How to Write a Dissertation in World History

For many who study world history, the dissertation will be the most challenging, exciting and ultimately the most rewarding written work one will complete during their time in graduate school. It’s an opportunity to engage in independent research on topics of their choosing, as well as a time to develop their own ideas and arguments based on that research. Here are a few things you should know about writing a dissertation in world history:

Choose a topic and draft a title: Think about topics that have interested you the most or have left you with unanswered questions you would like to answer. You might have one or two but try to narrow down your ideas into a solid topic that you can develop a working title and thesis for. This will guide you when you start your research.

Researching your topic: Organize your research strategy. Books, journals, research studies. Make separate columns and build your bibliography. Check with your librarian to make sure you have covered all of your basics and even if you find one resource didn’t quite have what you were looking for check to see if there are other sources in its bibliography that might help your research.

Outlining and drafting your content: Once you have your source material it’s a good idea to develop an outline for your dissertation. Use this as a guide for each section, each topic and each piece of evidence you introduce. Once you develop your outline start writing. Don’t worry about the details, but certainly do get down everything that comes to mind. You’ll have plenty of opportunity to reorganize or reword things as you move onto another stage in the writing process.

Revising your work: Revision is a very important step in any type of academic writing. It allows you to rearrange material so your work is more logical, more fluid and generally more effective in its intention. You may find that you need to remove whole sentences, paragraphs or even sections if they do nothing to prove your point.

Format your dissertation: After your revision it’s a good idea to work on your dissertation’s format. Find your institution’s guidelines and ask your advisor for any help. Be sure you are aware of each required section and make sure your content flows naturally and appropriately into those sections.

Proofread and edit: You’re in the home stretch now, but you can’t just let your work sit there in these last few days and expect to get a high mark. Reread your entire work and check for grammar, spelling mistakes, errors in punctuation and more. A fully edited work will make for a better dissertation overall.