Creating a Good Dissertation: 10 Original Tips

When creating a dissertation you should:

  • Be prepared. Always keep the things you need for note taking and research in an individual area. If you have a study space you use for your research and writing that is not shared then keep your materials there. If you move around a lot to different study spaces it is helpful to keep a binder or bag or pencil container where your note cards and such can be stored. If you use different computers for your research try and keep a USB drive with you to transfer data when you need it.

  • Take breaks. Your brain cannot work for hours on end without breaks. Treat yourself to a five to ten minute break in between the hours that you work.

  • Take bibliographic notes from the start on a separate card or word document.

  • Separate your note cards by color for main arguments and supporting evidence

  • Write every day. Even if you can only take notes or format your bibliography make sure you get in the habit of doing something every day.

  • Take care of yourself. This is going to be a long process and you need to make sure you are getting enough sleep and eating appropriately throughout.

  • Make a schedule with achievable milestones. Break down your final project into smaller pieces that you can achieve in one week or a few days.

  • Reward yourself each time you finish a milestone. Give yourself a night out with friends or a pint of your favorite ice cream. Reward yourself for each small victory. You will need that motivation to keep on toward the next milestone.

  • Review previous dissertations in your department to get a feel for what is expected.

  • Keep in contact with your advisor. They are there to help you and it is important that you use them along the way. This means that when you finish a chapter you should arrange to send it to them for review. Give them a few days to review it and then meet with them to discuss any notes they have. Doing this regularly and for each chapter or revised chapter will ensure you stay on the right path and do not fall too far behind. You do not want to leave this to the last minute and ask them to review the whole thing one week before it is due. They won’t have the time or energy and neither will you.