How to write a dissertation: a step-by-step guide

Step 1: Consider your thesis statement

As you know, your dissertation is like an extension to your thesis; it’s the meat and bones describing how you proved (or perhaps disproved) what you proposed in your thesis. So consider your thesis statement when starting your dissertation.

Step 2: Think it over

Start from what you know, to what you think you can prove, to how you think you can prove it, and finally how you will note each element of the process. You will need to have a sound mind during this process. Knowing where you want to go with the project and how you feel you will achieve this, will keep you partially sane throughout the project.

Step 3: Create an outline

While you are spending time thinking about all the details, it’s a good time to draw up your outline. This will solidify your concepts and give you a guide as to what will need to come next. Remember that a dissertation is a formal work presented to more academic minds, so the outline will also help you keep a structured format to your paper.

Step 4: Time allocation

Now that you have a formalized outline, you can start allocating time and planning your life. A dissertation can take weeks and sometimes months depending on the topic and the level you are working on, so choose bite-sized pieces that you can handle. Always allocate some social time in-between to give your brilliant mind a break.

Step 5: Experiments and Evidence

Depending on your subject, you may be required to complete some experiments to test and prove your theories. Either way, all dissertations require evidence for either proving or disproving your proposed theories. It’s very important to keep notes of all these processes. The information during this part of your research is what makes or breaks your case, so don’t skip anything. Enjoy this part of the process, it’s where your passion for the subject truly shines.

Step 6: Write a draft

As you have gone through each step of the process you will have made notes of all the things you want to remember, so now it’s time to write the draft version of your dissertation. Gather all your notes and try to put them in some kind of order if you can. Just start writing. As you write you will begin to see where everything should go, but don’t worry too much about perfection at this point.

Step 7: The final version

Remember the basic format and keep things in a logical order. Allow your body paragraphs to flow from one to the next with supportive evidence grouped with the statements. Maintain a formal academic language write with confidence. Always remember your sources, appendixes and don’t forget to spell check.

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