The dissertation is an important part of your academic career. It allows you to explore a topic from different perspectives and, in the process, develop your skills as a researcher and writer.
Your dissertation should be more than just a collection of research findings; it should also show that you can critically evaluate evidence and draw conclusions based on rigorous analysis.
However, many people don't realize how much work goes into writing one until they're knee-deep in their project! Here are some common mistakes people make when writing dissertations that may help you avoid them:
Neglecting the proposal
A formal proposal states the significance of your research and how it will be conducted. It should also include:
- An overview of what you intend to study, including why you chose this topic (including research questions) and how it relates to existing work in the field.
- An outline of your methodology – how to conduct research? Do you plan to conduct interviews or surveys? Are there ethical considerations when gathering data? What data analysis methods should be used?
- A timeline for completing each stage of your project – including objectives, methods, results/outcomes (explicitly stated), and plans for publication/presentation of findings at conferences/publications.
Not getting to grips with your referencing system.
If you fail to use an appropriate referencing system, the chances are that you will have to do a lot more work later on in your dissertation writing process.
This can include reviewing each piece of literature, adding full citations manually, or creating a new database where all your references are stored. Using a reference manager like Mendeley or Zotero makes it easy for students to organize their references in one place and helps them avoid any mistakes when citing sources.
You should avoid repeating yourself or using the same words in different sentences. You don't want to use the same word or phrase more than once, let alone multiple times within one section of your paper.
You must also avoid using the same words throughout different chapters and sections. If you notice yourself repeating yourself excessively, it may be time for a little editing!
An excessively long introduction or conclusion.
Your dissertation's first and last sentences should be an introduction and conclusion. The introduction is a great place to grab the reader’s attention, but don’t get too carried away with it: it needs to be interesting without being too long. It should also include a dissertation summary, so everyone knows what you are talking about!
The conclusion is less important than the rest of the paper, but it can still be effective if done well. Remember not to repeat yourself or include too much detail in your introduction or conclusion; these sections are just there reminders for people reading your paper later on!
Overestimating the time available to you
It’s important to be realistic about the time to write your dissertation. If you underestimate how much work it will take, this can lead to stress and pressure, which can negatively impact the quality of your work.
If you can't seem to get this in control, get help from dissertation writing services. Another way of managing your time is by writing a plan for each stage of the research process. This includes:
- Setting deadlines for each section or chapter (e.g., “Chapter 1 due in three weeks”)
- Identifying tasks that need doing (i.e., reading literature reviews, conducting interviews)
Choosing a topic, you don't enjoy
A dissertation is a reflection of your interests and passions, so it's important that you're excited about the subject. If aspects of the subject aren't appealing to you, don't worry! The more research and study required for the topic, the more interesting it'll be when you're done. Your dissertation can be a springboard into other research areas or new job opportunities.
Not Learning from other people's mistakes.
Learning from other students' mistakes is a great way to ensure you don't fall into the same traps.
- Reviewing other students' work can reveal common problems, how they were solved, and how well different solutions worked. This can also give you an idea of what your supervisor expects from you and how they like their students to write.
- Talking with your supervisor about their experience can help them better understand what kind of work they'd like from their students, allowing for more productive critiques on drafts or final papers. Their recommendations for sources or topics will be useful if yours fail.
Now you have a good idea of the mistakes you should avoid. Hopefully, you’re feeling more confident about getting started on your dissertation; remember to take advantage of advice from your supervisor. Don't be afraid to ask questions, don't be afraid to tell your supervisor if you don’t understand something, and don’t be afraid to ask for help, advice, or feedback.
Owen Ingram is a research-based content writer. He has worked in various healthcare, technology, Education , and finance industries. He is currently working as a writer in Research Prospect, famous for dissertation writing services and Report writing services. When Owen is not writing or researching, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends. He also loves travelling and learning about new cultures.