The Kind Tips – Tips for Life, Study, Work and Entertainment – 10 Tips for Graduate Thesis/Dissertation Writing

10 Tips for Graduate Thesis/Dissertation Writing

A college student usually writes a thesis/dissertation during the last semester of undergraduate study and the content of undergraduate thesis is normally short and easy to understand. When you decide to continue to graduate level, you’ll have to write much more if you want to graduate with an advanced degree. For a Master thesis, typically one or two chapters should be enough, while for a Ph.D. thesis, 4 or more chapters with a length of several hundred pages is not uncommon. Some of my friends are struggling writing even a short essay, so how about 200 pages? To help those students who are having hard time compiling thesis/dissertation, I provide several useful tips here.


Writing graduate thesis and dissertation


1.      Decide the starting date and deadline, also establish a schedule with you advisor.

You should set up a starting date when you figure out all the research work should have been done. And if you don’t have a specific deadline (normally 3 or 4 months later than the starting date), you’ll never finish it. It’s a good idea to sit down with your advisor and set a schedule, because sometimes your advisor is better in having expectations for you.


2.      Set deadline for each chapter and stick to it.

In addition to the last deadline for the whole thesis, you should also have mini deadlines for each chapter. Start to work and stick to it once you have the plan, don’t “start tomorrow” because there is unlimited “tomorrow”.


3.      Set specific and easy targets to reach every day and work consistently.

Don’t imagine you can write 5000 words a single day, be realistic and set goals in a smarter way. You can set a goal of writing 500 to 1000 words every day based on your writing skill. And don’t try to write too much today and nothing tomorrow, please be consistent, and you’ll be more and more confident about finishing the job without too many difficulties.


4.      Write in a comfortable environment.

If possible, work at home, since there will be quite and comfortable for writing.


 5.      Get away with all the distractions.

During the writing, please get rid of all the distractions including email, phone and online chatting tools. You can’t switch off Internet because you still need to search for information, but at least not to switch on chatting tools and other websites.


6.      Rough out a structure of research plan first; then summarize each part every time you’ve done it; assemble and organize them.

As a matter of fact, this should not be the sixth tip, it should be the first. However, most students can’t learn how to write in this way for their first-time thesis writing. So in the future, you should rough out a structure of research plan concerning how you are going to conduct experiments for each part; then when you have finished any part of the experiments, immediately record, analyze and summarize them; the last step will be simple, you just need to put all the parts together and organize them. This is the easiest way to compile a thesis.


7.      Balance different part of tasks. Data analysis, literature review, experimental section, results and discussions, etc.

During the thesis writing, you’ll have different parts to deal with, and each of them will cost you different amount of time. Think about it and make a good balance of them.


8.      Find other sources to help you out.

Before you start to write, you can attend some thesis writing workshops or presentations given by dissertation coaches. During the writing, you should look for books that teach you write and ask people in writing center for help. Also, after writing each chapter, request the writing center to proofread it and give you some feedback. Don’t do this after you finish it all, or if your whole thesis is in bad structure, you don’t have time to re-write it.


 9.      Write and rest, take care of yourself.

Write for an hour and take a rest. Don’t push yourself too much and never stay up late in night. It may help you finish more today but delay your progress in future.


10.      Know what you are writing and have realistic expectations.

This is the last tip, but not the least important one—maybe the most important one. The reason you write a thesis/dissertation is not because you need to graduate with it, but you really have some innovative idea that needs to be written down and published. You may have a lot of experimental results, but please forget about some parts if they are not consistent with your core idea of the thesis. Have realistic expectations about what you want to offer your reader and what actual problem will be addressed through your research and thesis writing.


Writing thesis/dissertation is kind of difficult, and you can get through it! Write a good thesis and give more sense to your research! Happy researching and writing your thesis!