PhD dissertation writing secrets

Dissertation writing is an important step in a student’s life. Students who aim to get a PhD degree must get their thesis approved by the dissertation committee at their university. However the students find it very difficult and complicated because they are doing it for the first time.

Here are a few secrets that will help you in writing an effective dissertation or your PhD.

Make a thesis statement

The thesis statement is where you summarize your whole dissertation in one line. This is mostly a cause and effect statement. Write down this statement in your study area at a prominent place where you can look at it often. This will help you in increasing concentration on the topic. The more you read this statement the more aspects will come to your mind.

Don’t give up

When you start writing a dissertation it will so happen that often you will feel there is nothing more about the topic you can write and this is everything you could think of. Don’t get this feeling overcome you. The human brain is the only place which is never out of ideas. Take a small break and then continue writing. Use a method that helps you be creative and freshen up.

Write on a regular basis

Do not discontinue writing even if you have a very tight schedule or have some other assignments to be submitted. You can sometimes cut down the time for dissertation writing if you are too preoccupied but never miss it completely. This will help keep the continuity in your work. You may even ask a friend or a colleague for reading your work. A third opinion is always helpful as it is neutral.

Do not get panicked

Thesis writing is a time-taking process and no one has ever been able to do it in a day or two. Every dissertation needs dedication and time. Do not be troubled by the thoughts of not making it on time. Don’t worry if the basics have taken a lot of your time. Keep calm and keep on writing. A well-established base will help you move easily in the future process.
Imagine yourself facing your audience

It is always a good practice to keep repeating your thesis and motivation in your mind. Keep building arguments in your mind and cross question about various aspects of the thesis. The more you defend yourself in your imagination the more ideas you will get. Sooner you will be able to write without any disruptions.


How to Write a Thesis Statement

If you’re wondering how to write a thesis statement, you’re most likely in the preparatory stages of writing an academic thesis: a substantial academic paper written on an original topic of research, usually presented as one of the final requirements for the Master’s or Ph.D. degree.

What Is a Thesis Statement?

It is important to note that an “academic thesis” should not be confused with a “thesis statement”. A thesis statement is:

  • “A basic argument” that clearly articulates what the Master’s or Doctoral thesis is expected to demonstrate
  • One of the initial building blocks to your immense writing project
  • A sentence or paragraph that summarizes the argument you plan to make in your thesis, as well as the supportive evidence you plan to use to back up that argument.
  • Provides a “roadmap” for the reader of where you plan to go with your thesis.

Most importantly, the thesis statement must convince the reader that the claim is important to your academic field, and that it is likely to be true based on the evidence provided.
Good Thesis Statements:

  • Make a knowledge claim that purports to offer a new approach or idea in a particular field, and to explain why it is new. The purpose of any academic thesis is to add to the existing pool of knowledge in a particular area, or to “fill in the gaps of knowledge.” As such, your knowledge claim should clearly state why the information/knowledge that you have to offer is new within your field, and should also convince the reader that your claim is likely to be true based on the evidence provided
  • Make an argumentative assertion that summarizes the conclusions you have reached about your topic after reviewing the literature. This assertion should be focused and specific enough to be “proven” within the boundaries of your paper. It should also identify the relationships between the pieces of evidence that you are providing.
  • Outline the scope, purpose and direction of your paper. After finishing your thesis statement, the reader should clearly know the essence of your intended project, and also the boundaries you intend to place on it. Your thesis statement should not make the reader expect more than you are prepared to present in your final document.

Keep in mind that your thesis topic should address an unresolved problem or knowledgegap in your subject area that needs to be explored and that concerns society as a whole. Your thesis topic should be unique in that it should add something new to the existing literature. Merely digging up answers that already exist does nothing to contribute to an academic or professional field of knowledge.

