize a chapter swap. Make regular appointments with your advisor. Whatever you do, make sure it’s something that you’ll feel good about showing up for–and will make you feel good about showing up for others.

Try writing in sprints. Many writers have discovered that the “Pomodoro technique” (writing for 25 minutes and taking a 5 minute break) boosts their productivity by helping them set small writing goals, focus intently for short periods, and give their brains frequent rests. See how one dissertation writer describes it in this blog post on the Pomodoro technique.

Quit while you’re ahead. Sometimes it helps to stop for the day when you’re on a roll. If you’ve got a great idea that you’re developing and you know where you want to go next, write “Next, I want to introduce x, y, and z and explain how they’re related—they all have the same characteristics of 1 and 2, and that clinches my theory of Q.” Then save the file and turn off the computer, or put down the notepad. When you come back tomorrow, you will already know what to say next–and all that will be left is to say it. Hopefully, the momentum will carry you forward.

Write your dissertation in single-space. When you need a boost, double space it and be impressed with how many pages you’ve written.

Set feasible goals–and celebrate the achievements! Setting and achieving smaller, more reasonable goals (SMART goals) gives you success, and that success can motivate you to focus on the next small step…and the next one.

Give yourself rewards along the way. When you meet a writing goal, reward yourself with something you normally wouldn’t have or do–this can be anything that will make you feel good about your accomplishment.

Make the act of writing be its own reward. For example, if you love a particular coffee drink from your favorite shop, save it as a special drink to enjoy during your writing time.

Try giving yourself “pre-wards”—positive experiences that help you feel refreshed and recharged for the next time you write. You don’t have to “earn” these with prior work, but you do have to commit to doing the work afterward.

Commit to doing something you don’t want to do if you don’t achieve your goal. Some people find themselves motivated to work harder when there’s a negative incentive. What would you most like to avoid? Watching a movie you hate? Donating to a cause you don’t support? Whatever it is, how can you ensure enforcement? Who can help you stay accountable?

Affective strategies

Build your confidence. It is not uncommon to feel “imposter phenomenon” during the course of writing your dissertation. If you start to feel this way, it can help to take a few minutes to remember every success you’ve had along the way. You’ve earned your place, and people have confidence in you for good reasons. It’s also helpful to remember that every one of the brilliant people around you is experiencing the same lack of confidence because you’re all in a new context with new tasks and new expectations. You’re not supposed to have it all figured out. You’re supposed to have uncertainties and questions and things to learn. Remember that they wouldn’t have accepted you to the program if they weren’t confident that you’d succeed. See our self-scripting handout for strategies to turn these affirmations into a self-script that you repeat whenever you’re experiencing doubts or other negative thoughts. You can do it!

Appreciate your successes. Not meeting a goal isn’t a failure–and it certainly doesn’t make you a failure. It’s an opportunity to figure out why you didn’t meet the goal. It might simply be that the goal wasn’t achievable in the first place. See the SMART goal handout and think through what you can adjust. Even if you meant to write 1500 words, focus on the success of writing 250 or 500 words that you didn’t have before.

Remember your “why.” There are a whole host of reasons why someone might decide to pursue a PhD, both personally and professionally. Reflecting on what is motivating to you can rekindle your sense of purpose and direction.

Get outside support. Sometimes it can be really helpful to get an outside perspective on your work and anxieties as a way of grounding yourself. Participating in groups like the Dissertation Support group through CAPS and the Dissertation Boot Camp can help you see that you’re not alone in the challenges. You might also choose to form your own writing support group with colleagues inside or outside your department.

Understand and manage your procrastination. When you’re writing a long dissertation, it can be easy to procrastinate! For instance, you might put off writing because the house “isn’t clean enough” or because you’re not in the right “space” (mentally or physically) to write, so you put off writing until the house is cleaned and everything is in its right place. You may have other ways of procrastinating. It can be helpful to be self-aware of when you’re procrastinating and to consider why you are procrastinating. It may be that you’re anxious about writing the perfect draft, for example, in which case you might consider: how can I focus on writing something that just makes progress as opposed to being “perfect”? There are lots of different ways of managing procrastination; one way is to make a schedule of all the things you already have to do (when you absolutely can’t write) to help you visualize those chunks of time when you can. See this handout on procrastination for more strategies and tools for managing procrastination.

Your topic, your advisor, and your committee: Making them work for you

By the time you’ve reached this stage, you have probably already defended a dissertation proposal, chosen an advisor, and begun working with a committee. Sometimes, however, those three elements can prove to be major external sources of frustration. So how can you manage them to help yourself be as productive as possible?

Managing your topic

Remember that your topic is not carved in stone. The research and writing plan suggested in your dissertation proposal was your best vision of the project at that time, but topics evolve as the research and writing progress. You might need to tweak your research question a bit to reduce or adjust the scope, you might pare down certain parts of the project or add others. You can discuss your thoughts on these adjustments with your advisor at your check ins.

Think about variables that could be cut down and how changes would affect the length, depth, breadth, and scholarly value of your study. Could you cut one or two experiments, case studies, regions, years, theorists, or chapters and still make a valuable contribution or, even more simply, just finish?

Talk to your advisor about any changes you might make. They may be quite sympathetic to your desire to shorten an unwieldy project and may offer suggestions.

Look at other dissertations from your department to get a sense of what the chapters should look like. Reverse-outline a few chapters so you can see if there’s a pattern of typical components and how information is sequenced. These can serve as models for your own dissertation. See this video on reverse outlining to see the technique.

Managing your advisor

Embrace your evolving status. At this stage in your graduate career, you should expect to assume some independence. By the time you finish your project, you will know more about your subject than your committee does. The student/teacher relationship you have with your advisor will necessarily change as you take this big step toward becoming their colleague.

Revisit the alliance. If the interaction with your advisor isn’t matching the original agreement or the original plan isn’t working as well as it could, schedule a conversation to revisit and redesign your working relationship in a way that could work for both of you.

Be specific in your feedback requests. Tell your advisor what kind of feedback would be most helpful to you. Sometimes an advisor can be giving unhelpful or discouraging feedback without realizing it. They might make extensive sentence-level edits when you really need conceptual feedback, or vice-versa, if you only ask generally for feedback. Letting your advisor know, very specifically, what kinds of responses will be helpful to you at different stages of the writing process can help your advisor know how to help you.

Don’t hide. Advisors can be most helpful if they know what you are working on, what problems you are experiencing, and what progress you have made. If you haven’t made the progress you were hoping for, it only makes it worse if you avoid talking to them. You rob yourself of their expertise and support, and you might start a spiral of guilt, shame, and avoidance. Even if it’s difficult, it may be better to be candid about your struggles.

Talk to other students who have the same advisor. You may find that they have developed strategies for working with your advisor that could help you communicate more effectively with them.

If you have recurring problems communicating with your advisor, you can make a change. You could change advisors completely, but a less dramatic option might be to find another committee member who might be willing to serve as a “secondary advisor” and give you the kinds of feedback and support that you may need.

Managing your committee

Design the alliance. Talk with your committee members about how much they’d like to be involved in your writing process, whether they’d like to see chapter drafts or the complete draft, how frequently they’d like to meet (or not), etc. Your advisor can guide you on how committees usually work, but think carefully about how you’d like the relationship to function too.

Keep in regular contact with your committee, even if they don’t want to see your work until it has been approved by your advisor. Let them know about fellowships you receive, fruitful research excursions, the directions your thinking is taking, and the plans you have for completion. In short, keep them aware that you are working hard and making progress. Also, look for other ways to get facetime with your committee even if it’s not a one-on-one meeting. Things like speaking with them at department events, going to colloquiums or other events they organize and/or attend regularly can help you develop a relationship that could lead to other introductions and collaborations as your career progresses.

Share your struggles. Too often, we only talk to our professors when we’re making progress and hide from them the rest of the time. If you share your frustrations or setbacks with a knowledgeable committee member, they might offer some very helpful suggestions for overcoming the obstacles you face—after all, your committee members have all written major research projects before, and they have probably solved similar problems in their own work.

Stay true to yourself. Sometimes, you just don’t entirely gel with your committee, but that’s okay. It’s important not to get too hung up on how your committee does (or doesn’t) relate to you. Keep your eye on the finish line and keep moving forward.

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Dissertation introduction, conclusion and abstract

It’s fair to assume that because the abstract and introduction are the first chapters to be read by someone reading your dissertation, it means they must be written first also. But in reality, this isn’t the case. When considering how to structure your dissertation, you’ll actually be far better off writing your introduction, conclusion, and abstract after you have written all the other parts of the dissertation.

 

But why?

Firstly, writing retrospectively means that your dissertation introduction and conclusion will ‘match’ and your ideas will all be tied up nicely.

Secondly, it’s time-saving. If you write your introduction before anything else, it’s likely your ideas will evolve and morph as your dissertation develops. And then you’ll just have to go back and edit or totally re-write your introduction again.

Thirdly, it will ensure that the abstract accurately contains all the information it needs for the reader to get a good overall picture about what you have actually done.

So as you can see, it will make your life much easier if you plan to write your introduction, conclusion, and abstract last when planning out your dissertation structure.

In this guide, we’ll break down the structure of a dissertation and run through each of these chapters in detail so you’re well equipped to write your own. We’ve also identified some common mistakes often made by students in their writing so that you can steer clear of them in your work.

The Introduction

Getting started

As a general rule, your dissertation introduction should generally do the following things:
  • Provide preliminary background information that puts your research in context

  • Clarify the focus of your study

  • Point out the value of your research(including secondary research)

  • Specify your specific research aims and objectives

While the ‘background information’ usually appears first in a dissertation introduction, the structure of the remaining three points is completely up to you.

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There are opportunities to combine these sections to best suit your needs. There are also opportunities to add in features that go beyond these four points. For example, some students like to add in their research questions in their dissertation introduction so that the reader is not only exposed to the aims and objectives but also has a concrete framework for where the research is headed. Other students might save the research methods until the end of the literature review/beginning of the methodology.

In terms of length, there is no rule about how long a dissertation introduction needs to be, as it is going to depend on the length of the total dissertation. Generally, however, if you aim for a length between 5-7% of the total, this is likely to be acceptable.

Your introduction must include sub-sections with appropriate headings/subheadings and should highlight some of the key references that you plan to use in the main study. This demonstrates another reason why writing a dissertation introduction last is beneficial. As you will have already written the literature review, the most prominent authors will already be evident and you can showcase this research to the best of your ability.

The background section

One of the main purposes of the background section is to ease the reader into the topic. It is generally considered inappropriate to simply state the context and focus of your study and what led you to pursue this line of research.

 

The reader needs to know why your research is worth doing. You can do this successfully by identifying the gap in the research and the problem that needs addressing. One common mistake made by students is to justify their research by stating that the topic is interesting to them. While this is certainly an important element to any research project, and to the sanity of the researcher, the writing in the dissertation needs to go beyond ‘interesting’ to why there is a particular need for this research. This can be done by providing a background section.

You are going to want to begin outlining your background section by identifying crucial pieces of your topic that the reader needs to know from the outset. A good starting point might be to write down a list of the top 5-7 readings/authors that you found most influential (and as demonstrated in your literature review). Once you have identified these, write some brief notes as to why they were so influential and how they fit together in relation to your overall topic.

You may also want to think about what key terminology is paramount to the reader being able to understand your dissertation. While you may have a glossary or list of abbreviations included in your dissertation, your background section offers some opportunity for you to highlight two or three essential terms.

When reading a background section, there are two common mistakes that are most evident in student writing, either too little is written or far too much! In writing the background information, one to two pages is plenty. You need to be able to arrive at your research focus quite quickly and only provide the basic information that allows your reader to appreciate your research in context.

The research focus

The research focus does two things: it provides information on the research focus (obviously) and also the rationale for your study.

 

It is essential that you are able to clarify the area(s) you intend to research and you must explain why you have done this research in the first place. One key point to remember is that your research focus must link to the background information that you have provided above. While you might write the sections on different days or even different months, it all has to look like one continuous flow. Make sure that you employ transitional phrases to ensure that the reader knows how the sections are linked to each other.

