How to master a dissertation writing? Best tips for structure, format, and topics
What is Dissertation?
Michael Loughran, English professor at Community College of Philadelphia in the United States, has taught his English 102 students how to take a 15-page paper, which is a 10th of most dissertations, and break it down into sections that they would have done by the end of each week; by the 15th week of class they would be walking past the library with nothing to do but tend to their hobbies, or other classes while their other classmates were in there struggling with their final paper up to the last minute.
Break It Apart – Structure Dissertation
That is the first thing that you should do; realize that your dissertation is a big paper that can be broken down into parts - dissertation proposal, dissertation abstract, etc. While you are getting your Ph.D. work on your dissertation during the time you are also taking your classes; some have reported that it took them 4-5 years to complete their dissertation.
The length can vary greatly, it’s the quality that really matters. There are those that have said their dissertation was as short as 48 pages. If you end up with one longer than this, then do the math so that your pages are divided by the months before you are ready to present it to your research panel. After breaking it down to how many pages a week you must do, do it!
*Note: Anything that is suggested in life that works for anyone else, can also work for you, but only if you follow directions. The exceptions are: if you are incapable through hardship, in this case use a dissertation writing service or get dissertation editor help. Otherwise, get off your ass and do the work.
Choosing Dissertation Topics
The topic of your dissertation is an extension of the passion you have for your discipline. Choose a subject that when read by your research panel they will feel that passion, and their interest in what your thesis is will grow with each page they turn. You want the support of your research panel, especially if you want to market your research. Is there anyone on you research panel that you want to work with. Make a list of questions to ask them about their work, and see if their answers will be useful additions to your paper. Faculty scholars can be used on a resource page also, many of them are authors. Ask if they have written books on the subject you have in mind, and use their knowledge, they will be truly flattered.
In the beginning of the semester or during the summer months before the semester, free-write about 3 topics from the same subject that you are interested in. Don’t worry about grammar usage, just write. Keep writing until you have exhausted all ideas you can think of. Now go over this and see what theme keeps coming up.
You have been in school for some time now and have done extensive work on many projects, but one in particular, this is your subject. Sometimes we have to stand back and take a look at our work to see what we have passion about. Once you see it, begin your dissertation.
Will It Be Informative?
Writing a dissertation is about writing convincing argument on your views of one given subject that you get to choose. Make sure that it is one that you can manage to write detailed information about, and not hit a dead end.
Google your subject; see how many ways it comes up in search. Go to the library and look up your subject in the library data-base. How extensive is the subject? Does it have bearing on society in any way that demands more research? What will you bring to the conversation in your discipline that will make a difference? Has it already been beaten to death, and if so, can you bring a new spin on why the world needs your research and opinions into this discipline?
This seems like a lot to ask at this point, but before you start formatting that paper you should write down all of those questions and ask each one carefully. Once you get started on this paper and you run into a brick wall that is not the time to look back at this article and say to yourself, “oh I should have taken that step.”
One of the best ways to find out what needs more research is conducting interviews with other scholars in your discipline. Many of them have mentioned through lectures what has not been studied enough, go over your notes, you may have clues in them.
Lining Up Your Literature
Whatever literature you choose to help you research your dissertation be sure that when combined they form a coherent whole. It is okay to have differing opinions on the subject even if those resources don’t agree, but they must be based on the research that you are doing. It should be well written as well as argued. Use up to date periodicals; check the dates of online resources, some of these go back a few years and are just floating around in space with no updates in sight.
Make sure that all of the information is relevant to your aims and objectives and is full of data that is proven. You don’t want to be riding on a wave of old information that your research panel will surely have heard before.
All of this will take time, and time needs to be fully managed in order to keep to your page schedule.
The first critical part of time management comes in the guise of the word “no”. It is a word and you should learn to use it. You have friends and family that will need your time, but during the time of your dissertation, practice telling them no. Let them know that you love them and you will be available after you become a Dr.
One way to divide your time up is creating an Excel spread sheet and putting down the weeks, how many pages will be your goal for that week. Do this for each week for a year on the sheet, and you will be able to refer back to it when you need to see where you should be.
If you end up doing more than you had planned, which is always good, this leaves time for other interests, and if an emergency comes up you can always make up for it by adding back the days that you earned by getting more done.
With a deadline that may be 1-2 years away, this may seem like a long time, but as the clock ticks away you will experience more stress if you don’t find a way to stretch the time out along the way. A dissertation is not the type of paper you can cram, although there are services that can create them for you, or do a chapter in no time if given the proper research. Many of these types of sites also have blogs that give you best tips before writing a dissertation to help with your process.
Dissertation Format and Structure
Across disciplines, there are different books to read that teach you how the paper is to be written and presented. You want to follow the guidelines meticulously for the format review part of your dissertation; one book that was consistent on the lists that we researched was The Chicago manual of style, so you may want to invest in it now.
Every school has specific guidelines to follow for your dissertation. Some of them tell you right at the beginning of the directions not to use any other schools’ guidelines, and they will know so be careful with this, you don’t want to keep going back due to formatting reviews.
Panic and Distress. Forget about it with dissertation writing service’s help
We wish we could say that this will not occur, but we can’t. Sometime during this process, you will want to cry out to the moon and disappear into the night. But it’s okay, so do all of your peers that are doing their dissertations. Why not have a dry snack party where you all work on your dissertations together sometimes. Dry snacks don’t mess up papers or keyboards, and you do not want anything messing up your keyboard.
Buying a printer for your own personal use will be one of the best investments when you consider how much money you will be spending on the University’s printer. If your printer breaks down that is another reason for panic, so don’t get one that is too expensive to replace, and make sure you buy the insurance on it so that if it does break they will send you another one.
Being alone can be depressing, although we suggest that you say no to partying, we think that study groups are an asset to the student who is working on their dissertation. Not only is it beneficial emotionally, it is beneficial to network and share ideas with your peers.
You all will get through this and one day you will look back and say, “I am so glad I did that, and am so glad it is over.”