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How to Write Your Best Dissertation: Step-by-Step Guide

Goals of a Dissertation

❶You will at some point run out of steam and collapse in an exhausted, tear-stained heap.

Finding your style

To The Candidate:
Differences Between a Dissertation and a Thesis
Step 1: Write a winning dissertation proposal

The point of the research stage is to show you have read around the topic and you understand the previous research that has been conducted, but you've also understood its limitations.

The Internet is a good starting place during the research stage. However, you have to realize that not everything you read on the Internet is absolutely true. Double-check the information you find and make sure it comes from a trustworthy resource. Use Google Scholar to locate reliable academic sources. Wikipedia is not a reliable source, but it can take you to some great publication if you check out the list of references on the pages of your interest.

Librarians are really helpful at this point of the project development. Don't avoid the actual library and ask the librarian to provide you with some interesting publications.

You have to take notes; otherwise you'll end up seriously confused and you won't know where you located a certain important argument that you plan to use. Use Evernote , Penzu , or another online tool to write down notes about your impressions, as well as the sources you plan to reference.

Now, you're left with the most important stage of the dissertation writing process: It's surprising to see that many students have some level of confidence during the previous two stages of the process, but they crack when they realize they don't really know how to write a dissertation. Everything is easier when you have a plan. You already have the dissertation proposal, which is a preliminary outline for the actual dissertation.

However, you still need a more detailed outline for the large project. Did the research stage lead you in an unexpected direction?

Make sure to include the new points in your outline. The first chapter should include a background of the problem, and a statement of the issue. Then, you'll clarify the purpose of the study, as well as the research question.

Next, you'll need to provide clear definitions of the terms related to the project. You will also expose your assumptions and expectations of the final results.

In this chapter of the dissertation, you will review the research process and the most important acknowledgements you've come down to. This part of the dissertation is focused on the way you located the resources and the methods of implementation of the results. If you're writing a qualitative dissertation, you will expose the research questions, setting, participants, data collection, and data analysis processes.

If, on the other hand, you're writing a quantitative dissertation, you will focus this chapter on the research questions and hypotheses, information about the population and sample, instrumentation, collection of data, and analysis of data. This is the most important stage in the whole process of dissertation writing, since it showcases your intellectual capacity. At this point, you'll restate the research questions and you will discuss the results you found, explaining the direction they led you to.

In other words, you'll answer those questions. In the final chapter of the dissertation, you will summarize the study and you'll briefly report the results. Don't forget that you have to explain how your findings make a difference in the academic community and how they are implied in practice. Explain why you suggest this research and what form it should take. Use the recommended citation style for your field of study, and make sure to include all sources you used during the research and writing stages.

You'll need another timeline, but this one will be focused on the writing process. Plan how to complete your dissertation chapter by chapter. When you have attainable goals, it will be easier for you to write the project without getting overwhelmed by its length and complexity. There is no life-changing advice to give at this point. You just need to stay away from distractions, stick to your timeline, follow the outline, and complete the first draft.

You already have what it takes; now you're ready to do the real work. Now that you've completed the first draft of the paper, you can relax. Don't even think about dissertation editing as soon as you finish writing the last sentence. You need to take some time away from the project, so make sure to leave space of at least few days between the writing and editing stage. When you come back to it, you'll be able to notice most of its flaws.

There is a substantial difference between editing and proofreading: You need to deal with the essence first, since it would be silly to proofread the dissertation to perfection and then start getting rid of unnecessary parts and adding more details. Pay attention to the logical connection between each argument. Are there any gaps in information? Fill them in with more details you collected through the research stage. Maybe you got carried away with the explanations at some point?

Make sure to reduce the volume of those parts and clarify them as much as possible. The point is not in quantity; it's in quality and clarity. Finally, it's time to do the final few readings and catch all spelling, grammar, and style errors you made.

Reading your work aloud will help you spot clumsy sentence structure. As you write your essay, it is worth distinguishing the key points in your discussion from less important supporting ideas. Aim to give full weight to your key points by giving them each a sentence of their own. Elaborations and detail can be added in subsequent sentences.

It is a common mistake to think that the longer the sentence, the cleverer it sounds. It is important to remember that every word conveys a unit of meaning on its own, however small, so the more words there are in a sentence, the harder it will be for the reader to grasp the meaning within it.

Instead of adding on clauses, introduce the next point in a new sentence. Connective words and phrases — however, consequently, but, so — can be placed at the start of the new sentence if necessary, to indicate its relationship to the previous one and make your work flow. Although your dissertation should contain your own original thought, you will also want to refer to the ideas of other writers on the topic.

Your dissertation should critically evaluate those ideas and identify what problems remain in your area of research and what has not yet been explored. You can also use the work of others as evidence to back up your own argument — when doing this, ensure you add a footnote to signpost clearly to the reader the original source of the point you are making. Make sure you have a sufficient number of references to books, articles and sources you have used — check with your tutor what is expected.

Some should be primary sources, which means non-academic material such as newspapers, interviews, cave paintings, train timetables, statistics. You will also quote secondary sources, which are usually academic articles that analyse primary sources. Your academic department will tell you which one they use, and you will need to follow instructions to the letter. Consistency is critical, and you'll have to pay close attention to details such as punctuation. How to edit your dissertation.

Thanks to Goldsmiths University for supplying this content, which has been designed to be dyslexia-friendly. Finding your style During your research you will have read a number of scholarly articles. Structuring sentences As you write your essay, it is worth distinguishing the key points in your discussion from less important supporting ideas. Acknowledging ideas Although your dissertation should contain your own original thought, you will also want to refer to the ideas of other writers on the topic.

Perfect your bibliography Make sure you have a sufficient number of references to books, articles and sources you have used — check with your tutor what is expected.

Structuring sentences

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How to Write Your Best Dissertation: Step-by-Step Guide. When you get to the point of writing a dissertation, you're clearly near the end of an important stage of your educational journey.

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A dissertation is just an important sounding name for a long essay – based on your own research. Writing a dissertation is an exciting, challenging, rewarding and often wonderful experience. At the same time it can be exhausting, time-consuming, frustrating and exasperating.

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If you want to complete your dissertation in a reasonable amount of time—and trust me, you do—you must learn to prioritize the act of writing itself and write every day. Writing must become a non-negotiable part of your daily routine. Writing a dissertation or thesis is a daunting task for anyone. This introduction to our dissertation writing guide provides advice to help you get started. Shop.

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How to write a dissertation. The crowning achievement of an advanced degree is a dissertation.A dissertation is a lengthy paper written about a research project that the student has carried out. 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.