Writing a dissertation shows you’ve come a long way with your studies. You’re close to qualifying for your first degree or third, before starting a new life chapter. You’re writing an academic paper with stringent guidelines that require critical thought and the ability to clearly translate your thoughts into words.
Before you begin your dissertation, there are some important basic elements that you need to cover. Once you ace the foundational elements, the rest will be a little easier.
Play around with dissertation ideas
Brainstorm several ideas for your dissertation. Don’t settle on the first concept you come up with, because your work needs to present a unique perspective. The entire point of this project is to add value to the existing body of knowledge on your topic, so careful thought is needed to be sure that your topic will address a unique point.
It’s pointless starting out with enthusiasm, doing a lot of work, only to realize you’ve chosen the wrong topic. If you travel regularly or study part-time, then writing a dissertation becomes that much more difficult.
Follow this outline to get you started, even when traveling. After the proposal has been approved, you’ll have a strong foundation to complete your project.
Develop a workable hypothesis
Once you’ve decided on a topic, and have generated ideas that will encompass a novel approach, a hypothesis is needed. Sometimes, more than one hypothesis is required, which your research will seek to prove or disprove. Keep your hypotheses or thesis statement as narrow as possible. Too broad, and your work loses value as it leads to a lack of focus.
Once these foundations are in place, a proposal needs to be drafted according to a pre-set formula. The dissertation proposal typically follows a basic structure, which is flexible to some extent.
Writing the proposal
Select a title that is succinct, and describes the content to follow. Proposal content should then incorporate the problem you wish to cover, how you will address the problem, and why the issue is worth working on.
Also, the method or methods you will use to conduct your research need to be included in the proposal. If the problem doesn’t hold value for your field of study, come up with a new idea. A professional service for students who write dissertations is also a good idea. The expert writers at EduBirdie can help you with writing and the proposal and also take up the entire project if you plan to hire one of their academic writers.
Your university or college will inform you of the writing style to use, which may be APA, MLA, Harvard, or other. Basic proposal structures will include the following:
Title, at least three goals or objectives, the importance of the work, and the methods you will use to conduct the research, current background literature, outlining research questions, methodology, findings, anticipated timelines to complete each chapter, conclusion and/or recommendation, and a bibliography. Once approved, the proposal will be the blueprint to complete your dissertation.
Develop a comprehensive outline and organize your sources
If your lecturer hasn’t yet driven home this point, primary sources are more credible than secondary information sources. Additionally, peer-reviewed academic papers in recognized journals are going to bolster the credibility of your work.
Once your proposal has been approved, you can get started on generating a complete outline for each chapter. A valuable tip is to develop your bibliography from the outset. Begin with good habits, and keep building your bibliography as you go along because this is a massive job.
Proofreading and editing
When you think you’ve finished writing, understand that another challenging hurdle lies ahead of you. Proofread and edit your work as if you’re working on a paid job. Do a thorough job now to avoid penalties down the line.
Your professor is going to make changes, but the fewer errors he picks up, the more input you get from him or her in the future. Typically, professors only provide for three ‘advisory’ sessions. You don’t want to waste this valuable feedback on needless mistakes.
A professional dissertation may seem easy until you start the project. Once you realize how big the task is, you may begin to feel overwhelmed, or be tempted to procrastinate. The best way to tackle this work is to take it one step at a time. Work consistently, and soon you will get to the other side. You’ll also realize it wasn’t so bad after all and will have every reason to be proud of your accomplishment.
Stella Gary is a professional writer who has made a name for herself in different fields – academic writing to blogging, eBooks to video scripts. Her writing talent is a result of her natural flair for writing and professional courses. When she’s not writing, she likes to chill in the pool, watch new web series and play indoor games.