The research focus leads into the value, aims and objectives of your research, so you might want to think of it as the tie between what has already been done and the direction your research is going. Again, you want to ease the reader into your topic, so stating something like “my research focus is…” in the first line of your section might come across overly harsh. Instead, you might consider introducing the main focus, explaining why research in your area is important, and the overall importance of the research field. This should set you up well to present your aims and objectives.

The value of your research

The ‘value’ section really deserves its own sub-section within your dissertation introduction. This is because it is essential to those who will be judging the merit of your work and demonstrates that you have considered how it adds value.

 

The biggest mistake that students make when structuring their dissertation is simply not including this sub-section. The concept of ‘adding value’ does not have to be some significant advancement in the research that offers profound contributions to the field, but you do have to take one to two paragraphs to clearly and unequivocally state the worth of your work.

There are many possible ways to answer the question about the value of your research. You might suggest that the area/topic you have picked to research lacks critical investigation. You might be looking at the area/topic from a different angle and this could also be seen as adding value. In some cases, it may be that your research is somewhat urgent (e.g. medical issues) and value can be added in this way.

Whatever reason you come up with to address the value added question, make sure that somewhere in this section you directly state the importance or added value of the research.

The research and the objectives

Firstly, aims and objectives are different things and should be treated as such. Usually, these have already been created at the proposal stage or for ethical clearance of the research project, so putting them in your dissertation introduction is really just a matter of organisation and clarity.

 

Typically, a research project has an overall aim. Again, this needs to be clearly stated in a direct way. The objectives generally stem from the overall aim and explain how that aim will be met. They are often organised numerically or in bullet point form and are terse statements that are clear and identifiable.

There are four things you need to remember when creating research objectives. These are:

  • Appropriateness (each objective is clearly related to what you want to study)

  • Distinctness (each objective is focused and incrementally assists in achieving the overall research aim)

  • Clarity (each objective avoids ambiguity)

  • Being achievable (each objective is realistic and can be completed within a reasonable timescale)

In creating research objectives that conform to the above, you may want to consider:
  • Starting each objective with a key word (e.g. identify, assess, evaluate, explore, examine, investigate, determine, etc.)

  • Beginning with a simple objective to help set the scene in the study

  • Finding a good numerical balance – usually two is too few and six is too many. Aim for approximately 3-5 objectives

If you can achieve this balance, you should be well positioned to demonstrate a clear and logical position that exudes competence.

 

Remember that you must address these research objectives in your research. You cannot simply mention them in your dissertation introduction and then forget about them. Just like any other part of the dissertation, this section must be referenced in the findings and discussion – as well as in the conclusion.

This section has offered the basic sections of a dissertation introduction chapter. There are additional bits and pieces that you may choose to add. The research questions have already been highlighted as one option; an outline of the structure of the entire dissertation may be another example of information you might like to include.

As long as your dissertation introduction is organised and clear, you are well on the way to writing success with this chapter.

 

The Conclusion

Getting started

Your dissertation conclusion will do one of two things. It may fill you with joy, because it signals that you are almost done. Or it may be a particularly challenging test of your mental strength, because by this point in the dissertation you are likely exhausted.

 

It is your job at this point to make one last push to the finish to create a cohesive and organised final chapter. If your concluding chapter is unstructured or some sort of ill-disciplined rambling, the person marking your work might be left with the impression that you lacked the appropriate skills for writing or that you lost interest in your own work.

To avoid these pitfalls and fully understand how to write a dissertation conclusion, you will need to know what is expected of you and what you need to include.

There are three parts (at a minimum) that need to exist within your dissertation conclusion. These include:

  • Research objectives – a summary of your findings and the resulting conclusions

  • Recommendations

  • Contributions to knowledge

You may also wish to consider a section on self-reflection, i.e. how you have grown as a researcher or a section on limitations (though this might have been covered in your research methods chapter). This adds something a little different to your chapter and allows you to demonstrate how this dissertation has affected you as an academic.

 

Furthermore, just like any other chapter in your dissertation, your conclusion must begin with an introduction (usually very short at about a paragraph in length). This paragraph typically explains the organisation of the content, reminds the reader of your research aims/objectives, and provides a brief statement of what you are about to do.

The length of a dissertation conclusion varies with the length of the overall project, but similar to a dissertation introduction, a 5-7% of the total word count estimate should be acceptable.

Research objectives

The research objectives section only asks you to answer two questions.

 

These are:

1. As a result of the completion of the literature review, along with the empirical research that you completed, what did you find out in relation to your personal research objectives?2. What conclusions have you come to?

A common mistake by students when addressing these questions is to again go into the analysis of the data collection and findings. This is not necessary, as the reader has likely just finished reading your discussion chapter and does not need to go through it all again. This section is not about persuading, you are simply informing the reader of the summary of your findings.

Before you begin writing, it may be helpful to list out your research objectives and then brainstorm a couple of bullet points from your data findings/discussion where you really think your research has met the objective. This will allow you to create a mini-outline and avoid the ‘rambling’ pitfall described above.

Recommendations

The purpose of a recommendations section is to offer the reader some advice on what you think should happen next. Failing to include such information can result in the loss of marks. Including these recommendations as implicit suggestions within other parts of the brief (e.g. the analysis/discussion chapters) is a good start, but without having a detailed explanation of them in the conclusion chapter, you might be setting yourself up for failure.

 

There are two types of recommendations you can make. The first is to make a recommendation that is specific to the evidence of your study, the second is to make recommendations for future research. While certain recommendations will be specific to your data, there are always a few that seem to appear consistently throughout student work. These tend to include things like a larger sample size, different context, https://www.32acp.com/ increased longitudinal time frame, etc. If you get to this point and feel you need to add words to your dissertation, this is an easy place to do so – just be cautious that making recommendations that have little or no obvious link to the research conclusions are not beneficial.

A good recommendations section will link to previous conclusions, and since this section was ultimately linked to your research aims and objectives, the recommendations section then completes the package.

Contributions to knowledge

The idea of ‘contributions to knowledge’ largely appears in PhD-level work and less so at the Master’s level, depending of course on the nature of the research. Master’s students might want to check with their supervisor before proceeding with this section. Ultimately, in this section, the focus is to demonstrate how your research has enhanced existing knowledge.

 

Your main contribution to knowledge likely exists within your empirical work (though in a few select cases it might be drawn from the literature review). Implicit in this section is the notion that you are required to make an original contribution to research, https://yds-online.com/spotlight/discuss/index.php/community/profile/candraosburn497 and you are, in fact, telling the reader what makes your research study unique. In order to achieve this, you need to explicitly tell the reader what makes your research special.

There are many ways to do this, but perhaps the most common is to identify what other researchers have done and how your work builds upon theirs. It may also be helpful to specify the gap in the research (which you would have identified either in your dissertation introduction or literature review) and how your research has contributed to ‘filling the gap.’

Another obvious way that you can demonstrate that you have made a contribution to knowledge is to highlight the publications that you have contributed to the field (if any). So, for example, if you have published a chapter of your dissertation in a journal or you have given a conference presentation and have conference proceedings, you could highlight these as examples of how you are making this contribution.

In summing up this section, remember that a dissertation conclusion is your last opportunity to tell the reader what you want them to remember. The chapter needs to be comprehensive and must include multiple sub-sections.

Ensure that you refresh the reader’s memory about your research objectives, tell the reader how you have met your research objectives, provide clear recommendations for future researchers and demonstrate that you have made a contribution to knowledge. If there is time and/or space, you might want to consider a limitations or self-reflection section.

The Abstract

When planning how to write a dissertation, the abstract can often come across as an afterthought by students. The entire dissertation is written and now there are only a few hundred words to go. Yet the abstract is going to end up being one of the most influential parts of your dissertation. If done well, it should provide a synopsis of your work and entice the reader to continue on to read the entire dissertation.

 

A good abstract will contain the following elements:

  • A statement of the problem or issue that you are investigating – including why research on this topic is needed

  • The research methods used

  • The main results/findings

  • The main conclusions and recommendations

An abstract generally should be only one neat and tidy paragraph that is no more than one page (though it could be much shorter). The abstract usually appears after the title page and the acknowledgements.

 

Different institutions often have different guidelines for writing the abstract, so it is best to check with your department prior to beginning.

When you are writing the abstract, you must find the balance between too much information and not enough. You want the reader to be able to review the abstract and get a general overall sense of what you have done.

As you write, you may want to keep the following questions in mind:

1. Is the focus of my research identified and clear?

2. Have I presented my rationale behind this study?

3. Is how I conducted my research evident?

4. Have I provided a summary of my main findings/results?

5. Have I included my main conclusions and recommendations?

In some instances, you may also be asked to include a few keywords. Ensure that your keywords are specifically related to your research. You are better off staying away from generic terms like ‘education’ or ‘science’ and instead provide a more specific focus on what you have actually done with terms like ‘e-learning’ or ‘biomechanics’.

Finally, you want to avoid having too many acronyms in your abstract. The abstract needs to appeal to a wide audience, and so making it understandable to this wider audience is absolutely essential to your success.

Ultimately, writing a good abstract is the same as writing a good dissertation; you must present a logical and organised synopsis that demonstrates what your research has achieved. With such a goal in mind, you can now successfully proceed with your abstract!

Many students also choose to make the necessary efforts to ensure that their chapter is ready for submission by applying an edit to their finished work. It is always beneficial to have a fresh set of eyes have a read of your chapter to make sure that you have not omitted any vital points and that it is error free.

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Writing a Dissertation or Thesis

The aim of the dissertation or thesis is to produce an original piece of research work on a clearly defined topic.

Usually a dissertation is the most substantial piece of independent work in the undergraduate programme, while a thesis is usually associated with master's degrees, although these terms can be interchangeable and may vary between countries and universities.

A dissertation or thesis is likely to be the longest and most difficult piece of work a student has ever completed. It can, however, also be a very rewarding piece of work since, unlike essays and other assignments, the student is able to pick a topic of special interest and work on their own initiative.

Writing a dissertation requires a range of planning and research skills that will be of great value in your future career and within organisations.

The dissertation topic and question should be sufficiently focused that you can collect all the necessary data within a relatively short time-frame, usually about six weeks for undergraduate programmes.

You should also choose a topic that you already know something about so that you already have a frame of reference for your literature search and some understanding and interest in the theory behind your topic.

There are many ways to write a dissertation or thesis.

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Most universities and colleges provide very specific guidance to their students about their preferred approach.

This page, and those that follow, are designed to give you some ideas about how you might carry out your literature review, and then write each of the various sections of your dissertation in the absence of, or in addition to, any specific guidance from your university.


Organising your Time

However organised you are, writing your dissertation is likely to be one of the most challenging tasks you have ever undertaken.

Take a look at our pages on Organising your Study Time and Organisation Skills, as well as Project Management Skills and Project Planning, to give you some ideas about how to organise your time and energy for the task ahead.

General Structure

Like an academic paper for journal publication, dissertations generally follow a fairly standard structure. The following pages discuss each of these in turn, and give more detailed advice about how to prepare and write each one:

  • Research Proposal
  • Introduction
  • Literature Review
  • Methodology
  • Results and Discussion
  • Conclusions and Extra Sections

Particularly for master's programmes, your university may ask for your thesis to be submitted in separate sections, rather than as a single document. One breakdown that is often seen is three-fold:

  • Introduction and/or Research Proposal, which should set out the research question that you plan to explore and give some ideas about how you might go about it. If you are submitting it as a research proposal, it will be fairly sketchy as you won’t have had a chance to review the literature thoroughly, but it should contain at least some theoretical foundation, and a reasonable idea of why you want to study this issue;

  • Literature Review and Methodology, which are often combined because what you plan to do should emerge from and complement the previous literature; and

  • Results and Discussion, which should set out what you actually did, the results you obtained, and discuss these in the context of the literature.

Warning!


