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A dissertation is the most important part of any degree program. The grades that one attains in dissertation may impact the manner that one’s career is shaped. It is this comprehensive paper that helps to reveal the research capacity and skills of a scholar efficiently. A dissertation helps a student to successfully identify his area of interest, ability to express, and execution qualities. It prepares him for the competitive job sector and helps in recognizing better career prospects. A Dissertation is a way to test a student's grasp and knowledge about the selected study area. It is the type of assessment that cannot be taken lightly for academic and professional rewards.

Writing a dissertation requires an ample amount of effort from a scholar. Proper understanding of the various components and steps involved in writing a successful dissertation provides a concrete format to students with the help of which they can plan and execute their paper efficiently.

Basic foundations for writing a dissertation

Here's a list of all the major elements involved in the dissertation writing process. This will help you to analyze what information to include and what information to eliminate from your paper.

  1. Topic

The foremost thing to do while writing a dissertation is to hunt for an appropriate topic. One should stay up to date with the latest on goings in his area of interest to find a theme that is out of the box. Several brainstorming sessions, trips to library, and exhaustive research sittings help a student to come up with a list of potential topics from which he can choose a theme for his dissertation. Now while narrowing down to one topic from the bunch following pointers should be kept in mind.

  • The relevance of the topic.
  • Should be interesting enough to attract funding.
  • Topic shouldn't overlap with the peers.
  • Always look for your supervisor's take on the topic.
  • Topic shouldn't be overworked on and irrelevant.
  1. The Proposal

Creating a strong proposal is the most important part of writing a dissertation. It allows a student to prove that the topic selected by him is valuable, thought-provoking, and relevant to the study area as well as the degree program. A solid proposal should answer the following questions

  • The dissertation will cater to which area, issue, or problem of the selected study area?
  • Why is it important to find a solution to the issue or problem highlighted?
  • How is the selected topic relevant to the academic, scientific, and research front?
  • What research methodology will be used?

A proposal should be clear in nature and shouldn't confuse the examiner or the supervisor.

  1. Research Question

A research question defines your dissertation. The stronger it is the better will your dissertation be. A well-formulated research question ensures that a student has an adequate understanding of the previously conducted researches in the same study area. Always keep in mind that your research question should focus on a narrow and untouched area of the study so that the dissertation is impactful and not scattered. It is important to mention the limitations and scope of the question for producing a realistic dissertation paper.

  1. Research Methodologies

After deciding on the topic and research question for your dissertation, it’s time to determine the methodology you'll use to conduct the research for the same. Research methodologies define the process of collecting information and data for any dissertation. The data for a dissertation is majorly collected from the secondary sources only. The different types of ways to conduct research for a dissertation are

  • Interview: An interview is a form of a conversation between two people in which questions are asked to obtain answers for the queries raised by the dissertation research. It is one of the most common sources of secondary data. A scholar can opt for a formal, informal, closed-ended or open-ended interview according to the requirements of the dissertation.
  • Survey: A survey is considered to be one of the most important sources to collect primary data. It is used to provide quantitative outcomes for research making it easier to compare and record the final results.
  • Case Studies: A Case study is a qualitative, secondary source of data collection which allows a scholar to apply theories to real-life scenarios and examine their validity. Law, business, and social science are the major areas where this research methodology is used.
  • Theoretical Analysis: Scholars researching theoretical subjects like English, Philosophy, Film Studies, Cultural Studies, etc. use the approach of theoretical analysis to collect data for their dissertation. In this method philosophical theories are applied to the contemporary fields and situations to question important assumptions about our society.
  • Historical Research: When a scholar collects data for his dissertation by the means of archives, books, journals, government reports, autobiographies, and memoirs, he is using the qualitative method of historical research for his dissertation.
  1. Chapters

Chapters are the main pillars of a dissertation paper. They contribute to the main body of the project. It is chapters which determine the quality and success of a dissertation. The basic chapters of any dissertation are titled as abstract, introduction, literature review, methodology, findings, and finally the conclusion. A dissertation is expected to at least have five chapters. A dissertation with less than five chapters is not accepted by any examiner. The arrangement of different chapters depends on the rules and style set by an institution.

In order to present his thoughts clearly, a scholar should keep chapters short and compact. The language should be simple yet effective to create a positive impact on the examiner as well as the readers.

  1. References

Citations, bibliography, and references are very important to prove the authenticity and originality of your dissertation. Specific regulations are set by all the institutions for presenting the references in a dissertation paper. APA and MLA are two general ways to present your references and citations in a dissertation project. A bibliography is ideally written in alphabetical order and is often divided into subcategories of books, journals, or internet resources for coherency.

Writing an impactful dissertation would ensure a thriving career for any scholar. It is the final step towards receiving the degree for your program. Write it well so that your hard work pays off in the right direction.

Here are a few tips to help you kick start your dissertation paper

  • Form a schedule: Set appropriate deadlines for when you want to complete each chapter or section. Fix a word limit to be achieved on an everyday basis and get into a writing schedule.
  • Just start writing: Now that everything is sorted and planned, get started with the typing. Do not procrastinate the writing of your dissertation. Once you begin writing, you can come across all the missing puzzles of your dissertation.
  • Prepare the first draft: Your first draft is not your final draft. You don't have to form perfect sentences or use high vocabulary. Let your words flow freely and you can always revise them again in the subsequent draft.
  • Flexibility is the key: Follow the rule of 'one day at a time' while writing your dissertation. Face the situations as they arise on the way. Take all the criticisms and feedbacks positively and do not back down if you have to make some major changes to your piece of work. Adjust yourself according to the immediate needs and you'll produce an efficient dissertation.
  • Move around: Do not follow a rigid pattern while writing your dissertation. It can cause you to miss out on some important deadlines. If you're stuck on one chapter, leave it for the time being and come back later. Meanwhile, move on to a straightforward and simple section of the dissertation. This will make you more confident and help you get over the complex writing parts easily.
  • Timely feedback is important: It is important to frequently share your dissertation progress with your assigned mentor or supervisor. He can point out the mistakes and problems in your dissertation at an early stage and can help you to work through them efficiently. Also, revising small sections at a time rather than the full document is more manageable for a scholar.
  • Get sufficient break for yourself: Writing a dissertation is a tedious process but that doesn’t mean you have to keep on writing every minute and second of the day. If you work on your dissertation for long and continuous hours, you'll drain yourself out. Rest is also important to produce an error-free dissertation. If you rush to complete the paper as soon as possible, it is bound to miss some of the major details. Stay calm and enjoy the gradual process.
  • Use a reference manager: Use technological applications like endnote or so to keep all your references in one place. If you do not maintain a tracker for all your references it will become difficult for you to scramble for them at the end of your dissertation writing.
  • Follow the rules and regulations: All the institutions lay down a set of rules and regulations to maintain uniformity and ethics in a dissertation paper. Many times, students fail to obey these basic rules and lose their well-researched paper. Scholars should stick to the assigned word limit, format, referencing system, and good writing style while writing an impactful dissertation.

A well-written dissertation should be grounded and capable of providing new insight into the study area. It also helps you to move ahead with the process of self-development.

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