As a project undertaken in a student’s final year at college or university, dissertation writing differs significantly from other types of assignments and course assessments. The student is expected to assume responsibility for their own learning by reviewing available literature, selecting a research or study method, writing about their findings, and discussing these in the relevant section of their paper.

Writing a Proposal for a Dissertation

According to the accepted dissertation definition, the proposal part of a Master’s or PhD dissertation project is the first critical stage in the entire process. A dissertation proposal should be entirely unique since it lays the groundwork for the research you will do and it should enable you to develop a clear way forward for completing the project.

A dissertation proposal can be likened to a contents table for a research project and you should find it useful for helping to explain what you plan on studying or examining and, in rough terms, how you will collect and analyze data.

Once your dissertation topic is chosen, you should ensure it is appropriate for your area of study and sufficiently narrow to complete by the time your course comes to an end. To further define dissertation proposal writing would be to say it is a preliminary paper that helps to determine and characterize both of the above tasks and it additionally enables your instructor or department to ensure you are getting the best advice for your proposed research.

The tips below explain how to write a dissertation proposal that will lead to success.

The Main Body of a Dissertation Paper – How and Where to Start!

Once the proposal for your dissertation paper is finished and it has been discussed with your course supervisor, you should be ready to start drafting the first chapter. Upon handing in this chapter, arrange a meeting with your course supervisor to get written or verbal feedback and comments on ways to improve it. For instance, drafts of dissertation abstracts and introductory sections may set out the problem along with a review of any literature that covers previous studies or views on your chosen topic. It may also be that you want to draft those parts of the methods section that deal with the methodologies you plan on using along with your justification for thinking these are feasible.

Revisions Based on Comments from a Course Supervisor

Once you have put any final “what is a dissertation” questions you have to your course supervisor and they have and given their comments on your first attempts at a draft, your work may need revising. It is easier and better to undertake revisions promptly than to procrastinate over them, and it is best to do this while your supervisor’s advice is still fresh. This also prevents a backlog of revisions building up, a scenario that you might find discouraging. If you have your materials on computer you will be able to implement revisions quite quickly and efficiently with little fuss. Whether your project is a UF dissertation or a paper for any other university, make sure you back-up your work on memory stick or whatever means you find convenient.

Organize the Time Available to You

How much time you spend on, for example, a Master’s or PhD dissertation, will depend on its rating and this should equate to the amount of time you might spend on an instructor-led course with the same rating. This means lecture and seminar time plus out-of-class study time.

What We Found From Research

Upon researching the matter, we discovered that many students do not consider the credit rating allocated to their PhD or masters dissertation and, therefore, spend a disproportionate amount of time on it. They view dissertations as so essential to their degrees they are keen to devote more time to them:

Here are the observations of one student: “My doctoral dissertation absorbed a great deal of time … when you start on it, you feel compelled to make a real effort. It was an 8,000-word assignment with an awful lot to do. When you are working on it, a dissertation can overshadow all other college work.”

This, however, can occur to the detriment of other course modules – according to another student “I struggled to understand how to cite a dissertation in APA style and with other aspects of the project while working on my dissertation. Meanwhile, I overlooked other coursework.” Avoid this mistake. Every final year module is important.

Regardless of what dissertation length you are dealing with, it becomes a lot easier to schedule your work in a manageable sequence and to set targets for completing individual parts when you have a plan in place. Leave enough time for revising final drafts after your instructor has reviewed them.

Writing a Dissertation for PhD Level

Referring at previous dissertation examples, it may occur to you that the most efficient way to write a proposal and subsequent dissertation is to set specific times aside each day for this project. It is not possible to write a paper this bulky and intense by devoting sporadic quarter and half hours to it here and there. This is not how playwrights and novelists work and you should not either.

An excellent idea on how you might get to grips with APA dissertation citation can so easily digress to how you might get a date with that boy or girl you spotted earlier in a class. Numerous students report having great difficulty finding the motivation to start writing and getting their ideas and/or thoughts onto paper.

Dissertations for doctoral level are a type of book and every book has a specific structure. Most people are acquainted with the basic design of a book; the preface precedes the first or opening chapter while appendices are usually near the book’s end. However, the manner in which the components of some books are ordered is not so obvious.

Main Difference between a Thesis and Dissertation

There is quite a lot of difference between a thesis and dissertation and even though certain universities consider them to be the same. Theses and dissertations (respectively) are usually submitted when a Master’s or PhD degree comes to an end.

A thesis involves the writer carrying out their own original research; whereas a dissertation paper involves synthesizing information the writer has collected. Additionally, dissertations allow for the inclusion of the writer’s own thoughts. A further difference in these two papers is that they are written for different types of degrees. A thesis will get you a higher-level degree whereas a dissertation can be part of the route to getting a degree.    

In terms of the dissertation vs thesis debate, it is usual to write a thesis when you reach the two final years of your studies (for PhD programs). Students taking a Master’s-level degree will not need to complete a thesis. If, however, they aim to get a doctoral degree, then they will need to write a dissertation. Even so, a dissertation is required of those studying or PhDs while a thesis is required of students seeking Master’s degrees.

While knowing how to cite a dissertation is a common requirement for both papers, another difference between the two concerns the dissertation/thesis statement. A thesis statement tends to focus more on the writer’s main argument and tells readers what they are attempting to prove. It sets out the main points and sums-up the writer’s argument.

A Master’s-level dissertation and thesis require research to be undertaken on the topic in order for the writer to put forward their various points. The PhD thesis and dissertation format requires original and fresh research and for the writer to add new information to the literature that already exists.