Have you reached the stage of your academic journey where you ought to How To write a dissertation? This means that you have successfully nailed the most part of the academic journey. Hold your patience! There is one last task “writing the dissertation”. By now your life would have been a roller coaster ride with many waxes and wanes in the progress, right? Writing a dissertation could be an extensive and burdensome work too but only and only if it is not carried out with prior proper management. So think of it as a last ride on the rollercoaster and ensure a safe end.
How to write a dissertation Top Tips step by step?
Could possibly the first thing that comes to the mind of the student while pondering on the dissertation, but there are a bunch of things lying overhead to be discussed first. Writing a dissertation can initially be intimidating for most of the students. However, it is not as much intimidating as it seems. You need to have a bit of dauntless and resolute.
If we breakdown the whole process of the writing the dissertation in a few simple steps, then it will probably look like this:
However, every single stage has many sub-stages. We will discuss them later step by step.
Have you ever been involved in such an extensive project? Or writing such an extensive paper?
If it is NO, then also it is perfectly alright. This article is then surely meant for you.
Abandon these habits prior to writing the dissertation:
Before heading towards the dissertation writing you must figure out some nasty culprits which could be proved obstacles on your way to a successful dissertation. If you are afflicted by any one of these, then try to kill these culprits at first.
- Lack of scheduling skills:
If you are a lotus-eater, then this job will definitely demand you to come out of your comfort zone. Such crucial jobs require a lot of time and a step-wise growth. Masterpieces aren’t one night’s creation. So, gear up, schedule your tasks with defined time limits. This will help you to beat mental peace. Thus, you will achieve your deadlines without any anxiety.
- Lack of writing proficiency:
The thesis paper ought to pursue the strict principles of academic composition. You have to write inappropriate frame, style, and dialect; and you should try to execute the right reference rules.
Students think there is a lot of time to take a shot at the project, and they continue postponing at the very beginning stage. This is a major issue since these students generally end up agitated when the due date approaches.
- The scarcity of skills for carrying out effective research:
students who don’t have enough involvement with academic compositions beforehand think they simply need to gather a couple of concerned resources and they will extract important statements from them. That is a long way from reality. You have to scrutinize those materials completely and have to elaborate them in the paper thoroughly.
If you are able to take over these shortcomings, then you are on your way to write an impactful dissertation.
Following is the step-wise guide for acing the dissertation:
Step 1: selection of the dissertation topic:
This is the first and yet the most crucial thing of the whole dissertation. Actually this I going to decide the scope of the research. Most students get baffled when it is up to decide the topic so don’t just be impatient, deeply ruminate over all the possible aspects.
Seek assistance from Google or your library. You can also second the previously done dissertations on the same topic. Man university’s department also shares the dissertation topics with students. But whatever is the mode of selection just be vigilant in your choice.
Step 2: write a persuasive dissertation proposal:
Now the game has started officially, this will be the first written piece from your side that will be interacting with the committee members or supervisors. As it has to set the stage so it should be prepared worth credible to serve the purpose.
The competency of this stepping stone will give you the crystal clear idea regarding the credibility of your research. If you are successfully able to give an influential proposal, then mark it as a “head start” for you.
Following are some tips for producing a persuasive dissertation proposal:
Be observant on all the aspects of the research
When you come up with a topic analyze it from every aspect like the difficulty level, the extent of assistance you will be getting and the time span you will get to complete it.
Don’t panic, obviously at this initial stage you don’t know how things will turn out eventually. This stage is meant for proposing only so try to make it better. Enlighten your brain with a mug of coffee and suggest as best as you can.
Now heading towards:
How to write the dissertation proposal?
The dissertation proposal can be written in a variety of formats. The formats vary with the discipline you are enrolled in and the extent of your research.
Following is the general method for writing the dissertation proposal.
Start by introducing the topic of your dissertation. The introduction basically answers the question that why the researcher found the topic significant enough to carry on the research. Basically, the research statement and objectives are discussed mostly.
The next section is mostly occupied by the objectives and aims of the research. Generally, it again answers the why, how and what questions.
Why you find the topic significant to carry a dissertation on it?
How you are going to benefit society by your research?
What are you expecting from the research?
Science is not just the one-man show, it is built upon the other scientist’s theories and hypothesis. This is the key feature of dissertation researches too. So literature review is the section that encompasses all the researches carried out in the past on the topic same as yours.
Writing the literature review isn’t as simple as writing the reference along with the names of the authors. You have to critically review them, to extract the dissertation methodology schemes, the constraints in other researches and how you are going to modify or add to their dissertation.
In this section, you will be going to discuss the proposed methodology of your research. The data collection and analysis methods will also be proposed in this section.
The student can embellish the proposal by discussing the ethical considerations of the project. Means that the student can discuss the ethical protocols for the subjects of the research.
Some dissertation proposal demands that the time limit for each section of the dissertation should be mentioned in the proposal. This timeline for the event is actually a parameter used by the dissertation committee or the supervisor to keep a track on the student’s progress. wisely set the time for each section, allocate fairly reasonable time to each section.
