How To Write A Dissertation Or Thesis: From A To Z

Writing a dissertation or thesis is one of the most challenging tasks for college or university students. To get to the finish line, you will need a lot of time, effort, energy, knowledge, and patience. Knowing the general writing process for this type of paper will help you get the job done faster. Therefore, we have compiled step-by-step instructions on how to write a dissertation or thesis, saving you time searching for the perfect format.

If this is your first time with this assignment, our article will be an excellent guide to the world of academic writing requirements. Note that our guide will give you creative skills that you can apply in the future. If you have already created a dissertation or thesis, this article will also be helpful for you — we will tell you about structuring, and you can improve the document.

The General Process Of Writing A Dissertation Or Thesis

How to write a high-quality dissertation or thesis? The process of writing a dissertation or thesis is like a multi-stop journey. In other words, there are step-by-step steps that you cannot miss. Each subsequent step will depend on the quality of the previous one, so you cannot achieve high results by reducing the number of steps. Don’t despair — it will give you invaluable experience.

The first thing we want to draw your attention to is how to structure a dissertation. There are eight steps you need to follow to make your paper look thoughtful, logical, and well-structured:

  1. Learn the definition of a dissertation or thesis to understand its essence clearly.
  2. Find a topic that matches your interests, discipline and is unique.
  3. Come up with a strong research proposal.
  4. Write your introduction using attention hooks.
  5. Analyze the literature on your chosen topic and write an overview.
  6. Develop a research strategy that highlights your off-the-beaten-track approach to research and experiment.
  7. Describe the results obtained and provide answers to research questions.
  8. Make a general conclusion and discuss the difficulties, technique, research results.

If you understand each of the steps described above and delve into the process, you will be able to write a dissertation or thesis without any hindrance, in compliance with all deadlines. Your path will be long but smooth.

How To Write A Dissertation Without Plagiarism

After numerous checks, the ministry of education revealed that plagiarism is contained in more than 1/3 of the thesis. Previously, it was not considered plagiarism to use quotes from other authors when linking to them. Thus, an alumnus student could write a dissertation, resorting to other people’s texts. It was enough to indicate the source from which the student took the material. Today, any borrowed text must be rephrased, transmitting it in a revised form and using a link to the original. Thus, writing a dissertation has become more complicated.

To correctly write a work without plagiarism, you need to know the check sequence that calculates the uniqueness of the entire text. An approximate verification algorithm is as follows:

  1. As a rule, work on a dissertation is divided into stages. And the student is obliged to demonstrate to his supervisor the results of each of them. This makes it easier to identify the lack of uniqueness.
  2. The student uses specialized programs to check the text for uniqueness. If necessary, he corrects proposals. But it will be more convenient for everyone if the professor can run the text according to the programs personally. Then he issues a resolution as a recommendation.
  3. The teacher again checks the corrected work. If the result meets the teacher’s requirements, then the work is transferred to representatives of the educational council. After checking the document, they can organize preliminary protection of the project. This procedure is introduced so that the student knows the sequence of the defense process.

If the commission does not allow a document to be protected, indicating a low percentage of uniqueness, you should not panic. After all, the journalistic style is replete with a large number of well-established phrases. Replacing only one word in them, you will immediately be able to improve the uniqueness.

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What Is A Dissertation: Definition And Concept

Unfortunately, many teachers do not clearly explain what it is when asking students to create a dissertation or thesis. Therefore, we have prepared a clear and straightforward definition of what a dissertation is. A dissertation is a typical study that reflects the skills and thoughts of students. What does typical research include? The research process is built on four pillars:

  1. Asking research questions or forming a topic.
  2. Analysis of authoritative sources on the topic — you need to understand what other writers or scientists have said about this.
  3. If the authors have not previously covered the topic properly and have not answered the questions clearly, you need to collect and analyze the information.
  4. Answers to questions based on data analysis.

In other words, the research process is reduced to asking questions and answering them. Yes, it sounds trite and obvious. However, many students get confused about the research, and instead of the steps described above, they do the following:

  1. They copy a topic or pose general questions that do not reflect their thoughts.
  2. They copy information from Wikipedia instead of looking at authoritative sources.
  3. They copy ready-made data from open sources without being convinced of their reliability.
  4. They make an inaccurate conclusion based on the information found.

