I do not want to minimize the size of the task entailed by writing a dissertation. It is a rite of passage. As such it needs to be big enough to push your limits, cause you some pain, force you to learn endurance, so that you will be glad to celebrate your success and accomplishment on the other end. Anyone who has earned her doctorate will tell you that these things are part of the journey. Without the extremity of the challenge we would not become peers with all the great people before us who have also been Doctors. That is the point of the journey. On the other hand many others have gone before you. And they leave the a wide highway that is well paved as to how to get there. All you have to do is follow their lead to get started on a path that will lead you to success.
The first hurdle that you must cross is one of organization. A common mistake is that students do not know how big a task a dissertation is compared to other writing they have done. When you start you may be tempted to take the requirements and write it up like it is every other paper you have turned in and then think you are done. The results will likely be sadness, unhappiness, and frustration when your doctoral adviser sends back your first set of comments. This article assumes that as a doctoral student you have been developing an idea of what it is you want to research, and the addition that you want to make to your field. Now it is time to get started writing. 1. Guidelines from your university as to formatting and content requirements for your final document. If your university uses a rubric for judging your dissertation, then exactly use those topic heading as your content headings for ease of judgment later. 2. Several dissertations that you can use as models, these may be from your university or not- all 5 chapter dissertations have much in common with each other.
Choose one that is more or less on your topic, a second that uses a methodology you are considering, and the third is just engagingly written, where the author talks directly to you, the audience. 3. A few good dissertation books. The new one that I think it is better than all others is Rudestam and Newton (2007). Surviving your dissertation: A comprehensive guide to content and process. Armed with these examples of where you are going, the next thing is to plot your course. Start by looking up your style-sheet information (for instance APA ) and format your dissertation cover sheet as per your university requirements. If they give you a template, use it. If they don’t make one up from finished and published dissertations from your university. Then copy and paste the content headings as though you are starting your table of contents. Next go back to your dissertation models, your university guidelines and your books, and compare and contrast their suggestions/requirements and the topic headings and sub-headings they used with this list. There is no one “right” set of headings so feel free to play with the logic of the three chapters that will by your proposal – changing and reformatting as you go.
I will not go into detail about writing here, but there is one research-related thing you must bear in mind while writing: the information you are using is likely not yours. It is an intellectual crime, and, depending on the circumstances, can be illegal to claim another’s work as your own. By not giving credit for a piece of information, you are implying that it is original and that you discovered it. Therefore, you must give credit to those from whom you have borrowed. This is done in the most formal sense by compiling a list of references which is included at the end of your project and including in-text citations for any material which you’ve quoted directly or have paraphrased. Proper mechanics of this system are explained in great detail here, at Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab site. Check out Wikipedia for a rough idea of the topic and some focusing ideas.
Scour the internet, library, and local area for good, quality sources that you can use to back up your claims. Give credit to those from whom you have borrowed. Whether you’re writing a long paper, or just buffing up your knowledge, this set of guidelines should see you through the research process successfully. Go forth and research! Writing Research Papers: A Complete Guide (14th Edition)Personally tested and approved. Great, short book for those who wish to refine their research writing skills. Buy Now The Craft of Research, Fourth Edition (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing) Buy Now Review Quiz! Why do you research? LanguageWhat is a Cowboy? HumanitiesThe educational benefits of television, a thesis paper about TV. Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account. 0 of 8192 characters usedPost CommentNo HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.