How to Take your First Steps in Dissertation Writing: a Guide for Beginners

Writing a dissertation is a big step for any student, especially if the student has not written many similar documents previously. A dissertation is different from any other form of writing assignment, but it is a very common assignment particularly for doctoral students. For students that are just beginning to think of writing their dissertation, this article is for you. Listed here is a beginner’s guide to taking your first steps toward writing a dissertation. The following is a series of tips, advice, and pointers that will guide even the most confused student through the first stages of writing a dissertation.

What is a Dissertation?

A dissertation is a very lengthy, formal document. This document argues the defense of a particular thesis. Now, what is a thesis? In this case, a thesis is a hypothesis or conjecture. The point of a dissertation is to use critical thinking within the writing rather than experimental data like so many other assignments. Another important point to remember is that a dissertation must be original, unique, and substantial. This is expected of all dissertations. These are the common traits of dissertations, but be sure to check on what is expected from your particular university.

Getting Started

The first thing to do is to pick a topic (provided one has not been assigned). A dissertation requires a vast amount of time, effort, and research. With this being said, the best topic to choose is one that the author enjoys reading about, spending time on, and is passionate about. The more the author cares about the topic, the more passionate, unique, and strong the dissertation will be. The next thing to do is begin the outline. Start by putting all of your ideas and thoughts onto paper. This stage of the process only requires learning about your topic and your view on the topic. The author has to have a complete understanding of the point-of-view they are expressing in the dissertation. Next, begin narrowing down the points, facts, figures, and references that you intend to use in the dissertation and organizing the order in which to list them. Next, you will need to gather all graphs and charts that are to be used or referenced in the paper and start organizing. The next step is writing your first draft. Following this will be the second and any subsequent drafts, proofreading, editing, and revising.

A final tip is to hire a professional editor/proofreader for the dissertation to better ensure a smooth, well flowing, grammatically correct paper.