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Tips on How to Write a Good Dissertation

What is an Abstract?

❶A basic framework would be:

Size and Structure

Step two: Structure
Finding your style
Step 1: Write a winning dissertation proposal

If your dissertation is well-structured, easy to follow, logical, and coherent, your examiners will probably enjoy reading it, and will be able to listen to your argument without the distraction of trying to make all the links themselves. The only way to achieve a consistent argument throughout a piece of writing is by creating some kind of plan or map of what you want to say.

It can be useful to think of the research question or topic going like a strong thread throughout the dissertation: Moving from doing the research to writing a comprehensive account of it is not necessarily easy.

It can be helpful to break the task down into smaller, more easily accomplished elements. The process of producing your writing plan could go as follows. It can be a good idea to put the word limit to the back of your mind at this point, and concentrate on getting everything recorded in a document. You can always edit upwards or downwards later as necessary. It is likely, and advisable, that you will not wait until the end of your research before starting to write it up.

You may be required to produce one or more chapters for assessment part way through your research. The process described above can be used for any individual chapter you are working on. It is important to be prepared to critique and revise your own work several times. Even the early chapters submitted for assessment, and passing that assessment, may need to be revised later on. This is not a failure, but a positive sign of increased experience and skill.

You will refer to the work of others as you make your argument. This may involve critiquing the work of established leaders in the field. It is important that you are assertive about what you are arguing, but it is unlikely that, in a dissertation project, you will be able to be definitive in closing an established academic debate. You should be open about where the gaps are in your research, and cautious about over-stating what you have found. Aim to be modest but realistic in relating your own research to the broader context.

Once you have the dissertation in draft form it becomes easier to see where you can improve it. To make it easier to read you can use clear signposting at the beginning of chapters, and write links between sections to show how they relate to each other.

Another technique to improve academic writing style is to ensure that each individual paragraph justifies its inclusion.

More ideas will be presented in the Study Guide The art of editing. You may choose to review your draft from the standpoint of a dissertation examiner, which might involve preparing a list of questions that you want to see answered, then reading through your dissertation scribbling comments, suggestions, criticisms, and ideas in the margin.

If you have a marking guide then apply it to your dissertation and see if there are aspects that you can improve. While you do this, be aware of whether you need to increase the number of words, or decrease it to reach your target. As you read you can then cross through material that appears unnecessary, and mark points that could be expanded.

This will then form the basis for your next, improved, draft. Just as it can be difficult to begin writing, it can also be difficult to know when to stop. You may begin to feel that your dissertation will never be good enough, and that you need to revise it again and again. It may be helpful to divert your attention for a while to the finishing off activities you need to attend to:. Coming back afresh to look critically at the main text may then enable you to complete it to your satisfaction.

Remember the dissertation needs to demonstrate your ability to undertake and report research rather than to answer every question on a topic. It is important to allow yourself enough time for the final checking and proof reading of the finished document. Study the structures and work out how arguments are presented. Collect good examples of vocabulary and punctuation.

Consider how techniques used by the author convince the reader of their argument and see if you can apply them in your own writing. In an essay of this length, sub-headings are a useful way of breaking up the text and signalling to the reader what stage you have reached.

Tweak these sub-headings as you move through each draft to ensure they still provide a useful overview of the section. Look out for any words or phrases that have already been stated or implied elsewhere in the sentence — and cut them out.

For example, if you've written "Many countries were reluctant to declare war while others on the other hand did not hesitate", you may like to change it to "Many countries were reluctant to declare war; others did not hesitate". Reading your work aloud will help you spot clumsy sentence structure. As you write your essay, it is worth distinguishing the key points in your discussion from less important supporting ideas.

Aim to give full weight to your key points by giving them each a sentence of their own. Elaborations and detail can be added in subsequent sentences.

It is a common mistake to think that the longer the sentence, the cleverer it sounds. It is important to remember that every word conveys a unit of meaning on its own, however small, so the more words there are in a sentence, the harder it will be for the reader to grasp the meaning within it. Instead of adding on clauses, introduce the next point in a new sentence. Connective words and phrases — however, consequently, but, so — can be placed at the start of the new sentence if necessary, to indicate its relationship to the previous one and make your work flow.

For example, you can ask your advisor to read your drafts after classes on Wednesdays and Fridays. You are free to ask your advisor anything that is not clear enough to you, and your advisor can provide you with the necessary guidelines. Usually your advisor will give you an idea for a topic and questions you will need to answer as you develop your proposal or prospectus and the final dissertation draft.

Discuss with your advisor all possible methods of performing experiments such as surveys, human subjects research, archival research, etc. Keep in mind that each step of the process can take 1, 2 or 3 months as you work to develop your dissertation. For this step, we would advise our readers to look through other dissertations that were written at the same department as a sample. Without knowledge of dissertation structure, you are not able to produce a strong dissertation.

Here is the list of sections that you will likely need to include in your dissertation writing: Additional parts of the dissertation that require less work include the acknowledgements, table of contents and title. When you defined your topic and purpose for your project, you use this to propose a thesis statement and develop a tentative outline. This will help you to structure your presentation and project better and give you an understanding of what you have and have not done yet.

While writing the dissertation content, remember some general rules.

Structuring sentences

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How to Write Your Best Dissertation: Step-by-Step Guide. When you get to the point of writing a dissertation, you're clearly near the end .

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Although your dissertation should contain your own original thought, you will also want to refer to the ideas of other writers on the topic. Your dissertation should critically evaluate those ideas and identify what problems remain in your area of research and what has not yet been explored.

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How To Write A Dissertation or Bedtime Reading For People Who Do Not Have Time To Sleep. Good writing is essential in a dissertation. However, good writing cannot compensate for a paucity of ideas or concepts. Quite the contrary, a clear presentation always exposes weaknesses. Tips on How to Write a Good Dissertation. One of the requirements for getting a Master's or PhD degree is writing a great dissertation. A dissertation is not an easy task that can be accomplished in a week or two, and sometimes it takes a year or more to write and prepare a powerful dissertation.

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The abstract is a summary of the whole thesis. It presents all the major elements of your work in a highly condensed form. An abstract often functions, together with the thesis title, as a stand-alone text. Abstracts appear, absent the full text of the thesis, in bibliographic indexes such as PsycInfo. Writing a Dissertation See also: Writing a Research Proposal The aim of the dissertation or thesis is to produce an original piece of research work on a .