Simply put, a thesis topic should be based on new knowledge and new solutions to existing problems—not on simply churning up old answers. However, conducting research on questions that have already been answered is considered part of the literature review and is a useful exercise to find out if someone has already conducted research on your proposed research topic.
Types of Thesis Statements

There are three basic forms that your thesis statement can take:

  • Analytical: a statement that breaks down an idea piece by piece and analyzes and evaluates each individual part;
  • Expository: a statement that explains an idea or concept to an audience.
  • Argumentative: a statement that claims a position that is open to debate and justifies the truth of that position through concrete examples and evidence.

What Type of Thesis Statement Should You Use?

What type of approach you choose to take will depend upon the nature of your research. Analyzing why you are writing this thesis can provides important clues regarding the approach you should take. For example:

  • Are you proposing a new point of view, or agreeing someone else’s point of view with some disagreement or alternative interpretations?
  • Are you trying to make an existing point of view clearer or better in some way? Or are you criticizing or dismissing an existing point of view because of its inadequacy or irrelevance?


The Important Parts Of Dissertation Proposal

Your thesis/dissertation proposal provides an overview of your proposed plan of work, including the general scope of your project, your basic research questions, research methodology, and the overall significance of your study. In short, your dissertation proposal explains what you want to study, how you will study this topic, why this topic needs to be studied, and (generally) when you intend to do this work. (Occasionally, you may also need to explain where your study will take place.) Here are the major parts for writing a dissertation proposal.


  • Create a title that conveys the idea of your investigation
  • Orient your readers to the topic you will research.
  • Indicate the type of study you will conduct.


  • Provide a brief (100-350 word) overview of the dissertation proposal that gives a basic understanding.
  • Classify it as informative or descriptive abstract.
  • Summarize Introduction, Statement of the Problem, Background of the Study, Research Questions or Hypotheses, and Methods and Procedures.


  • Establish the general territory (real world or research) in which the research is placed.
  • Describe the broad foundations of your study, including some references to existing literature and/or empirically observable situations. In other words, the introduction needs to provide sufficient background for readers to understand where your study is coming from for your dissertation research proposal.
  • Indicate the general scope of your project.

Statement of the Problem

  • State the problem clearly early in a paragraph.
  • Limit the variables you address in stating your problem or question
  • Research Questions/Purpose
  • Describe the research questions and/or hypotheses of the study.
  • Explain the goals and research objectives of the study
  • Show the original contributions of your study
  • State limitations of the research while writing a Dissertation proposal

Review of Literature

  • It situates the current study within a wider disciplinary conversation.
  • It illustrates the uniqueness, importance of and need for your particular project
  • It justifies methodological choices.
  • It demonstrates your familiarity with the topic and appropriate approaches to studying it.


  • Introduce the overall methodological approach for each problem or question.
  • Indicate how the approach fits the overall research design.
  • Describe the specific dissertation methods of data collection you are going to use
  • Explain how you intend to analyze and interpret your results.
  • Address potential limitations


How to Plan Your Dissertation Proposal

Having to write a dissertation proposal depends upon the university or institution that you’re attending. Even if a dissertation proposal isn’t a requirement, however, it’s a very useful exercise (and is certainly going to impress your supervisor, especially if it’s not part of your assessment).

On some courses the research proposal is assessed and forms part of your final dissertation submission. If this is the case, it’s vital that you follow the correct format and submit your work on time. Mostly, a dissertation proposal has a 500 or 1,000 word limit, but you must check what your course specifically requires.
What is a dissertation proposal?

A dissertation proposal is basically a description of the following:

  • What your dissertation is about
  • Probable questions that you’re going to be examining
  • Some reference to the theoretical background
  • Research methods you’re going to be using (empirical or non-empirical)
  • Potential outcomes of the study

Time spent putting your dissertation proposal together is an investment. You reap rewards because the proposal stops you wasting time and also forms the basis of your dissertation outline.

Writing a dissertation proposal, even if it’s not a requirement, is still worth doing. You can submit the proposal to your supervisor (with her agreement) and get some valuable feedback.

Ask your supervisor for guidance about the tone and style of your research proposal. You need to be flexible and open-minded, showing a willingness to adapt your methods and ideas as your research dictates. Say in your proposal what you intend to do, confidently and adopting a balanced view, suggesting that you’ve carefully considered the best way of carrying out your study. Be firm but not arrogant; be flexible but not feeble!

