How to Write Your Best Dissertation: Main Points to Consider
When you are at the stage of writing your dissertation, it means that a certain period of your studies comes to the final point. The aim of your dissertation is to demonstrate your skills, state whether you are able to explore a specific topic thoroughly, and present the results obtained in the course of research. The most essential thing is to produce an authentic piece of writing which could be of efficient use to the academic society.
Before moving on, it is necessary to find out what a dissertation is.
The term “dissertation” is used to denote an academic work written with the purpose of completing an undergraduate program. A thesis is a piece of writing that is produced by students who want to obtain a Master’s degree.
Dissertation – a paper written by a PhD applicant with the aim of getting a doctoral degree in a specific field of study.
No matter the academic level a dissertation is written at, i.e. PhD or undergraduate, there is a lot in common between those two types of papers. However, a PhD dissertation is considered more meaningful.
The helpful directions provided below will be of great use to both PhD and undergraduate students working on their piece of writing. Additionally, students who are involved into thesis writing will also find these guidelines helpful.
Writing a perfect dissertation is very complicated.
When students begin producing this paper, they feel rather enthusiastic. However, the whole writing and research process is very complex and often makes applicants feel helpless. Surely, the outcome will be a real reward for a student. Nevertheless, one may experience enormous difficulties while reaching the final point. Some of the typical problems which students may face when preparing a dissertation are described below:
- Delay. Students are sure there is enough time to complete their paper. Thus, they put off doing the project. This is a huge mistake, as students are usually under considerable pressure when the deadline comes closer.
- Inability to do research properly. Inexperienced students think that using a few sources and gathering data about the subject is sufficient for writing a dissertation. Nonetheless, everything is vice versa. One should make a detailed analysis of the gathered information and turn it into a coherent piece of writing.
- Poor writing skills. It should be noted that a dissertation has to meet proper academic standards. It should be written properly in terms of style, organization, and language use. Moreover, quotations should be cited in the right way.
The procedure of dissertation writing may seem unbearable. However, it is essential to go through it step by step starting from the very beginning. We will provide you with some useful prompts that will not let you stuck.
Step 1: Create a Great Dissertation Proposal
It has been already mentioned what a dissertation is. Now it is required to represent the essence of a dissertation proposal.
According to the definition, a dissertation proposal is a piece of writing focused on convincing the board that your dissertation addresses a complicated, essential, and captivating issue. Though this paper is shorter than a dissertation, it has a significant meaning, as it sets the tone of writing, i.e., outlines the direction which your dissertation will move in. Writing a dissertation proposal may not be compulsory. However, you should discuss its major points with your professor and produce it appropriately.
When writing a dissertation proposal, you should follow the steps given below:
Select a topic and create a title
- What question are you going to address when writing your dissertation?
- Why do you think this research question is worth attention?
- Why is it essential to solve the issue?
- What approach are you going to take to find an appropriate solution to the problem?
It is particularly important to answer the aforementioned questions to make a firm final statement. In addition, you need to do research to choose an extraordinary and engaging topic. There is no need to select a very complex subject, as your attempt at writing a good paper may result in failure. When picking a research question, you need to remember that it should help you make a hypothesis which you can prove by providing powerful evidence.
Before you begin the writing process, it is worth discussing the title of your dissertation with your professor.
Dissertation proposal structure
If you want your proposal to have a persuasive character, you should structure and format it well. Below, there are some items which your piece of writing should include:
- Title of your dissertation
- Aim – Set a few goals. Avoid making too broad statements, as one may think that you have no clear plan for writing your dissertation. As a result, you will need to narrow them down.
- Sources – Consult with your professor on whether this section should include specific entries. If no special sources are required, you need to indicate the ones you are going to use for conducting research.
- Research part – This is a very important unit of your paper. Here, you will discuss your subject matter and clearly define the research field.
- Methodology section – Your dissertation may be either empirical or non-empirical. The former means collecting facts by designing questionnaires or using other approaches to doing research. The latter is about gathering material from the earlier published works. When composing this section, you are to explain why you have applied a particular technique to collecting information.
- Prospective results – Explain what results you may obtain after making a thorough analysis of the issue.
- Deadline – Arrange a schedule according to which you will go through each stage of preparing a dissertation.
- Reference page –You should ask you instructor if this section should be included in your paper.
Step 2: Do Painstaking Research
Collecting information about the subject will help you identify the direction of your paper. You should be specific when doing research. Otherwise, you may just waste precious time dealing with the sources containing useless data. Down below, there are several hints on how to research the topic effectively:
- Impose a time frame for work on research
You need to gather enough material relevant to your topic. Thus, you will fully comprehend the issue you are going to tackle. Nevertheless, it is necessary to know when to stop researching.
A lot of students make a big mistake by paying attention to all research works highlighting the subject they are dealing with. The question is how long will it take you to conduct research? It is worth preparing a schedule and sticking to it.
The chief focus of the research process is to demonstrate that you have analyzed a large amount of material about the topic. As a result, you will be able to define the scope within which you have to conduct research.
