How to Write a Dissertation

By: Henrique Bertulino

21 min

5

05.25.2022

How to Write a Dissertation

Writing a dissertation might seem like a daunting task. It's time-consuming, energy-draining, and a long-drawn process - from research work to structuring, to finally writing it down. 

The trick to doing dissertation writing as a trouble-free process is to envision the big picture at the end of this grueling road. If you have a grasp on how to write a dissertation, your research work will be quite swift and smooth.

So, if you are kickstarting your dissertation writing journey, this article will walk you through everything you need to know!

How to Start a Dissertation? 

Academic works generally involve a lot of planning, researching, and outlining. And, it is undoubtedly the most challenging part of the process, too. 

You effectively must understand what your research is truly about. Then study and research all about it – essentially imbibing as much knowledge as possible. But more importantly, the process requires you to maintain a disciplined routine to finish working on dissertation.

It is hard, the first step of the process often is. After all, the rest of the writing depends on how you start your dissertation. Don’t forget, if you’re feeling stuck at any point, you can always reach out to reliable dissertation writing services such as Studybay to ease your stress!

Now, the question is: how to make a good dissertation?

Taking the initial step

The first step is to find a research topic. Ask yourself, what is the question, or set of questions, that you want to base your research upon. Your research topic needs to be articulate, unique, and essential. 

If it serves no purpose, asks no valuable questions, it's not worth spending hours of worthwhile effort on it. 

Once your research topic is precise and you have a solid understanding of the purpose it serves, next comes the research proposal. 

It essentially creates a base for the rest of your dissertation. 

So, what is a research proposal? Why is it so important?

Once you are assured about your topic, the next step is to convince your university to allow you to research on the same. A stamp approval from the university is essential before you proceed ahead. That’s where a research proposal comes in. 

The research proposal is what will convince your advisor, committee, or university that your research holds water and must be approved. For those of you who aren’t so confident about making the right impression with the proposal, you can seek assistance from the experts at Studybay to ensure you score well on it!

The three crucial things your research proposal needs

Now, a solid research proposal must indicate three things:

  1. Your research topic or research question has relevant significance, and your dissertation would add value to your field of research.
  2. You have done the necessary literature review or initial reading in your research field. It would give the impression that you understand what you are doing.
  3. You have a methodology plan in place, which typically means that you know where you will collect data and statistics.

At the proposal stage, all the details are not so meticulously crafted. It is simply where you convince the superiors that you have done your homework.

That said, your literature review must be such that you understand the gap between existing work available and how your research would help. 

Additionally, a solid methodology plan is also not required. But you must be aware if you would do quantitative or qualitative research and what all sources you would collect data from. 

Generally, a research proposal includes the following necessary details:

  • Dissertation title or topic of research
  • Objective: Write three objectives as a standard. An extensive list of objectives drives an impression that you don’t have a plan in place.
  • Literature: Depending on what your advisor wants, you can include the area of study, school of thought, and perhaps, a list of research references.
  • Methodology: This would specify if your research is empirical or non-empirical, plus the data collection methods and sources.
  • Expected Outcomes: This would include an explanation of potential outcomes that you expect at the end of this research.
  • Expected Time: It's essential to create a specific time frame, as per which you will deal with every stage of the dissertation. 

Once the proposal is written and approved, you can create a plan for your research. How to do dissertation research? Well, look for supporting sources and organize them according to priority. 

The more extensive your research, the better your dissertation!

When you hire experts at Studybay, you can rest assured that the experts in the subject will do the necessary research and draft a flawless dissertation for you to score good grades!

How to Structure a Dissertation? 

The structure of your dissertation will essentially form the base plan for the rest of your paper. Unlike an written essay or properly made research paper, a dissertation structure is a bit more complex. This structure needs to be divided into the exact title heading, subheadings, and following paragraphs. 

Since your dissertation will be an original piece of work, there will be complex ideas that you may need to discuss. So, the structure must also have space for personal opinions.

You cannot and should not jump into the writing part without a solid structure in place. 

This structure will allow you to create an organized working method, giving you space to showcase your talent and ability to the utmost. It will serve as a reminder at every step of the way so that you wouldn't forget to include any specific thing. 

At Studybay, the experts have ample experience as well as knowledge to guide you through and produce a dissertation structure that will impress your professors at the university. Also, the plus point here is, when you hire such reliable services, you can always get revisions done timely as per the comments from your professors.

More importantly, the dissertation structure will immensely simplify your writing process.

