Top rated dissertation advices from dissertation-zone.com: The acknowledgements section is usually optional, and gives space for you to thank everyone who helped you in writing your dissertation. This might include your supervisors, participants in your research, and friends or family who supported you. The abstract is a short summary of your dissertation, usually about 150-300 words long. You should write it at the very end, when you’ve completed the rest of the dissertation. In the abstract, make sure to: State the main topic and aims of your research; describe the methods you used; Summarise the main results; State your conclusions. Although the abstract is very short, it’s the first part (and sometimes the only part) of your dissertation that people will read, so it’s important that you get it right. If you’re struggling to write a strong abstract, read our guide on how to write an abstract.
Take Care of Yourself: Just because you’re dissertating doesn’t mean you should let your health slide. It’s easier to write when you’re in good physical and mental health. Remember to eat well, get enough sleep, and stay active. Even a simple walk around the neighbourhood will get your heart rate up and can help clear your mind. Give Yourself Breaks: Writing will be your full-time job while you’re working on your thesis, but that doesn’t mean you have to be writing all the time. If you continually work beyond your regular hours you will burn yourself out. See additional details at dissertation-zone.com.
Get exercise, adequate sleep, and eat well. Because our minds and bodies are meant to function in harmony, you will probably find that your productivity suffers to the degree that you are not giving attention to your exercise, sleep, and eating habits. Like it or not, our ability to maintain long periods of sustained concentration, think carefully over our subject matter, and find motivation to complete tasks is dependent in a significant sense upon how we are caring for our bodies. When we neglect exercise, fail to get adequate sleep, or constantly indulge in an unhealthy diet, we will find it increasingly difficult to muster the energy and clarity with which to complete our dissertation.
Read everything you can. Read this post. Read the one I wrote in August. Read this one by Kaitlin Gallagher about PhD thesis project management, or the one she wrote on sucstress. Read this post by Amy Rubens about Exit Strategies. Read this post by Terry Brock on “The Dissertation from Afar”, or this one by Micalee Sullivan on getting started writing. Browse our dissertation or productivity tags. Read this book, or this book, or this book. Or this one. Try this one. An awful lot of people, far smarter and more accomplished than I, have written guides for writing a dissertation. Read them.
Spend adequate time determining your thesis and methodology. This probably could fit in the number one slot, but I wanted to emphasize the importance writing right away. Besides, you might find that you modify your thesis and methodology slightly as you write and make progress in developing your overall argument. Nevertheless, the adage is true: form a solid thesis and methodology statement and your dissertation will “write itself.” Plan to spend some time writing and rewriting and rewriting (again) your thesis and methodology statements so that you will know where you are going and where you need to go.
Take time off when you need it. As Katy Meyers mentioned in her post last week, taking time off is important to personal happiness, and you should do so as guilt free as possible. Dissertations take time, and you will need to take breaks and recharge at some point. There will be times where you have to focus your energies elsewhere: teaching, the job market, writing publishable articles, sitting on committees, taking care of your family, watching cartoons. It is important to understand that short breaks in writing will happen, and you can take those breaks without feeling guilty.
Learn how to read. Writing a dissertation requires a massive amount of reading. You must become familiar with the arguments of several hundred resources—books, articles, reviews, and other dissertations. What will you do? You must learn how to read. Effective reading does not require that you read every book word-for-word, cover-to-cover. Indeed, sometimes very close reading of a given volume may actually impede your understanding of the author’s argument. In order to save time and cultivate a more effective approach to knowledge acquisition, you must learn how to use your resources. This means knowing when to read a book or article closely, and knowing when to skim. It means knowing how to read large books within a matter of an hour by carefully reviewing the table of contents, reading and rereading key chapters and paragraphs, and using the subject index. If you want to finish your dissertation, learn how to read.