Doctoral studies (Ph.D.) for some students can be a great opportunity to gain new knowledge and support for their research, and for others – an extra "a headache". Not everyone is ready to go for it. Indeed, admission to PhD – this is perhaps the most important step for the student because it is the highest level of education. Thus, obtaining a Doctoral degree always demands energy, commitment, time and money from students. In short, the doctorate is not for everyone. Therefore, to enroll in the PhD programs you need to be highly motivated.
Many people think that PhD is just a complicated version of the same bachelor's or master's degree. That’s not true. In fact, when you are studying on the Doctoral program, your study does not depend that much on the performance of homework tasks and exams. Classes for students at this level are held only to lay the needed foundation for their projects and direct their research. This is the main difference. Thus, students in PhD are evaluated based on their publications and research. This means that all students completing a master's degree, have to understand that the PhD learning process will differ from the one to which you are already accustomed. Your success will depend mostly on one thing – your dissertation.
In this article, we will try to walk you through the process of approaching dissertation and tell you how to write this paper. Also, it will be useful to read this article if you are only planning to enter the PhD/MA programs or have questions about undergraduate dissertation and looking for some good informational source. But first, we will start with the definition of a dissertation.
What Is A Dissertation?
MA dissertation is a scientific work, based on the result of which the applicant is awarded the master's degree. This title is much more valuable than the status of a bachelor or specialist, as with such a degree you can easily find a high-paying job in the specialty.
- How to get a degree?
To be able to defend a master’s degree, you must first complete a master's thesis and obtain the necessary research skills. This paper is not as difficult as the Doctoral thesis simply because it is written for a lower level and it is just a bit more complex than a research project.
- How is doctoral thesis different?
A PhD dissertation is a more serious scientific work than a master's dissertation. Accomplishing it can take years of life because it requires a serious approach to practical research and quite a big stock of theoretical knowledge. As a result of the defense procedure, the applicant can be awarded the title of PhD, which is a serious step in a person’s scientific career.
What else to keep in mind?
As a rule, PhD papers are written on the basis of master's theses. Defense of the candidate’s dissertation is the final point in postgraduate study and takes place before a serious academic Council. However, not everyone can be admitted to defense. Before you reach this stage, you have to do lots of hard work, this is, even more, have own publications, written monographs, as well as the competently issued author's abstract.
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That is how these two types of dissertations are different. Below you can find some practical advice on how to start a dissertation, as well as the most effective tips that should make writing a dissertation less stressful!
General Structure Of a Dissertation
How do you write PhD thesis? Usually, dissertation structure follows the same standard rules and consists of:
- An introduction and/or research proposal in which the research question that you plan to investigate should be stated and give some ideas on how you can do it. This is a responsible part. If you send it as a research proposal, it will be rather sketchy, as you will not have the opportunity to thoroughly study the literature, but it should contain at least some theoretical basis and a reasonable idea of why you want to study certain issue;
- A literature review and methodology – that is often combined because what you plan to do should follow from and supplement the previous literature;
- The results and discussion in which you must state what you did, the results that you received, and discuss them in the context of literature.
In the following parts of our article, we’re going to help you with some practical tips and our personal experience in approaching dissertation writing.
The Best Dissertation Writing Tips
- First and foremost
You must accurately answer the question – why You personally need to start writing a dissertation. A person is assumed to have a very, very serious motivation to start this work as it is a hard and often unpleasant process, which can take several months of intensive work.
- Choosing the supervisor is important, but not critical
It is not the fact that will help you during the process of writing and, in fact, your supervisor is a critical figure in the first and the last stage when you define how and where to look for information, and when you need the ideas on how to execute and protect the completed work in the best manner.
- Search for the topic
Here we need the help of the supervisor – often, this person should provide you with some good ideas and issues that can be used as the basis for your text, one of which should interest you. When you are interested in some topic – just do a quick research on the Internet to see if there are any already written works on the same subject.
Where to look for more idea? An alternative source of the topic ideas can be anything that you're interested in – an article from a scientific journal, the Internet source or anything else. However, do not think that this step is not important. In fact, half of your success depends on the chosen theme. Thus, when you finally find something you want to write about, be sure to validate it with the supervisor – he must have a good eye for “the complexity” of certain topics. Sometimes the topic is interesting, but there’re not many chances a student can succeed with it.
Do not take some super rare topics. However, you should also avoid too common ones because in the first case, you will get into all the bumps of being an innovator, and the second option will make you tired of proving its novelty.
- Organizing the work
As a rule, when a student defines the topic, he still does not have any idea of what to write in his paper and that is where many people get stuck for days or even months, trying to find at list some ideas. We recommend start with structuring your paper and all its chapters – you can find an example of a good structure on the Internet, library or from some publicly available dissertations related to your subject. This way you will see how it usually looks.