You will probably have an overall word count for the total dissertation or thesis. If you are required to submit in sections, ensure that you have left yourself enough words for the Results and Discussion. It is easy to get carried away with the literature review.

As a general guide, use the marking scheme to show you the approximate split for the word count. For example, if the introduction is worth 20%, and each of the other two submissions 40%, for a total word count of 10,000 words, the introduction should be at most 2,000 words, and each of the other two around 4,000 words.

 

If you’re submitting your dissertation as a single piece of work, and not in separate submissions, you may find it easier not to write it in order.

It is often easier to start with the literature review and then write the methodology.

The introduction may be the last part you write, or you may wish to rewrite it once you’ve finished to reflect the flow of your arguments as they developed.

Top Tip


One of the best ways to write a dissertation is as you go along, especially the literature review.

As you read each reference, summarise it and group it by themes. Don’t forget to reference it as you go!

You should be used to referencing by the time you write your dissertation but if you need a refresher then see our page: Academic Referencing.


Writing Style

Dissertations and academic articles used always to be written in the third person, and in the passive voice; as an example, you might write ‘An experiment was carried out to test…

However, many journals have now moved away from that convention and request first person and active voice, which would require you to write ‘I carried out an experiment to test…

Check with your university about their requirements before you start to write.

If you cannot find any guidelines, then ask your supervisor and/or the person who will be marking your thesis about their preferences. Make sure that the voice and person are consistent throughout.

Whatever style is preferred, aim to keep your language simple and jargon-free. Use shorter, simpler words and phrases wherever possible. Short sentences are good as they are easier to follow. Any sentence that runs to more than three lines needs to be cut down or split.

Phrases to avoid include:

Phrase Use instead
Due to the fact that… Because
In addition Additionally (or also)
In order to To
In the first place First
A considerable number Many
Whether or not Whether

 

Remember the Golden Rule


K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple, Stupid

 



The Role of your Academic Supervisor

The role of your supervisor is to supervise your work. It is not to do it for you, nor to tell you how to do it.

However, their academic reputation is bound up in the results of the students that they supervise so they have a vested interest in helping you to get the best possible marks. You should therefore not feel shy or embarrassed about asking them for help if you get into difficulties, or if you need some advice.

Academics tend to take a highly personal approach to supervision. Some will be prepared to spend a lot of time with you, talking about what you are planning to do by way of research and your emerging findings. Others will have very little contact with you, apart from being prepared to read a draft of your dissertation.

It’s worth spending a bit of time building up your relationship with your supervisor (have a look at our page on Building Rapport for help). It’s also worth discussing and clarifying with them exactly what they are prepared to do to support you, and in particular practical details such as:

  • How often are they prepared to meet with you during your research?

  • How quickly will they respond to emails asking for advice and/or guidance?

  • How much time do they need to review drafts of work?

  • How many drafts of your work are they prepared to read? University guidelines usually say ‘a first draft’ but many academics are prepared to read a preliminary draft to check that you are on the right track, and then a more polished version.

  • Having reviewed a draft, will they send you comments by email, or would they prefer to meet to discuss it?

One final piece of advice about your supervisor: if you don’t get on, then change supervisor. But do so as early as possible. Nobody wants you or http://brianknapp.co/community/profile/glenchevalier2/ your supervisor formazione.geqmedia.it to struggle with the relationship, but they won’t be very sympathetic if you’re asking for a change a month before your deadline.

Formatting and Templates

If your university has a required format for a dissertation, and particularly if they supply a template, then use it! Start your writing straight into the template, cncsolesurvivor.com or format your work correctly from the start. There is very little worse than cutting and pasting your work frantically into a template 10 minutes before your submission deadline. Templates are designed to make your life easier, not harder.

You will also need to format the references in the university’s preferred style. It is easier to do this as you go along. If the format is MLA, APA or Chicago, you can use Google Scholar to format it for you: search for the article title, then click on ‘cite’. This will save you typing out all the names, and can also be used, with minor tweaks, for other formats. But beware: it’s not always right! If it looks odd, check the original source.

Proof-reading

You’ll need to give yourself plenty of time to proof-read your work, to make sure that you haven’t made any stupid errors, and that it all flows correctly. This is likely to take longer than you think. You’ll also need to do this when you’re fresh, not last thing at night when you’re tired.

If possible, try to find a friend or fellow-student in the same position with whom you can swap dissertations for proof-reading. Fresh eyes are likely to spot errors much more effectively than those who already know what it should say.

Language Editing

The international language of academic publishing is English and many universities require their students to publish their dissertations in English. If your first language is not English, this is going to be a problem because your English will almost certainly not be up to the task. You have two choices about how you approach this:

  • You find a native English speaker, perhaps a fellow student, who is prepared to read your thesis for you and help you improve the English (preferably for free, or at least for the price of not much more than a meal and a few drinks); or

  • You pay an editor to do the work for you. This will not be cheap; the going rate for high quality academic language editing is about $7 per 250 words. You can find professional language editors via the websites of publishers of academic journals such as Emerald and Springer.

You will need to ensure that you build in sufficient time to allow someone else to read over your work. Nobody, not even if you are paying them, is going to want to stay up all night to edit your work because you left it too late. Many will also prefer not to work at weekends. Allow at least two weeks for professional language editing.

A Note on Plagiarism


DO NOT PLAGIARISE

If you are found to have plagiarised you will be heavily penalised and will probably lose your degree.

Ways to avoid being caught out inadvertently include:

  • Never copy and paste from a journal article. Always summarise it in your own words, which also helps to make sure that you have understood it.
  • If, for the sake of time, you want to copy and paste specific sentences which sum up the argument particularly well, always put them in quotation marks in your summary, with the source, so that you will remember that they are direct quotes and need to be acknowledged as such.

 

Conclusion

This page sets out general advice on issues connected with writing a dissertation, also known as a thesis.

The following pages set out in more detail how to approach each section of your dissertation, including the Literature Review, Methodology, Results and Discussion.

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How to Write a Dissertation: Step-by-Step Guide

  • Doctoral students write and defend dissertations to earn their degrees.
  • Most dissertations range from 100-300 pages, depending on the field.
  • Taking a step-by-step approach can help students write their dissertations.

Whether you're considering a doctoral program or you recently passed your comprehensive exams, you've probably wondered how to write a dissertation. Researching, writing, and defending a dissertation represents a major step in earning a doctorate.

But what is a dissertation exactly? A dissertation is an original work of scholarship that contributes to the field. Doctoral candidates often spend 1-3 years working on their dissertations. And many dissertations top 200 or more pages.

Starting the process on the right foot can help you complete a successful dissertation. Breaking down the process into steps may also make it easier to finish your dissertation.

How to Write a Dissertation in 12 Steps

A dissertation demonstrates mastery in a subject. But how do you write a dissertation? Here are 12 steps to successfully complete a dissertation.

light-bulb icon Choose a Topic

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It sounds like an easy step, but choosing a topic will play an enormous role in the success of your dissertation. In some fields, your dissertation advisor will recommend a topic. In other fields, you'll develop a topic on your own.

Read recent work in your field to identify areas for additional scholarship. Look for holes in the literature or questions that remain unanswered.

After coming up with a few areas for research or questions, carefully consider what's feasible with your resources. Talk to your faculty advisor about your ideas and incorporate their feedback.

book-open icon Conduct Preliminary Research


Before starting a dissertation, you'll need to conduct research. Depending on your field, that might mean visiting archives, reviewing scholarly literature, or running lab tests.

Use your preliminary research to hone your question and topic. Take lots of notes, particularly on areas where you can expand your research.

bookmark icon Read Secondary Literature


A dissertation demonstrates your mastery of the field. That means you'll need to read a large amount of scholarship on your topic. Dissertations typically include a literature review section or chapter.

Create a list of books, articles, and other scholarly works early in the process, and continue to add to your list. Refer to the works cited to identify key literature. And take detailed notes to make the writing process easier.

chat-alt-2 icon Write a Research Proposal


In most doctoral programs, you'll need to write and defend a research proposal before starting your dissertation.

The length and format of your proposal depend on your field. In many fields, the proposal will run 10-20 pages and include a detailed discussion of the research topic, methodology, and secondary literature.

Your faculty advisor will provide valuable feedback on turning your proposal into a dissertation.

bookmark-alt icon Research, Research, Research


Doctoral dissertations make an original contribution to the field, and your research will be the basis of that contribution.

The form your research takes will depend on your academic discipline. In computer science, you might analyze a complex dataset to understand machine learning. In English, you might read the unpublished papers of a poet or author. In psychology, you might design a study to test stress responses. And in education, you might create surveys to measure student experiences.

Work closely with your faculty advisor as you conduct research. Your advisor can often point you toward useful resources or recommend areas for further exploration.

chart-square-bar icon Look for Dissertation Examples


Writing a dissertation can feel overwhelming. Most graduate students have written seminar papers or https://cncsolesurvivor.com/ a master's thesis. But a dissertation is essentially like writing a book.

Looking at examples of dissertations can help you set realistic expectations and understand what your discipline wants in a successful dissertation. Ask your advisor if the department has recent dissertation examples. Or use a resource like ProQuest Dissertations to find examples.

Doctoral candidates read a lot of monographs and articles, but they often do not read dissertations. Reading polished scholarly work, particularly critical scholarship in your field, can give you an unrealistic standard for writing a dissertation.

clipboard-list icon Write Your Body Chapters


By the time you sit down to write your dissertation, you've already accomplished a great deal. You've chosen a topic, bgbinfrastructure.com defended your proposal, and conducted research. Now it's time to organize your work into chapters.

As with research, the format of your dissertation depends on your field. Your department will likely provide dissertation guidelines to structure your work. In many disciplines, dissertations include chapters on the literature review, methodology, and results. In other disciplines, each chapter functions like an article that builds to your overall argument.

Start with the chapter you feel most confident in writing. Expand on the literature review in your proposal to provide an overview of the field. Describe your research process and analyze the results.

user-group icon Meet With Your Advisor


Throughout the dissertation process, you should meet regularly with your advisor. As you write chapters, send them to your advisor for feedback. Your advisor can help identify issues and suggest ways to strengthen your dissertation.

Staying in close communication with your advisor will also boost your confidence for your dissertation defense. Consider sharing material with other members of your committee as well.

pencil icon Write Your Introduction and Conclusion


It seems counterintuitive, but it's a good idea to write your introduction and conclusion last. Your introduction should describe the scope of your project and your intervention in the field.

Many doctoral candidates find it useful to return to their dissertation proposal to write the introduction. If your project evolved significantly, you will need to reframe the introduction. Make sure you provide background information to set the scene for your dissertation. And preview your methodology, research aims, and results.

The conclusion is often the shortest section. In your conclusion, sum up what you've demonstrated, and explain how your dissertation contributes to the field.

pencil-alt icon Edit Your Draft


You've completed a draft of your dissertation. Now, it's time to edit that draft.

For some doctoral candidates, the editing process can feel more challenging than researching or writing the dissertation. Most dissertations run a minimum of 100-200 pages, with some hitting 300 pages or more.

When editing your dissertation, break it down chapter by chapter. Go beyond grammar and spelling to make sure you communicate clearly and efficiently. Identify repetitive areas and shore up weaknesses in your argument.

user-circle icon Incorporate Feedback


Writing a dissertation can feel very isolating. You're focused on one topic for months or years, and you're often working alone. But feedback will strengthen your dissertation.

You will receive feedback as you write your dissertation, both from your advisor and other committee members. In many departments, doctoral candidates also participate in peer review groups to provide feedback.

Outside readers will note confusing sections and recommend changes. Make sure you incorporate the feedback throughout the writing and editing process.

speakerphone icon Defend Your Dissertation


Congratulations — you made it to the dissertation defense! Typically, your advisor will not let you schedule the defense unless they believe you will pass. So consider the defense a culmination of your dissertation process rather than a high-stakes examination.

The format of your defense depends on the department. In some fields, you'll present your research. In other fields, the defense will consist of an in-depth discussion with your committee.

