How to Write Dissertations: Tips and Tricks for Dummies


A dissertation is an important piece of your academic career, the end piece. It needs to show what you have learned, what your interests are, and where you are going with your career. Some parts or your entire dissertation may be published and the experts in your field will read it. You want to impress those experts and open doors for career opportunities. Some tips are:

  • Make a schedule of milestones, interviews, drafts, meetings with your advisor, and important dates dealing with the dissertation
  • Keep a large calendar and write all your important dates on it ( a phone calendar is good, but you need to see the whole picture too)
  • Pick a topic you love, you will spend a lot of time with it
  • Know you may have to change your topic
  • There will be sleepless nights
  • Interview as many people as you can to make your paper unique
  • Have a dedicated work space at home
  • Do not fall behind
  • Do not be afraid to ask for help from your professors, experts, a writing company, or your family
  • Have a solid outline because a solid outline equals a solid paper
  • Break the paper into sections and break the project into steps (smaller steps are less daunting and will give you a sense of accomplishment)
  • Believe in your dissertation, you will have to argue in support of it
  • Practice the argument
  • Proofread and hire a proofreader is possible
  • Let as many people as possible read the final draft
  • You are the expert
  • Do not give up, the task is daunting but you can do it

The dissertation starts with a strong topic that you really love. That topic then morphs into a thesis statement. You may change your topic several times and you will write your thesis statement several dozen times. Your thesis statement has to be strong. These changes are normal and should not upset you. The rewrites indicate you are making progress. Progress is a good thing.

Then that thesis statement is the final foundation for an outline. You will write several outlines and then you will write several drafts. Successful completion of all these steps will lead up to your dissertation paper. This is a lengthy process, but your final product must be a perfect paper and it must embody the concepts you have learned. Good luck with your dissertation.