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Can an Average Student Write a Successful Dissertation?

EF_Team [Moderator] 41 / 222 15  
Apr 4, 2006   #1
One of the most difficult reasons for students not creating a dissertation is the fact that this is an experience they have never done before. It is like riding a bicycle the first time or the first time behind the wheel of an automobile. Most people who go to graduate school have already written several research topics. They, also, have given many demonstrations and/or speeches. Most students who go to graduate school are good students. What puts the fear into most students is the fact that they have never written a dissertation. Any graduate student with a lot of hard work can create a successful dissertation or thesis.

The first step for an average student to begin a dissertation is deciding to commit to the time and work needed to complete the project. Go talk to other graduate students who have completed their dissertation. Talk to different professors about the dissertation that you have in mind. What do they think of your ideas? Be willing to listen and take advice from experienced graduate students and/or professors.

Choose the topic that is interesting to you. This is a huge project so if the topic does not interest you, do not choose it. What are you interested in? What are you passionate about? Choose a topic that you are passionately enjoy and one that you will be interested in next year or five years from now.

Begin writing your dissertation proposal. This is like writing a research paper with the literature review, the research project that you plan to do, and showing why your topic is worthy to be researched. Think about the variables that will be part of the research. What experiments, case studies, or other parts of the proposal are needed? Talk to your advisor about your topic. Check out other dissertations and read them so you have a better picture of what is needed.

Choose a committee that will offer their expertise and emotional support, because it will be needed. Choose a dissertation advisor that you enjoy talking with and who also enjoys talking about the topic that you have chosen. Often an adviser who enjoys the same topic will have journal articles they have written that they will allow you to read or they will have books on the topic.

Try to work on the dissertation when you have the most energy. If you are tired, rest. If you feel overwhelmed, seek out your advisor or talk to friends. Remember that you are not in competition against fellow class mates. They have their own topics that probably are totally different than what you have chosen. Let them read parts of the dissertation and give feedback about it. Be willing to read theirs if they ask. Ask different instructors about the topic or ask if they would read specific parts of it. Most students and instructors are willing to be helpful.

Set short term and long term goals. Reward yourself when you complete different parts of the dissertation. Sometimes it is necessary to take a break away from the dissertation and then come back to working on it. Being too stressed will not create a successful dissertation. On the other hand, do not procrastinate. Procrastination can be the biggest problem that a graduate student can have.

Proofread parts of the dissertation as you create it. Have fellow classmates, friends, and instructors read part of the dissertation as you complete it. Do one step at a time and then proofread this.

Any average student can create a dissertation by finding a topic they are love, choosing an advisor who also is passionate about the topic, asking classmates for help, setting short term and long term goals, and completing one section at a time.


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