How to write the best dissertation from the beginning
Writing the best dissertation is a daunting task to many students. Imagining that you have to complete a 200 + pages document that is succinct, coherent and authentic is greatly distressing. If you are stranded and not sure where to start, you are not alone. Over the past two weeks alone, I have received over 300 requests from students who need help starting off with their dissertations.
While many guides tell students what characterizes a great dissertation, none tells you the journey to such a great piece. In fact, no one tells you how to get the best dissertation with the least strain. This is what I want to tell you. In this article, I explain how you can have the best dissertation way before you start writing it.
Before I can give this explanation, I have to make it clear that the main deterrent to completing the best dissertation is psychological. To write the best dissertation, you must first overcome the perennial fear of dissertation writing – the feeling of inadequacy. Both students and faculty members have bought the narrative that dissertations and theses are complex and generally difficult.
However, it should not be so. Students should know that with the right preparation, dissertation writing is the most interesting, fulfilling and fun activities in their whole academic life. Is this possible? Oh! Yes, it is. By the end of this article, you will learn just how.
1. Start thinking about and preparing for the best dissertation early
Each of these is a means of writing your dissertation.
From the beginning of your masters or Ph.D. identify your area of research interest. Ensure that this is an area that you genuinely love. I often tell my students that dissertation writing is like marriage. You don’t marry someone because of the things people say about them but because you love them. If you truly love the person, you will enjoy being around them even when they hurt you. But if you don’t you will soon file for divorce.
That is how important it is to choose a topic from your area of interest.
Once you identify the area of interest, always try to tailor all your term papers, essays, research papers and other assignments towards this area of interest. This way, each academic task will be a part of your dissertation. The dissertation will then become a mere compilation of the papers you did. Moreover, you will have so much information on your area of interest that you will be enjoying the writing.
2. Start discussing with professors for a topic
While pursuing the area in your assignments, make it clear to your professors that you are interested in doing a dissertation in that area. Ask for their opinions and how you could make a better topic around this area. You can also engage other students around this area in your discussion group. This way, they will be unknowingly helping you prepare for the dissertation.
Remember, you are doing a myriad of assignments, delivered by different professors and thus seeking their opinion in the context of the assignments may just be such a large pool of critical information.
3. Narrow Your Topic
You have engaged both professors and students. You have gathered a great deal of information through your assignments. It is now time to narrow your topic. The narrower the topic is, the more intriguing and easier to handle it gets. Remember to ensure the topic you choose is the one that interests you most in the general area of interest.
Now is the time to get your supervisor involved. You should have identified the research gap that you seek to fill. Discuss with the supervisor what you need to improve, and areas you might need to put more emphasis.
While engaging anyone, remember, the dissertation is yours.
4. Set Goals and deadlines
You already know what you need to do. You have a topic and you have discussed the topic with the supervisor and gained approval. It is time to start your writing. This is where most students mess. You should know that the time you have for the dissertation is very short and therefore must be well planned.
Set SMART goals for your dissertation, complete with deadlines. Commit to meeting your deadlines, although you should not feel disappointed if you do not meet them. This is why it is critical to have flexible deadlines.
Writers bloom may kick in any time, and so do push yourself too far coz anyway, you started in time. Have breaks and relax from the deep research once in a while for this will refresh you and boost your energy.
Set small goals. It is easier to write a good dissertation when you make baby steps. Instead of writing a whole chapter in a day, you can break it into sub-topics that are manageable to handle at a time.
5. Seek Feedback Early and Often
One secret of best dissertation writing is feedback. If you engage the dissertation committee early enough into the dissertation, they are likely to give you more time, thus, sound feedback. Ensure you access the committee and create a good relation with them. The earlier you get the feedback, the easier your editing becomes.
In fact, it is advisable to sit with your advisor after doing a rough outline of the dissertation to see if it works. You should also send short drafts to your committee and anyone willing to read your work. This will help you connect with other writers, avoid isolation and save you from the agony of rewriting whole chapters and unnecessary repetition.
When you get feedback, be sure to read and act on them.
6. Know what your Committee Expects
Following on the feedback above, learn what your committee expects. Read distinction class dissertations written by students they handled earlier. Ask them questions on their expectations and format.
You should be on your journey to writing the best dissertation. Still doubting whether you can do the best dissertation? Let us help you.