Make sure that you follow the rules of grammar in your proposal. Be consistent about the tense of your proposal. Most proposals are written using the future tense: ‘I will be using questionnaires . . . and so on’. Check with your supervisor for confirmation.
What does a dissertation proposal include?

The essential parts of a research proposal are generally standard:

  • Dissertation title (so far): Aim at making the title short and to the point.
  • Overall objectives: If you have more than three objectives, your area of research is probably far too broad and needs to be narrowed. (Some university courses may ask you to include a rationale at this stage.)
  • Literature, context, background: You can use any of these words as the title of this section, just make sure that you mention key schools of thought or areas of study that are going to provide information about your dissertation. (Some proposals require you to list specific references at this point, others ask for the bibliography at the end.)
  • Details of the research: Here, you can expand the ideas spelt out in your research question. This section is about outlining clearly your area of research.
  • Methodologies: Your work may be empirical (with some sort of study and collection of data such as questionnaires) or non-empirical (no such data, all your research comes from already published writing and projects). If your study is non-empirical, this section is likely to be short; longer if you need to collect or look at the empirical data.
  • If you’re allowed to use bullet points in your research proposal, you need do no more than list your intended activities (for example, carrying out interviews, consulting archives or evaluating data).
  • Potential outcomes: Avoid second-guessing the result of your dissertation. If you knew the outcomes, it would be pretty pointless doing the dissertation! Here, you’re summarising the type of outcomes you hope to generate and suggesting a target audience.
  • Timeline: If you’re asked to outline how you plan to manage your research, think about including a Gantt chart or some kind of concept map. Whatever you do, make your timeline realistic.
  • Bibliography: Check if you’re required to provide a list of references, and if so, find out roughly how many references you’re expected to list.


6 Terrific Pieces of Advice for Writing College Application Essays

1. Write as if you are talking to the reader.

I think that the best advice I have ever received about writing came as a result of attending a writing conference. A publishing executive said at the beginning of her talk, “To write easily and well, simply be yourself. Be natural; write as if you are talking to your reader on paper.” As soon as I returned home from the conference, I started doing what she said and never looked back. You can do the same with your college application essays. Remember, the purpose of answering the application questions is to help the college admissions officers get to know you. What better way of doing that is there than to write as if you are talking to them?

2. Offer readers a story.

When I attend college admissions conferences, I almost always attend sessions on application essays, where college admissions officers talk about what they look for. Inevitably it is revealed that they love reading applicants’ personal stories and anecdotes. Frankly, the stories can be about anything ranging from a conversation with a grandparent, to the best or worst day of your life, to a special talent or involvement or something that changed how you think. Stories help illustrate points that you may be trying to make to your readers and help show more about who you are as a person.

Every child in every family has stories about themselves. If you have trouble coming up with some, try having a brainstorming session with your parents at dinner some time.

3. Use the first person.

Many writers tell me that in order to write authentically, they had to unlearn a lot of what they were taught in school. Among their most important “unlearnings” was to limit using third person pronouns (he, she, they, it), and start using the first person, I. Because college admissions people want to hear about you, you need to write in your own, unique voice. And that means saying such things as, “I have loved numbers ever since I was a little kid. My mother tells me that at the grocery store, I would sit in the cart and add up the item prices she placed next to me to see if I could come up with the same amount as the cash register.” This is a lot more personal and interesting than saying, “Some students have known that they were good with numbers since they were little kids.”

4. Show, don’t tell. Be specific, descriptive and offer plenty of details.

Skillful writers say that the key to alive, good writing is to “show, not tell.” Rather than saying that you love animals, write something such as, “Whether a tiny, slithery salamander or a magnificent Arabian horse, I am simply nuts about animals. Since I was very young, I have spent a lot of my time rescuing, raising, caring for and loving them.” Author Natalie Goldberg says, “…a writer’s job is to make the ordinary come alive.”

