One last effort – and you’re done! When the degree is just around the corner, a dissertation is the very last obstacle that stands between you. Although the amount of work is dreadful, it’s not like hundreds of thousands of students haven’t succeeded in it before. You got this!
The best advice is to keep calm and take one step at a time. First, find out what does dissertation mean. You might consider yourself an expert, but do yourself a favor and check your comprehension of the assignment. Far from every graduate is familiar with the peculiarities of dissertation writing.
As one of the most lengthy and comprehensive academic projects, the purpose of a dissertation is to show your academic accomplishments and assess the knowledge obtained within the years of hard work. Writing it is a challenge; if you know all the ins and outs of the process and are well familiar with the requirements, i.e., format, length, structure, etc., you save yourself time, effort, and stress.
Ready to dive into a few definitions and explanations? Hold tight!
What Does Dissertation Mean?
First things first. Do you know the meaning behind the term?
A dissertation is a piece of academic writing – a research project – grounded on original findings and analysis and submitted as a part of a Ph.D. or a Master’s degree (rarely of a Bachelor’s degree). It is the lengthiest assignment in academia. A good-grade project can’t be completed within a week. It takes weeks – sometimes months – to conduct in-depth research and present a winning dissertation.
Writing a Dissertation: How Many Pages and Other FAQs
Besides the definition, many students wonder how many pages a dissertation requires? There isn’t a definite answer to this question. Every case is unique.
Depending on the topic, subject, degree, and individual institution requirements, your project length may vary from 100 to 300 pages. When finally assigned with a dissertation, how long, how fast, how many references and other disputes should be discussed with your tutor first.
On average, a 150-page long dissertation is appropriate for a doctoral degree. But you can’t rely on statistical data when writing a dissertation. How many words to include is the information provided in the initial requirements. Some need to write 15 000 words. Some 25 000 words. Others must write not less than 50 000 words. If this information is missing from the list of requirements, do not hesitate to clarify writing instructions before you start the work progress.
Another popular question among graduates is what font to use for the dissertation. Times New Roman, 10-12 point size is generally appropriate. However (and yet again), you need to specify this information and comply with your individual requirements.
More important (and more difficult) questions are how to arrange the structure, how many chapters to include, how to format the text, tables, figures, references, etc.
Other Formatting Requirements
Dissertation writing intricacies go beyond margins, font, spacing, etc. Although important, they are mostly relevant to formatting requirements. This means that the way your format your dissertation depends on the style guide you’ve been assigned with.
APA, MLA, Harvard, Oscola, Turabian, and other style guidelines impose unique formatting features that must be considered when writing a dissertation. The best advice is to leave it for the last. Focus on your topic and research. To format your dissertation, you need information first.
Get Started with the Structure
The structure is the primary development point. Only with a vivid and precise outline can you proceed to write your project. Without it, you are destined to get lost among all the information sources. Develop an outline and follow it each step of the writing and research progress.
The main sections and their order depending on your subject. Humanities stick to an essay-type structure. This dissertation type is called empirical, and it is mostly used in natural and life science subjects. A different kind of dissertation writing is non-empirical. Non-empirical dissertations are often required in sciences and social sciences.
The main difference between them is the originality of the research. Yes, you aren’t mistaken: non-empirical dissertations don’t demand original analysis. On the contrary, this type of work requires you to investigate existing knowledge and find possible gaps. But don’t get too excited: this project is no less challenging than empirical writing.
Size Your Possibilities
Having a vivid structure is important yet merely not enough. What do you write in every chapter? What information do you include in the introduction? How many references do you need to present?
Research is the answer to these and other questions. The earlier you start investigating your topic opportunities, the better the final result will be. Rely on credible knowledge sources only, e.g., Google Scholar, Academic Search, and others. Grounding your dissertation on doubtful academic databases is a good way to fail the assignment. So, forget Wikipedia for good.
Once you’ve gathered the information, conducted the research, and compiled your findings into a dissertation, don’t forget to edit and proofread your writings. Best if you can create a checklist to ensure there isn’t a point missing from your project.
- Your Title page meets the initial requirements.
- Your dissertation meets the style guide requirements.
- You have included an Abstract, a Table of Contents, and an Introduction to your project.
- Your Introduction clearly states the research question(s) and sets the purpose of writing.
- You have included a Literature review, Methodology, Results & Discussion in your dissertation (if required).
- Your Conclusion concisely sums up the text and answers the initial research question.
- You have arranged in-text citations following your style guide.
- You have listed all the sources used for research purposes in a separate Reference list.
- You have ensured the text’s quality with thorough editing and proofreading.
- You have checked the originality of your dissertation with reliable plagiarism detection software.
This is just a simple example of an average checklist. Create your very own list to check yourself before dissertation submission. Remember that hard work always pays off. The more time and effort you devote to writing a dissertation, the better the final result will be.
Diana L. Larsen is a stellar contributing author who goes the extra mile to help students succeed academically. Besides reviewing online writing platforms, she passionately shares her experiences and knowledge with young learners. Diana thinks that her biggest achievement in life isn’t Ph.D. in English Language and Literature, but the job she does here. Her primary career goal is to help students find their potential and develop custom educational patterns that work best for them.