Walk into your defense with confidence. You're now an expert in your topic. Answer questions concisely and address any weaknesses in your study. Once you pass the defense, you'll earn your doctorate.

Writing a dissertation isn't easy — only around 55,000 students earned a Ph.D. in 2020, according to the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. However, it is possible to successfully complete a dissertation by breaking down the process into smaller steps.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dissertations

What is a dissertation?

A dissertation is a substantial research project that contributes to your field of study. Graduate students write a dissertation to earn their doctorate.

The format and content of a dissertation vary widely depending on the academic discipline. Doctoral candidates work closely with their faculty advisor to complete and defend the dissertation, a process that typically takes 1-3 years.

How long is a dissertation?

The length of a dissertation varies by field. Harvard's graduate school says most dissertations fall between 100-300 pages.

Doctoral candidate Marcus Beck analyzed the length of University of Minnesota dissertations by discipline and found that history produces the longest dissertations, with an average of nearly 300 pages, while mathematics produces the shortest dissertations at just under 100 pages.

What's the difference between a dissertation vs. a thesis?

Dissertations and theses demonstrate academic mastery at different levels. In U.S. graduate education, master's students typically write theses, while doctoral students write dissertations. The terms are reversed in the British system.

In the U.S., a dissertation is longer, more in-depth, and based on more research than a thesis. Doctoral candidates write a dissertation as the culminating research project of their degree. Undergraduates and master's students may write shorter theses as part of their programs.

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How To Write A Dissertation

To The Candidate:

So, you are preparing to write a Ph.D. dissertation in an experimental area of Computer Science. Unless you have written many formal documents before, you are in for a surprise: it's difficult!

There are two possible paths to success:

    • Planning Ahead.

      Few take this path. The few who do leave the University so quickly that they are hardly noticed. If you want to make a lasting impression and have a long career as a graduate student, do not choose it. 

    • Perseverance.

      All you really have to do is outlast your doctoral committee. The good news is that they are much older than you, so you can guess who will eventually expire first. The bad news is that they are more practiced at this game (after all, they persevered in the face of their doctoral committee, didn't they?).

Here are a few guidelines that may help you when you finally get serious about writing. The list goes on forever; you probably won't want to read it all at once. But, please read it before you write anything.

 


 

The General Idea:

  1. A thesis is a hypothesis or conjecture.

     

  2. A PhD dissertation is a lengthy, formal document that argues in defense of a particular thesis. (So many people use the term “thesis'' to refer to the document that a current dictionary now includes it as the third meaning of “thesis'').

     

  3. Two important adjectives used to describe a dissertation are “original'' and “substantial.'' The research performed to support a thesis must be both, and the dissertation must show it to be so. In particular, a dissertation highlights original contributions.

     

  4. The scientific method means starting with a hypothesis and then collecting evidence to support or deny it. Before one can write a dissertation defending a particular thesis, one must collect evidence that supports it. Thus, the most difficult aspect of writing a dissertation consists of organizing the evidence and associated discussions into a coherent form.

     

  5. The essence of a dissertation is critical thinking, not experimental data. Analysis and concepts form the heart of the work.

     

  6. A dissertation concentrates on principles: it states the lessons learned, and not merely the facts behind them.

     

  7. In general, every statement in a dissertation must be supported either by a reference to published scientific literature or by original work. Moreover, a dissertation does not repeat the details of critical thinking and analysis found in published sources; it uses the results as fact and refers the reader to the source for further details.

     

  8. Each sentence in a dissertation must be complete and correct in a grammatical sense. Moreover, a dissertation must satisfy the stringent rules of formal grammar (e.g., no contractions, no colloquialisms, no slurs, no undefined technical jargon, no hidden jokes, and no slang, even when such terms or phrases are in common use in the spoken language). Indeed, the writing in a dissertation must be crystal clear. Shades of meaning matter; the terminology and prose must make fine distinctions. The words must convey exactly the meaning intended, nothing more and nothing less.

     

  9. Each statement in a dissertation must be correct and defensible in a logical and scientific sense. Moreover, the discussions in a dissertation must satisfy the most stringent rules of logic applied to mathematics and science.

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What One Should Learn From The Exercise:

 

 

  1. All scientists need to communicate discoveries; the PhD dissertation provides training for communication with other scientists.

     

  2. Writing a dissertation requires a student to think deeply, to organize technical discussion, to muster arguments that will convince other scientists, and to follow rules for rigorous, formal presentation of the arguments and discussion.

 

A Rule Of Thumb:

 

Good writing is essential in a dissertation. However, good writing cannot compensate for a paucity of ideas or concepts. Quite the contrary, a clear presentation always exposes weaknesses.

 

Definitions And Terminology:

 

 

  1. Each technical term used in a dissertation must be defined either by a reference to a previously published definition (for standard terms with their usual meaning) or by a precise, unambiguous definition that appears before the term is used (for a new term or a standard term used in an unusual way).

     

  2. Each term should be used in one and only one way throughout the dissertation.

     

  3. The easiest way to avoid a long series of definitions is to include a statement: “the terminology used throughout this document follows that given in [CITATION].'' Then, only define exceptions.

     

  4. The introductory chapter can give the intuition (i.e., informal definitions) of terms provided they are defined more precisely later.

 

 

Terms And Phrases To Avoid:

 

  • adverbs

    • Mostly, they are very often overly used. Use strong words instead. For example, one could say, “Writers abuse adverbs.''
  • jokes or puns

    • They have no place in a formal document.
  • “bad'', “good'', “nice'', “terrible'', “stupid''

    • A scientific dissertation does not make moral judgements. Use “incorrect/correct'' to refer to factual correctness or errors. Use precise words or phrases to assess quality (e.g., “method A requires less computation than method B''). In general, one should avoid all qualitative judgements.
  • “true'', “pure'',

    • In the sense of “good'' (it is judgemental).
  • “perfect''

    • Nothing is.
  • “an ideal solution''

    • You're judging again.
  • “today'', “modern times''

    • Today is tomorrow's yesterday.
  • “soon''

    • How soon? Later tonight? Next decade?
  • “we were surprised to learn…''

    • Even if you were, so what?
  • “seems'', “seemingly'',

    • It doesn't matter how something appears;
  • “would seem to show''

    • all that matters are the facts.
  • “in terms of''

    • usually vague
  • “based on'', “X-based'', “as the basis of''

    • careful; can be vague
  • “different''

    • Does not mean “various''; different than what?
  • “in light of''

    • colloquial
  • “lots of''

    • vague & colloquial
  • “kind of''

    • vague & colloquial
  • “type of''

    • vague & colloquial
  • “something like''

    • vague & colloquial
  • “just about''

    • vague & colloquial
  • “number of''

    • vague; do you mean “some'', “many'', or “most''? A quantitative statement is preferable.
  • “due to''

    • colloquial
  • “probably''

    • only if you know the statistical probability (if you do, state it quantitatively
  • “obviously, clearly''

    • be careful: obvious/clear to everyone?
  • “simple''

    • Can have a negative connotation, as in “simpleton''
  • “along with''

    • Just use “with''
  • “actually, edeyselldigitals.com really''

    • define terms precisely to eliminate the need to clarify
  • “the fact that''

    • makes it a meta-sentence; rephrase
  • “this'', www.needlegirl-haystackworld.com “that''

    • As in “This causes concern.'' Reason: “this'' can refer to the subject of the previous sentence, the entire previous sentence, the entire previous paragraph, the entire previous section, etc. More important, it can be interpreted in the concrete sense or in the meta-sense. For example, in: “X does Y. This means …'' the reader can assume “this'' refers to Y or to the fact that X does it. Even when restricted (e.g., “this computation…''), the phrase is weak and often ambiguous.
  • “You will read about…''

    • The second person has no place in a formal dissertation.
  • “I will describe…''

    • The first person has no place in a formal dissertation. If self-reference is essential, phrase it as “Section 10 describes…''
  • “we'' as in “we see that''

    • A trap to avoid. Reason: almost any sentence can be written to begin with “we'' because “we'' can refer to: the reader and author, the author and advisor, the author and research team, experimental computer scientists, the entire computer science community, the science community, or some other unspecified group.
  • “Hopefully, the program…''

    • Computer programs don't hope, not unless they implement AI systems. By the way, if you are writing an AI thesis, talk to someone else: AI people have their own system of rules.
  • “…a famous researcher…''

    • It doesn't matter who said it or who did it. In fact, such statements prejudice the reader.
  • Be Careful When Using “few, most, all, any, every''.

    • A dissertation is precise. If a sentence says “Most computer systems contain X'', you must be able to defend it. Are you sure you really know the facts? How many computers were built and sold yesterday?
  • “must'', “always''

    • Absolutely?
  • “should''

    • Who says so?
  • “proof'', “prove''

    • Would a mathematician agree that it's a proof?
  • “show''

    • Used in the sense of “prove''. To “show'' something, you need to provide a formal proof.
  • “can/may''

    • Your mother probably told you the difference.

 

Voice:

 

  • Use active constructions. For example, say “the operating system starts the device'' instead of “the device is started by the operating system.''
  •  

 

Tense:

 

  • Write in the present tense. For example, say “The system writes a page to the disk and then uses the frame…'' instead of “The system will use the frame after it wrote the page to disk…''

 

Define Negation Early:

 

  • Example: say “no data block waits on the output queue'' instead of “a data block awaiting output is not on the queue.''

 

Grammar And Logic:

 

  • Be careful that the subject of each sentence really does what the verb says it does. Saying “Programs must make procedure calls using the X instruction'' is not the same as saying “Programs must use the X instruction when they call a procedure.'' In fact, the first is patently false! Another example: “RPC requires programs to transmit large packets'' is not the same as “RPC requires a mechanism that allows programs to transmit large packets.''

    All computer scientists should know the rules of logic. Unfortunately the rules are more difficult to follow when the language of discourse is English instead of mathematical symbols. For example, the sentence “There is a compiler that translates the N languages by…'' means a single compiler exists that handles all the languages, while the sentence “For each of the N languages, there is a compiler that translates…'' means that there may be 1 compiler, 2 compilers, or N compilers. When written using mathematical symbols, the difference are obvious because “for all'' and “there exists'' are reversed.

 

 

Focus On Results And Not The People/Circumstances In Which They Were Obtained:

 

 

  • “After working eight hours in the lab that night, we realized…'' has no place in the dissertation. It doesn't matter when you realized it or how long you worked to obtain the answer. Another example: “Jim and I arrived at the numbers shown in Table 3 by measuring…'' Put an acknowledgement to Jim in the dissertation, but do not include names (even your own) in the main body. You may be tempted to document a long series of experiments that produced nothing or a coincidence that resulted in success. Avoid it completely. In particular, do not document seemingly mystical influences (e.g., “if that cat had not crawled through the hole in the floor, we might not have discovered the power supply error indicator on the network bridge''). Never attribute such events to mystical causes or imply that strange forces may have affected your results. Summary: stick to the plain facts. Describe the results without dwelling on your reactions or events that helped you achieve them.
  •  

 

Avoid Self-Assessment (both praise and criticism):

 

  • Both of the following examples are incorrect: “The method outlined in Section 2 represents a major breakthrough in the design of distributed systems because…'' “Although the technique in the next section is not earthshaking,…''

 

References To Extant Work:

 

  • One always cites papers, not authors. Thus, one uses a singular verb to refer to a paper even though it has multiple authors. For example “Johnson and Smith [J&S90] reports that…''

    Avoid the phrase “the authors claim that X''. The use of “claim'' casts doubt on “X'' because it references the authors' thoughts instead of the facts. If you agree “X'' is correct, simply state “X'' followed by a reference. If one absolutely must reference a paper instead of a result, say “the paper states that…'' or “Johnson and Smith [J&S 90] presents evidence that…''.

 

Concept Vs. Instance:

 

  • A reader can become confused when a concept and an instance of it are blurred. Common examples include: an algorithm and a particular program that implements it, a programming language and a compiler, a general abstraction and its particular implementation in a computer system, a data structure and a particular instance of it in memory.

