Sooner or later in your educational career you will have to start working on a dissertation. Yes, it takes time. Yes, it’s hard, and it drains all of your resources and energy. Yes, it will deprive you of sleep and leisure time… Although, you know what?
Cross out this last one – or you might give up on it before you even start. Let’s just say it’s hard, but it’s also doable. And like in any other endeavor, there are tricks that can help you to pass this ordeal faster and with no bloodshed. Here, we will explain you briefly what you have to do on every stage of writing a dissertation.
First – formulating a thesis
A thesis is a statement that describes what you are about to prove. In other words, it’s a phrase where you say that something is something, and you are going to prove it right. A thesis should be sufficiently arguable. Otherwise, why go through all that trouble proving it? Try to find a relevant topic – no one needs to hear about legal marijuana and abortions again. Be creative! Would you have a drunk discussion over the subject you have chosen for you dissertation? If no, then probably it’s not the right one – keep looking.
Then – finding sources
Basically, what you do at this stage is find a few books, websites, news articles, other papers etc. where you can get information to support your thesis. Be careful – all sources should be up-to-date and reliable. Otherwise, you risk using outdated information and lowering your grade to a minimum.
Internet sources are quite reliable – provided that you take them from a verified provider such as a well-known library or an online counterpart of some scientific journal. What you shouldn’t do is take information from forums, blogs, personal websites and other strictly personal and mostly irrelevant sources that tell that vaccination causes autism.
When you have found sufficient information to prove your thesis statement, you can start writing your first draft. Usually, a dissertation includes the following chapters: introduction, literature review, methodology, results and analysis, discussion, conclusion and appendices.
So, in the introduction part you should tell why you decided to work on this topic and provide your thesis; in literature review you enumerate what sources you have used; in methodology you should describe the methods used for research; in results and analysis you describe the outcomes and try to interpret them; in discussion you should talk about further directions for research, and finally sum up the work in conclusions. Just as easy as that.
Do not worry much – a dissertation is a journey for you, just as much as for your professor. My advice – try to have at least some fun. Life is too short to waste it on assignments that you don’t enjoy. And when it gives you lemons (i.e. a dissertation to write), make a damn good lemonade out of it.
Next post: Principles Of How to Work Effectively