Helpful Tips for Dissertation Writing
Before writing a dissertation, you must know what the proper structure is before you begin writing. Although the structure of your dissertation may depend also on your department’s specific requirements, the overall structure has a standard which has a beginning, middle and end. The middle portion of your dissertation is pretty much the gist of your argument and main thought. It could also vary from topic to topic with references to back up your argument. Therefore, knowing the basic standard of a dissertation is vital to know.
Step 1: Understand what your department requires for your dissertation
Before starting off even with your outline and research, be sure that you ask your committee or department about their expectations of your dissertation so that you have the guidelines beforehand. It would be a hassle to start on your dissertation without knowing your committee’s expectations and having to redo pretty much the whole paper because you did it wrong.
Try reading a few dissertations written by past students so that you have a good idea of the requirements. You can also gain better understanding of the structure by reading examples.
Step 2: Create a summary
An abstract is pretty much a summary of your thoughts and ideas of how you want your dissertation to turn out. This is the “brain storming” phase of the process. Make your abstract well with quotes and references so you know where you got a certain piece of information. This is where you figure out what your MAIN argument will be about in your dissertation. A vital phase in your dissertation process.
Step 3: Note down acknowledgments after your summary
In this portion, you write down all those people who helped you out in writing on your dissertation. You thank each and every person that has supported you and guided you from the beginning to the end of your dissertation journey. This could be as long as you want, as long as everyone who has really helped you is written down.
Step 4: Table of Contents after the acknowledgment page
On another page, right after the acknowledgment page, start working on your table of contents. This is important if your reader is interested to look at a certain topic, they can look at the table of contents, find the topic they want to read about and flip to the page that it is on. It provides less hassle in trying to search every single page of the dissertation. Make sure that you include the sections and the sub-sections in your dissertation. Be careful in making the table of contents because it should include the main topics and its sub-sections.
Step 5: Write a short introduction
I put emphasis on the word “short” because some students tend to write a novel-like introduction which should not happen. Keep in mind that the introduction is there to give the reader the scope of your research and also tells them the need for your research. The introduction should also include any background information that is vital for the readers to understand your dissertation. Reread your introduction a couple times and cut phrases and sentences you might not need so that it is straight to the point.
Step 6: Figure out what organizational approach (for your body) fits your department’s demands
Since you have asked your committee or department about their requirements for your dissertation, you should have a pretty good idea of what organizational approach you should be focusing on. Be sure that you choose the one that best conveys your research.
If your dissertation’s main topic is about literature or history, your department might require a “formulaic” structure in which the body of your dissertation should be in chronological order. If your dissertation has experimental research or in which you are trying to prove a certain hypothesis, your organizational approach should have the following sections:
- Review of literature: this portion should address what the others have said regarding your topic
- Methodology: this presents what you chose to conduct your said research and the reason behind it
- Findings: this section should present the output of your study and includes the interpretation of results
Step 7: Write out your conclusion
This is a pretty obvious section. Your conclusion presents the full impact of your findings and your overall research. It is basically summarized and is placed at the end of your dissertation.
Step 8: References
This is also a vital piece in your dissertation. Your references should be last, followed by appendices. This is the area where you write down where you got all your supporting information for your study. Be sure to double check the spelling of names, titles, numbers and whatsoever.
Byline: Lois Weldon is writer at Uk.bestdissertation.com. She lives happily in London with her husband and lovely daughter. Adores writing tips for students. Passionate about Star Wars and yoga.