Writing a Dissertation? 4 Tips to Help
If you have come across this article, chances are you are just about to start your dissertation. It means you have finished your other subjects, and you have passed all your comprehensive exams. It’s clearly a great feat, but it’s not the end of the road yet. A longer and tougher journey is just about to begin.
Daunting as it may seem, a dissertation can be conquered (and within a reasonable amount of time too). You just need to be smart about how you go about it. So take a look at the following tips to help you as you write:
1. Stick to what works for you
There are a lot of tips out there. But before considering anything or everything, remember what has helped you reach this point such as particular study habits and technical tools you have used. If they’ve been helpful, continue using them.
However, this does not mean you should not listen to other options. Do consider the merits of what is suggested, just don’t blindly follow everything suggested to you.
2. Read and create an annotated bibliography.
Speaking of “considering the merits,” a big tip to consider is to read first, and make an annotated bibliography before figuring out your dissertation writing plan. Sadly, many don’t do this right away. Instead, many students plan with their advisor right away, only to realize later on that their plan won’t work because they discover conflicting ideas or realize there is a lack of resources.
So do some heavy reading first to have a clearer picture of whatever you are researching. The annotated bibliography helps to keep track of all that you have read so you can easily refer to everything. Once done, you will have a better idea of how to plan the writing process.
3. Treat your dissertation as work
The dissertation will not be easy. You’ll find that some days will be quite difficult, especially if you are still working, raising a family, or you have other obligations.
For this, it is best to think of the dissertation as a part of your work. Commit to it by allocating a fixed number of hours as if it is an important job that must be completed soon.
4. Seek practical help from others who have finished
Your advisor is there to guide you. So do ask for assistance during key parts of your paper. But it can also be helpful to get insights from professors in your field who have recently finished a dissertation. They may know of resources or other tips to help you finish faster.
Some people ask for advice from students who are also writing a dissertation. But do be careful. As this is not a group project, you don’t want to end up moving at someone else’s pace. Be friendly and support one another, but remember that they are still trying to figure things out too.
A dissertation is definitely nothing to sneeze at. But if you’ve made it this far, chances are that you will finish well if you work smart and stay focused.