Learn how to write a PhD dissertation with this guide
Writing one's PhD dissertation is the most important academic undertaking most students will ever experience. It's intimidating, however, and a large number of students, despite their intellect and talents, fail at completing their dissertations. This guide will help you understand how to write a quality PhD dissertation with confidence.
- Create an overall timeline.
- Create and revise weekly goals.
- Create a writing schedule that's consistent.
- Stay organized.
The first step to writing a great PhD dissertation is to create an overall timeline that allows the student to see the entire process from start to finish. It should also give them a good idea of how long each stage of the writing process will take. Finally, it divides one intimidating goal ("write a dissertation") into a plethora of smaller, more easily confronted and completed goals, which keeps motivation and morale high throughout the process. The overall timeline isn't written in stone, of course; there will be alterations along the way. Nonetheless, working to follow it will keep the student on track and reduce procrastination.
In addition to an overall timeline, subject to change, the student should create weekly goals which they intend to complete. These weekly goals will help to ensure that the student is making good use of their time and is making steady progress. Procrastination is the biggest enemy of the doctoral candidate, and by making and being accountable to a set of weekly goals, many students can avoid falling into its trap.
A consistent writing schedule - for example, two hours every morning on designated days - ups productivity and helps the student create a positive mindset for their writing. This positive mindset will improve the overall quality of their writing and save them time when it comes to making revisions later. This sort of structure also helps to build discipline, keep the student productive, and again, avoid procrastination.
Staying organized - keeping good, annotated lists of sources, files on each section of the dissertation, and adhering to the schedules the student has set for him or herself, will streamline the entire process and make it much easier to write their dissertation. It also reduces the potential for the student to begin to feel overwhelmed or out of control of the dissertation writing process. Finally, staying organized means less time spent panicking or looking for material, so the dissertation will get done faster.