4 Dissertation Writing Faqs Every First - Timer Faces!
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Preparing a dissertation is one of the most significant and fatiguing tasks faced by a doctoral student. Writing a well-structured thesis requires oodles of time with proper guidance, and without such supervision, it is almost impossible to create the project in the stipulated time, i.e., before the submission deadline. The whole framework of dissertation is strikingly different than other coursework writings. And perhaps this is the reason why all the registrants, who are writing dissertations for the first time, require constant guidance. Although the whole task is complicated enough to give you nightmares, there are a few common questions that are known to haunt each and every conversation among doctoral students.

Question no. 1: How To Start a Dissertation?

The foremost pre-requisite is to devote yourself entirely on to it. So you have already accomplished a lot in your Ph.D. career; cleared your exams, got good remarks from your faculties, but all of it would come to nothing if you fail to accomplish the acceptable dissertation before the submission deadline. So brace yourself now without losing a moment, and start your work right away.

The first step you are required to make here is to select the topic.

Keep in mind that dissertations are all about originality, so the dissertation topic (aka question) should be completely new and innovative.

Select a promising topic, on which there is a scope of research.

If you have a keen interest in any area, and desire to quench your curiosity in the same, then choose a relevant topic so that the research work does not seem tedious to you.

The more interesting a topic is, the more will be the chances of success for your dissertation.

Question no. 2: How long is an average dissertation?

It has been said time and again that the quality of content matters the most in a dissertation than its length. However, this is not the case always. The length of a dissertation does matter, and scholars (being aware of the fact) can not keep themselves from asking the same question over and over again.

Though there is no standard size for Ph.D. dissertations, most of them range from 100 to 290 pages. The length of a dissertation depends verily on the subject and topic. For example, topics related to the practical subjects like biostatics usually gets completed within 100 pages, and the dissertations written on conglomerate subjects like history, psychology, etc. often captures up to 300 pages.

Question no. 3: How to structure a dissertation?

Just like length, the structure of dissertation too depends upon your field of education and the department’s specific requirements. Even the body of the dissertation too contains variations pertaining to the subject it is written for. However, there are a few sections in a thesis that remains same, to an extent, regardless of the title and subject on which it is written.

  • Title: Devote an entire page to exhibit the topic/question of the dissertation. Include all the mandatory information too, as directed by the dissertation committee.
  • Formal notification: This would include the acknowledgment part where the declaration of originality and ethical clearance is made.
  • Objectives of the research: It is advisable to mention the aim of the research in the very beginning. Doing so, will prepare the reader to frame their mindset in consonance with the research paper.
  • Context of the project: Here you are required to explain the scope of research. You may also add the impact, or benefits, of the work too.
  • Abstract: This section contains the summary of the dissertation, and more often than not, the solution of the problem as well.
  • Introduction: It is written with the viewpoint of setting the background knowledge for the reader. It is advisable to keep this section concise.
  • Main content: Divide the whole research paper into segments (commonly known as chapters). Select the organizational approach that meets your field’s demands and conveys your research work in the best possible manner.
  • Conclusion: Write down the descriptive conclusion of your research here. It is better understandable when written in analytical approach.
  • References: Always devote a considerable amount of time and efforts on this section, for most of the universities have assigned ten percent of marks to the references section.
  • Appendices: This is an optional segment and should be added only when required. Before writing this section make someone else read your paper, and then ask their feedback in order to make the project more comprehensible.

Question no. 4: What are styling techniques, how does it affect a dissertation?

Most of the universities specify the styling approach in which the dissertation has to be written. The prominent styling conventions used by the UK universities are-

  • APA
  • MHRA
  • HARVARD
  • OSCOLA
  • ASA
  • CBE

These styles specify the different approaches for sequencing of pages, page layout, type and colour of paper, etc. However, strict adherence to these styles is not always required. Some universities are adopting a very liberal approach in the area and let the student decide the styling guidelines that suits their project the best. However, it is advisable to use one styling approach throughout the paper, instead of adopting a hybrid technique.

Author Bio:

Olivia James is an academician. She has written many informative blogs for the students, in order to aid them in writing a dissertation. Presently, she is working with Assignment Desk, an organization providing dissertation writing services in the UK.


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