How to Write a Dissertation Properly: 7 Basic Rules

Writing a dissertation in your work towards earning a degree might be one of the most challenging tasks you will ever encounter in your entire academic career. It is often the culmination years’ worth of academic work and is the stepping stone that launches your professional career. This being said you want to ensure you write a flawless dissertation. Here are the seven basic rules you need to know:

  1. Know How to Structure Your Dissertation
  2. One of the biggest pitfalls students face is in not knowing how to properly structure their dissertation document. Every discipline will have a preferred or standard formatting style to which you should adhere. Download a template from the department’s website or find one online.

  3. Know When to Start (Hint: The Earlier the Better)
  4. There are a number of things that can go wrong and delay your progress when doing a project of this magnitude. Don’t take chances by waiting until just a few weeks before your document is due; start as early as possible so that you can work at a comfortable pace and can even allow yourself some time to take breaks when necessary.

  5. Create a Detailed Plan for Researching and Writing
  6. The work you do over the course of several months can be completed with a lot less stress through proper planning. Make a list of all the major milestones you need to hit, then create deadlines be working backwards from your final due date.

  7. Keep Track of the Bibliography from the Start
  8. Bibliographies can become very long and tremendously confusing. For this reason, you want to keep track of it right from the start to ensure you don’t make any mistakes when you are making your final entries at the later revising and editing stages.

  9. Be Sure You Use Supporting Content Correctly
  10. No matter what your argument may be, it will need to be backed up from reputable academic and government resources. Just be sure you use borrowed content evenly between direct quotes, paraphrases, charts, figures, etc. and that you mix it appropriately with your original ideas. Remember, that you must include all citation information accurately.

  11. Get Constant Feedback Through Every Stage
  12. In writing your dissertation you will work closely with your advisor, possibly even meeting with him or her several times a week. But you should also get feedback from other people, such as your friends or classmates. This kind of assistance will reduce stress tremendously.

  13. Give Yourself Plenty of Time to Revise and Edit
  14. Finally, the research and write stages are just two of four. Revising and editing require just as much effort and dedication. It’s important that you give yourself plenty of time to do both without having to rush through either of them.

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