How to Write a Great Dissertation - Quick tips 

Here are some sure shot tips to help you create a solid dissertation structure:

  • Every dissertation stands tall on the shoulders of a research problem. So, your structure needs to include a proper statement problem and just not the definition. It would help to address why solving the problem is vital and its value for the readers.
  • Your dissertation structure must be mindful of the methodology. This part will include the overview of your project and the approach and data sources you will employ. If your methodology is weak, the reader may not find credibility in your paper.
  • The dissertation layout includes the actual research. But what is more important is what is the conclusion of your study. So, this structure must specify how you will frame your outcome.
  • The best dissertation structure is one where you have made a clear list of research resources. So, everything from past research papers to literature references will be included in this.
  • One of the critical parts of your dissertation structure is how you would draw the readers to a justified conclusion. It should be the most substantial part of your research that ties the entire thing together.
  • During the structuring process of the dissertation, it's vital that the writer defends his methodology and explains the pros and cons attached to it. It adds a logical validation to the overall research.

What to Include in a Dissertation?

Now, your advisor found substance in your research proposal and has thus approved it. You have a green signal, so you jump into research work. It’s vast, time-consuming, and laborious. 

What comes next? You need to know how to write an outline for a dissertation!

An outline for your project will answer your query about what you need to include in your dissertation.

If you have reached this point, the chances are that you have done a great job, and your head is in the right place. But writing is an arduous task. It needs proper planning and execution for you to end up with a full-fledged, resourceful thesis. 

It is why creating an outline becomes vital. It will provide you with a definitive direction that you can follow not to stray away from your research topic. Not to forget, you also have your research proposal at hand, which is as good as a preliminary outline for the project.

Here’s an idea for a basic outline and format of what your main dissertation project will include:

Introduction 

An introduction is what will give a complete overview of the project. It sets the tone for the rest of your work. 

In this introduction, you will specify the problem with its detailed background. Then comes a simple, clear statement of the research issue. Next, you will need to explain the purpose of the research and specific research questions you seek answers for. 

This very introduction will also clarify any specific terms related to the project. In the end, you will state your assumptions and the possible results of the research. 

Literature Review

This specific chapter will review all the relevant literature concerned with your field of research. You will explain your research process and enumerate significant acknowledgments, too.

Methodology

This chapter essentially underlines all your research resources and how you have utilized and implemented them in the study. 

If your research is quantitative-based, it will include research questions, hypotheses, sample numbers, and information regarding the population. It will also include the instruments you have used to collect and analyze the data.

In the case of qualitative research, the first two things – research questions and hypothesis – will remain the same. Besides that, it will include information about the participants, the setting involved, the process of collecting and analyzing the data. 

Findings

It is the most important chapter. Here, you will answer the research questions based on all the findings you made. This chapter will allow you to flaunt your intellectual capabilities and deep understanding of the field of research.

Conclusion

It is the final chapter of the dissertation. It will be a summary of your findings and results. It is where you will establish how important these results are and their impact on the academic community. 

Additionally, you would be required to make suggestions about further research and how it will clarify the issue some more. You can suggest the direction and form this future research may take.

Besides these crucial chapters, some additional chapters will form your overall dissertation paper. 

It will include:

Title page

It includes your name, the name of your advisor, the name of your university, the date, and most importantly, the dissertation title. It also contains a unique statement declaring how the dissertation is a submission to fulfill your specific degree.

Declaration

This part essentially addresses the copyright. So, a good list of references needs to be included to give due appreciation to all the research sources. Additionally, this will consist of the declaration about permission received to use all specific illustrations, images, tables, etc., used.

Abstract

The abstract is a quick summary of the entire dissertation paper. It will give your readers a fair share of ideas about what they would further read.

Acknowledgment

It comes after abstract. It includes a vote of thanks to everyone who contributed or helped you in any way to complete the dissertation. 

Content

It's a table of all the content titles with corresponding page numbers. After the content comes the meaty part of the dissertation, as discussed above.

References

At the end of the dissertation, you need to cite a list of all the references of your research sources.

Dissertation Writing Tips

Now you have a fair share of ideas about how to kickstart your dissertation process and the necessary things it will include. But, if you are still a little worried and wondering ‘how to build a good dissertation,’ here are some tips to help you out!

Commit to a Schedule

Writing a dissertation is very taxing and requires a lot of time. So, then, how to write a good dissertation? The best way to go about it is to create a schedule. 

Mark some deadlines for yourself. Decide when each chapter needs to be completed and how many pages you would write in a day. Select a couple of hours in your schedule every day to sit down and write.

