How to write your first dissertation

Need to write your first ever dissertation? Here’s a quick guide to the process you need to follow to get it right.

One of your biggest steps as a college or university student is writing your first dissertation. Yes, you may be used to writing essays for school work, but a dissertation is a big step behind that.

Don’t feel too daunted though. With the right process, you can sail through the experience and end up with a document you are proud of. You may even enjoy it!

If you get completely stuck, there are lots of professionals who offer writing dissertation services. You can find out more about top-ranked dissertation writing services if you research online. PHD writing services, in particular, is a highly skilled profession.

To help you navigate the process of writing your first dissertation, we’ve put together some tips.

Gain a good understanding about the topic

When deciding what you write your dissertation on, you need to make sure you have a sound understanding of the topic. This is essential – if you don’t know what you are writing about, how can you organise your thoughts to make a convincing case or argument?

If you have course notes, revisit those to get inspiration for your topic. And don’t be afraid to do extra research too. Look for books and articles on the topic – from a wide range of points of view.

But choose your sources carefully to ensure they’re accurate, and ensure that any conclusions you put forward are your own (and that you are able to back them up with sound reasoning).

When choosing the topic you plan to write about, it’s important to ensure that you will have enough sources to draw from, and there’s enough ‘meat’ in it to write a through and interesting dissertation.

Choose the theme, question and title

Once you have chosen your topic, you now need to select an appropriate theme, question and dissertation for your dissertation.

You need to start with a clear idea of the post of view you wish to put across, question you plan to answer, or argument you want to put forward. Think carefully about the point you wish to make. A great dissertation takes a different perspective, possibly even a challenging one, on a subject.

So if you want your dissertation to stand out, either choose a less well-covered topic, or approach a tired topic from a completely new standpoint.

Structure your dissertation proposal

It’s extremely important to ensure that your dissertation proposal is a convincing document, as it will help committee members gain an understanding of what you are planning to submit.

It is of course a short paper compared to the actual dissertation, but it is still quite important. You will be able to use this to discuss important points with your mentor. 

As a quick guide, your dissertation proposal should cover the following:

  • The title
  • Objectives
  • Literature
  • Research
  • Methodology
  • Potential outcomes
  • Timeframe
  • A list of references

Start your research

Never underestimate the importance of good research. Without it, your dissertation risks being thin, poorly considered, one-sided, dull and your arguments and conclusion possibly even wrong.

So plan your research properly, and allow enough time for it. If you need help, there are professionals who offer research services. As already covered, ensure your sources are high quality, and as exhaustive as possible. You don’t want to let down an otherwise brilliant dissertation by omitting an important point that is relevant to your topic because you skimped on your research.

Remember to organize your research findings carefully, and keep accurate note of your sources. It is frustrating and unnecessarily time-consuming to try to track down the source of a quote or statistic you have used after weeks of research if you can’t remember where you found it!

Write your dissertation

You’re finally ready now to start writing a compelling dissertation. And if you’ve followed the advice above, you’ll be well-prepared with an exciting topic and title, and all the research you need to make a convincing argument.

All you need to do now is lay out your case and use your research properly. To structure your document, you will need to cover the following basic points:

  • Introduction
  • Literature overview
  • Methodology
  • Findings
  • Conclusions

You will also want to include a bibliography.

Managing your time

There’s one other skill you’ll need to master to write an impressive dissertation, and that is time management.

To ensure you allow enough time for each stage of your dissertation planning and writing, work back from your submission deadline. Then identify each necessary step along the way, including getting feedback from your tutor or others if required.

Then try to identify how much time you need to allow for each stage, working backwards from proofing your final draft. You may need to play around with the amount of time you allow for some stages if you don’t realistically have enough when you first draft your timeline.

When you have got a working plan, write it out (you might want to use a spreadsheet for this) and stick to it. If you find that one stage takes longer than planned early on, then revise your timeline and see what you can squeeze later on, and what absolutely needs the time you have allowed for it.

The more you plan (and stick to it), the calmer and more in control you will feel, and the better results you will get from your dissertation. You’ll also enjoy the process more, and won’t find yourself working through the night at the last minute to meet a deadline that has crept up on you.

Ready to write your first dissertation

Writing your first dissertation can feel like a daunting step. But with the right approach, you’ll end up with a document you are proud of. And you may even enjoy the process!

Just make sure that you plan well, understand what is required of you, follow the process in a methodical way (without cutting corners) and work to a realistic timeline, and you should end up with a high quality dissertation that will achieve the results you want.