- Use different methods/search engines to find the sources for your paper
A great starting point for beginning your research is the Internet. Nevertheless, you should not forget that it contains a lot of unreliable data. Therefore, you have to check the gathered facts thoroughly to be sure they are credible. One of the useful online systems that can help you find authoritative sources is Google Scholar. On the contrary, Wikipedia is not regarded as a reputable resource. However, it can direct you to the helpful sources presented on the reference list of the pages you are interested in.
One of the efficient means of gathering accurate data for your project is going to the library. Do not hesitate to ask librarians to help you find appropriate sources.
- Arrange your sources
Write down all information that is relevant to your subject. Otherwise, you will be baffled as to where you have noted the data about a particular aspect of your topic which you were going to use. Such online tools as Penzu or Evernote are very helpful in noting your ideas and the sources you are going to refer to.
The aim of research is to show that you have looked through enough sources and analyzed different publications on your topic to be able to explore the issue in detail.
Step 3: Create an Eye-Opening Dissertation
Here it comes the most essential part of preparing a dissertation, i.e. the writing process. You need to produce an academic paper that will present your findings.
It is very interesting to observe the students writing a dissertation. When going through the initial stages of the whole process, they are sure they will succeed in completing their assignment. However, when it comes to the very writing, they fall into despair, as they do not know how to compose their dissertation. At this point, one should remember that a great deal of job has been already done. It is just necessary to go on. Nevertheless, you need to make a plan first.
- Create an outline
Though your dissertation proposal which serves as an initial outline is ready, you need a more thorough plan for your dissertation. Make sure that your outline comprises all points you are going to discuss.
Follow the outline presented below to know how to write your dissertation step by step:
This paragraph should provide basic information about the research question and present a thesis statement. Then, you need to say what your work is aimed at. If there are any terms in your paper, clearly define them. Additionally, state what results you expect to get.
- Literature Review
This section provides information about the sources you have referred to when conducting research and the findings you have obtained.
This unit shows what methods you have used for gathering data about the topic. If your dissertation is a qualitative one, you will need to present the research problem, provide data about participants, and analyze the way you have collected facts. In case you write a quantitative paper, this section will concentrate on the research question, assumptions, data about population, examples, research tools, and analysis of arguments.
This part is of immense importance to your dissertation. Here, you will present the problem you are dealing with once more, analyze the research results, and explain how they helped you prove the posed statement.
It is the last section summarizing your dissertation and presenting the achieved results. Remember to explain how your paper contributes to a certain field of study and how the obtained results can be put into practice.
When writing a conclusion, you need to provide recommendations for conducting further research. State why it is important to continue examining the issue and determine the way it should be done in.
- Reference List
Format your dissertation in the required reference style. Check whether all sources you have used are included in this list.
- Mind your time
It is required to impose a time frame for writing the paper. You should set yourself the aim to compose your dissertation section by section. In this way, you will easily complete the project regardless the number of pages and complexity.
- Produce the first draft
In order to write a good first draft, you need to adhere to your schedule and follow each point of the outline.
The stage of researching your subject is the most significant for your dissertation. It shows how you understand the issue you are discussing.
Step 4: Make Thorough Editing and Proofreading
After the first draft is created, you can have some rest. Remember that you should not start editing the paper until it is completed. It is very helpful to put away your dissertation for a certain period of time and have a break. After that, you will be able to detect all mistakes you could have made and edit your work properly.
- Begin editing
Note that editing and proofreading are two different stages. The former is aimed at making the content complete, while the latter is focused on the paper organization. First, you need to deal with the content. Make sure it does not contain any flaws. Note that it is much easier to proofread the paper when its content is in order.
Check whether the ideas are connected logically. Do any sections lack information about a particular aspect of the topic? Clarify each of the points by providing detailed data collected while doing research. If any parts of your dissertation contain redundant details about the subject, you should remove them. The most important thing is to create a top quality piece of writing.
The last step is to proofread the paper paying attention to grammar, style, and punctuation. You should read your dissertation sentence by sentence to make sure it does not contain mistakes. If you are uncertain about some definitions you provide, use a dictionary.
It is clear that editing and proofreading are very complicated processes. It is very hard to notice and correct all mistakes. However, you should know that all students experience difficulties at this stage. Thus, it is advisable to turn to the company that provides first-rate editing services. As a result, you will save much time, relieve emotional tension, and receive an excellent paper in terms of grammar.
Editing is concentrated on making the content complete while proofreading is aimed at arranging the paper properly.
Step 5: Receive Comments on Your Paper
Before submitting your dissertation to the board, you need to find out what impression it makes on readers.
First, ask your friend, who is aware of your subject, to read your piece of writing. Note that you have to be sure that you can rely on the person reading your paper. Do not forget that a dissertation is a very important piece of writing. Ask your friend to express their viewpoint about your paper.
The next step is to discuss your dissertation with your professor. You will find out whether some changes are required and how to complete the project before submitting it.
Writing a dissertation is a very complicated and daunting assignment. Not every student is able to do it properly. However, no matter how hard it is, you should not give up at this point. Your task is to move on. Write your paper section by section and you will manage to complete it successfully.
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