 

Terminology For Concepts And Abstractions

 

  • When defining the terminology for a concept, be careful to decide precisely how the idea translates to an implementation. Consider the following discussion:

    VM systems include a concept known as an address space. The system dynamically creates an address space when a program needs one, and destroys an address space when the program that created the space has finished using it. A VM system uses a small, finite number to identify each address space. Conceptually, one understands that each new address space should have a new identifier. However, if a VM system executes so long that it exhausts all possible address space identifiers, it must reuse a number.

    The important point is that the discussion only makes sense because it defines “address space'' independently from “address space identifier''. If one expects to discuss the differences between a concept and its implementation, the definitions must allow such a distinction.

 

Knowledge Vs. Data

 

  • The facts that result from an experiment are called “data''. The term “knowledge'' implies that the facts have been analyzed, condensed, or combined with facts from other experiments to produce useful information.
  •  

 

Cause and Effect:

 

  • A dissertation must carefully separate cause-effect relationships from simple statistical correlations. For example, even if all computer programs written in Professor X's lab require more memory than the computer programs written in Professor Y's lab, it may not have anything to do with the professors or the lab or the programmers (e.g., maybe the people working in professor X's lab are working on applications that require more memory than the applications in professor Y's lab).
  •  

 

Drawing Only Warranted Conclusions:

 

  • One must be careful to only draw conclusions that the evidence supports. For example, if programs run much slower on computer A than on computer B, one cannot conclude that the processor in A is slower than the processor in B unless one has ruled out all differences in the computers' operating systems, input or output devices, memory size, memory cache, or internal bus bandwidth. In fact, one must still refrain from judgement unless one has the results from a controlled experiment (e.g., running a set of several programs many times, each when the computer is otherwise idle). Even if the cause of some phenomenon seems obvious, one cannot draw a conclusion without solid, supporting evidence.
  •  

 

Commerce and Science:

 

  • In a scientific dissertation, one never draws conclusions about the economic viability or commercial success of an idea/method, nor does one speculate about the history of development or origins of an idea. A scientist must remain objective about the merits of an idea independent of its commercial popularity. In particular, a scientist never assumes that commercial success is a valid measure of merit (many popular products are neither well-designed nor well-engineered). Thus, statements such as “over four hundred vendors make products using technique Y'' are irrelevant in a dissertation.

 

Politics And Science:

 

  • A scientist avoids all political influence when assessing ideas. Obviously, it should not matter whether government bodies, political parties, religious groups, or other organizations endorse an idea. More important and often overlooked, it does not matter whether an idea originated with a scientist who has already won a Nobel prize or a first-year graduate student. One must assess the idea independent of the source.
  •  

 

Canonical Organization:

 

  • In general, every dissertation must define the problem that motivated the research, tell why that problem is important, tell what others have done, describe the new contribution, document the experiments that validate the contribution, and draw conclusions. There is no canonical organization for a dissertation; each is unique. However, novices writing a dissertation in the experimental areas of CS may find the following example a good starting point:

     

    • Chapter 1: Introduction

      • An overview of the problem; why it is important; a summary of extant work and a statement of your hypothesis or specific question to be explored. Make it readable by anyone.
    • Chapter 2: Definitions

      • New terms only. Make the definitions precise, concise, and unambiguous.
    • Chapter 3: Conceptual Model

      • Describe the central concept underlying your work. Make it a “theme'' that ties together all your arguments. It should provide an answer to the question posed in the introduction at a conceptual level. If necessary, add another chapter to give additional reasoning about the problem or its solution.
    • Chapter 4: Experimental Measurements

      • Describe the results of experiments that provide evidence in support of your thesis. Usually experiments either emphasize proof-of-concept (demonstrating the viability of a method/technique) or efficiency (demonstrating that a method/technique provides better performance than those that exist).
    • Chapter 5: Corollaries And Consequences

      • Describe variations, extensions, or other applications of the central idea.
    • Chapter 6: Conclusions

      • Summarize what was learned and how it can be applied. Mention the possibilities for future research.
    • Abstract:

      • A short (few paragraphs) summary of the dissertation. Describe the problem and the research approach. Emphasize the original contributions.

 

Suggested Order For Writing:

 

  • The easiest way to build a dissertation is inside-out. Begin by writing the chapters that describe your research (3, 4, and 5 in the above outline). Collect terms as they arise and keep a definition for each. Define each technical term, even if you use it in a conventional manner.

    Organize the definitions into a separate chapter. Make the definitions precise and formal. Review later chapters to verify that each use of a technical term adheres to its definition. After reading the middle chapters to verify terminology, write the conclusions. Write the introduction next. Finally, complete an abstract.

 

Key To Success:

 

  • By the way, there is a key to success: practice. No one ever learned to write by reading essays like this. Instead, you need to practice, www.globaleconomicsucsb.com practice, practice. Every day.
  •  

 

Parting thoughts:

 

  • We leave you with the following ideas to mull over. If they don't mean anything to you now, revisit them after you finish writing a dissertation.

     

Read More

How to Write a Dissertation: Step-by-Step Guide

  • Doctoral students write and defend dissertations to earn their degrees.
  • Most dissertations range from 100-300 pages, depending on the field.
  • Taking a step-by-step approach can help students write their dissertations.

Whether you're considering a doctoral program or you recently passed your comprehensive exams, you've probably wondered how to write a dissertation. Researching, writing, and defending a dissertation represents a major step in earning a doctorate.

But what is a dissertation exactly? A dissertation is an original work of scholarship that contributes to the field. Doctoral candidates often spend 1-3 years working on their dissertations. And many dissertations top 200 or more pages.

Starting the process on the right foot can help you complete a successful dissertation. Breaking down the process into steps may also make it easier to finish your dissertation.

How to Write a Dissertation in 12 Steps

A dissertation demonstrates mastery in a subject. But how do you write a dissertation? Here are 12 steps to successfully complete a dissertation.

light-bulb icon Choose a Topic

Additional Info about How to write dissertation https://www.atekri.com/blog/index.php?entryid=129339 .


It sounds like an easy step, but choosing a topic will play an enormous role in the success of your dissertation. In some fields, your dissertation advisor will recommend a topic. In other fields, you'll develop a topic on your own.

Read recent work in your field to identify areas for additional scholarship. Look for holes in the literature or questions that remain unanswered.

After coming up with a few areas for research or questions, carefully consider what's feasible with your resources. Talk to your faculty advisor about your ideas and incorporate their feedback.

book-open icon Conduct Preliminary Research


Before starting a dissertation, you'll need to conduct research. Depending on your field, that might mean visiting archives, reviewing scholarly literature, or running lab tests.

Use your preliminary research to hone your question and topic. Take lots of notes, particularly on areas where you can expand your research.

bookmark icon Read Secondary Literature


A dissertation demonstrates your mastery of the field. That means you'll need to read a large amount of scholarship on your topic. Dissertations typically include a literature review section or chapter.

Create a list of books, articles, and other scholarly works early in the process, and continue to add to your list. Refer to the works cited to identify key literature. And take detailed notes to make the writing process easier.

chat-alt-2 icon Write a Research Proposal


In most doctoral programs, you'll need to write and https://royalnauticals.com/how-to-write-a-dissertation/ defend a research proposal before starting your dissertation.

The length and format of your proposal depend on your field. In many fields, the proposal will run 10-20 pages and include a detailed discussion of the research topic, methodology, and secondary literature.

Your faculty advisor will provide valuable feedback on turning your proposal into a dissertation.

bookmark-alt icon Research, Research, Research


Doctoral dissertations make an original contribution to the field, and your research will be the basis of that contribution.

The form your research takes will depend on your academic discipline. In computer science, you might analyze a complex dataset to understand machine learning. In English, you might read the unpublished papers of a poet or author. In psychology, you might design a study to test stress responses. And in education, you might create surveys to measure student experiences.

Work closely with your faculty advisor as you conduct research. Your advisor can often point you toward useful resources or recommend areas for further exploration.

chart-square-bar icon Look for Dissertation Examples


Writing a dissertation can feel overwhelming. Most graduate students have written seminar papers or a master's thesis. But a dissertation is essentially like writing a book.

Looking at examples of dissertations can help you set realistic expectations and understand what your discipline wants in a successful dissertation. Ask your advisor if the department has recent dissertation examples. Or use a resource like ProQuest Dissertations to find examples.

Doctoral candidates read a lot of monographs and articles, www.digitalalmighty.com but they often do not read dissertations. Reading polished scholarly work, particularly critical scholarship in your field, can give you an unrealistic standard for writing a dissertation.

clipboard-list icon Write Your Body Chapters


By the time you sit down to write your dissertation, you've already accomplished a great deal. You've chosen a topic, defended your proposal, and conducted research. Now it's time to organize your work into chapters.

As with research, the format of your dissertation depends on your field. Your department will likely provide dissertation guidelines to structure your work. In many disciplines, dissertations include chapters on the literature review, methodology, and results. In other disciplines, each chapter functions like an article that builds to your overall argument.

Start with the chapter you feel most confident in writing. Expand careked.com on the literature review in your proposal to provide an overview of the field. Describe your research process and analyze the results.

user-group icon Meet With Your Advisor


Throughout the dissertation process, you should meet regularly with your advisor. As you write chapters, send them to your advisor for feedback. Your advisor can help identify issues and suggest ways to strengthen your dissertation.

Staying in close communication with your advisor will also boost your confidence for your dissertation defense. Consider sharing material with other members of your committee as well.

pencil icon Write Your Introduction and Conclusion


It seems counterintuitive, but it's a good idea to write your introduction and conclusion last. Your introduction should describe the scope of your project and your intervention in the field.

Many doctoral candidates find it useful to return to their dissertation proposal to write the introduction. If your project evolved significantly, you will need to reframe the introduction. Make sure you provide background information to set the scene for your dissertation. And preview your methodology, research aims, and results.

The conclusion is often the shortest section. In your conclusion, sum up what you've demonstrated, and explain how your dissertation contributes to the field.

pencil-alt icon Edit Your Draft


You've completed a draft of your dissertation. Now, it's time to edit that draft.

For some doctoral candidates, the editing process can feel more challenging than researching or writing the dissertation. Most dissertations run a minimum of 100-200 pages, with some hitting 300 pages or more.

When editing your dissertation, break it down chapter by chapter. Go beyond grammar and spelling to make sure you communicate clearly and efficiently. Identify repetitive areas and shore up weaknesses in your argument.

user-circle icon Incorporate Feedback


Writing a dissertation can feel very isolating. You're focused on one topic for months or years, and you're often working alone. But feedback will strengthen your dissertation.

You will receive feedback as you write your dissertation, both from your advisor and other committee members. In many departments, doctoral candidates also participate in peer review groups to provide feedback.

Outside readers will note confusing sections and recommend changes. Make sure you incorporate the feedback throughout the writing and editing process.

speakerphone icon Defend Your Dissertation


Congratulations — you made it to the dissertation defense! Typically, your advisor will not let you schedule the defense unless they believe you will pass. So consider the defense a culmination of your dissertation process rather than a high-stakes examination.

The format of your defense depends on the department. In some fields, you'll present your research. In other fields, the defense will consist of an in-depth discussion with your committee.

Walk into your defense with confidence. You're now an expert in your topic. Answer questions concisely and address any weaknesses in your study. Once you pass the defense, you'll earn your doctorate.

Writing a dissertation isn't easy — only around 55,000 students earned a Ph.D. in 2020, according to the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. However, it is possible to successfully complete a dissertation by breaking down the process into smaller steps.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dissertations

What is a dissertation?

A dissertation is a substantial research project that contributes to your field of study. Graduate students write a dissertation to earn their doctorate.

The format and content of a dissertation vary widely depending on the academic discipline. Doctoral candidates work closely with their faculty advisor to complete and defend the dissertation, a process that typically takes 1-3 years.

How long is a dissertation?

The length of a dissertation varies by field. Harvard's graduate school says most dissertations fall between 100-300 pages.

