How do I Write a Dissertation?

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  • Written By: Diane Goettel
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 02 March 2018
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In order to write a dissertation, you must first complete a signification amount of research and develop a unique argument about your research. In most cases, it must be unique in that your argument must not be a replica of an argument found in other published works. When you write a dissertation, you must prove that your are bringing new ideas, research methods, conclusions, or scientific results to your field of study.

One of the first steps that one must complete in order to write a dissertation is to choose a topic. Because of this prerequisite, some very popular research topics can prove difficult as dissertation topics. In the world of literary scholarship there is a joke that they only thing left to write about when it comes to Shakespeare is the use of the semicolon in Cymbeline, one of the playwright's lesser known romances.

A dissertation, which is also sometimes called a thesis or a disquisition, is a paper that reflects a body of research that the author has completed as well as his or her findings and conclusions based on that research. Generally, a dissertation is presented to an academic committee in the process of the author applying to complete a degree or other kind of professional qualification. In most cases, a dissertation is completed by a doctoral student hoping to attain a PhD.

Most students have the support of an academic adviser during the process of writing their dissertations. In general, colleges and universities will develop doctoral programs that lead students to find specific faculty members whose own interests or areas of expertise match up with the topics being covered in students' proposed dissertations. A thesis adviser is someone who is largely involved in the research and writing processes that go into completing a dissertation. A thesis adviser will guide the research, writing, and revisions of the theses that he or she oversees.

Most academic institutions require that doctoral students write a thesis proposal before delving into their dissertations. A thesis proposal outlines the research that the student hopes to complete, a preliminary thesis statement, and an annotated bibliography of sources that the student believes will be of key important in the research process.

It can often take many years to write a dissertation. Many doctoral programs last from three up to five or more years. This is because so must research must be completed in order to write a dissertation. Furthermore, most completed dissertations are 200 or more pages long and, therefore, take quite a while to write.



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