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How to Write a Dissertation for University Graduation

After years of pursuing your dream program in your dream university, you are almost coming to the end of your master’s, bachelor’s, or Ph.D. The only thing standing between you and your success now is that dissertation your professor assigned you recently.

Despite having enough time, you’re yet even to take a look at it because you just don’t know how to write a dissertation. Well, guess what? You’re not alone. Even A-list students dread dissertations. Nearly half of graduate students end up ABDs.

The good news is you won’t be one. This well-detailed guide on writing a dissertation will not only help you get started but guide you every step of the way, so you complete it to perfection.

What is a Dissertation?

Before we dive in, what exactly is it, and how does it differ from other forms of assessments you handle during your academic program such as thesis writing?

A dissertation is a long academic project based on independent research that students take as part of either an undergrad or postgrad degree.

 It is the longest and the most substantial piece of academic work that a doctoral, masters or Ph.D. student will ever do. Dissertation writing allows the student to showcase the independent research skills they’ve amassed throughout their studies.

Dissertation vs. Thesis; The Differences and Similarities

While most people use dissertation and doctoral thesis interchangeably, the two also have definite differences and refer to entirely different assessments.

To master thesis paper or dissertation writing, you must understand the disparity. Below is a brief breakdown of the similarities and differences between the two.

Dissertation vs. Thesis Writing; Similarities

The similarities between a doctoral thesis and a dissertation are as shown;

–          Both Call for a Proposal

Part of writing a thesis paper and a dissertation involves learning how to write a master proposal. For instance, you’re only allowed to start if your dissertation proposal is approved.

–           Both Require Guidance

Although both dissertation and thesis writing involves research, students handling these assessments are often assigned a mentor. The mentor may be another professor within the same discipline or a fellow student.

The mentor guides and gives them their opinion on the research plan, the data collection process, and even in writing. The student is, in turn, expected to mention their mentor as a contributor to their dissertation or doctoral thesis research.

–          They have a Similar Structure

The primary similarity between a doctoral thesis and a dissertation lies in the structure. Both assessments have an introduction, a literary review, the main body, the conclusion, the bibliography, and even the appendix. So, if you know how to write a thesis paper, your dissertation writing learning curve becomes less steep.

Dissertation vs. Thesis; Differences

Some of the differences between a dissertation and a doctoral thesis include;

–          Aim of Writing

The point of thesis writing is to prove a student’s knowledgeability on what they learned during their graduate program. A dissertation, on the other hand, tests a student’s independent research skills. It also allows the student to contribute new theories or knowledge to their area of study.

–          Sources of Information

Part of learning how to write a thesis paper involves proving your knowledgeability on a particular topic(s) you handled during your course.

Therefore, it involves using critical skills to come up with original research. In a dissertation, you’re merely contributing new ideas to your field of study, which means you can use already existing research.

Helpful Tips on Writing a Dissertation

1.    Familiarize Yourself with Your Professor’s Requirements

The thin line between exemplary dissertation writings writers and those who fail is the ability to observe instructions and general requirements.

Whether you’re learning for your actuarial science Ph.D. or writing a top-notch humanity dissertation, the key to success is understanding what is expected of you.

Before you put pen to paper, familiarize yourself with how dissertations in your discipline are structured. What is the word count? How many sources are considered appropriate? Where and when should you submit your essay? This allows you to start your thesis on the right foot.

2.    Choose Your Research Topic Wisely

Want to avoid feeling as if writing a dissertation is a burden? Then take the time to choose your dissertation topic wisely. Don’t just accept any topic you come across, carefully assess your options, and select an item you are genuinely interested in for your dissertation.

When you choose a topic, you’re passionate about. You feel more inclined to work on your dissertation. You’re more likely to come up with unique ideas that’ll significantly change how other scholars perceive the research topic and greatly contribute to your field of study.

Sure, there are days you’ll feel as if you’re clueless on how to write a dissertation, but being passionate about that topic you chose will help you stay on track.

You’ll not find using your free time to write it burdensome, and when you finally finish it, you’ll find more fulfillment than someone who took on a topic they don’t understand.

Besides, a dissertation is way too long and complicated to be stuck with a topic you dislike. Make sure whichever problem you pick is neither too broad nor too narrow, so you can reduce the amount of time you spend on data collection.

3.    Create a Dissertation Proposal

Once you find the perfect topic, you don’t just jump on writing the dissertation. Part of the learning process involves learning how to come up with a solid dissertation proposal.

It describes your area of research and serves as an opportunity to convince your professor or the committee members of your Ph.D. program that the topic you’ve chosen is worthwhile.

The dissertation proposal should be in the present tense, and usually follows the same format as the actual dissertation.

Just as with the dissertation introduction, the proposal’s introduction briefly summarizes the concepts and issues that the research question addressed. Once you nail the introduction, writing the rest of your proposal becomes easier. 

4.    Collect Data

If your dissertation proposal is accepted, you have the green light to start working on your dissertation. Data collection should be your next stop.

If you want to learn how to write a dissertation, ensure you know how to collect factual data as well. Look for relevant and highly authentic sources of data.

