The Main Do’s And Don’ts Of Writing A Doctoral Dissertation
If you’re pursuing a higher-level degree in any academic subject, you will be required to write a doctoral dissertation. Your dissertation will be the most important thing you’ve ever done, qualifying you to earn your degree. These projects require original research and analysis, in which you’ll make your own unique contribution to your field of study.
- Begin the research and writing process as early as you can. Your dissertation is far too important to procrastinate on. Your research is going to be extensive, and it’s a long paper that will take a considerable amount of time to write.
- Work on your thesis as often as possible, preferably every day. The more consistently you work on your paper, the more quickly you’ll get your work done, without having to pull any stressful all-nighters.
- Let your first draft flow freely and naturally, without concerning yourself too much with quality. A first draft is just that: a first draft. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to give you a baseline platform for your structure, ideas, information, and argument. Don’t stress over perfect writing when you’re drafting your thesis paper. You can always refine it during the editing process.
- Communicate and collaborate with your advisor. Your advisor is there to oversee your research and guide you through the thesis paper process.
- Edit your dissertation. You’ll want to edit your thesis paper for clarity and accuracy, as well as for any spelling or grammatical errors. When editing, it’s important to reach each line closely and carefully. Instead of editing as you write, it’s actually better to finish writing your entire paper, leave it alone for a period of time, then come back to it with a fresh perspective to start the editing process. You might want to consider asking for a second opinion, beyond that of your thesis advisor. Many students actually hire a professional editor to help them smooth out and streamline their dissertation paper.
- Expect yourself to be at an optimal productivity level every single day. There will be some days when you get a lot done on your thesis paper, but other days, you just won’t feel up to it. That’s okay. You have a lot of time to work on it, as long as you start early.
- Procrastinate. This should go without saying. The longer you wait, the more you’re going to have to do all of the work all at once, with stressful deadlines looming.
- Stress yourself out. The research and writing process for your thesis paper should be rewarding and enlightening, not overwhelmingly stressful. If you need to, take a couple of days off to relax and clear your mind.