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Writing a dissertation is no small task. It requires a great deal of time, effort and commitment from a student. For many students, a successful dissertation can mean the difference between progressing to the next step of their academic career and having to rethink their future plans. Dissertations often reflect the writer’s own career goals, which is why these papers often take on a personal note. However, students can use this to their advantage.  On top of the pressure of having to write a good, clean and well thought out dissertation, students these days now face the challenge of setting themselves apart from the rest, and that is where a writer’s personal flavor can come in handy.

The standard and logical technique of breaking down the writing process into smaller, manageable chunks is no longer enough. Writers must now implement strategies and tactics that will make their dissertation unique in the eyes of the reader or instructor. This does not mean using a thesaurus to turn ordinary words into ones that are long or fancy, and it does not turn ordinary words into ones that are long or fancy, and it does not necessarily mean using mean using graphics. A dissertation is not a billboard nor is it a game of Scrabble.

When asked what would make a good scientific study, Northwestern University Professor of Medicine and Cell Biology, Navdeep Chandell, Ph.D, replied with, “Anything that is new and true. ”A unique dissertation can be thought of in much the same way. A student can write about a topic that has either never been touched upon or has seen little coverage in past years, by and large this very act would set them apart from other students who will most likely be writing about subject matter that has been “beaten to death” by their predecessors. It would also be good to keep in mind, that while the topic may be unique in and of itself, the dissertation should still read as an authentic piece of work that has a connection with the writer. And nothing reads as authentic as a writer’s own views, experiences and reflections on the topic.

The first step of such a dissertation would be to settle on a topic. This can be a brand new topic or even a fresh new perspective on a commonly written about topic. If possible the student should strive to get their hands on dissertations from years past, determine what they were written about and then abandon all thoughts about writing them. The student should be prepared to do two things before they even start writing a single word of their own dissertation; reading and taking notes. Reading past works, research and then recording all notes, figures, data points and observations will go a long way towards streamlining the writing process later on.

The time has now come to turn thoughts and ideas to words on a paper. The first portion of the dissertation should be dedicated to clarifying the subject and narrowing down the focus of the topic. Dissertations run the risk of being nebulous, meandering writing exercises. Beware of this as it is quickly looked down upon by markers and instructors. Letting the reader know exactly what will be discussed or explored in this dissertation will let them know that it is finite and that there is a “point” to all of it.

While the introduction paragraph(s) will broach the subject matter to the reader, the body of the dissertation will argue your stance or viewpoint on the topic. This is where all those notes come in handy as they will be used as supporting evidence to your arguments. In this manner, a dissertation is much like an essay. The whole thing is capped off with a conclusion which not only serves to reiterate aspects of the dissertation like the topic, the stance and arguments, but it allows the writer to leave the reader with a parting thought. This section serves as an opportunity to leave a final impression and writers should make use of it to once again differentiate themselves from their colleagues.

Students should also take note that dissertations are not just writing assignments, they are also exercises in project management. How much research is enough? How much time to dedicate to reading old dissertations? When should writing commence? These are questions which will undoubtedly assail the writer as they work towards completing their dissertations, so why not plan ahead. It doesn’t matter how good of an idea you have if there is no substance or references to support it. And it doesn’t matter how great of a writer you are if the dissertation runs past its due date.

Dissertations are challenging, and this is usually compounded by the fact that the majority of students don’t plan ahead. By creating a suitable guideline and work schedule, it doesn’t matter how far out of the box the topic may be, it has a very good shot at being custom written from scratch and submitted on time.

 

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