Dissertation Writing: Techniques That Always Work

Writing a dissertation is one of the most complicated, challenging assignments that a student will ever face. Before the student can get their master's or doctoral degree, they must finish their assignment and complete the oral defense. To make sure that this process is completed efficiently and correctly, students should use the following tips.

Always Set Deadlines

In a doctoral program, the student may be given years to complete their dissertation. While this may seem like a long time period, the months will pass much faster than the student expects them to. From the first day of their degree program, the student should create a schedule and a goal list for their project. They should set weekly, monthly and daily goals for finishing research, creating an outline and writing the paper.

Once the research and outlining process are complete, the student should set daily milestone goals for writing their paper. Depending on the length of the assignment and the time period, students may want to set a goal of 200 to 1,500 words per day. If the outline is well-written, both of these goals are fairly easy to accomplish.

You Do Not Have to Start at the Beginning

The introduction to the paper covers everything that the student will address in their argument. Often, it is difficult to know what will be included or what the argument is about until the student has actually finished their work. Due to this, many students can benefit by beginning their project in the section that they know best. Later on, the student can always return to the introduction or harder sections once they are more familiar with the topic. The main goal is to get writing and meet daily milestones. As long as the student is moving in the right direction, it does not matter which section they start with first.

Ask for Feedback Constantly

For a dissertation, the student will be paired with an academic adviser who is supposed to help them with all of their work. The academic adviser has already completed all of their degrees and essays, so they know exactly what type of problems that students should look out for. Instead of wasting months of time on research materials that do not actually help, students can save time by asking their adviser immediately for help.

As the project continues, students should go back to their academic adviser at least every two weeks for feedback. The academic adviser can help with the editing process, spot flaws in the student's argument and prepare them for an oral defense. Due to this, feedback from an academic adviser is exceptionally important for students who want to do well on this assignment.

Take Time Off

When a writing assignment takes months or years to complete, no one expects the student to sit down and do all of it in one session. It is normal to have problems or need breaks. While a break may seem like a waste of time, it is actually a useful way for the student to relax and let their mind process everything that they have learned. Breaks should be incorporated into every hour of work. During this time, the student should relax, watch television, do chores, exercise or do anything that gets them thinking about something other than their assignment.

In addition to taking regular breaks during work, students may benefit from taking a vacation from their schoolwork. This is especially useful once the writing stage is complete. Most people cannot edit their own writing, and they need to approach their work with fresh eyes to effectively edit it. When the student creates their schedule and goals for the project, they should factor in a period of a few weeks between writing and editing for their mind to relax. Once the student returns to their dissertation work, they will be able to edit with fresh eyes and catch errors that they otherwise would have missed.