How to write a dissertation worth the highest grade: a step-by-step guide for students
What does writing a dissertation look like? Is it similar to the usual essay creation? Academic writing is undeniably one of the most challenging assignments learners have to deal with. While some of them have enough motivation, skills, and knowledge to succeed with usual essays or reports, they still fail with the dissertation writing.
What makes the process that complicated? It presupposes profound research, thorough analysis of the background information, presentation of relevant facts and reasonable statements, and compliance with all the college requirements. Are you ready to look through some of the most effective tips and guidelines on how to write a dissertation? Or are you searching for an opportunity to avoid spending time on the daunting writing process?
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What is a dissertation?
Writing a dissertation is a challenge for learners with limited knowledge, skills, and experience. Are you concerned about how to write a dissertation? The work on the project should start with basics. What is a dissertation? It is a type of academic writing project that is longer than a usual essay and is based on authentic research performed by the student. As you analyze some of the dissertation examples, you can notice solid research, analysis, and writing skills required for the achievement of success.
Are you ready to dive into the process of dissertation writing? Once you are aware of the definition, you can proceed to other specifications of the paper. Follow detailed guidelines to come up with a consistent and well-structured paper worth appreciation.
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Difference between a thesis and a dissertation
Writing a dissertation, students need to pay attention to little details that can affect the quality of the project. The similarities and differences between a dissertation and a thesis should be taken into account.
A dissertation is a lengthy academic paper that is based on the research conducted by a student. This type of work is conducted by learners who strive to get a Ph.D.
A thesis is another type of scholarly paper, but it is accomplished mainly by learners who are working on their bachelor’s or master’s degree. A thesis helps learners showcase their expertise within the field.
Analyzing numerous thesis and dissertation examples, students will notice the major difference. A thesis statement emphasizes the information from existing research, while the dissertation focuses on a new one. Additionally, there are a few other discrepancies learners should mind as they proceed to dissertation writing.
- A dissertation is longer than a thesis
- A dissertation requires a proven hypothesis
- A dissertation presupposes a longer presentation
How long is a dissertation?
Once you are aware of the key discrepancies between a dissertation and a thesis, you are ready to proceed to the analysis of other specifications that may influence the writing process. When it comes to writing a dissertation, there is no universal length requirement that should be met. Instead, it can depend on numerous factors, such as a degree, college, country, field of study, and topic of the project. At the same time, if you look through any dissertation template, you will hardly find a paper of less than 30 pages.
Therefore, writing your dissertation, you should follow the requirements specified by your professor. If none, then you should stay within the average page count.
- Bachelor’s: 35-50 pages
- Master’s: 65-80 pages
- PhD: 200-300 pages
Although these numbers are approximate, dissertation writing still seems to be a major assignment that requires much time, effort, and expertise.
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Dissertation structure and requirements
A flawless dissertation structure is an element that is critical for the creation of an influential and academically relevant paper. Analyzing sample dissertations available on the web, it is possible to conclude that a dissertation's structure may vary a bit, depending on the formatting style, college requirements, and other aspects. At the same time, some elements are mandatory and should never be skipped. Check out a comprehensive list of all the dissertation elements that may be required in your paper.
- Dissertation title. Analyze the requirements specified by your professor, or surf the web to search for relevant ideas. Stay specific in formulating the heading of the work. Here are a few examples of relevant dissertation topics: “Digital age and ethics,” “Social idea of normality and body image,” and “Nihilism and modern internet culture.” Once you are done with the choice, do research and come up with a relevant dissertation proposal.
- Acknowledgment. This is an optional section that contains information about people who helped the student to work on the research and dissertation.
- Abstract. Give a brief summary of the dissertation, which will not exceed 500 words. Specify the basics without giving too many details.
- Table of contents. The section lists all the healings and subheadings mentioned in the dissertation with the corresponding page numbers.
- Introduction. The introductory part sets up the topic of the research and gives the background information on it. The meaningful thesis statement is one of the basic elements to be included here.
- Literature review. All the primary and secondary data sources you use in the dissertation should be mentioned here. The student should estimate these sources and comment on them.
- Methodology. This dissertation section focuses on the way the research was conducted, which is supposed to add to the credibility of the work. The student should stay specific, mentioning the methods used for data collection, analysis, and processing. Additionally, it is indispensable to mention all the writing tools used in the research.
- Results. This chapter of the dissertation is critical as it emphasizes the main findings of the research. The main task of the student here is to present an original analysis of the theme backed up with visual aids.
- Discussion. The discussion section is aimed at contextualizing the findings specified in the previous chapter. Emphasize the meaning of the data for the topic and its credibility within the theoretical framework. Mention all the unexpected and surprising results you came across during the research and share your personal opinion on the details of the research. Keep in mind that transparency is a key to the creation of a credible dissertation that is interesting to read and analyze.
- Conclusion. The final part of the dissertation should sum up the key chapters of the work, reestimate the thesis, and mention the clear answer to the research question. New information should not be included in the passage. Instead, reiterate the findings and emphasize the perspectives for further research on the subject matter.
