Phd Dissertation Writing Hints: Start With What You Know


A Dissertation Is A Ton Of Work

As any graduate student will happily tell you, writing a dissertation is an immense body of work, which can require as much as two or more years preparing, drafting, and editing. You must first select a topic and propose your research, then spend months or years conducting that research, and finally, you must spend months or years organizing and describing the results of those endeavors in dry academic prose. This process is very daunting and time consuming, and many aspiring PhDs fail to meet their goals and finish on time because of the staggering scope of the paper.

How To Make The Process Easier?

Writing a dissertation will never be effortless or quick. By design, it is a tricky task that is only accomplishable by the most talented, canny, and hard working of academic professionals. However, there are methods you can use to make the writing process a little more livable. Work smart, not hard, and you may be able to complete your PhD dissertation in record time. Start by prewriting and writing about what you already know best.

Write What You Know

Choose a dissertation topic that is highly familiar to you. It is essential that you not waste time familiarizing yourself with an entirely new literature and body of research before embarking on your own dissertation proposal. If you are in a PhD program, odds are you have already been asked to complete comprehensive exams (or “comps”) or to complete a qualifying exam that has rendered you a PhD candidate. This process has caused you to become an expert in a number of academic subject areas, some of which you may have freely chosen.

Use your existing expertise to pick your dissertation topic. Choose a subject that is relevant to your comprehensive exams. This will make if far more easy for you to write the introduction to your dissertation. You may even be able to re-use aspects of your previous class or exam papers in the text of your dissertation proposal.

Use Your Expertise and Talents

Do not use your dissertation as an excuse to master a new statistical procedure or computing program, or to delve into an entirely new body of archival research or a subfield you do not know a ton about already. Instead, develop a dissertation idea that can use the skills and experience you already have accrued in graduate school. You can expand your horizons once you have an academic tenure track position.