The Most Important Dissertation StepsWednesday, June 9th, 2010
How to write your dissertation step by step
Although writing a dissertation is a long, hard process, you can simplify it just following directions. A dissertation –also known as thesis- is probably the most important work in a student’s academic career. The dissertation is the culmination of a very long process, and it is meant to show the student’s achievements at the end of their academic studies and in the beginning of their professional life. Here are the most important dissertation steps.
Step 1: Choose a topic
The dissertation is intended to provide students an opportunity to research through a specific area of their field. It should be an area in which they are particularly interested. Think about it carefully and consider your options. After all, you will spend most of your time the next year working on this project. So choose a topic that you find attractive but, at the same time, making sure you will not bump into too many difficulties.
Step 2: Read plenty of bibliography
One of the main dissertation steps is reviewing the field, reading plenty of critical studies in order to know what has been done previously. After all, you don’t want to rewrite somebody else’s work, do you?
Step 3: Research
Plan your methodology considering that a combination of methods is always advisable. Do the corresponding fieldwork, collecting data from documents, bibliography, experiments, interviews, etc. Keep in mind that you may need to adapt your original plan if things don’t turn out the way you had expected. Keep an open mind: you may actually have to repeat a few of your dissertation steps, but it is all part of the same learning process.
Step 4: Come up with a theory
Dissertation is not just a research paper. You have to explain somehow the results of your research, and that is the time when you must come up with a theory that allows you to interpret the data. For that, you must transcribe and organize your data so you can handle it for analysis.
Step 5: Time to write!
Many students agree on saying it is easier to prepare a dissertation if you write at the same time you are doing the research. If you did so, great. If you did not organize your dissertation steps that way, now it is time to start writing. Check guidelines for dissertation contents and organization.
Step 6: Organizing your writing
For every dissertation, you must create a title page, a content page and an abstract. Do them after you have done most of your writing, they will allow you to correct your work and detect possible flaws. This is the part where you reference your work and quote appropriately every author whose works you have mentioned.
Step 7: Proofreading
After you are done, go back to the first paragraph and read all the dissertation carefully before handing it in. Get ready to defend your work. Attending a couple of defenses previously to your own it is highly recommended. Try to relax: you have worked a lot, you will do fine!