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How to Write Dissertations: Using Appropriate Tone and Style


One must be mindful of their tone and style when writing a dissertation. This rule puts certain constrictions on the author, but they are only designed to improve the quality of the text. Should you not comply, even a well-structured paper with rich content will be seen as lacking.

The first thing one must do to avoid this kind of problem is understanding what exactly the style and tone of a dissertation are.

  • Style:

    This quality defines the way in which the paper is written, as opposed to its actual meaning. The connection between these two concepts is very strong because the writing style will influence the readers’ perceptions of the paper’s meaning.

    There are predetermined rules of style that one must learn and comply with when working on any piece of academic writing. If you aren’t sure what kind of style you are allowed to use in the dissertation, consult your professor.

  • Tone:

    The attitude you display in your paper is called “tone”. Basically, it is an aspect of the style that determines whether the dissertation is appropriate. Tone can be subjective, objective, emotional, impersonal, humorous, serious, logical, intimate, or distant.

    Tone is not determined by the length of sentences. It is partly affected by your individual word choice, but the main impact comes from the combinations of the words.

    One must maintain the tone that is appropriate for the type of paper they write. For a dissertation, this will always be a formal tone.

Every author of a dissertation must understand that under certain circumstances, they may have some room for self-expression by bending the rules of tone and style. However, these instances are rare, and must be carefully analyzed before you include it into your academic paper.

Pointers for Writers

In order to make it easier for you to determine and maintain the required tone and style, you can use the following tips.

  • Think of how much your audience will know about your subject.

    This will allow you to determine how many specialized terms you can include, and how long your explanations of different points should be.

  • Find out how your future audience feels about the subject.

    This way, you will know whether you can afford to make your tone more emotional in some places.

  • Remember what your purpose is and how to achieve it.

    A purpose of every dissertation is to convince or persuade the readers of the validity of your opinion. In order to do this, you will need to explain the subject matter and your attitude towards it. Provide arguments that are easy to understand and support them with solid evidence.