You can start at your university’s library. If you’re having problems finding a particular piece of the puzzle, don’t hesitate to respectfully ask the staff at your facility’s library for help.

If you are using the internet, use reliable and authentic student data sources such as Research Gate and Google Scholar.

5.    Create an outline

With your data ready, it’s now time to get to work. However, don’t just jump on things aimlessly. Create an outline for your dissertation first. The best dissertation writings writers always craft an outline because it serves as a guideline for their dissertation.

It helps them track their progress, avoid repetition, and ensure no essential point is left out.

Note, an outline is different from a proposal. Whereas a proposal describes your area of research, an outline is just a sketch to help you put your ideas together, and guide you through the writing process.

6.    Time to Write

With your outline ready, you are now all set to start writing a dissertation. Utilize your dissertation outline to the fullest, make good use of your mentor, and the resources at your disposal.

Make sure your ideas flow clearly and concisely and that your dissertation adheres to your discipline’s guidelines. You should also understand its structure.

Know exactly what goes into section and what you should avoid. Suppose you don’t, then worry not because we’ve highlighted parts of a dissertation not far below.

7.    Proof Read and Edit

Proofreading and editing are what differentiates the best dissertation writings, writers, from poor writers.

Carefully analyze each section of your dissertation to confirm that the ideas presented are coherent and are presented appealingly. Most people recommend finishing your dissertation first before you proofread and edit.

This is an excellent idea because going through something you wrote months or weeks earlier gives you a fresh perspective and a new take on things.

The Structure of a Dissertation

As noted at the beginning, this guide aims at helping you become an exemplary dissertation writings writer and, as such, includes the nitty-gritty of how to write a dissertation. Knowing how to structure your dissertation is part of it, which is why discussed below is the general structure of a thesis.

1. The Title Page

Your title page gives the reader a subtle idea of what your dissertation entails and details of the person behind it. It should include the main title of your essay, your name, your institution, your academic discipline, and the submission date.

In some institutions or academic programs, you’ll be required to include the student ID and your professor’s name.

2. The Abstract

The abstract serves as a very brief summary of your dissertation. It’s like the initial dissertation introduction. It’s usually 150-300 words, and it’s what the reader uses to determine whether the contents of the dissertation is of any interest to them.

You may craft an excellent dissertation, but these 150-300 words that’ll capture the attention of your professor or the committee members. Ensure you give it your best shot.

3. Acknowledgments

This is an optional section, which is why you should include it. Most students don’t, so including it helps set your dissertation apart. Mention any mentors who helped you through the process.

4. The Table of Contents

The table of contents should include all the dissertation sections, subheadings, and even page numbers. It makes it easy for your professor or committee members to navigate your dissertation.

5. The Dissertation Introduction

The dissertation introduction sets the tone for the rest of the document. You’ve managed to capture the attention of your reader at the abstract, so make sure you don’t lose them here.

Describe the aim and objectives of the research and the context.

Ensure your dissertation introduction inspires interest by explaining what motivated you to work on that particular research question or even how you handled the limitations during your research.

Note, a dissertation introduction is typically two pages long. So, be clear and relevant, and at the same time, engaging.

6. Literature Review

The purpose of this section is to justify or explain how your research question fits into your existing field of study.

It should show how your research question addresses an existing gap in your field of study, contributes to existing knowledge, and how it may resolve an existing problem.

7. Methodology

In the methodology section, dissertation writings writers describe how they conducted their research.

Use this section to explain your approach to the research question, any of the data collection methods you used, how you analyzed your data, any difficulties you encountered and how you overcame them and even who, when and where the research took place.

8. Results

The purpose of the results section is to report the findings of your research. As with all other chapters, it should be clear and concise.

9. The Discussion

The discussion is the heart of your dissertation. It’s the reason why most students find themselves looking for answers on how to write a dissertation.

Discuss the implications of your findings on the research question, your field of study, and how your results will contribute to the existing knowledge on the research topics. It’s in this section that you recommend your ideas on future research.

However, be careful not to include any new information.  

10. Dissertation Conclusion

Here, you summarize your deductions from your findings. You explain how well your research answered the topic and clearly state your stand on the topic. This way, the reader won’t be left wondering what your central argument was or what your research tried to address.

11. Reference List

On the reference list, you include complete details of all the data sources you used in writing a dissertation. Ensure you follow the recommended citation style. Most programs use APA, MLA, and Harvard, so ensure you familiarize yourself with the required style.

Ace Your Dissertation Today

Students dread writing a dissertation because it’s not only lengthy. Still, they are also the first time they’re entirely on their own.

It’s the first time they get a taste of what it’s like to start an entire project from scratch without anyone telling them what to do, yet most of them don’t even know how to write a dissertation.  

If you find yourself getting cold feet, remind yourself that this piece of writing is crucial to your degree or Ph.D. program. It’s the bridge between students and scholars. Remember, there’s no shame in getting help.

So, don’t hesitate to consult your mentor, fellow students, or get help from our highly professional dissertation

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