Tips from an expert on how to write a doctoral dissertation
The first stage in writing a PHD dissertation is to write a proposal, which will be considered by your university committee to see whether it is a viable project for a dissertation. A dissertation is of 80,000 to 90,000 words and takes years of research and writing.
The proposal must include the following:
- The title which must be striking and a subtitle.
- An abstract, which is a short and striking description of the dissertation raising points and indexing and keywords.
- The introduction outlines the argument and direction of the dissertation. It includes the thesis statement and the ground covered by the dissertation.
- The objectives of the dissertation.
- The literature review which is the documentary evidence supporting the dissertation with the author’s name, page number of citation ,publication and date.
- Research questions and the importance and significance of the research.
- Methodology used in the presentation covering the types of research used in the dissertation.
- A discussion of the results achieved and their significance.
- The conclusion restating the thesis and supporting research and concluding arguments with a strong argument for the thesis.
- Works cited with references and citations.
- An appendix, given the size of the work this is likely to be extensive.
- Keep in regular touch with your tutor and the committee and discuss the development of the dissertation with them especially if any changes of direction have to take place.
- Limit your objectives and review your progress weekly.
- Set yourself target dates for completing different stages of the dissertation.
- Decide on a date for completing the dissertation and stick to it.
- Remember that this is your dissertation so take ownership of it and its development. Do not depend on outside help.
- Keep up with the latest developments in your chosen field and any effects they have on the dissertation.
- Try to write part of the dissertation every day leaving revision till later so that you don’t get bogged down in detail.
- Think positively and limit your daily and weekly targets.
- Write for 45minutes and then take a break.
- Start work early in the morning when you are really fresh.
Keep your long-term dissertation plan in mind and try to think of new angles. Remain disciplined and motivated.