- Academic Research and Writing Tips / Tutorial

Writing Dissertations

Information On Doctoral Dissertations & Master's Theses

Usually pursued by the intellectual elite, the doctoral dissertation and master's thesis are the final steps to attain the top levels of academic achievement. However, the process involved in putting either of these together can sometimes be a confusing matter. The following material will help to guide you in your final academic endeavors.

What The Dissertation Is


The dissertation is simply a report on an original area of research you have undertaken. The research you choose to pursue must have not been undertaken before. After you have completed the research you will report your findings and describe the methods you used to come to your conclusions. There are currently databases maintained on the Internet listing the research topics that have already been pursued by other students. Consulting these databases will save you the frustration of having to choose another topic after discovering someone else has presented a dissertation on your topic.

What The Master's Thesis Is

The master's thesis is the final indication of your ability to utilize advanced knowledge and information within a certain academic field to solve a problem. Like the dissertation, the thesis should be original material, to prevent the repetition of research. Most universities require a candidate for a master's thesis request a group of faculty members to oversee his or her research, and ultimately this group will evaluate the student's final conclusions.

The Abstract And The Proposal

The Proposal: The dissertation proposal is essentially the questions or problems your dissertation will address without the data or your interpretations. Usually this is covered in the beginning of your dissertation, so you may be able to use the first part of your dissertation as your proposal. Most experts suggest the proposal stay in the range of 10 to 30 pages in length.

The Abstract: An abstract is also required when presenting your dissertation or master's thesis. The abstract will summarize your thesis and describe your methods of research. Experts suggest the abstract should stay within one page in length, about 250 words.

Tips For A Good Dissertation Or Thesis

Identify A Relevant Problem: This is arguably the most important, and most difficult, part of the dissertation process. Once a good, original problem is identified the research often falls into place easily. If the research you choose to undertake is done so to solve a relevant problem, the dissertation will be considered much more important by those reading it.

Separate Raw Data From Interpretation: What the facts are and what you believe them to be are two different things, and should be presented as such. Make sure your subjective viewpoints are not skewing the collection or meaning of your data.

Present A Professional Report: Make sure your report is prepared in a professional manner. As superficial as it may seem, presentation is just as important as substance. If you do not have the ability to put together a professional-looking paper, you can enlist the aid of a printing service.

Help Available For Students Working On Their Dissertations

Academic Support: Most universities have an academic center that provides assistance to graduate students in preparing dissertations or proposals for external funding for research. Check with your university academic affairs office to determine if an assistance program is available.

Financial Support: There are certain programs available to graduate students who wish to pursue their doctoral dissertation. These include various fellowships, awards, and grants presented to high-achieving students. Each university has different programs with different eligibility requirements, so consult with the financial aid office to determine what exactly is available.

After Completing Your Dissertation Or Thesis

Once you've completed your dissertation or thesis it is recommended you copyright it and place it on microfilm. This can eliminate possible disputes that may arise concerning the originality of your material. Many universities require you register your finished work as well.

The Best Ideas for Writing a Dissertation or Thesis

Dissertations - Introduction

The best practice is to start at the right foot. The single most important thing in writing a dissertation or thesis is the need to understand the topic. Unless, you have full grasp of the requirements you cannot approach the task easily. Likewise, research resources also matter as you need the same all of the time. No research can be completed without the availability of all the resources that are required. Finally, one needs to have some experience in academic writing.

Dissertations - Best Practices

In this way, the first thing is organization. It is very important that the dissertation or thesis is organized. Proper organization requires that the writer follow an outline. These outlines are different for dissertations and theses. These outlines identify the headings the piece of writing will take. This provides good organization as one knows as to what they have to accomplish and what sections they have to develop.

The next important thing is resources. All resources have to be collected and put in place that will go in the writing. This requires that the writer has complete access to all the resources that will go in the work and that are pertinent. It is also important that the writer has superior research skills. Then, the writer will be able to toss the wrong literature and will be able to follow the right and the most pertinent literature only. The literature also needs to be varied. It must not be only books. There is the need to put all sources of primary and secondary knowledge regarding the subject. Hence, good research skills will always come handy to the preparer. Finally, there is a need for research organization skills. These ensure that all the relevant sections are kept in their place. Then, these sections have to be fleshed. The writer needs to know the proper research method. These range from primary research resources to secondary sources of information. There are several different preferences that can be utilized. Primary research is mostly difficult as compared to secondary research. It will be the requirements of the topic that will dictate the type of research that is conducted. While some will be case studies and interviews, others will be pure reviews of extant literature.

Dissertations - Conclusion

It is clear then that dissertation and thesis writing is not difficult. One needs to have the right resources and proper research skills to achieve the task. Access to all resources and sources is also equally important. The writer needs to grasp the topic as well. It will be the topic that will dictate the type of dissertation or thesis that is written. Here, the purpose is to prepare the first rough draft and then revise the same. The resources also need to be full and not incomplete.

Subsequently, the research skills of the writer also come handy. The researcher needs to know the best method to approach the task. This will only be possible when the researcher knows about different research styles. These are learned during the course of study. Lastly, plagiarism is also to be avoided completely. This works through proper paraphrasing and citations. The researched material also needs to be accurate and sufficient.

Organization of the paper is achieved through following of the right format. Both dissertations and theses have different outlines. The structure will then be different for each of the projects. This structure will have to be followed strictly. It is the only way to get the best organization of the work completed. It is mostly taken and not refined further. Again, the type of research completed dictates the outline to be followed.

Check the section on custom dissertations and Phd Thesis writing errors.