The dissertation is an extended piece of academic writing you produce after conducting your original research. The thesis is usually submitted as the final step in the PhD program.
Most likely, your dissertation is the longest piece of writing you have ever written. Research, writing, and analysis skills are required, and it can be overwhelming to know where to start.
Taking the time to plan and structure your written work while at university is essential, but preparing for your dissertation is vital.
Choosing a topic, coming up with a title, and finally handing it in are all guaranteed to give you feelings of excitement, self-doubt, panic, and euphoria.
If you are gearing up to write your undergraduate, masters, or PhD dissertation, the following tips should help you stay on track. Here’s all you need to know about how to write a dissertation.
Choosing a topic that interests you and is relevant to the wider academic community is crucial to your research success.
Choosing a topic you’re genuinely interested in will keep you motivated as you present your ideas and investigate your topic in greater depth.
You have to identify current issues concerning your field and find inspiration for your dissertation topic by researching course materials, academic journals, newspapers, and other media.
Together with your supervisor, you have to develop a clear focus or research question, benefiting from their knowledge of the research area, appropriate methodologies, and what may be possible within your time frame.
If you have chosen a topic, think about why it is important to address it. After you’ve summarized your findings, think about how they relate back to the main issue under discussion.
First, make sure you are familiar with the ethical protocols, module handbooks, and referencing style guides of your faculty in order to avoid any silly, costly mistakes. Before you begin planning, understand what is expected of you. Here are some things you should know:
- Your discipline’s academic writing style
- Word count
- How and where to submit your dissertation.
Observe other dissertations or academic writing in your chosen field and ask questions such as:
- What is the structure of a dissertation?
- How is the source material selected?
- What is the purpose of these sources?
- Are there any forms of analysis that are considered appropriate?
Through discussion with your supervisor, you can develop a shared understanding of what a dissertation is.
Once you’ve chosen a topic for your dissertation, it’s time to begin writing your proposal. When you demonstrate the relevance of your research area; introductions, literature reviews, and methodologies become easier to write. The purpose of your dissertation and how you intend to carry out your research are outlined in your proposal.
Staying focused on your research without becoming too ambitious increases your chances of presenting a compelling and convincing argument. When you know where your ideas are headed, you’ll stay on track and only make relevant points.
Changing the direction shouldn’t be a problem – but you’ll need to revise your title, headings, and content accordingly. By discussing your revised dissertation plan or structure with your supervisor, you can ensure that it is logical and focused on the research.
When considering what needs to be accomplished before the submission deadline, you should allow time for:
- Researching and reading
- Data collection and analysis
- Organizing and restructuring
- Drafting and revising
- Checking for errors
- printing and binding.
It is advisable to set a reasonable goal for yourself when you are ready to begin writing – for example, a thousand words per week, as this can be both motivating and productive.
Take the time to start writing right away, and use the writing process to help you gain a better understanding of the topic. Once a section has been completed, verify that you have covered everything you intended to. In addition to serving its own particular function, each segment should be well integrated into the rest of the content.
Writing helps you gain a better understanding of your topic and develops your narrative. Moreover, your interpretation, analysis, and emphasis will change too.
You should frequently back up, make research notes, and maintain a comprehensive list of your sources.
Making a note of where you read and what you read will save you hours of work later on. With books piled high and journals bulging in folders, it can be difficult to remember where ideas come from.
As you write your dissertation, you should maintain a questioning and critical mindset, both regarding your own work and findings, and those of others.
It’s important to determine how strongly you believe a particular explanation or interpretation and why, as well as whether there are any other options that could be valid.
Your reasoning must also be explained to the reader. It might seem obvious to you as the author, but it might not be to someone unfamiliar with the concept. Unless you provide evidence of how you reached a particular conclusion, an assessor cannot credit you with a strong argument.
In addition to ensuring your bibliography contains plenty of references, make sure you’ve spelled names and theories correctly.
Ensure your work is well-structured, coherent, and polished by editing thoroughly. Be sure to give yourself enough time to reassess the logic of the whole piece, proofread, and double check that you’ve followed the required referencing format. Remember, you can also consult some dissertation writing services if it seems like a lot of work to you.
You should also ensure that your main argument is supported by relevant citations, as not doing so might make a writer appear ill-informed to the reader.
When you stay on top of your plans and use your time efficiently, even if things don’t go as planned, there’s no need to panic. Do not let any irrational thoughts of starting over afresh cloud your judgment.
You can be satisfied with your efforts if you focus on your objective, create knowledge, and address an important issue within your field of study in your dissertation.
At the end of the day, your dissertation will be one of your greatest accomplishments. Your dissertation will be challenging at times, but make the most of it and you will be proud of your accomplishment.