How do I Write a Dissertation: A Useful Guide for Beginners

The dissertation paper is the big one.  Dissertation papers are very involved and are very complex.  One narrowed topic becomes a thesis, and then you are expected to write a minimum of 40 pages.  Most dissertation papers can run as high as 150 pages or more.  They may seem overwhelming at first, however, not so bad once you get started.  Here is a useful guide for beginners that answers, how do I write a dissertation?

Start with Taking Time to Choose a Thesis

  • A considerable amount of time should be devoted at the beginning in selecting your dissertation paper thesis. 
  • Ensure the topic is interesting to you, really interesting!  You will be devoting many hours, days, and even months working on this.  The better the thesis is for you, the better motivated you will be through this journey.
  • Begin by reviewing the literature, come up with your thesis, and then go back and review the literature again.  This will help in determining if you have a solid thesis.

Remember to Include all of the Elements of a Dissertation

  • As with any essay or research paper, there are key components of a dissertation.  It is a great idea to put these components in outline form before you begin writing your first draft, as they are numerous. 
  • The main components include the title page, abstract, introduction, table of contents, literature review, your research, research methods, discussion and references.
  • There are other smaller components as well, such as appendices, guide to tables and figures and so forth.  What is included exactly depends on which format you are required to write in.  Therefore, entirely review either the APA or MLA format manuals.  Having your own copy is recommended.

Know Where to Find Useful References in Writing a Dissertation

  • With the internet, this part is easier more than ever.  You can find pages and pages of useful resources online.  However, ensure that you are getting good information.  Using online references by universities is a good strategy for instance.
  • Also, because dissertation papers are so important, you will, or most likely already have, a professor assigned to help you along the way.  Make appointments and visit this professor often.  He or she is your best resource.  He or she has a vested interest in you.  This person will be a part of the team selected to review and grade your dissertation, and frankly, how successful you are with your dissertation is a direct reflection on your professor.

At the beginning, writing a dissertation paper may seem bewildering and even scary.  However, believe it or not, once you begin working in your field, you will be writing these papers regularly and with ease.  You will be surprised at how well and quick the process becomes compared to this first dissertation paper.