Excellent dissertation guides 2023: In the results section it can often be helpful to include tables, graphs and charts. Think carefully about how best to present your data, and don’t include tables or figures that just repeat what you have written – they should provide extra information or usefully visualise the results in a way that adds value to your text. Next, you report the results of your research. You can structure this section around sub-questions, hypotheses, or topics. Only report results that are relevant to your objectives and research questions. In some disciplines, the results section is strictly separated from the discussion, while in others the two are combined. For example, for qualitative methods like in-depth interviews, the presentation of the data will often be woven together with discussion and analysis, while in quantitative and experimental research, the results should be presented separately before you discuss their meaning. If you’re unsure, consult with your supervisor and look at sample dissertations to find out the best structure for your research.
Dissertations have hundreds of references and you don’t want to be scrambling at the end to track them all down. Using a reference manager like Endnote or Zotero will help you keep track of all the papers and books you might need to cite and makes adding citations in any style easy. Take breaks when you need a rest. At the same time, don’t be afraid to say no to social activities if you need to. Your friends will understand if you miss some social events–especially if you will be stressed to actually enjoy them. Discover extra details at dissertation zone.
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.
But don’t let good feelings stop you from working. I have the bad habit of working furiously to meet a deadline and then riding the endorphin rush of finishing the work for weeks. Don’t get distracted by small feelings of accomplishment: finishing one page means that you are now ready to write the next one, after all. Know that you can do it. You’ve got this, seriously. If I can do it, you can do it. It’ll be great. But remember to start writing again. Short breaks are awesome! Take a week off to focus on grading 150 papers. Take off two weeks to prepare for job interviews. But then start writing again. Academic work is always a balancing act between various pressures, and you have to get used to carving out time for writing next to all of your responsibilities. We likely all know that guy who is on his 7th year of writing because he “can’t find the time” to write. Don’t be that guy. To that end…
If you get stuck, move to another section. Developing a clear thesis and methodology will allow you to move around in your dissertation when you get stuck. Granted, we should not make a habit of avoiding difficult tasks, but there are times when it will be a more effective use of time to move to sections that will write easy. As you continue to make progress in your project and get words on paper, you will also help mitigate the panic that so often looms over your project when you get stuck and your writing ceases.
Find out what your committee wants and expects from your work. Following the advice about feedback above, find out what kind of writing your committee expects. Read dissertations completed by students they have worked with before. Ask them often what kinds of expectations they have for your chapters, and your project: what kinds of sources, how footnotes get used, the structure of chapters, how they feel about headings, and more. Knowing expectations will help you write effectively to your audience, and communication is key to avoiding potential pitfalls. But remember that this is your dissertation. At the end of the day, this is your work. It represents who you are as a scholar (for now, anyway). Stand up for what you think is important, and for what you want to say. Trying to please the entirety of your committee may be impossible, and at the end of the day it is up to you to know what you need to write.
Go on walks. It has been said recently that walking promotes creativity. I agree. Whether you like to walk among the trees or besides the small coffee shops along quaint side streets, I recommend that you go on walks and think specifically about your dissertation. You might find that the change of scenery, the stimulus of a bustling community, or the refreshing quiet of a park trail is just the help you need. Make use of a capture journal. In order to make the most of your walks, you will need a place to “capture” your ideas. You may prefer to use the voice memo or notepad feature on your smartphone, or, if you’re like me, a small 2.5”x4” lined journal. Whatever your preference, find a method that allows you to store your ideas as they come to you during your walks or as you fall to sleep at night. I wonder how many useful ideas many of us have lost because we failed to write them down? Don’t let this happen to you. Resolve to be a good steward of your thinking time and seize those thoughts.