Then afterward don’t procrastinate to meet the deadlines on time.
It is also a good approach to discuss all the constraints you expect in your research. By discussing this you will be defining the scope of the research. However, this isn’t necessary to add this section this time you can write it later in the actual dissertation too.
Now as you have submitted the proposal now it is the time for carrying out the research.
Step 3: now it is time for dissertation research:
So by now, the practical work has begun. Carrying out effective research is neither so easy nor so intimidating. Actually, it requires the proficient balancing of the time. It also depends upon the choice for data collection and data analysis.
Following are the steps:
- Breakdown the whole process in little chunks and mention the deadlines along with them
- For instance, if you are carrying out a scientific dissertation, then assign the time slots for making up the circuitry, for programming the code, taking the data from the subjects.
- If the dissertation is for social sciences then you can break the research in the chunks like preparing questionnaire, interviews, gathering data, analysis of the data and deriving the conclusions.
- Try to break into the baby steps so that you can have a small goal to achieve on the daily basis. This will keep your motivation level boosted.
- Try to seek help from authentic sources whenever you stumble across a problem. Don’t waste your time and stuck your head with invalid sources.
The methodology section of the dissertation is actually the paraphrasing of the research you have done. This is no doubt the most important section of the whole dissertation. As the methodology section has its own protocol so we will discuss the writing of the dissertation methodology in this section. Writing the dissertation methodology requires time and careful concern. So by now, you must be pondering
How to write the dissertation methodology?
the methodology is a crucial part of the dissertation or thesis. But this shouldn’t imitate simply the methods applied. The methodology is a wider umbrella covering all the immense philosophical aspects of your chosen research strategies, including if the quantitative or qualitative techniques or a blend of both, have been used. Dissertation methodology also homes the data acquiring methods-primary or secondary-along with the justification of how you hit upon that idea and in which way you think it’s going to be beneficial. Data analysis techniques are also quoted in this section. Basically, this aims that if anyone who is going through the methodology section of your dissertation-has to propose a data acquiring design for the same problem statement, he/she will come up with a strategy much similar to yours. Thus, your dissertation’s methodology part should be descriptive and self-standing.
Methodology part should logically follow the problem statement you are addressing in much the same way as the research question follows the literature review. Generally, the methodology section houses:
- Research Outline
- Research Design
- Data Collection
- Data Analysis
Dissertation methodology section could have subtle nuances depending upon the “data” type that has been used.
Data could be:
Here is the detailed description of the dissertation’s methodology section:
If you are doing quantitative analysis, then the methodology section will consist of:
In addition, the methodology section can have a “data analysis section”. Don’t go for irrelevant details just keep in mind that dissertation methodology is the set of instructions for carrying out the particular research.
How your dissertation methodology section should look like?
It’s quite reasonable to start with the introductory paragraph:
The aim of the introduction is to prepare the reader for what is following the next. Keep it simple. Try to answer the general questions like;
- What is the overall methodological approach?
- Is it qualitative or quantitative?
- What data analyzing technique is employed?
The most challenging part of the introduction is writing the “statement” that is influential and descriptive both. The pro-tip is to use simple sentence or two which gives the naive reader a general idea of the research.
Sample or subject is the basic unit of analysis. The term subject is employed in a broader context it could be a single human, a document, an animal or a whole society. The subject section of methodology concentrates on the sources and the number of objects used in the research. For further elaboration, this section should answer the following question:
- Which sampling procedure was used?
- Is your sample random, stratified, purposive?
- How much sample size is required for your research?
Give an overall description of the apparatus that has been used by you during your research. If you are using a well-known commonly used instrument, then discuss the validity and reliability of the apparatus’ measured values. Things will go differently if a student opts to make their own instrument or modify a previously existing to suit best to his/her needs.
The procedure is the exact detailed description of each of the step taken in carrying out the research. The details about the sample that have been discussed earlier in the sampling section need not be repeated here. Similarly, on the same grounds, the details about instruments should also be skipped here. However, the procedure by dint of which you approached your subject will be discussed in the dissertation’s methodology section. Instructions given to the subjects and the ethical considerations should be added in the “appendices”.
If you find your procedure complex and interconnecting from various aspects, then it is a way better to use tabulate the procedure or elaborate it with the help of flow chart. This not only will simplify your task but will also give visual appeal to your content.
This section could be a nightmare for the students because it’s not the one-shot affair. This section includes the statistical test that is going to be used to assess the data in order to prove the hypothesis you have formulated. try not to transform your data analyzing a segment of your dissertation into a treatise on a specific method summarized from a typical statistical text; rather, present a short, contemplated statement that a specific method appears to be more proper.
It could be a plus-point:
If you add the delimitations and limitations of your research at the end of the dissertation’s methodology section. Delimitations are the restrictions in your research. For instance, if you are carrying out biomedical research and have acquired 20 EEG samples from males above 65 years of age, the delimitation of your research is male over 65 years of age with sampling size 20. Limitations are the constraints in your research over which you have no control.
