Easy guide to creating a Doctoral dissertation in a matter of weeks
You’ve compiled all of your research and done all of the legwork needed to complete your dissertation. Now you just have to sit down and write out the most important thing you have ever written in your life. No problem!
Is the screen still blank?
It’s ok, you’re not the first Doctoral student to get to this point and then have no idea what to do. Here are some easy pointers to get you through the actual writing part of your dissertation.
Start with your data analysis and methodologies
Chances are, you just spent the last 6 months to a year conducting your research. Whether you’re conducting new experiments or meta-analysis; you’re intimately familiar with your data. Since you know this information inside and out, this is where you should start writing your dissertation.
Writing the pieces of your dissertation out of order can be one of the fastest ways to get your information written. Many times the introduction and abstracts are the last things written. These two pieces of material can be the hardest to write, especially for more technically minded students.
Define, define, redefine
Definitions are going to be a key element to writing your dissertation. If you are using terminology that has been set by different researchers understanding their work is as important as understanding your own. Your definitions section of your dissertation should be one of the first elements that get written. This is because, without definitions, the rest of the work may not make sense.
If you are redefining a commonly used term and framing it around your research, then you need to have that definition clearly written, and it cannot change through the process of analyzing your data. If you need to redefine a term, it should be because your data has caused the term to change.
Understanding the consequences of your research to your academic field is crucial. Spend time analyzing how your contribution may change how researchers view the subject in the future. Do not get too abstract in this analysis. If you cannot show a direct correlation, do not include this with your dissertation.
You have finished writing your dissertation. Now as you edit it, make sure you do so with the oral defense in mind. If you invoke questions about methodology, context, or analysis, those will be asked during your defense. Be as thorough as possible to avoid a lengthy defense.