5 tricks to help you compose a strong dissertation.

Keep it simple.

  • There is usually a strong urge to complicate the process by wanting to think big and try to baffle your readers with models that over think the process.
  • Ideally take a smaller aspect of your topic of interest and refine it; research it in-depth and make realistic projections as to how it fits in the greater order.
  • At this point you probably need to remember that your dissertation will need to be passed not just by your tutor but also by an academic panel.
  • If you want to research something complex and far reaching, now may not be the time to do that put it on the back burner till later on in your career.
  • Also remember that by taking a well-worn but established topic and researching from a different angle is just as valuable as trying out something new.
  • Hypothesis.

  • When you start to think about your dissertation you will find that your hypothesis will probably take about a paragraph to explain. But that's OK at this stage.
  • The more you talk to other people, such as colleagues, other students and your tutor you will find that it becomes easier to explain.
  • The easier it is to explain the fewer words that you will use to define your area of research and the method you will be using to explore it.
  • People will also probably ask at this point, what you think the outcome of your research will be. You may have already have an inkling!
  • At this point you will also be thinking about the possible results; the variables and how you are going to explain them.
  • Background Literature.

  • You may already have a target paper that you are going to use for your dissertation. If that is the case you have a good start.
  • A good trick is to start by picking out the key words that you will need to search for relevant background literature,
  • Remember that you need to find literature that both supports and refutes the work that you are undertaking. Give your reader a balanced argument.
  • Make a note of all of your searches, make brief notes of works that you feel are relevant to your work.
  • Methodology.

    • Remember that the reason for the methodology is so as someone else can take your instructions and replicate your research.
    • One of the most common mistakes that academic writers make at this stage is to leave writing anything down until they start the write up.
    • Don't rely on your memory. Write things down as you go along. Don't use scraps of paper or post it notes as they are easily lost.
    • Even when you have written your methodology, read through it again so as you can make sure that you have got the order correct.
    • Don't forget that you need to include your results in this section as well as any statistical analysis.
    • Conclusion/Discussion.

    • Take the points that you want to discuss in turn. Make sure that they follow a logical progression of ideas. Offer a solution.
    • Talk about any projections that you may have about future projects based on the results of your work in this paper.
    • When you think that you have finished the Conclusion/Discussion, you can then reiterate how it is related to your original hypothesis.
    • Now may be a good time to write your Abstract. If you leave it until the last, it will be far easier to do.
    • If you feel that the process of writing the whole of the paper and the literature search is too huge then you may consider recruiting an assistant.

    Good Advice

    Don't just use internet searches. Also try to use supporting articles that can be found in journals.

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