Let’s look at an example of incorrect research. People study posts on Facebook where someone discusses a topic and shares their experiences, arguments, etc. They then believe they researched after reading the opinions of several people on the blog. Consequently, they get a set of views, but not research. As a result, only reputable authors with academic merit can be cited.

We can conclude that a thesis is a study built on steps leading to a valuable result. A dissertation is not an opinion and not a place to convince the reader of your position. Writing a good dissertation is based on a systematic, logical answer to questions based on objective evidence.

Dissertation Or Thesis Topics: How To Choose

Before you start dissertation writing, you need to come up with a topic. The research topic should include several questions so that the article contains sections and does not look like solid text. At first glance, it seems simple — find the questions and give answers. However, there are pitfalls here too.

You can determine a good dissertation topic based on the following characteristics:

  1. Clarity.
  2. Uniqueness.
  3. Importance.

Let’s take a closer look at each aspect. First, clarity — the thesis topic should demonstrate what you want to research and its purpose. Second, the topic should not be ambiguous or general — uncertainty is a guarantee of failure. To give you an idea of what a clear topic looks like here’s an example: “An analysis of consumer factors affecting institutional confidence in low-cost UK brokerage firms.” In the example, the priorities are set: the student will analyze factors among consumers in the context of British brokerage firms.

Uniqueness — your topic or questions should not duplicate previously created research. Let’s go back to the example. Most likely, students have already written about the factors that influence client confidence in organizations in the UK. However, the topic includes brokerage firms, which is a rarity among scientific research. Therefore, adding a little-known fact will make the article unique. However, you should make sure that there are opinions from authoritative people on the topic — otherwise, you will not be able to confirm your thoughts based on personal research only.

Importance — Research requires more than just an original or unique question. The research topic should be of value to society. In other words, you must contribute to the science you write about. You cannot research topics for the sake of ticking off an academic assignment as accomplished or doing a favor to the teacher. It is essential to show that your research was not in vain and that people can change lives through such discoveries. Let’s go back to the example. Researching the factors affecting customer confidence in organizations will allow the leaders of brokerage firms to tailor their services and products to people’s wishes and requirements.

How To Write A Dissertation Or Thesis With Research Proposal

Writing a quality dissertation or thesis involves having a research proposal — this is what will convince the panel to allow you to do the research. Regardless of how well you have chosen the topic, you must get approval from the commission — unauthorized writing of a dissertation is prohibited. The research proposal will largely determine the paper format.

So what does the research proposal include? The purpose of the research proposal is to convince teachers of the value and importance of your experiment. How to convince the commissions of this? Well, the preferences of teachers are different, but most often, they want to see such factors:

  1. Your theme is unique, clear, and consistent with discipline.
  2. You have a bibliography you want to use in your article, and the sources support your research proposal well.
  3. You have a plan according to which you will conduct research and structure the paper.

When you show a list of references, this does not mean that you need to study books day and night. On the contrary, teachers want to know which authors students will rely on in their research and how authoritative they are. The same principle applies to methodology: professors want to know if you will be doing qualitative or quantitative analysis and how to collect data.

Simply put, it is not at all necessary at an early stage to delve into all the books and think over the methodology — if the teacher disapproves, it will all need to be redone. First, however, you should demonstrate that you understand the essence of the dissertation and you are ready for the job.

Dissertation Format: Main Sections And Requirements

The success of the dissertation directly depends on the correct design. If you initially follow all the established rules, then in the final version, you will not need to edit anything, and preparation for defense will be much easier. Let’s take a look at what teachers require from students when formulating scientific papers in 2021:

  1. The student must submit the dissertation in printed form on A4 sheets, using the following sizes: kegel 12-14, spacing 1.5, left margin 25 mm, right margin 10 mm, top and bottom 20 mm.
  2. The volume of the thesis should be from 100 to 150 printed sheets of A4 format. On average, most dissertations consist of 3 chapters, 40 sheets each with additions in the form of a table of contents, a list of used literature, and appendices.
  3. You need to provide a report on the passage of the anti-plagiarism check with an approved percentage of the originality. A sufficient level is considered to be an indicator of 70%. However, the higher the uniqueness, the more chances you have of success.
  4. The saturation of letters and signs should be even within the line, page, and the entire dissertation.
  5. All pages of the dissertation are numbered in order from the title page to the last page. The number “1” is not put on the title page, and the number “2” is put on the next page, etc. You need to print the number in the upper right corner of the page field, without any additional characters.
  6. Corrections in the thesis after the final delivery to the teacher are not allowed. The teacher can return to the student a carelessly completed dissertation containing errors only during the preliminary check.