5. Avoid generalities, clichés and philosophical or psychological babble.

It is so easy to fall into writing something that ends up saying nothing or is trite. To not do that, keep in mind the following:

Generalities: Rather than saying, “I’m very hardworking,” describe a situation that demonstrates how diligent you are. For example, “When it comes to special academic projects, I am the kind of person who both starts way in advance and at the end sometimes stays up all night to make sure that an assignment is the best that it can be.”

Clichés: Rather than saying, “I like working with people and want to save the world,” how about saying, “I joined the Diversity Club at school because I wanted to get to know students from different cultures, learn about their families, religion, traditions and even their food. I also wanted to find out how we are alike and unalike. I believe that when people really get to know one another, they have a better chance of getting along.”

Psychobabble: Rather than saying, “I get really ADD when it comes to studying,” say something such as “When I do homework in the evenings, I often find it difficult to concentrate, get easily distracted and don’t seem to be able to focus.” By the way, in case you didn’t notice, the quote in the first paragraph about “being anal,” is another example of Psychobabble.

6. Make sure that your essay is free of spelling, grammatical mistakes and improper use of words.

There are few things that negatively stick out more on college applications than errors. I cannot stress this enough! Grammar and punctuation errors are like a huge red flag on your application. Make sure that the final person to read your essay is a great proofreader, and ask them specifically to look for errors. Careless mistakes are one of the quickest routes to negatively impress application readers and may result in you’re getting a rejection letter from a college.

College essays can reveal a lot about how you think and who you are, things that college admissions officers want to know. Students who take the time to pen original, thoughtful, well-written essays truly enhance their college admissions possibilities.


Ten things I wish I’d known before starting my dissertation

The sun is shining but many students won’t see the daylight. Because it’s that time of year again – dissertation time.

Luckily for me, my D-Day (dissertation hand-in day) has already been and gone. But I remember it well.

The 10,000-word spiral-bound paper squatted on my desk in various forms of completion was my Allied forces; the history department in-tray was my Normandy. And when Eisenhower talked about a “great crusade toward which we have striven these many months”, he was bang on.

I remember first encountering the Undergraduate Dissertation Handbook, feeling my heart sink at how long the massive file took to download, and began to think about possible (but in hindsight, wildly over-ambitious) topics. Here’s what I’ve learned since, and wish I’d known back then…

1) If your dissertation supervisor isn’t right, change. Mine was brilliant. If you don’t feel like they’re giving you the right advice, request to swap to someone else – providing it’s early on and your reason is valid, your department shouldn’t have a problem with it. In my experience, it doesn’t matter too much whether they’re an expert on your topic. What counts is whether they’re approachable, reliable, reassuring, give detailed feedback and don’t mind the odd panicked email. They are your lifeline and your best chance of success.

2) If you mention working on your dissertation to family, friends or near-strangers, they will ask you what it’s about, and they will be expecting a more impressive answer than you can give. So prepare for looks of confusion and disappointment. People anticipate grandeur in history dissertation topics – war, genocide, the formation of modern society. They don’t think much of researching an obscure piece of 1970s disability legislation. But they’re not the ones marking it.

3) If they ask follow-up questions, they’re probably just being polite.

4) Do not ask friends how much work they’ve done. You’ll end up paranoid – or they will. Either way, you don’t have time for it.

5) There will be one day during the process when you will freak out, doubt your entire thesis and decide to start again from scratch. You might even come up with a new question and start working on it, depending on how long the breakdown lasts. You will at some point run out of steam and collapse in an exhausted, tear-stained heap. But unless there are serious flaws in your work (unlikely) and your supervisor recommends starting again (highly unlikely), don’t do it. It’s just panic, it’ll pass.

6) A lot of the work you do will not make it into your dissertation. The first few days in archives, I felt like everything I was unearthing was a gem, and when I sat down to write, it seemed as if it was all gold. But a brutal editing down to the word count has left much of that early material at the wayside.

