Composing a PhD dissertation - a list of tips

Any graduate student who has got to the stage of composing a PhD dissertation will know that this is a major undertaking. This is not a simple essay but rather something which will take a great deal of planning, preparation and creation. Those last three words are the key to your success. The better you plan and prepare the easier and more effective will be the creation of your PhD dissertation. Probably the best way to go about explaining it is to break down the planning, preparation and creation into various sections.

topic of the dissertation is vital

It goes without saying that the theme or topic of your PhD dissertation is vitally important. Never has it been so relevant as far as interest in the topic and desire to write about it are concerned. This is a major piece of prose and you need to have your heart in the right place. And alongside your choice of dissertation topic will be your choice of supervisor. This needs to be an academic who strongly supports you in your goal and the topic you have chosen. You will be working with your supervisor over a lengthy period of time and the easier your communication channels and ability to get along, the more successful you are likely to be.

Throughout your high school and college years you will have used an outline in creating an essay or research paper. This is doubly important now. You can spend a considerable amount of time in the planning or outline stage. In fact the outline becomes a mini work in itself. Make sure in the creation of your outline that you run it past your supervisor on a regular basis. It is better to create something simple and have it approved rather than go hell for leather and create the whole outline only to find that you've made a number of mistakes along the way.

Making sure you have the right physical equipment is seriously important. How will you find the files of your research material? What software program will you use to type the actual dissertation? Check all of these things before you start working because there may be better programs or better equipment which will make your task easier.

You must have a timetable. This needs to be detailed. This needs to show in specific detail where you should be on what particular day or in what particular week. The best way to start is with the final date, the time when you will hand in your PhD dissertation. Now you work backwards. You insert the milestones such as when you will start and finish your research, when you will write the first draft, when you will begin the editing and proofreading and all the other tasks associated with your dissertation. You can make different versions of your timetable putting one on the wall. Stick to your timetable.

writing style of your dissertation

Of course one of the most important things concerns the actual writing style of your dissertation. All of the above aspects have concerned the preparation and planning. But you need to discuss with your supervisor the writing style you will adopt. Then you must know the approximate number of words to be involved in your thesis. Yes it is a major undertaking but it will be a waste of time if you write too many or too few.

And finally there is the actual look of your PhD dissertation. What will be the presentation of the document? Again this will vary according to the topic but it is just one of the many things you will discuss in detail with your supervisor.

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