Now let’s look at the main parts of the dissertation and the requirements for them:

  1. Dissertation Introduction. The dissertation introduction of the dissertation should make up 10% of the total volume of the article. In the introduction, you need to briefly introduce the reader to the topic and put forward a thesis statement — the article’s main idea. Also, in the introduction, you need to state convincing facts that confirm the issue’s relevance or problem under study.
  2. Dissertation Conclusion. The dissertation conclusion, like the introduction, should make up 10% of the total volume of the article. According to the conclusion of the dissertation, the commission evaluates the student: his ability to use the theoretical and practical scientific base, the ability to formulate accurate and correct conclusions. The final stage of the research work must convincingly demonstrate the results of the work.
  3. Dissertation Results. The dissertation results are divided into two types — theoretical and practical. Theoretical results imply well-reasoned proofs of theorems, presenting a well-grounded new view of existing arguments, ideas, theoretical elements, hypotheses, trends in the development of the research subject, conditions, factors. The main goal of the practical results is to increase the efficiency of the complement under consideration in a particular scientific field.
  4. Dissertation Hypothesis. No dissertation is complete without a hypothesis. This is the axis around which all research is concentrated. It is either confirmed, in whole or in part, or refuted. Without a dissertation hypothesis, the work loses its meaning. In other words, a hypothesis is an assumption.
  5. Dissertation Abstract. The basic rule for completing a dissertation abstract is a short but capacious description of the content of the dissertation, divided by meaning by the sections of the work. You also need to describe the results of the scientific research given, with conclusions and a further possible plan for developing this topic.
  6. Dissertation Discussion. In the dissertation discussion, you need to write the key ways to solve the problem with all the details and nuances, characteristics, calculations, dependency graphs, models. Then, for discussion, students highlight one paragraph, preferably at the end, after describing the results. Next, a comparison with the proposals of other authors is carried out specifically for each aspect of the issue.
  7. Dissertation Methodology. In dissertation methodology, you need to describe the methods of empirical and theoretical research that you applied. Here you can list the used equipment, programs, instruments. This chapter should contain complete information about the methods and experiments.
  8. Dissertation Proposal. The list of dissertation proposals usually includes those examples, graphs, illustrations, diagrams that, for various reasons, were not included in the main part.
  9. Dissertation Literature Review. The dissertation literature review in work should contain structured scientific data on the selected topic obtained from the analysis of the studied sources. This part of the study shows the student’s ability to systematize the available data, perceive them critically, and, most importantly, assess the need for scientific research on the chosen topic.

Dissertation Tips: Secrets to Successful Paper Writing

We reviewed the main parts of the dissertation and the requirements for them. We also want to share dissertation tips that will simplify the writing process:

  1. When drawing up a plan, remember the famous deductive method of Sherlock Holmes: sections in work should present information from partial to general or vice versa.
  2. Write all parts of the dissertation in turn — this will allow you to build a logical chain of interrelated information. You can also write separate sections in parallel — sometimes great ideas can arise, and it is essential not to forget about them.
  3. Do not violate the laws of logic in your dissertation: your thoughts, hypotheses, scientific conclusions should not contradict each other. If you cannot avoid contradictions, be sure to make appropriate comments on them.
  4. Applications are best designed in parallel with the main text of the work. This approach is needed in order not to forget any of the elements.
  5. Educational institutions provide requirements not only for the design of the dissertation but also for its content — do not be too lazy to read them so that later there will be no misunderstandings.

Where to Find a Dissertation Step-by-Step Guide?

If you do not fully know what sections the dissertation consists of, we recommend using our step-by-step dissertation guide. You can also ask the teacher to provide examples of previously written dissertations on your topic or similar. This will help you highlight the main writing steps. When formatting a document, pay attention to the style requirements: APA, ASA, MLA, Harvard, Chicago. Official communities have step-by-step formatting instructions.

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