Dissertation Writing Tips

Dissertation Writing Tips: How to Organize Each Chapter

Oct 31, 2012
Writing a dissertation is different from creative writing. Since dissertation is a work presenting the author's research and expertise in a particular field of study, it has to be more convincing and appealing to the audience. And, it is even more important to present it in a professional way, as the audience in such cases is the examining authorities of the universities who are very knowledgeable.
Dissertation writing requires the author to be more patient and organized, especially as dissertation demands more time and effort. One has to be clear about the idea that he/she wants to present; a thorough research on the subject is very essential.
Though many of us do not plan before starting a dissertation, it is recommended that you plan your work ahead of the schedule to have a hassle free submission within the deadline, with no last minute rush. Dissertation or thesis would usually be more than 200 pages and hence it should have a proper format and a structured flow of the content.
As mentioned earlier, it is important to organize your work before you submit and here are few tips to help you:
  • Writing a dissertation is a long process and hence it is a good idea to break down the time taking task into smaller portions. Break your work into chapters by outlining the entire dissertation that you wish to present. Now, once you break the work to chapters and get a list of chapters, focus and concentrate on only one chapter at a time and write on that particular topic or the chapter. By writing smaller parts in intervals of time, you would never get monotonous and also would be able to provide more details to the chapters. Think of the dissertation as a compilation of many seminar papers and focus on one paper at a time.
  • Prepare a logical order of all the chapters and sub headings, and check if the order connects one chapter to the next. You can also create various word documents for each of the chapters and name them using a numbered sequence, and have them all in a folder. This would appear more organized and also helps you to integrate all of them to produce the final dissertation.
  • Since, you write the dissertation after referring numerous books and resources, you must cite the sources or references. Keep adding all the references to the source list in a different folder so that you do not miss out on any important reference.
  • Drafting the dissertation or writing up for the chapters is not as easy as developing any available content. Since you write it for the first time you might not be able to clearly express your idea, however keep writing rough drafts and you can later review and improvise. And because writing is not a linear process, you always get ideas while you start writing. So, keep writing and adding up to the ideas of presenting your dissertation in a better way.
  • Depending upon the area of your research, the structure of your dissertation might vary, but you still would have to deal with different chapters. It is really important to have your chapters organized in accordance with the main structure of the dissertation.
  • Organizing chapters first requires you to outline your dissertation and get a list of chapters. To start with, outline the dissertation into broad chapters. For example, you can just use the list as introduction, review and research, findings, result and conclusion, followed by the bibliography.
  • Once you have the broad outline of the chapters, then get into details and further split the chapters into smaller ones. For example, the Introduction chapter can be further divided into general introduction of the topic, background and origin of the concept, overview of the research done, etc.
  • While writing for the chapters, do not assume that the audience is more knowledgeable than you; and this holds true irrespective of the fact that your audience in this case is the examining committee, the dissertation should always focus on presenting the concept clear to a larger audience with varied levels of intellect. And, introduction can be best used to grab the attention of the reader and thereby create an interest in the reader compelling him/her to read further.
  • In chapters such as review and research, you can include a literary review of the topic and a discussion on concepts that have been built on the topic. It would be good to include the objective and goal of your research while explaining the methodology used to accumulate the data that is needed for the research. You would have to explain the details of the instruments used to collect the data and the kind of sampling techniques used, if any.
  • In the next few chapters you would actually talk about the research in a more analytical way, discuss the results of your research and analyze if they stand good with the theories that are being used now. If there is any further research that can be done beyond what you have done, it can be suggested here. In depth discussion and argumentative analysis about the research and your subject in these chapters would next point to the conclusion.
  • Do not jump to the conclusion, as it is crucial to read and review the chapters from the beginning to gain an understanding of the flow of the content. This helps you in picking up irrelevant topics and unwanted chapters, if any. It also gives you an idea if the introduction given by you and the objective of your research are really directing the reader towards the chapters at the end of the dissertation.
  • After reviewing and modifying the beginning chapters, you would now be ready to write the conclusion based upon your findings and the results of your research.
  • Take time to proofread the entire dissertation, and complete the tasks like adding the table of contents, abstract, and the bibliography. Be sure that the draft is edited properly before it is further processed to presentation.
  • Presentation of the dissertation is very important and good presentation definitely gives a professional appearance and would have a lasting impression. Focus on the page layouts and binding and if there is any format that you are required to follow by the university standards, stick to it.
It must be stressed here that organization of chapters plays a crucial role in its presentation and overall impact, and hence should be taken seriously. The above-mentioned tips are sure to help you in your endeavors.
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