Having an approximate list of contents can greatly clarify the picture. Yes, you may still not have ideas for writing but you will have an understanding of where different information should belong. This will help you in your research as well. This way, you will not get confused by what you should be looking for and besides, you will have a good template for your paper’s outline where you can add notes during the process of investigation.
- Making notes
Any questions, facts, ideas, links, and other information you may find have to be written down in a separate file to prevent losing some good sources or forgetting about some important facts. Besides, this can be useful in future. Even if you will not use the collected data now, maybe it will come in handy in a few years, when you will be working on another project or publication! Of course, this tip sounds too obvious. However, you would be surprised how many students found themselves in an unpleasant situation because they have lost their notes or did not write down some good ideas that they forgot later.
How Do You Write A PhD? Common Mistakes
- Lack of scientific novelty
Although it does not sound like a serious issue, this is a big problem that many people face while preparing their works. It is not a secret that every scientific project should be relevant and have novelty but even today many students forget about these factors and fail simply because they were not able to articulate what exactly new their projects contain.
- Limitations of the proposed method
It is always necessary to formulate precisely in what conditions the method is applicable and gives good results in comparison with analogs, and where it should be accurately applied or in combination with others or not applied at all. This is important!
Do not be afraid to say that the offered method is not very appropriate for something, you should be afraid of unsubstantiated claims of wider applicability when, in reality, the method can’t be applied in some cases.
- Lack of comparison with competitors
In 9 dissertations out of 10, you can see the comment "insufficient analysis and comparison of the proposed method with the existing analogs" and this is something you want to avoid.
What does it mean? The problem is that many authors include an overview of the known methods and their shortcomings to prove the novelty of their ideas but they rarely can objectively compare their methods with the others, without exaggerating their brilliance. And this is a big mistake that should be avoided.
What happens in this situation? As a result, the person describes the proposed method, gives tons of facts, theories, and examples that prove the correctness of his ideas. However, has nothing to answer the question – why, in fact, your method is better than the method X, which also solves this problem? Thus, when it comes to an oral defense, this person fails. The candidate has nothing to say to support his method and it appears like the offered ideas have no logical proof and do not seem to stand out from the existing ones.
- Don't think that people in front of you are fools
When it comes to defense, then the subject, with considerable probability, you will understand better than most, if not all members of the Dissertation Council. Just because it's a narrow niche that you've been digging up for the last years. And they may have completely different scientific interests.
But this does not mean that in a very short time they will not be able to assess what you have done and find all the shortcomings in what you have forgotten to do or failed. And here respectful attitude towards the others will be very helpful.
A separate part of this rule – don't think that your opponents are fools. Therefore, it is more than highly recommended to avoid plagiarism and copy-paste (including translations of foreign articles) in your text. After all, you have to admit that today there are almost no people who do not know how to use the Internet or special tools to check the plagiarism, there’re only the ones who don’t want to catch you.
Also, do not assume others as enemies. The commission consists of those who have no purpose to harm you in any possible way, they just play in the other team – they need to examine you according to all requirements and rules they have. Thus, be respectful and friendly!
What As we learned above – preparation of a dissertation, collection of information and other procedures for the protection of this scientific work are quite complex, multifaceted and complicated. So, if you still think “there’s so much information, I can’t write my dissertation and can’t get what’s going on” we will summarize everything for you at this part of our article.
- A dissertation is the type of paper that must be prepared on your own, according to your research. It should contain a set of new scientific results and provisions put forward for public protection. As a scientific work, it should have internal unity and testify to the personal contribution of its author to science.
- The new ideas and methods proposed in the paper should be reasoned and critically evaluated in comparison with the known, previously described methods. Dissertations of practical value must contain information on the practical use of the obtained scientific results and dissertations, having theoretical value, - guidelines for using scientific findings.
- The basis of the content of the dissertation should be a fundamentally new material, including a description of new facts, phenomena, and patterns, as well as a synthesis of previously known information from other scientific positions or in a completely different aspect. In this regard, such material may contain discussion questions related to the revision of existing views and submissions. The content of the thesis should meet the requirements of originality, uniqueness, and originality of the provisions.
- The form of presentation of the dissertation content should be characterized by a high degree of abstraction, active use of the mathematical apparatus and means of logical thinking, as well as reasonableness of judgments and accuracy of the data given. Focusing on readers whose professional preparing is the highest, the dissertation should include in the text all available at its disposal sign apparatus (formulas, graphs, diagrams, tables, etc.), i.e. all that is "the language of science", which is understood only by professionals. Linguistic and stylistic design of the material should be determined by the peculiarities of the scientific style of speech, the main feature of which is the objectivity arising from the specifics of scientific knowledge.
We hope this article will help you with your dissertation writing. However, if you find this too hard to write on your own, you can ask our professional dissertation writing service for a help. Check out our rates and writers that will leave you speechless.