Doctoral candidate Marcus Beck analyzed the length of University of Minnesota dissertations by discipline and found that history produces the longest dissertations, with an average of nearly 300 pages, while mathematics produces the shortest dissertations at just under 100 pages.

What's the difference between a dissertation vs. a thesis?

Dissertations and theses demonstrate academic mastery at different levels. In U.S. graduate education, master's students typically write theses, while doctoral students write dissertations. The terms are reversed in the British system.

In the U.S., a dissertation is longer, more in-depth, and based on more research than a thesis. Doctoral candidates write a dissertation as the culminating research project of their degree. Undergraduates and master's students may write shorter theses as part of their programs.

Read More

How To Write A Dissertation Or Thesis: 8 Steps

A dissertation or thesis is likely to be the longest and the most difficult piece of work a student has ever completed. It can, nevertheless, be a really fulfilling piece of work because, unlike essays and other assignments, the student can choose a special interest issue and work independently. 

The research journey will be a lot smoother if the student clearly understands the big-picture of how to write a dissertation or thesis. Here are some tips to outline the big picture of how to write a high-quality dissertation or thesis without losing your mind in the process. 

Step 1: Understand what is a dissertation 

So, what exactly is a dissertation? 

To put it simply, a dissertation or thesis is a formal piece of research that reflects the typical research method.  It’s not an opinion piece, nor is it a place to push your agenda or persuade someone to agree with you. Now, what is the usual research procedure? There are four main steps:

  • Ask a question(s) that is(are) highly specific and well-articulated (your research topic)
  • Check out what other researchers have to say about it 
  • If they haven’t appropriately responded, collect and analyze your own data in a scientifically rigorous manner.
  • Respond to your initial question(s) based on your conclusions from your investigation

Step 2: Select a unique, valuable topic

As discussed, asking a clear, well-articulated question is the first step in the research process. To put it another way, you’ll need to come up with a study topic that poses a specific question or series of questions (these are called research questions).

A a few key characteristics of a good dissertation topic are given below:

right here about How to write dissertation https://institutobolsa.com/blog/index.php?entryid=168252 .

  1. Clear

Your research topic should be very specific about what you’re going to research, what you want to learn, and how you’re going to learn it. There should be no ambiguity or uncertainty concerning the topic of your investigation.

  1. Unique

Your research should address a question or set of questions that hasn’t been addressed before, or that hasn’t been addressed in a particular context (for example, in a specific country or industry).

  1. Important

It is not enough to just ask a unique or original inquiry; the query must add value. To put it another way, answering your research questions correctly should add value to the field of research or the industry. 

Read More : How to select the right research topic?

Step 3: Come up with a compelling research proposal

Once you’ve found a good research topic, the following step is to persuade your university to let you conduct research on it. No matter how fantastic you believe your topic is, it must first get approval before you can proceed with your research. A research proposal can be used as a tool to get this done. 

So, what exactly does a research proposal entail?

  • You have a well-articulated, distinct, and significant topic (this may seem similar…)
  • You’ve done some preliminary research into the existing literature on your issue (i.e. a literature review)
  • You have a rough plan in place for how you’ll collect and analyze data (i.e. a methodology)

Step 4: Write a strong introduction chapter

After your proposal has been approved, it’s time to start writing your dissertation or thesis

Your proposal will serve as the foundation for http://itgamer.ru/ your first three chapters — introduction, literature review, and methodology.

What is the purpose of the opening chapter?

In general, it will comprise the following:

  • A brief overview of the study’s context, including an explanation of the research’s main focus
  • A problem statement that describes the issue with the current state of research (in other words, where the knowledge gap exists)
  • Your research questions – the exact questions that your research will attempt to solve (based on the knowledge gap)
  • The importance of your research – in other words, why it’s vital and how the findings will benefit the world

Step 5: Undertake an in-depth literature review

You’ll need to do some initial evaluation in Steps 2 and 3 to find your research gap and craft a convincing research proposal – but that’s just the beginning. When you get to the literature review stage of your dissertation or thesis, you’ll need to delve even further into the current research and katazaraki.com create a thorough literature review chapter. There are two main stages:

  1. Reading up

The first step is to do a thorough review of the available literature (journal articles, textbook chapters, industry reports, and so on) to obtain a thorough understanding of the current status of research on your issue. Reading and digesting the necessary literature is a time-consuming and a demanding task. Many students underestimate the amount of effort that goes into this step, so make sure to budget enough time for it when planning your study.

  1. Writing up

After you’ve read and digested all of the material, you’ll need to write up your literature review chapter. You’ll need to do at least three things to write a successful literature review chapter:

  • You must synthesise the available research rather than simply summarising it. In other words, you must demonstrate how various bits of theory fit together, as well as what is agreed and what’s not agreed upon by researchers.
  • You should identify a research gap that your study will address. To put it another way, you must explain the problem in order for your research topic to propose a solution.
  • You should base your methodology and approach to your own research design on previous research. 

Step 6: Conduct your own research

When you’ve completed your literature evaluation and have a thorough comprehension of the existing research, it’s time to develop your own study (finally!) You’ll do this study with the goal of discovering the answers to your specific research topic.

The first step is to plan your research strategy and draft a methodology section.

  1. Create a research strategy

Designing your research strategy and writing a methodology chapter are the first steps.In another way, this chapter explains the “how” of your research. The “what” and “why” were explored in the introduction and literature review chapters, so it’s only natural that the “how” should be discussed next – that’s what the methodology chapter is all about.

  1. Execute: collect and analyse your data.

You’ll put your research idea into action and begin collecting data once you’ve finalised it. This could include conducting interviews, running an online poll, or using any other technique of data collection. Data collecting can take a long time (especially if you conduct in-person interviews), so make sure you provide enough time in your project schedule for it. Things don’t always go as planned (for example, you don’t get as many survey responses as you expected), so factor in some extra time in your budget. 

After you’ve gathered your data, you’ll need to undertake some data preparation before diving into the analysis. 

Step 7: Make a presentation of your findings

It’s finally time to share your findings after you’ve finished your analysis. You’ll usually present your findings in two chapters in a dissertation or thesis: the results chapter and the discussion chapter.

Results and discussion chapters’ difference

While the results and discussion chapters are identical, the results chapter simply presents the processed data neatly and clearly without interpretation, whereas the discussion chapter discusses the story the data is telling – in other words, it provides your interpretation of the results.

Depending on the university and degree, these two chapters (results and discussion) are occasionally consolidated into one. So make sure to verify with your institution. This section is about presenting the conclusions of your research in a straightforward, easy-to-understand manner, regardless of chapter arrangement. 

Step 8: Make a conclusion and talk about the ramifications

You’ll wrap up your research in this chapter by highlighting the most important findings and discussing the consequences of those discoveries.

What are the most important findings? The key discoveries are those that have a direct bearing on your original research questions and overall study goals (which you discussed in your introduction chapter). On the other side, the implications describe what your findings mean for industry or research in your field.

Read More

How To Write A Dissertation Or Thesis: 8 Steps

A dissertation or thesis is likely to be the longest and the most difficult piece of work a student has ever completed. It can, nevertheless, be a really fulfilling piece of work because, unlike essays and other assignments, the student can choose a special interest issue and work independently. 

The research journey will be a lot smoother if the student clearly understands the big-picture of how to write a dissertation or thesis. Here are some tips to outline the big picture of how to write a high-quality dissertation or thesis without losing your mind in the process. 

Step 1: Understand what is a dissertation 

So, what exactly is a dissertation? 

To put it simply, a dissertation or thesis is a formal piece of research that reflects the typical research method.  It’s not an opinion piece, nor is it a place to push your agenda or persuade someone to agree with you. Now, what is the usual research procedure? There are four main steps:

  • Ask a question(s) that is(are) highly specific and well-articulated (your research topic)
  • Check out what other researchers have to say about it 
  • If they haven’t appropriately responded, collect and analyze your own data in a scientifically rigorous manner.
  • Respond to your initial question(s) based on your conclusions from your investigation

Step 2: Select a unique, valuable topic

As discussed, asking a clear, well-articulated question is the first step in the research process. To put it another way, you’ll need to come up with a study topic that poses a specific question or series of questions (these are called research questions).

A a few key characteristics of a good dissertation topic are given below:

Read this article about How to write dissertation https://blackboxoakland.com/2023/11/17/how-to-write-a-dissertation-your-ultimate-guide/ .

  1. Clear

Your research topic should be very specific about what you’re going to research, what you want to learn, and how you’re going to learn it. There should be no ambiguity or uncertainty concerning the topic of your investigation.

  1. Unique

Your research should address a question or set of questions that hasn’t been addressed before, or that hasn’t been addressed in a particular context (for example, in a specific country or industry).

  1. Important

It is not enough to just ask a unique or original inquiry; the query must add value. To put it another way, answering your research questions correctly should add value to the field of research or the industry. 

Read More : How to select the right research topic?

Step 3: Come up with a compelling research proposal

Once you’ve found a good research topic, the following step is to persuade your university to let you conduct research on it. No matter how fantastic you believe your topic is, it must first get approval before you can proceed with your research. A research proposal can be used as a tool to get this done. 

So, what exactly does a research proposal entail?

  • You have a well-articulated, distinct, and stockmarketedge.sperofy.com significant topic (this may seem similar…)
  • You’ve done some preliminary research into the existing literature on your issue (i.e. a literature review)
  • You have a rough plan in place for how you’ll collect and analyze data (i.e. a methodology)

Step 4: Write a strong introduction chapter

After your proposal has been approved, it’s time to start writing your dissertation or thesis

Your proposal will serve as the foundation for your first three chapters — introduction, literature review, and methodology.

What is the purpose of the opening chapter?

In general, it will comprise the following:

  • A brief overview of the study’s context, including an explanation of the research’s main focus
  • A problem statement that describes the issue with the current state of research (in other words, where the knowledge gap exists)
  • Your research questions – the exact questions that your research will attempt to solve (based on the knowledge gap)
  • The importance of your research – in other words, why it’s vital and how the findings will benefit the world

Step 5: Undertake an in-depth literature review

You’ll need to do some initial evaluation in Steps 2 and 3 to find your research gap and craft a convincing research proposal – but that’s just the beginning. When you get to the literature review stage of your dissertation or thesis, https://careked.com/community/profile/kellyekahl6525/ you’ll need to delve even further into the current research and create a thorough literature review chapter. There are two main stages:

  1. Reading up

The first step is to do a thorough review of the available literature (journal articles, textbook chapters, industry reports, and so on) to obtain a thorough understanding of the current status of research on your issue. Reading and digesting the necessary literature is a time-consuming and a demanding task. Many students underestimate the amount of effort that goes into this step, so make sure to budget enough time for it when planning your study.

  1. Writing up

After you’ve read and digested all of the material, you’ll need to write up your literature review chapter. You’ll need to do at least three things to write a successful literature review chapter:

  • You must synthesise the available research rather than simply summarising it. In other words, you must demonstrate how various bits of theory fit together, as well as what is agreed and what’s not agreed upon by researchers.
  • You should identify a research gap that your study will address. To put it another way, you must explain the problem in order for your research topic to propose a solution.
  • You should base your methodology and approach to your own research design on previous research. 

Step 6: Conduct your own research

When you’ve completed your literature evaluation and have a thorough comprehension of the existing research, it’s time to develop your own study (finally!) You’ll do this study with the goal of discovering the answers to your specific research topic.

The first step is to plan your research strategy and draft a methodology section.

  1. Create a research strategy

Designing your research strategy and writing a methodology chapter are the first steps.In another way, this chapter explains the “how” of your research. The “what” and “why” were explored in the introduction and literature review chapters, so it’s only natural that the “how” should be discussed next – that’s what the methodology chapter is all about.

  1. Execute: collect and analyse your data.

You’ll put your research idea into action and begin collecting data once you’ve finalised it. This could include conducting interviews, yds-online.com running an online poll, or using any other technique of data collection. Data collecting can take a long time (especially if you conduct in-person interviews), so make sure you provide enough time in your project schedule for it. Things don’t always go as planned (for example, you don’t get as many survey responses as you expected), so factor in some extra time in your budget. 