7) You will print like you have never printed before. If you’re using a university or library printer, it will start to affect your weekly budget in a big way. If you’re printing from your room, “paper jam” will come to be the most dreaded two words in the English language.

8) Your dissertation will interfere with whatever else you have going on – a social life, sporting commitments, societies, other essay demands. Don’t even try and give up biscuits for Lent, they’ll basically become their own food group when you’re too busy to cook and desperate for sugar.

9) Your time is not your own. Even if you’re super-organised, plan your time down to the last hour and don’t have a single moment of deadline panic, you’ll still find that thoughts of your dissertation will creep up on you when you least expect it. You’ll fall asleep thinking about it, dream about it and wake up thinking about. You’ll feel guilty when you’re not working on it, and mired in self-doubt when you are.

10) Finishing it will be one of the best things you’ve ever done. It’s worth the hard work to know you’ve completed what’s likely to be your biggest, most important, single piece of work. Be proud of it.


How to Proofread a Dissertation

Writing a dissertation is an extremely difficult process. If you are finally through with your dissertation, be sure you have carefully proofread it. Even the smartest students always make silly mistakes which can spoil the quality of the whole paper. Before handing your dissertation in, do your best to proofread it yourself or with the help of your instructor or teacher. You will spend much time proofreading the dissertation with various means, like your PC, dictionaries and books. Dissertation proofreading is a time consuming process and many students can be deadlocked while doing it, so we will provide you with quality dissertation proofreading guidelines to help you cope with this problem.

Dissertation Proofreading Tips:

1. First of all try to have a few days rest to proofread the dissertation soberly. Remember that proofreading includes grammar, punctuation, spelling and style. The first three points (grammar, punctuation and spelling) can be checked with the help of your word processor. It will correct the most strict mistakes. But be ready to check your dissertation later yourself.

2. Now, check the style of your dissertation. Your paper must be written in the proper language. Your English should not contain dialects which will confuse the readers from the US and the UK. The paper must be divided into small paragraphs to look logical and organized.

3. Now check if you have properly formatted your dissertation, if you have made a good front page, if you have numbered the pages and cited the sources. Proofreading includes checking of diagrams, illustrations, tables. Make sure that the content of your dissertation is really informative and meets the requirements. Check if you have contents page, literary review, bibliography, appendix, introduction, methodology. Most universities have their own dissertation requirements and try to meet them all in the correct order.

4. Now read your dissertation to your friends, parents aloud. It will help you understand if your paper has sense and sounds good. You will realize that something must be added or excluded. If you want to proofread your dissertation effectively, print out a copy of your dissertation and reread it. While reading the printed variant some new mistakes may be revealed. Besides, you will see how the final variant of your dissertation will look.

5. After you have finished proofreading your dissertation, print it out for your professor. Be ready that the professor will return the dissertation for you to make some changes there. Try to make your paper meet all the requirements of your professor. If you manage to do it on time, you will be lucky to have a good rest at last.


Dissertation Proposal: The design of footnotes

In the dissertation, according to www.a-mentor.co.uk, the footnotes are optically isolated from the rest of the text to place down as possible on each page and should be numbered consecutively. They can be set smaller than the text in the font, this is not mandatory. Rule of thumb: from an ordinary term paper with 17 edit pages (as appropriate) definitely 50 (and more) Footnotes can be expected (as with the cited literature and case law demonstrates the seminar work that she has carefully addressed the problematic processing material) .

The footnotes should have an internal order, therefore it begin with the case law, the “higher” court of first grade in the literature either chronologically or alphabetically or by category Post (essays and monographs on before posting comments etc.). When there are several proofs, they are usually separated by a semicolon.

A point – name – reference (no title of the article or essay)

For dependent contributions to specify the first letter of the first name. It is sufficient comma, the start page and actual page reference. The specific reference may be made in parentheses or commas, it should be a standard, such as A. Smith , NJW 2002, 13, 24 or Doe , NJW 2002, 13 (24).In comments to the respective processors to name-as with the first letter of the first name – comma (can be omitted – but only as a unit).Instruction – comma (it can be omitted – but only as a unit) – point (or paragraph), or page.