- Bibliography. Also known as a Reference Page or Works Cited, it is a part of a dissertation that consists of a comprehensive list of all the sources used in the dissertation. This part of the paper may differ depending on the citation style used. Nonetheless, detailed information about the author of the cited work, its publishing date, and other aspects should be included in order to avoid plagiarism.
- Appendices. Have you used supplemental materials in your dissertation? They should be included in this section. No matter if these are maps, explanations of some ideas, interview transcripts, or other elements, they should be mentioned in the Appendices.
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How to write a dissertation
Writing a dissertation is a complicated process that takes a lot of time and requires profound knowledge of the field and comprehensive writing skills. An understanding of the writing process may aid the process and make it a bit simpler and more consistent. Check out a step-by-step guide to dissertation writing and follow the plan to thrive with the undertaking.
Choose the topic
The choice of the dissertation topic is the first step to the creation of a meaningful, well-structured, and consistent paper worth the highest grade. The research theme should not only be meaningful and coherent but also interesting and appealing. Follow the requirements of your professor or choose the paper topic that seems appealing and up-to-date.
Start with the research
Have you selected the dissertation topics in education, or are you working on the project in other fields? Deep and profound research is halfway to the achievement of the desired result. You will not have a chance to answer the research question if you are not aware of little details that can have critical meaning.
The pre-writing stage should never be skipped, as it is the basis of the whole research and dissertation writing. Analyze all the sources that are related to the topic of your research. Focus on the credible and substantial findings and prevalent theories that will guide you through the process.
At this stage, you need to come up with a research proposal and an approximate dissertation structure that will assist you during the other stages of work. Review the primary and secondary sources and learn as much about the topic as possible so that you will enhance your chances of succeeding with the undertaking.
Outline the dissertation
A research paper outline is an indispensable part of the writing process. It helps to keep the project structured and consistent. The outline is not a part of the dissertation, but it is a detail learners should not skip, as it is exceptionally helpful for the organization of the process. The dissertation outline should cover the basics of the chapters that will further be included in the paper. Make notes that will help you develop meaningful ideas later in dissertation writing.
Write the first draft
Dissertation writing is a long process that can take months. Get ready for a time-consuming process, dividing the overall process into a few stages. The prominence of an outline should not be underestimated at this stage, as it may serve as a guide to the achievement of an impeccable result.
What are the aspects to pay attention to while writing a dissertation? First of all, the relevance of the presented information. Avoid outdated sources that present irrelevant findings. Come up with an appealing and engaging introductory part that provides the audience with the topic of the research and some of its specifications. Although you do not want to unveil all the details, make sure you include some arguments that will make readers anticipate reading the body part.
The main body of the dissertation should be divided into a few paragraphs, each introducing a different idea. Keep the concepts linked using the corresponding words, phrases, and sentences. Sum up the results of the research and write a comprehensive conclusion. Mention the perspective for further studies and analysis of the topic.
Edit and proofread the paper
Once you are done with the dissertation draft, the work on the project is not over. It is indispensable to check the project for mistakes, typos, and data inaccuracies that could affect its quality. Take a quick break before you scan the text once again. Go through the dissertation multiple times or use online tools that will help to detect grammar mistakes, misspellings, typos, and other types of errors.
Additionally, pay attention to the structure of the paper. Include the linking words and transition phrases that keep the text consistent and coherent. Proper formatting that complies with the requirements is also a must.
Defend the dissertation
In the vast majority of instances, students are required to present their dissertation orally to the panel of experts. The dissertation defense is a stressful experience, but not if you are convinced about the quality and efficiency of your research. Come up with a consistent presentation of the research basics so that you enhance your chances of answering all the questions without stumbling.
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Dissertation writing checklist
The final stages of work on the dissertation are critical, as they help to avoid certain mistakes that can influence the overall quality of the paper and its relevance. Go through the checklist before you submit your project so you are 100% sure you have included all the essential elements.
- The paper is structured and formatted in compliance with requirements.
- The dissertation topic is relevant and up-to-date.
- The title page includes the critical information required by the college.
- There is an acknowledgment part where people who participated in the dissertation writing process are mentioned.
- The abstract sums up the dissertation and provides a clear idea of the key arguments and results.
- There is a table of contents that simplifies the navigation through the dissertation.
- The introductory passage is engaging and informative. It emphasizes the relevance of the research.
- Research questions, objectives, and dissertation structure are highlighted in the introduction.
- During the literature review, relevant data sources were analyzed, the existing research was evaluated, and other critical aspects were estimated.
- The methodology is thoroughly explained, as well as the process of data collection and analysis.
- The results of the research are objectively stated in the corresponding passage.
- The discussion section contains comprehensive information about the prominence of the results.
- The conclusion includes the answer to the key research question.
- The implications of the conclusion are stated and explained.
- Reasonable recommendations are provided for future practice and perspective research.
- Appendices are filled with supplemental information.
- All the sources mentioned in the dissertation are included in the reference list.
Following the information specified in the detailed dissertation writing guide, students have an opportunity to thrive with their assignments. Start with the basics and proceed to more specific aspects as you work on your project. Keep in mind that a lot of time, effort, and motivation are needed for the achievement of flawless results. Take little steps and stay focused on every stage of work if you want to avoid burnout, and prefer to stay inspired instead.
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