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Writing a dissertation: The Do’s and the don’ts

With the constantly changing face of the academic world, it becomes difficult for a student to stand out from the crowd to prove his worth. Comprehensive Papers in any degree program are the key to a successful future for any student. Writing a dissertation helps a student to develop strong analytical, methodical, and tactful skills. Dissertation or thesis is an important part of the modern education system.

What is a dissertation?

A dissertation can be defined as a significant assessment paper submitted at the end of a degree discipline in which a student is expected to take full responsibility for his learning throughout the course of his degree program. It is a written document that summarizes the original research conducted by a scholar by undertaking a topic of interest, conducting research on it, writing and discussing up your findings. It allows the candidate to provide evidence of his thorough subject knowledge.

Importance of a dissertation

Writing a dissertation is much more than the fulfillment of a degree program. It helps the students to develop a professional mindset. Writing a dissertation expands your subject knowledge along with your rational and reasoning skills. A clear, structured, concise, and well-planned dissertation captures the attention of the readers across various platforms.

Do’s and don’ts of dissertation

Writing a dissertation is a tedious task and requires a great amount of attention and detail. A well-received and skilfully presented dissertation can make a high impact on the committee members as it demonstrates the intellectual level of an individual in broad light. An easy to read dissertation is not only pleasing to the mind of the readers but it also displays command and expertise in the data presented. There is little to no scope for ambiguity in a properly written dissertation. However, there are some do's and don'ts that could help a scholar to produce an impactful dissertation.

The Do's

  1. Conduct sufficient research: The inability to conduct thorough research for your dissertation means that an individual will get puzzled while actually writing for the paper. In such a condition, it is a great idea to conduct extensive research to get a head start at the beginning of your dissertation itself.
  2. Define methodology appropriately: Students are bound to get confused while working on their dissertation paper. They often get nervous and begin to make small mistakes that can deteriorate the quality of their dissertation. In such cases, it is important to clearly define the research methodology used for collecting the data of your dissertation process. This also gives a great extent of clarity to the results of your dissertation.
  3. Seek expert help: It is important to not think too highly of yourself and get the guidance from your supervisors at every step of the dissertation. It is not necessary that you are aware of all the areas of the dissertation writing by yourself. You need to listen to your mentors and work according to the feedback received. You might have written an exceptional literature review while your analysis might lack the richness. So, opt for the required help at the right time.
  4. Proofread your paper adequately: It is essential to have an outsider, your friends; family; or supervisor, analyze and proofread your dissertation work. It will help you to eliminate errors and find the missing pieces of your dissertation paper.
  5. Plan your time properly: Planning is a crucial and vital part of dissertation writing. Proper scheduling of the time will help a student to produce an insightful and sophisticated piece of work within the set deadlines. Dedicating a precise amount of time to different components of your dissertation will help you to save the wastage of time in future.
  6. Be aware of the available and feasible options: Before settling down on a topic for your dissertation, it is important to explore all the requirements and availabilities. A student should select the topic that excites him the most and check its plausibility. Excitement to choose a vast and unique topic can often lead to catastrophes in the future. What if the institution has no sources to collect the required data, what if you have geographical restraints to collect the data for the dissertation? check the restrictions that come along with the topic and choose wisely.
  7. Write a section daily: Students tend to procrastinate writing a dissertation to a huge extent. But it is important to write, even a small portion, your dissertation on an everyday basis. You can dedicate a minimum of 10 minutes to your paper and this will lighten your burden too a great extent in the end.
  8. Set shorter goals: It is suggested to divide your dissertation into small sections and align them with the deadline. This will allow you to successfully present the dissertation within the allotted timeframe.
  9. Use relevant references: Ensure that you have a sufficient number of books, articles, journals, and all the other sources to back up the claim mentioned in your dissertation. Consult your supervisor for the suggestion on the same and produce an appealing bibliography/ reference list. This will create a positive impact on the examiner and the readers.

The Don’ts

  1. Redundancy of your thoughts and content: Dissertation is a long and wordy document that a scholar produces for the successful completion of his degree program. It is because of the length of the document that a student often ends up writing the same thought in the paper making it monotonous for the examiners and readers. Proper planning and structuring can help you to avoid rephrasing the same content time and again in the dissertation.
  2. Inappropriate presentation of figures: A huge amount of data is collected while writing a dissertation. This data is systematically presented with the help of multiple charts, graphs, maps, and other illustrations. Many times, these illustrations and figures are placed illogically in different sections of a dissertation which is a huge turn off for the examiners and readers. It is the data analysis and findings part of a dissertation which justifies the placement of these figures. It is important to ensure that you know what you're doing is correct and logical. The placed illustrations should also be indexed properly in the dissertation.
  3. Overemphasizing the positive side of your work: It is important to realize and present the purpose of your dissertation study clearly. Excitement to add in all the information found during the entire process can be overwhelming for others. Do not overemphasize one point in such a way that it appears like you're forcing the examiner or reader to believe the claims made irrespective of their own analyzation of your work.
  4. Editing in a single go: Dissertation is a complex document and above that a long one. Editing it in one go is never going to be fruitful. It is advised to edit one chapter at a time so that you oversee the document gradually and more efficiently.
  5. Using multiple fonts: It is advised to use only one font while writing for a dissertation paper. It will provide uniformity and harmony to the paper. Using different fonts can be unappealing to the readers and lead them to confusion. You can change the size or bold the headlines to break the monotony of a page.
  6. Using different referencing styles: Different institutes use different formats to present references in a dissertation paper. A student should strictly adhere to either APA or MLA format as approved by the institution.
  7. Writing acknowledgment in the last: Students usually take writing an acknowledgment lightly. But in the end, they tend to forget the most supportive people while writing their papers. One should write an acknowledgment only when they’re actually feeling obliged and not drained.
  8. Procrastinating: Writing a dissertation is a long process. The timeframe allotted is approximately more than a year or so. This is the major reason why students start procrastinating. They waste a lot of time in leisure activities and then breakdown when the sudden pressure of the deadline occurs.
  9. Writing in a rush: It requires an ample amount of time and effort to write a successful dissertation. Completing it in a rush is a strict no-no. It can cost you your grades to a huge extent.
  10. Getting panic or stressed: Dissertation is an essential part of a scholar's life and requires an adequate amount of hard work. It can often get frustrating as well but the key is to take a break every now and then to keep yourself strong and avoid panicking or stressing. The harsh feedbacks will help you to create a polished draft in the end.

The above-mentioned points can help a scholar to write a dissertation with enough proficiency. It is important to understand that a well-researched dissertation can fail if written and expressed poorly. One should devote plenty of time to writing a dissertation and avoid future risks. It is advised to start from the bits you find easy and eventually go with the flow. Focus on the do's and don’ts but if a problem still persists during the process, take assistance from your assigned supervisor or mentor.

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