Example: B. Pieroth, in: Jarass / idem, Basic Law, Article 1, para. 1

Textbooks and monographs are cited: first letter of first name – dot – name – comma – Short title of track (usually the first noun of the title) – comma – year – relevant page or paragraph.Court decisions should, where available, are cited as possible after the official collections.

The name of the court and the sources indicated with specific page number, e.g. BVerfGE 7, 377 (397)or BVerfGE 7, 377, 397 For journals applies: Federal Constitutional Court, NJW 2001, 1341 (1342) and Constitutional Court, NJW 2001, 1341, 1342nd Between the court and the courts must review a comma, but it can be set – is again observed only uniformity.


Dissertation writing: Determine the deadline!

Let us start with the deadline. You have to set a deadline. Also, you it must comply strictly and and this requires a high degree of planning, to avoid falling into the last days into heart attack, promoting panic and so on.Without a realistic schedule, you will hardly succeed! Because there lurk, many well camouflaged, of course, time wasters in your area:Friends, boyfriend / girlfriend, friend / family / pretty women /sports / computer games… The pleasure of reading peripheral issues. “Ok, I know I do need the essay now necessarily, but this is so interesting…. “.There is the focus of analysis or in other words the the way, which you can successfully use for term papers and dissertations – http://www.a-mentor.co.uk/services/research-writing/dissertation-writing/.

Focus analysis

It is better for you to have a plan. The advantages of such a plan are obvious:

• You have a sense of achievement when it is set in the plan Greatest advantage is that if you are faster than planned, you can reward yourself and go to football or whatever and your conscience will be completely clean
• Your time panic is reduced to a tolerable level
• You have effective control

During the incorporation of the theme, you should approach from general to specific! Tighten up! Do not read in details!
The initial problem that needs to be examined, it is the problem with the accurately identify.
The study ends with a concrete result


• Interpretation of a legal concept
• Application of specific standards in a social situation
• Clarification of a vague legal term that means compilation of case groups

Comparative Law

It comes to comparison of solutions for application of two different legal systems.

The reader must be able to recognize the common thread of the investigation.
Have you followed the procedure that was previously announced?
Digressions are to be avoided! Waste must be removed!


The focus of the work is the normative analysis, whereby political judgment, has the most influence by the design and it not to be neglected. This must be clearly distinguished from the legal arguments!


What is an essay?

First, what is an essay? It provides ample room for expression and design possibilities. No successful essay is identical to another. In this respect, an essay is free of structural rules and ready-made patterns. Essays forgo precise scientific analysis as well as to strict classification of train of thought. Rather, the essay is an associative-linking thoughts walk; Essay- show that cares the open reflection, the thought experiment of the not yet, it is clear where it will lead.

The essay also provides scope for the pleasure of formulating, for playing with language and the personal touch of style. The essay is in all-in mental substance and language design – an experiment. It is called in French “essayer”, the essay statement is thus a preliminary, and it is not final. The theme of the essay writing is daring and interesting, but no eternal truth!

In French “essai”, means attempt tasting, shorter essay in prose form a scientific article, a topical question of the spiritual life, etc. in an easily accessible, yet artistically sophisticated. The essay is witty and aesthetically satisfying form, characterized by conscious subjectivity. It is believed that the essay should provide “food for thought”.

It should to convey the essence of deep insights, to investigate and Reproduce personal experience, as simultaneously is reported accuracy of the statement in detail and the potential of the identified relationships, which does not permit generalization. The essay is therefore regarded as an open form and is characterized by the subjective formulation of the strictly scientific and factual treatise. (From: Gero von Wilpert: tangible dictionary of literature – Stuttgart 1964.)

It is differs of literary purpose shapes such as a report , as stressing subjectivity of perception and above all through the looser nature of the treatment of the topic, for an associative, often erratic reasoning, variation-like orbit of the object, calculating of possibilities of thought, as the statements are often paradoxical and fundamentally provocative – Student-Duden literature – Mannheim 1989).