After you’ve gathered your data, you’ll need to undertake some data preparation before diving into the analysis. 

Step 7: Make a presentation of your findings

It’s finally time to share your findings after you’ve finished your analysis. You’ll usually present your findings in two chapters in a dissertation or thesis: the results chapter and the discussion chapter.

Results and discussion chapters’ difference

While the results and discussion chapters are identical, the results chapter simply presents the processed data neatly and clearly without interpretation, whereas the discussion chapter discusses the story the data is telling – in other words, it provides your interpretation of the results.

Depending on the university and degree, these two chapters (results and discussion) are occasionally consolidated into one. So make sure to verify with your institution. This section is about presenting the conclusions of your research in a straightforward, easy-to-understand manner, regardless of chapter arrangement. 

Step 8: Make a conclusion and talk about the ramifications

You’ll wrap up your research in this chapter by highlighting the most important findings and discussing the consequences of those discoveries.

What are the most important findings? The key discoveries are those that have a direct bearing on your original research questions and overall study goals (which you discussed in your introduction chapter). On the other side, the implications describe what your findings mean for industry or research in your field.

Read More

How to Write a Dissertation 5 Tips from Academic Editors

A dissertation or thesis is a long work of academic writing consisting of original research. It is usually a 100–300 page long document, written as part of your PhD or master’s degree. In this article, we’ll tell you how to write a dissertation that is worthy of publication.

While there are some differences between a dissertation and a thesis, they’re more or less similar where writing is concerned. So for the purpose of this article, we’re using the terms interchangeably.

What is a dissertation?

A dissertation is not only the longest academic document a student writes but also the most intensive and difficult one. It tests your ability to:

  • Study existing literature
  • Identify knowledge gaps and problems
  • Conduct original research
  • Analyze raw data
  • Structure solutions and offer recommendations

Your supervisor is your primary guide while writing your dissertation. From questions on the style and structure of your dissertation to the methods you’re planning to use, consult them about every major problem you face.

However, as far as basic writing is concerned, we can help you out just fine! As your editors and proofreaders, we’ve compiled five tips to help you with dissertation writing. But before we start, let’s take a look at the chapters of a dissertation.

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What are the chapters of a dissertation?

The number or order of the dissertation chapters may vary depending on your school or discipline. Universities may choose to drop certain sections or add new ones, but we can discern a common structure of a dissertation across all of them.

Dissertations in sciences and social sciences tend to follow this structure:

  1. Introduction
  2. Literature review
  3. Methodology
  4. Findings or results
  5. Discussion or recommendations
  6. Conclusion

How to write a dissertation

We’ve written separately about how to write each of these dissertation sections. If you’re looking for detailed tips on how to write these sections of a dissertation, head over to this guide.

But if you want expert advice on how to write a dissertation, this is the only guide you’ll need!

1. Pay attention to the marking scheme

The marking scheme reflects what aspects of your dissertation are considered most valuable by your university. It also tells you how the instructor will grade individual sections of your dissertation. Once you know exactly what the assignment is, you can do a better job at writing your dissertation. 

For example, the Mathematical Institute at the University of Oxford offers 10% of total marks to coherence. In its dissertation guidelines, the institute clarifies that a thesis with clear and interconnected aims, results, and conclusions receives the highest grade for coherence.

Your department’s marking criteria will tell you what you’re expected to achieve in your dissertation. In order to write a dissertation worthy of publication, you need to remember these guidelines and follow them closely.

2. Pick a topic that’ll help you professionally

While this doesn’t strictly come under “how to write a thesis”, it’s an important tip. Most people will tell you to pick a dissertation topic you’re passionate about. While this is certainly essential, what’s more important is that your topic is of interest to your future employers.

This is closely tied to your attitude about dissertation writing: don’t do it just to score a good grade! Always remember that you’re writing to create new knowledge in your field. Someday, other students or even researchers will refer to this for their own research. Your dissertation should be useful to students, researchers, as well as organizations working in your field.

Your dissertation is your contribution to your chosen field of study. Naturally, your employers will want to quiz you on it, or even see it. So, choose a topic that benefits organizations. This way, you have a 100-page proof of your value to the institution of your choice!

Choose a topic you’re passionate about, but also one that’s useful to other people, and by extension, can help you get a job.

3. Connect different sections to each other

The different dissertation chapters outline the story of your research.

In this story,

  • The introduction lays the groundwork
  • Literature review presents problem(s) and question(s)
  • The methodology outlines your research process
  • Results and their discussion reveal your contributions
  • The conclusion sums up your research

So, it makes sense for this story to have a clear direction. Most students go wrong in the introduction and literature review, which are the first couple steps in writing a dissertation.

Your literature review isn’t just a summary of existing research, but an expert synthesis and analysis of it. Identify a few key problems or hypotheses in your literature review and structure the chapter around them, rather than haphazardly tying things together.

The problems you come across in the literature review will help you develop the research questions in your methodology section. Derive your questions from the literature review and use them while collecting data.

Complement these questions by identifying a few key themes in your results sections. If you have the option, organize your results section around these themes. Use the key points from your results to structure your discussion and recommendations. This will make it clear that you have made an effort to connect different sections of your dissertation.

Way to get that 10!

4. Understand the unique requirements for each dissertation chapter

This is where we get into how you can write your dissertation step by step. Let’s start!

Abstract

The abstract is a brief overview of your work where you sum up all the chapters of your dissertation. It tells the reader what to expect from your dissertation.

Since this is the first piece of writing your committee members are going to read, it needs to be impressive. It should make them want to read further!

The abstract is the last thing you’ll write, after you’re done with the rest of your dissertation chapters. You can’t make a trailer before the movie has been shot, right? 

Tips to write an abstract for your dissertation:

  • Keep it brief, between 200–300 words.
  • Make it interesting and engaging for the reader.

Introduction

Your dissertation has to be useful to other researchers, and the introduction is your space to tell them how. But in order to do that, you need to introduce the reader to your specific subject. So, you need to lay down the background information, give them the required context, and then state your problem statement.

Basically, your introduction tells the reader what you’re researching and why it’s important.

Here are your guidelines for writing a thesis introduction:

  • Present the background information for your topic in brief.
  • Narrow down your topic and introduce the problem statement.
  • State the academic and professional significance of your topic.
  • Clearly state your research questions or objectives.

Additional tips for PhD dissertations:

  • State how your dissertation makes an original contribution to your discipline.
  • Explain how your thesis is significant for mass communication education.

Literature review

A literature review is your review of the existing literature around your topic in order to identify a knowledge gap. This helps you understand the existing academic work in your niche and connect your own research to it.

We’ve already mentioned how you should write your literature review to make your thesis more coherent, so we won’t repeat that.

Tips to write a literature review:

  • Only add relevant, essential information in your literature review and nothing else.
  • Organize it around key problem areas or themes.
  • Use figures to depict how the themes relate to each other and to your topic.

Research methodology

The methodology section explains the methods that you used to undertake your research. This allows the researcher to assess the credibility and validity of your dissertation.

Research methodology is where you use the data from your literature review and apply it to the external world. In your review, you identify knowledge gaps or problems and develop some hypotheses. These help you choose your methods of data collection, such as preparing questionnaires.

Your research methodology should include:

  1. The type of research you did
  2. Your methods of data collection
  3. Tools you used to collect data
  4. Your method of analysis
  5. Explanation of why you chose these methods

So, your methodology is the dissertation chapter where you lay out your methods and processes, and defend your use of them. 

Tips to write a research methodology:

  • Connect this section to the literature review through your questions.
  • Use a chart or figure to make this relation clearer. 
  • Detail every step of data collection and analysis.
  • Cite proper sources while defending your use of specific methods or tools.

Results

The results or findings section is where you report the main findings of your research. It includes nothing but simply what your methodology discovered, so don’t put any analysis here.

While it is preferable to organize this section based on themes or categories identified in the literature review, consult your supervisor on this. Organizing findings in this manner is the norm in historical and qualitative research, but may not be acceptable under your discipline or university guidelines!

Tips to write the results section:

  • Use tables and figures to depict numerical data.
  • Be specific, descriptive, and exact while presenting your results.

Discussion

In this dissertation chapter, you elaborate on the importance and relevance of your results. Yes, you literally “discuss” your findings and explain what they mean for your research as well as the larger field of study.

Explaining your findings in this section showcases your ability to analyze raw data and present that analysis.

Since the structure of a dissertation varies across disciplines and universities, the chapter makeup is also prone to change. So, the discussion section may be combined with the results section in some cases. Refer to university guidelines and sample theses, and consult your supervisor if you’re confused about this.

Conclusion

The conclusion is the last chapter of your dissertation, in which you answer your main research question and conclude your central argument. You should also explain how your research is an original contribution to your discipline. 

A dissertation conclusion should be very concise, usually about 5–7% of your total word count. So if your text is 15,000 words long, the conclusion shouldn’t be more than 1,000 words. 

Based on the structure of your dissertation, recommendations may be a part of this section or may be a separate chapter altogether. But for the purpose of clarity, we’ll address it separately from the conclusion.

Recommendations

Based on your research findings and analysis, you present some recommendations for further research or practice in your field. This is the most important part of your thesis because it is part of your original contribution to your discipline.

Your recommendations are proof of your ability to structure solutions, so organizations take a keen interest in this dissertation section. If you want to write a dissertation that gets you employed, you need to offer valuable recommendations.

You may also score a bonus mark for your recommendations by dividing them under separate labels. These labels can vary based on your topic, but you should develop them with the intention of covering multiple levels in an organization.

For example, a dissertation on the career development of LGBTQ+ folks may offer recommendations on various grounds such as policy changes, social awareness, and psychological support.

So, make sure you develop recommendations targeted towards agents within the professional sphere at multiple operational levels. In this way, your solutions have a wide reach and impact.

Tips to write dissertation recommendations:

  • Offer only viable, commercial, and well-founded recommendations.
  • Target your recommendations toward key agents in the professional field.
  • Use figures to depict different types of recommendations.
  • Prepare an action sheet if it complements the thesis.

5. Edit and proofread your dissertation

Don’t underestimate the importance of editing and proofreading your dissertation before you turn it in. It is your responsibility to ensure that the thesis you submit is error-free and polished.

While you may think you’ve nailed dissertation writing, everyone is prone to mistakes! The worst thing is, we’re not very good at spotting the mistakes we make, and this is precisely why we need academic editors.

Your thesis requires two levels of editing: micro editing and macro editing. Micro editing is similar to copy editing. The editor checks your dissertation for language usage, spelling, punctuation, and grammar. They also review your word choice, sentence structure, and use of technical terms.

Macro editing looks at your dissertation as a whole. Here, https://estesparkrentals.com/how-to-write-a-dissertation/ the editor checks whether your chapters are organized properly and whether there is a logical connection between them. They also check the thesis for consistency across your thesis chapters.

You may choose to handle this yourself, but given how important a document your dissertation is, this is always a risky move. As dissertation editors and proofreaders who have helped thousands of students with their theses, we always recommend that you get professional help.

After all, www.globaleconomicsucsb.com it doesn’t make sense to do your best during research, only to lose marks over grammar and formatting mistakes!

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The Complete Guide to Writing a Dissertation

A dissertation is a lengthy research paper written as a requirement to earn an academic degree. Typically, students must write a dissertation toward the end of their program to prove their knowledge and contribute new research to their field. Whether a student earns the degree depends on the quality of their paper and how it is presented.

Dissertations are one of the most difficult research papers to write, involving much of a student’s time, focus, and energy. While they follow the basics of a research paper, dissertations have areas that regular research papers don’t. Below, we provide a foundational primer to help you write a dissertation without getting overwhelmed.

 

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How to write a dissertation: Introduction

Think of a dissertation as the “final exam” for earning certain academic degrees. Although different schools in different countries have their own procedures, in general students submit a dissertation with the help of an adviser, and the dissertation is then reviewed by experts in the field to see if it qualifies for the degree. Often, the student must also give an oral presentation on their topic, known as a dissertation defense.

