If you are working towards earning a PhD, know that dissertation writing is an inevitable part of your journey.
Graduate students start the process of writing their dissertation with great zeal and enthusiasm; however, the process can be long and tedious, sometimes leading to procrastination and even failure. Many people mistakenly believe that they can complete their dissertation in one night, if that’s you, might be up for an unpleasant surprise.
The whole process of dissertation writing is a culmination of years of hard work, and as such requires good organization skills, a large amount of planning, effective research and smooth execution.
But don’t sweat it, we have got you covered if you are at the beginning of your dissertation, whether you’re stuck at a particular stage, this guide will help you get through the entire process with ease.
With this step-by-step guide on how to write a dissertation- we will assist you with all the necessary pointers that one must need to know before continuing your dissertation.
A dissertation is a challenging piece of work that a student has to undergo in order to earn their doctorate. Dissertation writing is similar to writing a book; it too, is divided into several chapters and is longer than your normal academic essays.
To further understand what is a dissertation, let’s take a look at the dissertation meaning.
A dissertation is a formal piece of writing that is written in order to obtain a University degree.
The aim is to conduct research on a topic that a student has chosen and produce an independent piece of work on the relevant subject.
This helps showcase an individual's capabilities as a researcher, their ability to explore a subject extensively and to demonstrate whether they can manage a research project while using appropriate research tools.
Writing a dissertation is a daunting task, and the writing process requires extensive research and careful planning since your future career path is dependent on it.
Consider the following step-by-step process to find out how to write a dissertation logically and efficiently.
The first step to start the dissertation writing is to figure out your topic; this is the most crucial part of the process. So, you must take your time, brainstorm as much as you can, go to different lengths of finding out the necessary information, and ask colleagues and fellow students about their chosen ideas in order to draw inspiration from them.
Seek help from your mentors and instructors- use their knowledge about their field of study to your advantage. These people are an invaluable resource as they are aware of the latest trends and cutting-edge ideas in their field and such can help you to base your dissertation on a trending or important topic.
You can also look for existing dissertations, they might have useful suggestions for future improvements and you might be able to find something that fits your interests.
Another tip is to hit your college library and skim through the titles and abstracts of the previous student’s dissertations. When choosing a dissertation research topic, think of an idea which will attract the most amount of funding- researchers know what a nightmare looking for dissertation grants can be.
Before starting a dissertation, you will need to write a dissertation proposal first. This is a short persuasive document written to be reviewed by the committee members.
The dissertation proposal template comprises of the following:
In a nutshell, the dissertation proposal must be written in a convincing manner to ensure the committee members that your area of interest is valuable to your field of study and academic career. In doing so, you can convince the committee that the question or topic that you are exploring is worthy of academic investigation and that the solutions you seek will be valuable to others within your field of study. This is also an excellent opportunity to illustrate your commitment to your academic career field and will show your dedication to your dissertation.
Most students find this stage of dissertation writing to be especially challenging and may become intimidated by the entire process, as a result they may seek out professional dissertation writers.
If you are currently experiencing those feelings and need help, you can create an account on any of the various dissertation writing services and have professional writes do the work for you in affordable prices.
If not, and you want to give it a try yourself, continue reading further.
Once you have gone through the stage of presenting your idea and getting it accepted by your supervisor and the committee, you can start working on the dissertation. The next step is research and analysis, so you better pull up your socks - you’re about to turn into a complete scholar.
Writing a dissertation requires extensive and exhaustive research and fine tuned organizational skills - you will definitely need to brush up on those reading skills as skimming through just a few articles will not suffice in this case.
One of the most important things to do when writing a dissertation is to make sure you use reputable and peer reviewed source materials, otherwise you are wasting your time.This will serve as the foundation of your entire work and will allow for your work to be taken seriously by other scholars and academics. You can make use of a number of research methodologies; peer reviewed essays, case studies, surveys, interviews, historical research, etc.
Don’t forget to organize your research by making a timeline or a Gantt chart for the research stage, taking extensive notes, and analyzing your findings. Analysis is an essential part of academic research, especially when it comes to dissertation writing; you must know how to interpret the collected data.
After you have gathered your resource information and have carried out all necessary research, the next step is to determine the structure/format of your dissertation paper.
A dissertation follows the template given below:
Choose the dissertation title, question and theme.
Sounds simple enough, right? It’s not as easy as it seems. It is critical to the success of your work that your title reflects the significance of your work. Afterall, your dissertation consists of your blood and sweat, so you must make sure that the title is unique and coherent as your paper hinges on it.
Before you finalize your dissertation title, it is good to discuss some alternatives with the supervisor.