If you have done your dissertation using qualitative analysis, then don’t take it as an opportunity to pass over the planning process in methodology. Issues of approaching subjects, choosing and assembling research materials and information gathering devices, and planning methodology relate here as in all investigations. The pursuer needs to comprehend what you did and how you contemplated it so as to build the connections among the research issue, the strategy, and the outcomes.
The subject section here is taken over by the “sampling”, as the qualitative researcher relies upon the theoretical sampling to increase the scope of data obtained and to unveil broader aspect of research.
The sole instrument used in qualitative research is the observation of the human being. So the reliability and validity section is omitted. The writer of the dissertation methodology has to pay significant emphasis on the training and practice of observer. Interviews can also be regarded as one of the instruments for qualitative dissertation methodology.
Data collection mode is overpowering than the data form in which it is acquired. The mode of acquiring data is assessed on two parameters fidelity and its structure. A paper base test has both a high structure and high fidelity.
Now it Is the time for writing the dissertation.
Step 4: write the dissertation:
Up till now, you must have written the rough drafts of the individual section you have done. So I will call this section more precisely as the “structuring the dissertation”. When you will reach this point of the dissertation you must be feeling much burden less.
The literature review will also have been assembled. The methodology part will be done; you must have acquired the results by implementing the data analysis tools. You will surely also have a vague idea about the conclusions drawn from your dissertation.
So relax because there is one crucial thing left. Have you guessed it? Yes, it is “writing and structuring the dissertation”. Obviously, this will be the single thing going to communicate to the reader on your behalf. So it should be credible enough to reflect the hard work you have done.
Grab a coffee mug to enlighten the mind because you have to brainstorm to come up with the best-structured dissertation. Bring the hidden editor in you to action.
The dissertation structure, like the dissertation proposal, can vary depending upon the genre and the extent of the research. However, any dissertation from any discipline has three integral parts namely the,
However, there are many other dissertation protocols. Now coming up to answer the most awaited question:
How to writing a dissertation?
The general structure of the dissertation is:
Most dissertations start with the title page having the name of the university, department, supervisor, dissertation title and submission date etc.
However, students can get assistance from the template given to them by the university or they can get assistance from the dissertation section in the library.
This is exactly like other book’s preface. In the preface, you can introduce yourself and you can also mention your educational background.
This section is meant for acknowledging the efforts of all the professors, organizations or the individuals which helped you in any way intellectually, morally or monetarily.
This is actually the short summary of the dissertation. This section has its own importance. Many students take it as a for granted task to write the dissertation abstract, but it ought not to be. For instance, if anyone has to evaluate your dissertation obviously he will not read the whole dissertation, he will simply read your abstract and will judge your dissertation on basis of it.
The abstract should cover the following questions.
What was the dissertation problem statement?
What you have done to solve the problem?
What results you have obtained?
What conclusions you can draw from your results?
Table of content:
Tabulate all the sections along with the references to the page numbers. This makes it easy for the reader to navigate within the dissertation. Mention all the headings and the subheadings in the content’s table.
List of figures and tables:
If you have used any figure in the dissertation to demonstrate methodology the enlist it in the list of figures. If any tables were made for the data acquiring and analysis, then they should also be mentioned in this list.
It is much the reflection of the abstract but it also mirrors the upcoming dissertation. It is widely accepted to do this section in the very end.
Give the reference to all the dissertations you sought help from. Discuss the constraints in previous researches and later you also have to discuss how your research is better than theirs.
Write the methodology according to the above-mentioned style in the research section.
Write the results you have acquired from your research. Remember that the result section is separate from the conclusion section. in this section, you have to write only the result that you have obtained from the data don’t discuss or extract inference.
This section is meant for the discussion of the acquired results. Here the students not only have to discuss the results but also have to compare it with the other dissertation results discussed in the literature review. The students can also compare the conclusions with their expectations before carrying out the research.
This is also one of the integral parts of the dissertation. The user has to give the reference of all the cited and non-cited items in the dissertation body. There are majorly three formats followed for composing the bibliography. Each has subtle nuances from the other. These are
- MLA style
- APA style
- Chicago citation style.
Often students find it hard to write all the descriptive information within the word limit provided then the appendices are actually the life savior tools. Students can elaborate the detailed information in the appendix if they find it little irrelevant within the body of the dissertation.
Congratulations! You are done with writing the dissertation. But wait for a second, are you thinking that it’s over now? Hold on! There is just a single step left.
Step 5: proofreading and acquiring feedback:
Proofreading thought only is tiring. Agree? Then give yourself a break. If you follow al the deadlines, then you can have plenty of time for doing all this stuff. As you finish writing your dissertation. Close it and give yourself a week-long break. Freshen up your mind.
When your mind gets refreshed it thinks in more versatile ways so after the break open your dissertation again and give it an unbiased reading. Note down all the points and areas where you find your dissertation lacking. Then make all the corrections accordingly. Then you will find your dissertation at a whole new professional level.
Actually, this is the best approach to not get satisfied on the first draft of the dissertation. Because you might have spent years or months on it so it must require a final touch and finishing to make all the dissertation look coherent.
When you are done with the proofreading show the dissertation to your supervisor or dissertation committee before presenting it on the defense day.
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