Dissertation writing is a long and tedious process but one that can be made easier with a few useful tips in mind. For over 20 years, Dissertation Genius – a professional dissertation consulting firm – has helped countless masters and doctoral students successfully submit and publish their dissertations. Thus, with this experience, I’ve gathered the five most useful tips that you should include your dissertation completion toolbox.
Golden Dissertation Tip #1
The Student-Dissertation Chairperson Relationship – Control the Dynamic
Your chairperson plays a crucial role in the success (or failure in some cases) of your dissertation and, therefore, has the power to help advance or hinder your progress. Of course, there are countless benefits to having a chairperson committed to your success, as he or she can positively influence the members of your dissertation committee, give you in-depth and quality feedback, and find other ways to make your dissertation life vastly easier.
But how to get your chairperson on your side, especially if things started a little rocky?
- Keep any inquiries or questions with your chairperson short and straight to the point. Your chairperson will appreciate this since they will likely be very busy.
- Listen to or read chairperson feedback very carefully and implement his or her suggestions (not all feedback will be good).
- Give your chairperson constant updates to show that you’re working and implementing feedback.
- Meet agreed-upon deadlines to demand the same from your chairperson since you’ll need his/her help at many points throughout the dissertation process.
Golden Dissertation Tip #2:
Break Down Your Tasks into Small Workable Parts
No matter how hard writing may be for you, you can always manage when you break down your tasks into small parts. Thus, don’t ever let any negative emotions or frustration get the best of you simply because you are overcome with anxiety, fear, and dread when you think about all the work you will need to complete for your dissertation.
Remember, the dissertation is a large study consisting of many smaller parts. Break down your dissertation into these small parts and attend to each one in turn. You can do this by creating an outline.
Regardless of how far you are into your dissertation, you can always create an outline of your entire work making sure that the different parts of your study fit into the ‘whole.’ However, please make sure that you structure your outline with the help of your chairperson (or an alternative contact person) in order to make sure your outline meets the highest expectations. Here is an example dissertation outline:
Please refer to a previous blog article titled “Keys to Writing your Dissertation Quickly and Effectively” for more information on forming an outline.
GOLDEN DISSERTATION TIP #3
Work in Small Chunks – Use Writing ‘Blocks’
This particular piece of advice is an extension of the previous tip (breaking down your work into smaller parts). When you create your outline and break down your tasks, it will become much easier for you to move step-by-step and knock out each item on your outline in turn.
But in addition to this, especially if writing is something that comes with much difficulty for you (true for most people), using writing ‘blocks’ which are relatively short but comprehensive sessions where you would work on your dissertation with no interruptions will help you write easily and effectively. Try to aim for 1-3 daily writing sessions with each session at about 45 – 60 minutes.
Regardless of your busy schedule, finding a couple of 45-minute writing sessions during your day shouldn’t be hard. Even on especially busy days, rather than not working on your dissertation at all, you can squeeze in one 45 minute session and may even be able to eliminate one of your smaller tasks like creating a dedication or title page).
With the passing of some time, you will see yourself slowly but surely advancing, giving you more confidence in your abilities and the effectiveness of your overall strategy.
On another note, if you have several consecutive hours of studying, by all means, take advantage and use them but make sure you break down your study time into smaller 45 – 60 minute sessions and taking at least a 15-minute break between each session.
Golden Dissertation Tip #4:
Rehearse Your Presentation the Right Way
There is absolutely no excuse for you to ever go into your dissertation defense without having adequately rehearsed your presentation at least several times. This sounds like something that goes without saying but the number of doctoral students I deal with that don’t give much attention to rehearsing is astonishing.
There are two parts to effective dissertation rehearsal:
#1 – Rehearse in front of someone who has previously completed a dissertation
#2 – Follow the ‘Create-Rehearse-Modify’ process of dissertation rehearsal:
Golden Dissertation Tip #5
Control Negative Emotions
For any long and difficult endeavor with a specifically outlined goal, as in the case with your dissertation, it is imperative that you control your emotions. The number one weakness of humans and the principal obstacle to the successful submission of your dissertation are human emotions.
Hence, when you experience feelings of nervousness, dread, anxiety, inadequacy, or other negative emotions, because of the stress that a dissertation will surely bring, you must learn to control them and not let them affect your attitude.
There are many ways you can do this and you can first start by stress management techniques which will reduce some of the emotions of mental fatigue, anxiety, and depression. These techniques may include getting a massage, doing yoga, reading an entertaining book, or whatever reduces stress for you. You should also take a break and recharge yourself at least once a week by spending a day for ‘you.’ Other management control techniques may involve listing your negative emotions and working out strategies to improve them. Regardless, negative emotions affect your perception and attitude towards your dissertation and, since these emotions can be controlled, you should do just that and try to eliminate those emotions that hold you back.
HAVE A QUESTION?
Dissertation Genius is a dissertation consultancy firm with over two decades of experience helping masters & doctoral students with writing, researching, and working on all aspects of their dissertations.
We want to hear your concerns so contact us and tell us what you need to complete your dissertation.
We will then provide you with no-obligation advice to help you overcome your obstacles and get to your PhD.