The term dissertation itself is often used interchangeably with thesis paper. It gets confusing because different countries use these terms in different ways. For example, in the United States, dissertation is used when completing a doctorate, while thesis is used for bachelor’s or master’s degrees. In the UK and Ireland, those are reversed, with dissertation relating to undergraduate degrees.

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Dissertations can be either empirical or nonempirical, depending on the field of study. Empirical dissertations (or quantitative dissertations) are common for the sciences; they require students to collect original data, with the methods of research also reviewed. Nonempirical dissertations (or qualitative dissertations) instead rely on existing data, although students are expected to provide original and inventive analyses.

Although dissertations are technically research papers, writing them is far more involved and technical than other school papers. To write a dissertation, you use a more complex format, with sections for literature reviews, appendices, and methodology, among others.

How long is a dissertation?

There is no universal answer to “how long is a dissertation?” The page length or word count varies depending on the degree, field of study, school, and country.

But here are some rough estimates to give you an idea of what to expect:

  • Bachelor’s: 10,000–15,000 words (35–50 pages)
  • Master’s: 18,000–22,000 words (65–80 pages)
  • Doctorate: 80,000–100,000 words (200–300 pages)

As you can see, a doctoral dissertation is a serious investment—you’re essentially writing a book. Keep in mind, however, that these figures are only estimates, and that actual lengths are more flexible. For example, dissertations for science, technology, engineering, and math fields tend to be shorter than non-STEM dissertations.

Dissertation plan: What you need to include

Title page

The focus of your dissertation title page is—surprise!—your title. The title of your dissertation should succinctly explain the topic you’re discussing and directly relate to your research question or thesis statement. Anyone who reads the title should understand what you’re writing about.

As for formatting the title page, that depends on the school and style. Often, www.32acp.com you’ll include the name of the university and your program, as well as the date. Check with your adviser for specific details.

Acknowledgment

This optional section gives you the chance to thank anyone who helped you write your dissertation, in the same vein as a dedication page or yds-online.com acceptance speech. If you choose to include this, try to keep it formal and as brief as possible.

Abstract

The abstract is a short summary of the dissertation that comes at the beginning of the paper. It outlines all the major points your paper discusses and often mentions the methodology briefly. Abstracts should be only one paragraph, about 300 to 500 words.

The term abstract is often used interchangeably with executive summary. While common usage suggests they’re the same, they’re technically different: An executive summary discusses the findings or conclusion of the research, whereas an abstract does not.

Table of contents

The table of contents lists all titles for chapters, headings, and subheadings, as well as their corresponding page numbers. Moreover, the table of contents also includes the supplementary sections—such as the bibliography, appendices, and optional sections like a glossary, list of abbreviations, or a list of figures and tables.

List of figures and tables

Data-heavy dissertations may include multiple visual aids, such as figures or tables. If your dissertation uses a lot of these visuals, you can include a full list of them with their page numbers at the beginning of the paper. Think of this like a table of contents for images and charts.

List of abbreviations

Similarly, if your dissertation includes a lot of abbreviations, you should include an alphabetized key at the beginning of the paper that explains what each stands for. This is especially important if your dissertation relies on abbreviations specific to a certain field that readers outside the field may not recognize.

Glossary

A glossary defines the complicated words used in your paper, kind of like a mini-dictionary. Like the list of abbreviations, the glossary comes in handy if you use a lot of jargon that won’t be understood by readers outside your field.

Introduction

The first of the “core chapters” and the de facto beginning of your paper, your introduction sets up your research topic and provides the necessary background context to understand it. Here, you plainly state your thesis statement or research question and give a glimpse of how your paper discusses it.

The introduction is typically structured with each chapter getting its own brief summary. It should hint at your methodology and outline your approach (without going into too much detail), as well as explain the current state of the topic’s research so the reader knows where your dissertation fits in.

How long should a dissertation introduction be? The unofficial rule is 10 percent of the entire paper, so if your dissertation is 20,000 words, your introduction should be about 2,000 words. Keep in mind this is a rough estimate, as your introduction could vary.

Literature review

During your research, you will have collected and examined the top primary and secondary sources relevant to your topic. As the name suggests, literature reviews are where you evaluate and comment on these sources, not only summarizing their findings but also pointing out flaws and drawing connections between them.

One of the key concepts in a literature review is the research gap, which refers to specific areas of a topic that have not yet been sufficiently researched. These “blind spots” make the best topics for dissertations, and your goal should be filling them in with new data or analysis. The literature review should fully explain the research gap and how your dissertation rectifies it.

Another important aspect of the literature review is defining your theoretical framework, the preexisting theories on which your own research relies. In other words, the theoretical framework is everything your reader needs to know about your topic that has already been proved or established.

Methodology

The methodology chapter describes how you conducted your research, so the reader can verify its credibility. Typically, you go into detail about how you collected your data, administered tests, and analyzed the data, as well as why you chose the methods you did. You also name any tools or equipment used in your research and state concrete information, such as where and when you conducted tests.

You can also mention any obstacles or setbacks here. If your topic has some biases, mention how your methods avoided those biases.

Results

The nucleus of your dissertation, the results chapter thoroughly explores your findings. This is where you present your data or original analysis, along with any visual aids, such as graphs or charts.

For empirical dissertations, structure the results section by individual data findings, analyzed in depth one by one. For nonempirical dissertations, structure this section by themes, patterns, or trends you’ve noticed in your research.

Don’t forget to relate your findings back to the central research question or thesis statement.

Discussion

The discussion chapter contextualizes the findings laid out in the previous chapter. What does the data mean for this topic? Did it fit into the theoretical framework? How does it change the way we think? These are the kinds of themes the discussion chapter expounds on.

Feel free to talk about any surprises or unexpected results you had. Transparency is encouraged as a way to establish credibility, so this is a good place to share your personal opinions on how the research went.

Conclusion

As with all research paper conclusions, dissertation conclusions tie everything together. This chapter, the last of the core chapters, should reevaluate your thesis statement or clearly answer your research question. Remember not to present any new data or evidence in the conclusion, but rather review and reiterate the findings you presented earlier.

Bibliography

The bibliography lists the full citations of all the sources used, along with their publishing information. In APA style, the bibliography is called a reference page, while in MLA it’s called a works cited page.

Bibliographies have a specific format, depending on the style you use. Be sure to check our citation guides for APA, MLA, and Chicago styles so you know which rules to follow.

Appendices

The appendices are different sections of nonessential materials that are still relevant to the topic. While the essential materials should go in the body of the paper, supplemental materials—such as maps, interview transcripts, or tangential explanations—should come at the end of this section. Each piece of content is known as an appendix, the singular form of appendices.

How to write a dissertation step-by-step

1 Choose the best topic

Choosing a topic is of the utmost importance in dissertations, especially for doctorates. You need to ensure not only that your research matters but also that you have enough substance to fill the page requirement.

When choosing a topic, try to frame your ideas in the format of a thesis statement or research question. A thesis statement is a single sentence that encompasses the central point you’re trying to make, while a research question simply poses a question that your research aims to answer.

As we mentioned above in relation to literature reviews, look for a research gap in areas you’re interested in. Which aspects of these topics have not been thoroughly researched or require more data? These make the best dissertation topics.

2 Conduct preliminary research

Once you’ve decided your topic, do some preliminary research until you have a good overview of its current state. You won’t need to fully answer your research question just yet, but after this step you should at least know where to look.

As you review sources, make a note of any substantial findings or prevalent theories in your topic. Jot down any questions you have so you can find the answers later. Also, start thinking about how you will structure your dissertation; this comes in handy when submitting a research proposal.

3 Submit a research proposal

For advanced dissertations, such as those for doctoral programs, you may need to submit a research proposal before you begin. Here, you discuss your intentions for your dissertation, including how you plan to address a research gap and what methodology you’ll use. The proposal is then accepted or rejected by your supervisor, based on its merits.

4 Conduct principal research

Once your preliminary research is finished and your proposal accepted, it’s time to begin one of the most important steps in how to write a dissertation: principal research.

The goal here is to learn as much as you can about your topic, ideally accounting for all available knowledge researchers have amassed up to this point. You’ll want to define the precise parameters of your research gap so you know exactly what to test or analyze yourself.

You’ll also want to review primary sources (reference materials directly related to an event—e.g., eye-witness accounts or raw data from experiments) and secondary sources (reference materials from secondhand sources—books interpreting historical events, analyses of raw data, etc.).

5 Outline your dissertation

A research paper outline helps you structure your dissertation before you write it. The outline is not an official part of dissertations, but it is extremely helpful for organization. You can rearrange topics, points, and evidence before those parts are written.

Your dissertation outline should cover what you intend to talk about in the core chapters (introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion). If you intend to use direct quotes or passages, make a note of where to find them in your outline so you don’t have to go searching again.

6 Write the first draft

It could take days, months, or even years to write a dissertation, so hunker down for the long haul. If you put a lot of thought into your outline, writing the first draft is just a matter of following along and fleshing out the ideas.

The body of your paper should be simple enough; simply present the data or analysis as best you can, point by point. Your research and findings will speak for themselves.

A lot of students have trouble with writing an introduction. The introduction chapter can be more challenging because it involves thinking broadly and abstractly, as opposed to simply listing details. Likewise, the research paper conclusion also requires a more general treatment of the topic and can be harder to write.

7 Consult your adviser

Your adviser is there to help you throughout the entire process of writing a dissertation. Feel free to ask them any questions you have, and regularly check in with them while you write the first draft.

When your first draft is finished, ask your adviser to take a look at it. They’ll be able to spot any problem areas or point you in a new direction. Don’t be afraid to ask—that’s what they’re there for.

8 Gather feedback

In addition to feedback from your adviser, see if anyone else can review your work. Ideally, you could have someone experienced in your field offer a professional opinion, but anyone knowledgeable in dissertations can provide you with useful insight in how to improve yours. The more feedback you get before the final draft, the better.

9 Write the final draft

After compiling all your feedback, write a final draft incorporating all the changes and improvements. While some parts might remain untouched, itgamer.ru others may have to be completely rewritten. This is also a good opportunity to cut any areas that don’t directly relate to your main topic. At the same time, you may need to add entirely new sections for issues that weren’t addressed in the first draft.

10 Edit and proofread

The last step before submitting your dissertation is to correct any mistakes and finish up your edits. We recommend going through your dissertation a few times, and at least once with a focus on finding grammar mistakes or misspellings. Feel free to run your paper through our online spell-checker to highlight any spelling mistakes.

11 Defend your dissertation

In certain programs, you’re required to give an oral presentation to a panel of experts on your dissertation topic. This is called a dissertation defense, as the panel will ask challenging questions to make sure your research and findings are reliable.

A dissertation defense can be a nerve-racking experience, not only because it involves public speaking but also because it influences whether you receive the degree. Try your best to stay calm and remind yourself that almost everyone with an advanced degree has gone through it—and if all goes well, you won’t have to do it again!

Dissertation examples

Dissertations are vastly different, with varying styles depending on the subject, method of research, school, country, and type of degree. Looking at dissertation examples is often useful, but make sure to choose a dissertation example that’s most similar to the one you’re writing.

We recommend searching the NDLTD for a dissertation close to yours. This database allows you to search over 6 million online dissertations by keyword and filter results by language, year, or tag.

How to write a dissertation FAQs

What is a dissertation?

A dissertation is a lengthy research paper written as a requirement to earn an academic degree. Typically, students must write a dissertation toward the end of their program to both prove their knowledge and contribute new research to their field. The term dissertation is sometimes used interchangeably with thesis paper.

What is the purpose of a dissertation?

There are two main purposes of a dissertation. First, it proves a student has the adequate knowledge, skill, and understanding to earn their degree and advance into more challenging fields. Second, it contributes new and original research in an academic area with a “research gap.”

What are the critical elements of a dissertation?

The core chapters of a dissertation are the introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion. In addition, there are also supplementary sections, such as the appendices, bibliography, glossary, and abstract.

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