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5 Things You Should Strictly Avoid When Writing a PhD Dissertation

It is perhaps easy for a student about to tackle a PhD dissertation to think that all the basics of the task are well and truly understood, that they have all the bases covered. Sadly this is not the case and many a well-meaning PhD student has fallen off the horse because they forgot one or more of the basics. They have made a common mistake. Here are five things you should strictly avoid when writing your dissertation.

  • Don't choose a topic which is far too big.
  • Can you create a question from the aim of your thesis statement?
  • Are you absolutely clear about the topic you have chosen?
  • Is there a challenge within your dissertation, a puzzle for you to solve?
  • Is each chapter within the dissertation a self-contained work?

As even a high school student let alone a college student you will have had drummed into you the importance of choosing the right topic. With a PhD dissertation you will have spent, hopefully, a great deal of time talking with your supervisor about your choice of topic. But even with this discussion it is possible to make a mistake by choosing a topic which is simply too big. Narrow your focus.

Look at your thesis statement and from it can you create a question? If not, you need to change your thesis statement.

One of the best ways to decide if you have chosen the right topic or at least chosen the right wording for your topic is to try what is sometimes known as the pub test. You reveal your topic to an average person in an average situation. If they have no idea what you're talking about then chances are you haven't chosen the right topic or you haven't chosen the right wording for your topic.

One of the things which make a dissertation interesting or certainly more interesting is the fact that a puzzle is created within. Do you have a problem to solve, a major problem to solve in the writing of your dissertation? If so that will make it more interesting.

You need to look upon each section, each chapter of your dissertation as a self-contained unit. Of course each chapter will support or feed into another chapter or chapters but if you get each building block perfect in itself, the sum of the individual parts will add up to a brilliant piece of writing.