The introduction is the first chapter of your dissertation, where you present the idea and knowledge gathered throughout the research process.
A dissertation introduction should include the following elements:
A literature review is a study of existing research (such as books, journal articles and other scholarly sources) on a relevant topic.
It isn’t merely a summary of the sources but an analysis of the key findings, variables, concepts about a research problem.
When writing a literature review for your dissertation, look for literature relevant to your research question.
In this section, you discuss the research methodology that you used to find the data and carry out the research. In some cases you must also justify using these methods.
The two main types of research used in dissertation writing are qualitative and quantitative.
If your focus is qualitative research, then you will gather “soft data” that is gathered through interviews, surveys, observations, etc.
For quantitative research, the data gathered will be “hard data” that can be analyzed mathematically.
In this section of the dissertation, you must discuss and explain your findings.
Depending on the type of your results, you can utilize graphs, figures, tables, etc.
Don’t present your information in pictorial form and then explain it again below the graph, as that can become redundant as well as defeat the entire purpose of using graphs.
This section is one of the most critical to the success of your dissertation. Its purpose is to show whether the research question has been answered, and whether or not the interpretation and significance of the results were useful
Here, you leave the reader to think critically about the issue as it pertains to your findings.
You don’t have to use formal vocabulary
The last part is to cite all the references used throughout the dissertation. The key to include all the references is to make a list of them as you go. Remember, research materials are a critical part of dissertation writing.
Students struggle with the question “how to write a dissertation abstract?”
In the dissertation abstract, you summarize the entire document. It isn’t a mere introduction of the dissertation. Instead, it includes the key elements of the work in such a way that the reader gets the idea of the entire document by just going through the abstract.
An abstract shouldn’t exceed the word limit of 350.
Once you have determined the dissertation structure that must be followed, the actual work will begin.
Begin with a rough draft of your dissertation, go chapter by chapter, the first chapter should talk about the significance and the aims and objectives of your research.
The next section is the literature review or context of your research, discuss existing researches taken place, use this to show your understanding of the study, present findings, facts and figures, and cite references as you go.
Next, talk about your chosen research method and justify using it. The fifth and usually the last chapter of the dissertation is the conclusion, here you will summarize the entire research, how you have provided solutions for your research question.
However, some graduate students have trouble following this linear flow of dissertation writing, so you can really choose whatever works best for you.
The last and final step of this exhausting lifecycle of dissertation writing is editing and proofreading. Show your work to your mentors, your peers, your friends and your family for corrections and improvements, ask for feedback and have them scan for grammar and spelling errors.
Mistakes are often overlooked when we’re writing something ourselves, so proofreading is a good exercise to ensure reaching high quality papers.
In a nutshell, the key is to plan ahead and stick to your timeline to avoid wasting time and procrastinating. Organization is key.
There you go, we have explained the major dissertation writing steps along with the dissertation template.
It is now time to address the common queries students have regarding dissertation writing.
The most common question that students ask is “how long is a dissertation?”
Traditionally there are at least five dissertation chapters with an introduction and conclusion, having an average word count of 60,000 to 100,000, but is subject to variation. Avoid making these chapters too long, stick to the point and make them compact. Also avoid making your dissertation too short, as that can lead to problems as well. Consult your mentors and instructors in order to avoid making your paper the incorrect length.
To answer this query of ”how to cite a dissertation?”
There are four different ways to cite your sources; APA, MLA, Harvard and Chicago. Every educational institute follows a particular format.
APA format is followed by American Psychological Association in science subjects and is similar to in-text citations.
Chicago format follows end-text citation, where the references are written as footnotes.
Smith, The basics of Accounting and Finance, 2010.
MLA format is used in Humanities related subjects; it states the author's name and the page number.
(Smith, p. 142)
The Harvard format uses a parenthetical method. This format follows in-text citations where the name of the author and the year of publication comes in the text in brackets.
(Smith, 2010, p. 142)
To answer, Dissertation Vs. Thesis, let’s take a look at the following similarities and differences.
A student working towards a doctorate must carry out research and write a dissertation and then defend their work before an academic committee.
A dissertation defense is an oral presentation where a student presents his work before an academic committee and defends it.
This process can be stressful for students and may cause a lot of anxiety, to have a smooth dissertation defense follow these tricks:
Here is a dissertation example that you can use as a reference; however, don’t copy the work as it is.
Use this dissertation template to improve your understanding.
Students often get stuck during the dissertation writing process and wonder whether there are dissertation writing services to help them out.
Lucky for you, 5staressays are at your service once again.
Our dissertation writers can provide you with a professionally written document to get you your degree.
With that, we will conclude this article.
Were these steps helpful to jumpstart your dissertation writing process, do let us know?
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