Writing a dissertation is, without a doubt, one of the most important moments in the life of any student. This type of academic paper is not something to be taken lightly, as it requires a great deal of research and, before anything, must be 100% original. Unless you do it right, you won’t be able to get your Ph.D. Still, the sad reality is that a lot of students simply don’t know how to write a dissertation properly. And who can blame them – after all, the majority of graduates are facing such a task for the very first time. Virtually all students need to deal with a series of common problems throughout the process of writing a dissertation. To help you out with this challenge, we’ll talk about the 4 most essential dissertation-related problems that any graduate student encounters sooner or later, and we’ll offer you some useful tips on how to overcome them.
1. Phrasing an Adequate Thesis Statement
Coming up with a thesis statement that is in conformity with the aim of the study is the first and perhaps the hardest issue you may run into. A dissertation paper must reflect your originality and should include relevant data and conclusions. This is why you shouldn’t opt for a topic that is very universal or very delicate. The more general the topic is, the harder it will be for you to find conclusive evidence!
A suitable thesis statement needs to be particular, separate and determinate. If you wish to simplify things and avoid sleepless nights, choose a topic in relation to which you can easily formulate arguments pro and against. To do so, you may need to narrow things down from general to particular. Keep in mind that a dissertation statement must be debatable and must generate conflicting opinions and interpretations.
2. Writing a Pertinent Literature Review
Any dissertation paper must include a literature review section, which should provide an extensive evaluation and analysis of other academic works that approach your topic. In general, this section has a length of 15-30 pages. To fill up so many pages, you need to browse through a large number of sources and combine the information in a methodical manner. To find relevant works, you could either search through an online database or go to a library.
Always remember that your supervisor wants to see that you possess good analytical skills and that you are well-acquainted with the study topic. To achieve the desired effect and impress your professors, you should generally avoid using too many direct quotations or summarizing the information presented in other works. Also, keep in mind that the literature review section must not include any personal opinions – this part of your dissertation has the sole purpose of analyzing the relevant literature from an objective perspective! Last but not least, never forget that you must include references to all of the analyzed works.
3. Finding Suitable Data
Another common issue that a lot of graduates encounter is identifying pertinent data that can be used to back and strengthen the arguments presented in the paper. When writing a dissertation, you can either utilize primary data or opt for secondary data. Gathering primary data involves methods like surveys, telephonic interviews or focus groups. Therefore, if you plan on using primary data, you need to be prepared to spend a certain amount of time and money. On the other hand, secondary data can be collected from third-party sources, such as governmental or non-governmental organizations.
It can be very disappointing to acknowledge that you don’t possess enough relevant information once you get to the methodology part of your dissertation. To steer clear of such an outcome, you need to make sure that the data you are thinking of using can be collected from the secondary sources. When collecting info from questionnaires, pay attention to how you formulate your questions!
4. Managing Time
Graduates are usually granted plenty of time for writing their dissertation papers. Precisely because students feel like they have a lot of time on their hands, they often don’t bother to plan it adequately. And if you don’t devise a proper schedule, you may be tempted to procrastinate more than you should and, before you know it, you’ll get closer and closer to the deadline. This can eventually generate a lot of stress and anxiety.
The best way to ensure that you have a hold on the situation at all times is by planning your paper in advance, assigning small portions of work for each day. As a word of caution, you should know that the professors in charge of supervising your paper may not always reply to your emails on time and may often ask you to change things in your work. So, when planning a schedule, make sure you leave enough time for such delays.