Most guides out there explaining what should and should not be included in a dissertation are either too shallow and light or over-exaggerated. Some aspects must really be included but there are others which should be avoided even though they are thought to be an important part.
Here is a list of 4 common things that are associated with a PhD:
- It is not a conclusive study on your primary research topic.
- It is not going to solve the major issues or topics of discussions present in your field.
- It is definitely not the most important research project you will ever complete or decide to do.
- It is also very likely not a document that the whole world, or even professionals in your field outside of your study group, will ever read.
It is crucial for you to understand and acknowledge the last point before you write your dissertation or else you will obsess on making it a perfect document that, really, nobody is going to read.
What The Real Deal Is:
If you thought that was what your PhD dissertation is then you’re starting on the wrong page. A dissertation is your understanding of the subject matter and your ability to prove to your committee that you are competent enough in that field of study. Your dissertation should actually demonstrate the following:
- You are able to make a valid and original contribution in your academic field of study.
- You are humble in your approach, in that you understand how broad your field of study is, that you know what sub-field you chose and you have done your research well enough as well as understood the subject.
- You are working on a dissertation that is credible enough to attain the merit of PhD.
- Most importantly, you can carry on your research without the help of your mentor, if you so choose to do so.
All points except the third need to be strongly projected so that your committee can be convinced.
The third point must be evident in your written dissertation.
What you finally end up writing is also very important. The introduction will be the hardest thing you write. Make sure it is comprehensive and detailed as well as leading to the rest of your study. The title, conclusion and abstract are also important parts of your dissertation. The body itself is important, no doubt, but if you can finish those 4 things first, then you will find it very easy to write the rest. The acknowledgements and references don’t take any brainpower to complete and are the easiest thing to do.
Follow these few tips, make sure you do your research well and your dissertation will be done in no time!