If you are a morning person, choose the early hours to be most active and productive. If you work best in the evening, select your peak hours accordingly and do your best.

Stick to your schedule, for it will help you fight off procrastination as well!

Write, Write, Write

How to start writing a dissertation? Well, the only way to do so is through kickstarting the writing process. There is simply no other way around it. Now that you have a schedule in place sit down on your laptop and start typing.

The more you delay it, the worse headache it will give you. So, if you feel like you still need time to craft your argument, do it while you write! You might get the best ideas while typing your heart out, and you would never know until you get started.

Don’t Beat Yourself Up

A little flexibility in the schedule will go a long way. You might be the best writer there ever is, but there may be a time you hit writer's block. It's only natural. Don't be hard on yourself.

If you miss one of your deadlines, adjust your work and pace accordingly, and continue writing. 

Pro tip: When setting your deadlines, choose an earlier time than you generally would. This way, if you do miss a deadline, you will still have some buffer time.

Don’t Start with Introduction

Even though it's called introduction, it would be prudent to write it at the very last. Jump to the fundamental part of your dissertation first. It will give you a clear idea of what you are talking about. 

Moreover, if you write the introduction first, the chances are that your dissertation will evolve and change over months. It may not even look the way it did when you first started with it. In which case, you would have to re-do the introduction anyway.

So, write it at last. This way, you will be able to beautifully tie up your introduction and conclusion together, eliminating any possibility of loopholes. 

Give Yourself a Break

While writing a specific chapter, if you feel like your argument isn’t coming as you would like it to, just leave it. Move around, do something else and then come back to it later. Writer’s block is fairly common!

You could also write the more simple, straightforward part of the chapter, which requires less opinion and more fact stating. Then once your manageable sections are done, you may find it easier to write complex paragraphs.

Take Regular Feedbacks

How to write your dissertation without a hitch? Take feedbacks!

It’s the best way to avoid rewriting papers later. Send your work for feedback every step of the way. If your advisor is open to this idea, you can send every chapter for feedback. They will be able to spot any issues and advise you to do better ahead.

Plus, minor revisions along the way are far easier than having to do all the rewriting at the end.

Take Breaks

Writing is a creative activity. It makes the wheels in your brain churn constantly. It would be hard to produce quality work if you write over and above your chosen hours.

So, make sure to work only for limited hours of the day. It will help a burnout, and you will work more efficiently and write better. Take some breaks, make some plans, rejuvenate, and refresh yourself.

Don’t Put Pressure on Your First Draft

Wondering, ‘how to write a draft dissertation help?’ Well, you have to remember that your first draft will be imperfect. The sentences might not very well articulate your ideas. Your arguments might not make complete sense either.

The first draft is to lay out all the things in the open. From there, you can do several revisions to refine your work. So, don’t worry about your initial draft not being the best one!

If you still feel like you’re going to be stuck with it, or don’t have enough time at hand to do it all by yourself, it is always advisable to consult the experts in the field. You can reach out to Studybay and all the above-mentioned tips will automatically be taken care of, well in time!

The Perfect Dissertation Writing Guide for You

Now you might have a good grasp on how to structure, plan and find sources for your thesis at university. However, the key to writing a successful dissertation lies in various other factors as well. You need to focus on your topic, a catchy title, and dispel all doubts haunting you!

If you're interested in writing a dissertation that will be a page-turner, here's some dissertation writing advice for you. Keep these key pointers in mind, as these tips for writing your dissertation will take you far!

Pick a Research Topic which Interests You

If you don’t like what you’re writing about, chances are your work will reflect that completely! You need to find a topic that you find happiness engaging with. It would be best if you could also correlate your topic to the career aspirations you have. 

This will make it easier for you to establish yourself in your chosen field. In addition to this, your dissertation is your best opportunity to display your ideas. Your dissertation writing process should not feel like a chore!

A huge problem that students run into while writing their dissertation is that they can’t find the motivation to write it in the first place. Well, try to define the “why” of your writing. Why are you choosing to write about this? Why does the topic interest you? 

When you can justify the reason behind your writing your dissertation, everything else will quickly fall into place! Don't fret!

Cross-Check all your Requirements

Your dissertation is not just about you putting words together and hoping for the best. You need also to meet your university requirements and follow proper protocols. 

Before you even begin writing, intimate yourself with the following points:

  • The kind of academic writing prevalent in your field of interest
  • The word limit of your dissertation 
  • The deadline for submission
  •  Where you have to submit your final dissertation 

How to write a dissertation paper that’s foolproof? Here are a few more essential questions to ask yourself:

  • What is the structure that you need to follow?
  • Is the source material your using reliable and authentic?
  • How can you use multiple sources to your benefit?
  • What kind of analysis do you wish to give to present your ideas properly?

