Writing a dissertation is really not as hard as it sounds. In fact, on the contrary. You get it done like you do any research paper, one step at a time, one page at a time. What will help you write your dissertation much easier and expeditiously, however, is to know how to go about the entire process in a planned, organized manner. In this essay, I’m going to give you some tips on how to get your dissertation done more quickly and easily.
- Find an Organizational System that Works
- Do Not Start at the Beginning
- Embrace the Header System—Love It and Use It
- Order a Sample Dissertation (or several) that is Good and On Your Topic
- Lastly, never ever give up
When I was working on my dissertation, for example, I learned the value of hanging file folders and a rolling file cabinet. These are quite cheap these days but you want one that will hold up to lots of use, because you are going to use it a lot. You want one where the mechanism that holds the folders is very sturdy. You’ll be taking these folders out a lot. Now—as you collect information for each chapter, put it into a labeled file folder. Drafts, research, “don’t forget to address” kind of notes, anything.
A dissertation grows as you go and sometimes switches its focus and refines it as you get new ideas on how to better strategize your project. Do NOT start with the introduction. At all. Start with the easiest chapter to write for you. If you’re doing a chapter, say, on some aspect of your dissertation you like or know the best, use that.
Not only is a dissertation a series of parts—as many as 12 or more from the acknowledgements, to the chapters, from the table of contents, your end notes, and your sources, to name only a few, but the dissertation chapters themselves can be broken up into do-able parts with headers. These make your project a series of several page long chapters indeed.
Using a model dissertation or two has saved millions of students from panic and helped them to create their dissertations much quicker. You can get model dissertation through Interlibrary Loan or by going to your university library. Simply asking a reference librarian can save you hours of work. This will give you new sources to collect, a distinct picture of what you’re aiming for and more.
You CAN do this. But don’t take too long of a break with these—you’ll lose your focus.