How to Write a Dissertation? Begin with our Guide

Those who want to advance their academic career and achieve its heights will eventually need to learn how to write a dissertation. This is an obligatory step for anyone who wants more in terms of educational and employment opportunities. Do not make the mistake of considering a dissertation a useless and time-consuming project. Its main purpose is to hone your research, critical thinking, analytical, and writing skills.

Dissertation Guide and Steps for Writing

While completing a paper that takes hundreds of pages may seem extremely complicated and even terrifying, general flow is similar for dissertation examples in any subject. The main trick here is to start as each separate step is comparatively small and can be completed easily enough, contributing to an impressive final result. 

What Is a Dissertation Paper? 

Basic definition always includes terms “formal writing” and “academic research” as these elements are what constitute the major part of working on dissertation. Whether it is an undergraduate or PhD dissertation example, other elements are similar for all of them and this is a requirement to develop a new perspective based on the gap in existing knowledge.

Find a Valuable Research Topic and Questions

If one thinks of how to start a dissertation, the preparation stage must always focus on a unique perspective on a topic that is important as well as interesting to you so that you can develop specific research questions. If you find the chosen dissertation topic boring, the dissertation writing is a much more demanding and even depressing process since it is a long document that is expected to be written over a considerable time span. Your work should begin with brainstorming on what useful or new this piece of writing brings into the world. Your best idea should crystallize in research topic that follows these requirements:

  • Uniqueness. Dissertation’s core idea is to present something that was not discussed before or to fill in the gap in existing knowledge. For example, many scholarly articles were written about communication gaps in families though you may focus on the new context that’ll add new aspects into this field. Consider reviewing the influence of lockdowns due to COVID-19 on mentioned communication gaps.

  • Importance. Writing a doctoral dissertation cannot be completed just because you are interested in the topic, it must also contribute to your sphere’s development. Conducting research and answering original research questions related to previously mentioned communication gaps in a new context of pandemic-related lockdowns might bring something new in psychological, sociological, or counseling fields as this context was not available when previous pieces of research were completed. You may find out the need for a new training technique or specific psychological phenomenon that requires more data gathering. 

  • Clarity. Even such an extensive project as a Ph.D. dissertation should not be too broad as it means ambiguity and lack of focus. If you want to know how to write your dissertation, you must clearly understand what exactly you are researching, what is your context, and what are you attempting to achieve, apart from an A grade of course. Narrow down your topic and be as precise as possible. Avoid vague statements as this is not a reflective paper but a formal academic writing task. 

Write a Dissertation Proposal First 

Once brainstorm process is complete and you have both the valuable topic and research questions you want to focus on, it is time to move on. All professors usually provide enough materials and tips and submitting a proposal for approval is among the first tasks to be done.

You are not expected to read all sources you have found or write a long portion of your paper. Writing a dissertation proposal is more a preliminary step intended to prevent you from wasting time and efforts on something redundant. Your instructor most likely wants to see the following aspects covered within one or two pages:

  • Signs of conducted research and reviewed literature in the chosen field that allowed you to identify a gap or something unique worthy of further research.

  • Your ability to develop clear and focused topics and research questions.

  • Ideas related to suggested approach or methodology and whether you intend to do qualitative or quantitative analysis.

  • Data collection procedure.

While this is a separate and usually quite a short paper, it is immensely important for further productive work. The entire dissertation and months of your work depend on this task. And if you don’t know how to write a dissertation step by step, it makes sense to hire the best dissertation writing services at this stage so that the most effective topic and methodology are suggested. Hired experts provide the suggested literature to be utilized during subsequent steps.

Develop a Strong Introduction Chapter

Once everything is approved, you may proceed with expanding your research proposal and starting your entire writing process. Do not let average dissertation length terrify and demoralize you. Completed proposal already secured the base for all major chapters in this huge work but now your task requires simply starting with introducing a developed topic to a reader more extensively. Every dissertation writing guide provided by instructors require these obligatory elements:

  • General background that introduces research areas.

  • Problem statement that describes the lack of knowledge based on currently available research and defines your subject.

  • Significance of prospective dissertation that justifies why the identified gap can be filled in by your findings.

  • Research questions that narrow down and focus your study on certain aspects you expect to cover.

This is basic dissertation structure that is sufficient for majority of papers and the first step in turning dissertation plan introduced in the proposal into a comprehensive piece of writing. The main point here is to ensure your hypothesis is testable, and you’ll manage to prove it using arguments from both previous studies and your own research.

Review Scholars’ Work and Compile Your Focused Literature Review

This step cannot be omitted if you are looking for guidelines on how to write a PhD dissertation since identifying gaps in existing bulk of research is impossible without reviewing the said research and available scholarly studies. Hiring the best paper writing services on this step allows saving tremendous time required for search and reading all selected sources as writing experts conduct this search for you and select the most appropriate articles and books that’ll be utilized in completed dissertation.

Extensive search and reading process will eventually result in coherent and precise summary of the current state of knowledge in the chosen area. Many people allow one serious mistake to happen though: they just review each source one by one in separate paragraphs. This is definitely not a way of how to do a dissertation as its literature review section must follow the following requirements:

  • Each body paragraph in this section should have a specific topic sentence that is unfolded later.

  • Each paragraph should consist of synthesized knowledge gathered from different sources.

  • Literature review requires multiple references to utilized sources since using scholars’ findings without authors’ acknowledgment is the primary thing to avoid in academic research.

Another mistake is that students are convinced they should read everything related to their research topic. This is a harmful approach that prevents you from proceeding to your own research. Literature review’s main aim is to allow you to identify and understand potential limitations in chosen areas that you can attempt to eliminate by writing your dissertation. Your analytical and research skills are evaluated here rather than the ability to read a bazillion articles. If you know how to write a dissertation you’ll feel more confident at work since any major research project or complex task is much easier: you have already seen and experienced all the basic steps.

