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General Tips for Writing a Dissertation Every Student Must Know

Writing a dissertation is often a challenging task for students. With multiple ideas to research and sections to knit together for a coherent argument, students may feel overwhelmed by their dissertations. 

Fortunately, we have accumulated some dissertation advice over the course of our college days and through interaction with various students. This article thus shares tested dissertation writing tips to help you with your dissertation and ensure that you submit an A-level paper.

What is dissertation research?

Dissertation research is investigative research performed as part of one’s doctoral degree. The dissertation aims to highlight an existing research gap and supplement the knowledge with experimental research. 

Dissertation research thus calls for an objective study where you can use existing sources to justify your claims and the necessity for research. This research also follows the scientific approach and should yield results that are of value to your discipline.

Before writing a dissertation, candidates are required to have completed a dissertation project to corroborate various conclusions drawn regarding the paper’s hypothesis.

What makes a good dissertation?

What does a faculty committee consider before terming one dissertation to be better than another? Although many first-time students tend to think that complex academic language and mind-blowing statistics are essential for a quality dissertation, the characteristics of a good dissertation are pretty simple. 

Some of the key elements to observe when writing your dissertation research are:

  • Objectives

A paper without aims is bound to present pointless claims that barely piece up to form a decent argument. Ideally, your dissertation should be guided by a set of research objectives that help you to investigate your main thesis.

These objectives help your committee to gauge how well your paper has served its purpose and also guide you on the ideas you might investigate to exhaust your topic. Research objectives also give your work flow as you are aware of your goal and thus cannot be easily diverted to other non-essential arguments.

  • Research

The literature review and research section speak tons about your dissertation. A 50-page dissertation comprising five references heralds a severe case of plagiarism and biased claims that don’t hold water in an academic argument.

As such, a good dissertation should be firmly grounded in research. This can be seen through the documents you have cited in your literature review and the references used within your work. However, be keen to share your own insights as opposed to stuffing your paper with pieces from other people’s works. 

The research should show that you have interacted with a vast array of materials within your topic to make quality claims. Ideally, support each claim with evidence before arguing out your idea. This approach lends credence to your claims without making your paper overly reliant on sources. 

  • Unique insight

Like your personality, the best way to write a dissertation is by remaining unique. Presenting existing ideas as your own may result in plagiarism and expose you to various dire consequences. 

Your dissertation should be of academic value and address a research gap in an approach that is yet to be taken. Although you need sources to support your claims, you shouldn’t base your paper on claims that were already made by fellow scholars. 

  • Structure

A good dissertation should follow the format outlined in the guidelines. This implies organizing various chapters as is required of you and presenting proper information within each section. 

  • Adherence to guidelines

Good dissertation research should adhere to guidelines including but not limited to the word count and referencing style. Before setting out to write your dissertation, start by consulting your faculty manual, your tutor, or previous faculty publications to familiarize yourself with various faculty preferences. 

Tips for writing dissertation

Having discussed the elements of a good dissertation, let’s check some tips for dissertation writing that ought to come in handy. 

  1. Employ a chapter-by-chapter approach to your dissertation and prepare an outline for each chapter. This will allow you to gauge the completeness of each section and reduce any challenges along the way.
  2. Consider editing each chapter after it’s done to check how you have achieved its purpose. For this, you may consider developing a reverse outline to compare against your initial outline. This will allow you to gauge the quality of your arguments and check for various issues in need of further elaboration.
  3. Always take breaks in each session to recharge your focus ensuring maximum productivity in each session spent on your dissertation. 
  4. Consult an expert editor for a final look at the dissertation before submitting it for defence. These experts will help you nip various errors in your dissertation, ensuring that your paper adheres to all faculty guidelines. 
  5. Record your references as you go to avoid accidental plagiarism by the omission of various sources in the bibliography section.