How to Write a Dissertation – Complete Instruction
Before we begin our guide on writing a dissertation, let’s answer a simple question: What is a dissertation? A dissertation is often viewed as a conclusion of a person’s lengthy period of studies. With the help of a dissertation, a former student becomes a peer for the most established academics. With so much of a person’s professional success depending on one written work, it’s not surprising that writing a dissertation puts students under enormous amounts of stress. And while the pressure of doing a good job with a dissertation is understandable, this task doesn’t need to be so stressful. Here are 7 essential tips for writing a solid dissertation.
1. Choose Your Dissertation Topic and Develop It
Writing a dissertation is an opportunity for you to share your thoughts and ideas for solving a particular problem, which is why the topic of your dissertation should match your academic interests, as well as personal views. The topic of your work will determine the successful outcome of the writing process, so make sure to choose your topic wisely.
Moreover, since you will spend the next few months working on your dissertation, the topic of the work should be engaging enough for you not to lose interest in the dissertation over time. At the same time, research the topic prior to settling on it to see whether it has already been covered by other scholars - if a topic has been over-researched, you may not find anything valuable to add to the discussion.
If you are struggling with choosing a topic for your dissertation, first consult your supervisor, who may suggest some ideas on the topics that pose an interest to the scientific community but haven’t been sufficiently covered by the literature. If that doesn’t help, look through relevant sources, both offline and online, to determine the most pressing issues of your field that need to be resolved as soon as possible.
Once you find a topic you find interesting, think about why researching this particular topic is important. If you can find several solid reasons for choosing the topic as the basis of your dissertation, congratulations - you have found the one!
2. Specify Your Thesis as You Conduct Research
The most effective way to write a dissertation is to picture the thesis in your head but actually, formulate it after you have completed the body paragraphs. That way you will always focus on the subject in front of you but will get an opportunity to be more precise when designing your thesis. One of the reasons why it’s best to leave formulating the thesis until later in your writing process is that you will study dozens or even hundreds of sources while working on a dissertation that can change your view of the problem or deepen your knowledge.
A great way to make your writing process 100% efficient is to treat every part of the process as an individual task and not move on to the next one until you complete the current one. When you’re working on a dissertation, first you need to do the research. Then comes the writing. And only then you can go on and formulate your strong thesis.
3. How To Write a Good Introduction
The introduction of a dissertation is the first part of the paper, where your job is to introduce the subject to the audience, formulate a concise thesis statement, and prepare the reader for what they are about to see in your dissertation. As an essential part of the dissertation, the introduction serves several important purposes:
- To get the reader acquainted with the topic and the goals of the dissertation;
- To prove that your dissertation is a valuable contribution to the discussion;
- To demonstrate the scientific and practical relevance of your work;
- To grab the attention of the readers through careful use of reputable sources.
So what should your dissertation introduction include? A convincing introduction to a good dissertation contains the following information:
- The scope of the problem;
- Indicating the problem;
- Research on theoretical and practical relevance;
- Basic objective;
- Overview of the current situation;
- Explanation of the research design;
How to Make Your Dissertation Introduction Better
Wondering how to make the introduction to your dissertation stronger? These tips will help you perfect your introduction:
- Invest extra time and effort into writing the first sentence - it should grab the attention of the readers almost instantly.
- Stay away from giving any promises that you are not convinced you can fulfill.
- Don’t try to fit in all the information of your dissertation into the introduction. The introduction should only serve as an overview of the content.
- Use clear, straightforward language throughout your dissertation introduction.
- Describe a particular, limited research territory to your readers.
- Mention any previous research done in the same field.
- Indicate the gaps in the previous study of the problem and thus demonstrate the significance of your own work.
Possible Problems You Can Face
The process of writing a dissertation introduction cannot be imagined without several common problems that academic writers often face:
- Predictable dissertation introduction that shows the lack of interest from the writer;
- The introduction becomes too long and filled with details, discouraging the audience to continue reading.
4. Make an Outline to Structure the Writing
The structure of your dissertation will largely depend on the requirements of your discipline and institution, but the importance of a correct outline for a successful dissertation cannot be overrated. The more time and effort you put into designing a detailed outline, the easier the rest of the work will be and the more focused your dissertation will look. A typical dissertation outline contains the following chapters:
- Literature review.
If you are not sure whether you should use this outline, how long your dissertation should be, and other aspects of writing a dissertation outline, you can always consult your supervisor and ask for additional details.
5. Write the First Draft
If you have done everything right in the first four steps, now you are sitting on a pile of relevant material and are full of ideas that need to be transferred to paper. There is no unique secret of doing a great job at this stage: you already have the tools and knowledge to write a fantastic dissertation, so just sit down and write the first draft of your work.
A very helpful tip for managing your writing process is to create a timeline of the work. Since this is the final stage of your education, you have likely written hundreds of written assignments and know exactly how long it takes you to write a certain fragment of an assignment. Take this information and scale it according to the desired length of your dissertation. Stick to this timeline, avoid any distractions, remember to always pay attention to the outline of your work, and you are guaranteed to have a solid dissertation draft.
6. Proofread, Edit, Repeat
The time between the time when you complete the first draft of your dissertation and the time when you sit down to create a final draft is the time you should spend editing and proofreading your work. Editing should be done first: since it deals with the essence of your dissertation, you first need to make sure you are happy with the structure, logic, and flow and only then move to proofreading. Proofreading is done to eliminate any mistakes from your dissertation, as there is nothing more disheartening than to lose a perfect grade due to a couple of misspellings you missed.
When editing your work, you should watch out for any parts that are too long. In an attempt to meet the word count requirements, students often make each part longer than it should be. If you feel like a part of a dissertation chapter can be removed without losing any value, do it and write a more meaningful fragment instead.
7. Get Some Feedback
By now you have put in an incredible amount of work into your dissertation, but it’s not over yet. However, the rest of the work should be done with a fresh pair of eyes. We are talking about letting someone who you respect read and evaluate your dissertation.
The person reviewing your dissertation should be someone with extensive knowledge in the academic field relevant to the topic of the work. It can be someone you study with, your mentor, or people working for dissertation writing services - they spend every day dealing with the same challenges as you do.
When the person is reading your dissertation, ask them to pay attention to every aspect of the work, from the structure to the grammar. Only when you are satisfied with the feedback, adjust your dissertation and finalize the writing.
No one is saying that writing a dissertation is easy. However, you can alleviate much of the stress and pressure that comes with it by using our tips and doing your best!