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How to Write a Solid Dissertation

Your thesis is probably the single most important piece of writing you’ve ever had to do up until this point. Getting it right is crucial. So how do you write a solid dissertation that will pass inspection and get you your graduate degree? There are just a few easy steps you need to take:

Know your structure. A dissertation seems like an overwhelmingly huge piece of text to write. The first step is to break it down into more manageable pieces. Depending on what your advisor says, you’ll have an abstract, introduction, methods section, results section, and discussion to write. Take the project one piece at a time, and be sure to keep yourself carefully organized so you don’t get frustrated or confused.

Brush up on your grammar. Depending on your background, this step may or may not be needed. If you’re writing a dissertation in the humanities, chances are, you’ve got pretty spectacular grammar already. If you’re an ESL student, or if writing just isn’t your thing, this might be a much greater challenge. Like it or not, this paper is what proves you’re a capable academic, beyond any calculation you make or graph you construct; it’s impossible to be taken seriously if you can’t tell “there” from “their”.

Stick to the right tone. This is a professional piece of writing you’re producing, not a text message. The tone needs to be formal – that means you can leave out slang and contractions. Your advisor will probably provide you with some kind of style guide, and you should follow it very carefully. Remember that being verbose isn’t always better; sometimes several small words are better than a pretentiously long one. You are aiming for a paper that’s informative while still being readable. Anyone with a reasonable background in your field should be able to pick up your paper and understand it with no difficulties.

Edit. They say that hindsight is 20/20, and that’s precisely why editing is so important. Reading your paper through a second, third or fourth time will show you obvious errors in syntax and style that you somehow managed to make as you were writing. The more you edit, the better your paper will be. Try trading papers with a colleague; he or she will more easily spot errors that you missed, and at the same time you’ll be able to see how your paper stacks up against a similar one. You are always going to underestimate just how much time proper editing takes, so be sure to get started on your dissertation as soon as you can. As an alternative you may try getting an online assistance from a dissertation writing service (e.g. Dissertationteam.com)