Outline your Goals for Clarity

So, you have found a topic that you love and are ready to write your dissertation! One of the most essential tips on how to do a dissertation successfully is that you should plan ahead of time. 

Clearly understand the following points to get clarity on your proposal:

  • How your research is relevant to your field of interest 
  • The introduction to your dissertation 
  • The literature review and methodology
  • How you’re planning your research on your chosen topic

When you have a clear plan, everything becomes a hundred times easier. You can stay on track, and you have a clear sight of your goals. 

When you outline your goals, also factor in the following criteria, so you don't waste any precious time:

  • All the reading and research that you need to do
  • How you will gather and analyze all the data 
  • Whether you will need to do any restructuring 
  • The multiple drafts you will need to draw up
  • Time for proofreading your dissertation
  • Whether you will be printing and binding your dissertation 

Keep Writing as you Go

You will never be able to climb a mountain in one night. Therefore, you should not try to write your entire dissertation in one night! When writing your dissertation, the whole task can sometimes seem too much.

Hence, the best way to make it easier on yourself is to dedicate a chunk of your time every single day to it. You can maybe write a hundred words on the days you’re feeling unproductive. On days you think you can conquer the world, you can aim for thousands of words.

Here are a few tips on how to write a great dissertation:

  1. Address everything necessary related to your topic
  2. Break everything down into sections
  3. Link all of your content to each other properly
  4. Use your writing to understand the topic at hand better
  5. Ensure your analysis and interpretation is clear
  6. Edit as you go as well
  7. Back up your files and make good research notes
  8. Maintain a list of all the sources you use
  9. Set up a meeting with your supervisor as and when required to assess your writing
  10. Keep track of your readings

Never Stop Questioning

How to write a successful dissertation? Well, you should continue questioning everything about your topic to maintain a critical mindset. When you are working on a dissertation, you can ask the following points to make your arguments stronger:

  • What is your source’s reasoning behind their explanation?
  • Are there other interpretations you can follow?
  • What is your reasoning for your understanding?

You should also state everything in your bibliography clearly and provide a ton of references. All of this will help make your dissertation one of the best! 

Editing is King

Are you someone who rushes through the editing stage because you're so done with writing your paper? The chances are that can be a fatal mistake on your part! The editing process is one of the most critical factors during the dissertation writing process. 

You should thoroughly edit to make sure your content is coherent and has a good structure. You want everything to be polished, don’t you? Just imagine a terrible misspelling in the very title of your thesis! That would be a total nightmare.

Also, don't forget to cite correctly. You have put in so much effort, reading and collecting data, don't let all that go to waste. Show everyone your hard work!

Still thinking, ‘How to write my dissertation?’ Well, the simplest way out is to reach out to Studybay, share your requirements, and sit back and relax while the experts help you out!

FAQ

How hard is it to write a Dissertation?

If your dissertation writing process has become a nightmare, chances are you're taking too much stress! A dissertation is indeed supposed to be the most challenging piece of writing you'll have to do as a student. However, it does not need to be unnecessarily complicated!

Still, if you need to know how to write a college dissertation or have to write your thesis, and if you’re feeling stuck with it, reach out to the professionals at Studybay for assistance.

How quickly can you write a Dissertation?

On average, it should take around 13 to 20 months to write your dissertation. 

However, the minimum time required to write a successful dissertation should be a handful of months in the least. Therefore, plan your time well. If circumstances are super dire, don't worry, you can still make it through! Nothing is impossible.

What parts does the dissertation Consist of?

If you’re working on a dissertation and are wondering about the various parts, here are all of them listed out for you:

  • Abstract
  • Introduction 
  • Methods of discussion
  • Conclusion
  • References/Bibliography

It's not at all difficult! You can see that there are five parts to a dissertation, and you can follow.

How long should a dissertation be?

The length of the dissertation depends on its type and can vary from discipline to discipline.

The average value is 150-300 pages. You need to check the guidelines provided by your university.

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Henrique Bertulino

Head of Customer Success

I'm a medical doctor and brand manager. The process of getting into Med school and studying at it made me learn and apply many strategies to keep my productivity high while spending less time and effort. As a working student, I had to figure out how to study smarter, not harder. During this period, my interest in neurology and psychiatry, as well as my aspiration to help others, intensified. At Studybay, I use my knowledge, skills, and experience to develop helpful solutions for students and make their study paths more productive and fun.

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