Writing a dissertation is a challenge – and compared to what you are used to before now – it is also the biggest challenge of your academic endeavor. Writing a dissertation contributes a body of research and actual knowledge to your study field.
However, this article will not be talking about the basic advice you have already mastered and known by heart; instead, we’ll be exploring the underlying perspectives that aid in completing a thesis or dissertation.
Some of these include:
- Think of a dissertation as a marathon
Compared to other forms of academic writing you have done simultaneously, the dissertation is a marathon, a long race, and not a sprint. The first rule of running a marathon is not doing anything different on the day of the race. Whatever methods you have found most successful must be sustained; do not teach a new training routine or a new diet routine; stick to what is proven. Similarly, when you write a thesis, stick to what you know best, stick to your process.
- Think of your dissertation as work
Your dissertation is your work, and you need to start treating it as such if you haven’t already started. To successfully write a dissertation, you need to put in between six to eight hours every day, and you should plan and manage your time the same way you would if you were working for a boss. Working every day helps you make time for unforeseen life events such as illness and death of a relative, which would rob you of your time working on your thesis. It would be best to bear in mind that many people will not understand or appreciate what you are doing. Still, the same way you wouldn’t sacrifice or allow your work falter is the same way you shouldn’t let your dissertation suffer any form of a setback because of those around you. In summary, prioritize your time around people at least until you finish your dissertation.
- Think of your dissertation as a game
As much as you see and treat your dissertation like a marathon or your work, you also have to think of it as a game. In this game, you are a player; your course mates, scholars, and academics in the field, as well as your thesis advisor, are playing the same game as you, albeit with different roles, but the goal is the same.
Finding a recent player who is prominent in your field of study to supervise or advise you on your project might be the best way to start; however, you have to consider the fact that many of these professors have not written a dissertation in years and at the same time, fields change, important and impactful books come out and go unnoticed. Still, if you can get yourself a supervisor that is up to date, you just might have cracked the first hurdle in the game.
Get in touch with other graduate students writing a dissertation, but this must be on a minimal level. You have to go to every class, attend every seminar, and appear collegial and friendly.