You could probably already name one more critical mistake that could lead to a failing grade for this part of work or even entire project. Many students still do not manage to avoid this major problem which is related to the chosen sources’ type. Gather literature should be acceptable for this writing task and students must focus on scholarly peer-reviewed articles and books to gather information. Websites other than governmental and educational ones should not be used or included sparingly in case your topic justifies their use. Always ask your instructor and librarian before writing your dissertation for assistance as mistakes at this stage result in severe issues with other parts. Hiring writing experts who already obtained a degree in a chosen area of research will be extremely beneficial as they already know what sources should be utilized and where to find them. 

Design a Rigorous Research Strategy and Conduct Research

Now you finally should know what people do not know yet or what aspect requires additional research due to changed or new context. It is high time to start focusing on your own contribution to the field, which is why you asked how to write a doctorate dissertation and, most importantly, already found out why you need this. 

Methodology chapter requires much attention and careful work because flawed content in this part undermines the quality of the entire work and all efforts you put into research. Ensure you followed these steps to writing a dissertation methodology chapter:

  • Identifying chosen research philosophy such as positivism.

  • Discussing research methods that were introduced earlier in the proposal such as qualitative or quantitative approach. You may utilize mixed methods.

  • Introducing your way of collecting data such as surveys or experiments.

  • Presenting chosen data analysis methods such as correlation analysis or other relevant strategies.

This section highly depends on your initial research topic and questions that completed dissertation intends to answer. Some approaches may be completely useless for research purposes in specific areas and some answers require only qualitative or only quantitative methods. Previously mentioned examples that utilizes lockdown-related context and communication gaps in families could be effectively covered if you apply qualitative approach, define settings, participants, and utilize relevant data analysis processes. The main reason justifying methodology’s choice is that there might not be enough statistical data to be used in quantitative dissertation. 

Present the Findings of Your Research and Answer Your Research Questions

Collecting and preparing data for subsequent analysis takes a lot of time so it is impossible to narrow down your research to one simple chapter. Dissertation guidelines usually require two chapters for this part though sometimes instructors request just one chapter that wraps up your findings and presents the analysis. Please be attentive to specific requirements provided by your university. Let’s discuss required components separately though:

Analysis chapter. This is the part where you provide obtained data collected using the methodology from the previous chapter but refrain from interpreting it yet. This chapter includes all processed and received numbers in case you used a quantitative method. This approach is beneficial because you stick to objective representation of conducted research. Assigned instructors or other readers review the data you gather and represent it in a neat manner independently prior to reviewing further interpretations.

Discussion chapter. This could be treated as the essence of your dissertation writing process since you are expected to demonstrate how you can interpret obtained results considering your research questions and whether you can actually achieve what you intended to achieve since the proposal stage. You need to answer research questions you outlined initially as this is main purpose of dissertation writing.

Proceed to Conclusion and Include Implications

If you ever read guides on how to write dissertations you probably noticed that implications are obligatory elements in the concluding chapter. Wrapping up the research is not something new, it is the element that can be found in any regular academic paper but dissertations, especially PhD-level ones, go beyond these requirements and need your critical thinking skills’ application here as well. You should not only interpret the findings in Discussion part and summarize everything in Conclusion but also explain what these findings mean for chosen sphere or how they could shape future research.

Edit and Proofread the Dissertation

Even though you now know what is dissertation writing, this process is long and complicated and cannot be completed in a week before submission. Even final review and proofreading require enough time as the final manuscript should be entirely error-free so that checking dissertation editing services reviews and hiring professionals who can eliminate all grammar or spelling issues is a great idea and additional investment in the impressive outcome. Besides, writing experts may suggest additional content improvements that will contribute to overall readability and research effectiveness.

Another major component that is often overlooked is proper formatting. Dissertation must be consistent in terms of not only choice of font and size but primarily citation style. It is a good idea to review the final draft and make sure all citations follow the same style, for example when citing dissertation APA, and general layout requirements are followed. This is especially important in case you requested writing expert’s assistance for specific manuscript’s parts. Do not think that formatting errors won’t affect the grade if the content is ideal. The opposite is true, a dissertation project is all about details, and neglecting small issues affect the general impression. Besides, formatting issues such as absence of in-text citations are dangerous as they are treated as plagiarism and this may ruin your entire academic career. 

Get Positive Feedback: You Know How to Write a Dissertation Now

Congratulations! There is one thing you should be aware of though: professors won’t accept your final draft as it is. The entire idea of dissertation writing presupposes constant revisions in attempts to achieve perfection. Remember that professors do not request revisions just because they like to make students’ life harder. Dissertation writing process develops strong analytical skills and attentiveness to details and these skills cannot be mastered during the first attempt.

Obtaining positive feedback about writing a dissertation, instructor’s approval, and suggestions on how to make things better are essential at every stage so that we recommend developing a schedule that will include all steps required for dissertation’s completion and completing them one by one. Thinking about the entire work to be done may be painful. Proceeding with a manageable part that will be included in this huge paper later is more motivating. This way you’ll receive instructor’s comments during all steps and prevent research going in the wrong direction. Nobody wants to re-do a substantial part that includes several chapters because they could not get professor’s feedback in early stages. 

Final Requirements

Knowing how to write a dissertation is not enough as dissertation process requires much time, energy, and constant learning during the entire process. Should you follow this path yourself or request assistance on any of the mentioned stages, remember to follow writing guides strictly and stick to your intended research topic and questions as it is very easy to get distracted and lose focus during such a long project.

Posted by Diana B., August 03, 2021