Dissertation Writing: Where to Start?
As soon as you have written your dissertation outline and gathered a pile of research notes, it is high time for you to start writing your dissertation paper. If you adhere to the principle, “Start from the beginning,” it might not always be a good idea in regards to dissertation writing. In other words, it might be a challenge for you to start dissertation writing from the introduction, when you do not have the bulk of the paper written. So, you might surely leave introduction unless you have the main body written and argument developed. Start with those parts you have gathered plenty of information on. Use your outline to guide you on how to combine all the parts of the paper into a coherent and well-developed file. In the process of writing, you will probably notice some parts that need more thorough research or investigation, so be ready to add some information.
Make sure you learn how to express your ideas fluently and coherently. The success of your dissertation mainly depends on the layout of your thoughts, arguments, and research as a whole. If you express yourself unclearly and have not planned your dissertation sections thoroughly, then your dissertation is not bound to succeed. Therefore, give yourself sufficient time for the planning and writing stage. Be ready that you will need to submit 2-3 drafts before you are satisfied with the final result.
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Find Your Style
As you prepare to write a dissertation, you read numerous kinds of literature: books, scholarly articles, journals, electronic sources etc. When finding relevant sources, it is not enough to find a topic that is related to yours. You should also ensure that the writing style is clear and you can properly understand what is written in the sources. So, select only those texts for reading that you find easy to understand. The materials you read should not arouse even more questions in your mind, but, on the contrary, clarify any questions you have on the given topic. Besides, when reading academic sources, carefully study the writing structure and the way arguments are presented. Pay attention to good examples of punctuation, vocabulary, and grammar structures.
Moreover, carefully consider whether the author of the scholarly work is successful in delivering the main idea and convincing the audience to accept his/ her argument. Think for a while whether you can use such a technique or approach in your dissertation.
In long academic works such as dissertations, subheadings are appropriate in breaking down the paper into logical parts, or sections. Each subsection should focus on a separate aspect of research.
When writing, keep in mind that you should provide a versatile vocabulary. Avoid tautology or repetitive structures. Always proofread your paper for such flaws. To eliminate the number of such awkward sentence structures, you may also practice reading your paper out loud.
In the process of writing a dissertation, you should learn how to distinguish the major points that must surely be included in the paper from the less important ones. Therefore, when you aim to provide some key point in your writing, make sure you write it in a full and well-developed sentence. If you need to provide any supporting details or evidence, please do so in the subsequent sentences.
It is a common misconception to think that, if the sentence is long, it makes the author sound sophisticated and clever. Actually, it is vice versa: if you are well versed in some topic, then you develop the argument and express yourself in the easiest way possible. The longer the sentence, the harder it is for your audience to comprehend what you mean and what you aim to say.
Instead of cramming different points into one sentence, introduce a new opinion in a separate statement. Transitions, such as consequently, however, nonetheless, on the contrary, etc., can be placed at the beginning of the sentence to ensure there is a logical connection between the sentences and a smooth flow of ideas.
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Despite the fact that your dissertation should contain your original thoughts, you should also refer to ideas and findings of other scholars in order to support your position and provide relevant evidence.
When incorporating other researchers’ ideas into your dissertation, keep in mind that you do not only need to mention or summarize them but also critically evaluate their role in your paper.
Whenever you cite a thought from another scientist to support your argument, consider that you always need to provide footnotes or in-text citations.
Properly Format Your Bibliography
Make sure to provide an adequate number of scholarly sources for your dissertation. Also, check whether you have met the standard required by your professor or academic supervisor. Your dissertation should have both primary and secondary sources. The former relate to non-academic sources, such as statistics, newspapers, interviews, etc. The latter belong to peer-reviewed academic articles found in scholarly journals.
There exist numerous referencing style guides, e.g., those proposed by Harvard, MHRA, AHRC, etc. You should use the one that is considered the standard in your academic department. Still, the most important thing in formatting is consistency.