The Duck of Minerva

10 steps to finishing a phd thesis (or book) in 6 months.

by Megan MacKenzie

12 December 2012, 0003 EST

Most academics will admit to themselves and students that the majority of dissertations and books are written in a 6 month block of time (the remainder of the post focuses on a PhD process, but it can be easily applied to book writing). I’m talking here about the WRITING process- not the research, figuring out the question, organizing the chapters etc (no wizard can do all that in 6 months- at least not this wizard). But once you’ve done your (field) research, reading, thinking through the chapters, taking notes etc. it really should only take you 6 months to finish the thesis. For PhD students this is referred to as the end of the faffing about/procrastination/reading gawker and people.com daily/existential crisis about the structure of the thesis phase and the start of the “time to suck it up, close the office door, shut off the email, and just f#$@king write” phase.

So how can one get a complete draft of the thesis done in 6 months? Here is the 10-Step Process to Completion.

1. Figure out what your D-Day is. Look ahead approximately 6 months and determine either when you would like to submit a full draft or else acknowledge when you MUST complete (maybe the last date before you have to pay for an extra semester of tuition, maybe your committee members are leaving for sabbatacle after a certain date, maybe your partner has threatened to leave if you don’t finish by a particular date, maybe you want to finish before you give birth)- whatever it is, get the date and highlight it on all your calendars and write it up in a threatening font and paste it to your wall (I used the final date as my email password so I had to enter it everyday as a reminder….and no, I don’t still use the same password).

2. Count back from that date and clarify how much time you have left. Is it 6 months or slightly more or less? Count the number of weeks (ie 24), then acknowledge any potential periods within that time frame where you know you won’t be working (Holidays, attending a wedding etc). Now you have your total number of weeks until D-Date.

3. Panic. Yes, coming to terms with the fact that you’ve got 22 weeks to crack out a thesis before you will be faced with an extra semester of tuition sucks. Revel in the panic for a day, it will ultimately be motivating. Ask yourself how many more times you want to get questioned about “still being in school” from family members during the holidays, think about how it would feel if the student in your tutorials become your grad-student colleagues, calculate what your retirement (non)savings plan will look like if you are a student for another year- now take that panic and zen-force it into writing fuel.

4. Set out a work plan. Using the 22 week example, make a list of each of the chapters that you need to write. Start with the chapters that you feel most confident with (ie the ones that may be partially written or are based on an article or conference presentation you’ve already done). Now calculate how many weeks you can spend on each chapter and still stay within your 22 week budget. Try to be realistic (most people can’t write a decent chapter from scratch in 1 week, but you can probably revise an article and build it into a chapter in 2 weeks).

5. Panic. This is the “holy SH*T I’m never going to be able to finish” stage. Again, revel in it for an afternoon. Acknowledge fully that your days of 2-hour coffee sessions and showing up to the office hungover at 11am are over. Say goodbye to facebook, better yet, unplug or delink your office computer from the internet for all but one hour a day (most research related searches leads to an hour staring at fashion.com or somehow reading about Jessica Simpson’s second pregnancy- you know it, and I know it, so just fix the problem)

6. Based on the timeline you set at stage 4 break every week up into smaller tasks. For example, if you known you only have 2 weeks to revise a chapter and update it, break down the list of tasks that will be required and give yourself specific things to accomplish everyday (this could include reading 3 articles and incorporating the work into the chapter, revising the conclusion section etc). Again, be reasonable. I recommend writing out your weekly and daily goals up on a big piece of paper and sticking it to the wall, or getting a white board and having everything clearly laid out. You’ll look like Russel Crow from a Beautiful Mind hunched over your desk with maps and outlines everywhere- but whatever. When you finish your tasks for the day reward yourself by going home or heading out for coffee- conversely, if completing the days task means you need to stay late, so be it. Also, if you get off-track from an illness or unexpected distraction, don’t throw in the towel and abandon the whole plan. Instead, try to revamp the schedule and redistribute the tasks so that you can reasonably get back on the rails. Getting sick for a day or two is no excuse for throwing the entire plan into the garbage.

7. Set weekly rewards for yourself. Use the internet as a reward- surf through the Duck of Minerva after you’ve edited for an hour straight. Give yourself 15 minutes of Jon Stewart when you finally revise the intro you’ve been working on.

8. Make a list of brainless tasks and set it aside. Footnotes, grammar and spelling checks, looking for a lost resource are all things you should do at the end of the day or when you are feeling like a zombie. When you have to do this type of work, throw on some reggae music or whatever makes you feel good and pretend you are not doing the devil’s work.

9. Everyone says it, but you really need to do it: set a word goal everyday. In addition to your specific tasks- free write for at least an hour everyday and remind yourself that during this time you don’t need to worry about perfection. No one will read this first spewing of ideas but it will provide you with something to revise and rework into a legible chapter.

10. Let go. Get over the idea of your first draft being an earth-shattering opus and let go of your identity as a PhD student holed-up in the office writing. You will NEVER finish if you wait for perfection or if you get too attached to your student status. For me, and for most others, the best parts of my research life started POST PhD. That’s not to say you can’t enjoy the process and revel in the time and environment you are privileged with as a grad student- just don’t cling to it like a security blanket.

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can you write a dissertation in 6 months

Megan MacKenzie

Megan MacKenzie is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney in Australia. Her main research interests include feminist international relations, gender and the military, the combat exclusion for women, the aftermaths of war and post-conflict resolution, and transitional justice. Her book Beyond the Band of Brothers: the US Military and the Myth that Women Can't Fight comes out with Cambridge University Press in July 2015.

https://www.cambridge.org/ee/academic/subjects/politics-international-relations/international-relations-and-international-organisations/beyond-band-brothers-us-military-and-myth-women-cant-fight?format=PB

10 Comments

Jarrod Hayes

I’ve found it useful to set a word count target for each work day and to track my progress with a spread sheet. Some days I might not make it, but tracking over time allows me to ensure that on average I am on target. It also let’s me be accountable to myself.

anonymous

wouldn’t take advice from someone who spells sabbatical “sabbatacle”…

Dan Nexon

OMG. A spelling troll! I haven’t seen one of those in years. Quick, someone take a picture before it disappears.

It sure is a “spectical” to see.

And it’s still going. How adorable.

Jack Cade

anon. read the Phenomenology of Error (it is a short essay; and, maybe read Amy Tan’s Mother Tongue), watch the “grammar Nazis” Hitler clip on Youtube, talk to a therapist about the source of your anal retentive tendencies, and, finally, realize that those of us who know way more about this subject than you (linguistics profs, comp-rhet folk, et al) say you’re response is simply an ad hominem serving Empires (both past and present) and amounts to a stupid, stupid comment for a highly educated person to make.

Cause here’s the thing: countless brilliant people have been bad spellers, comma placers, etc. (like Einstein, F, Scott Fitzgerald, or Shakespeare, to mention just a very, very few). However, only a complete fool would confuse Einstein or Shakespeare’s lack of grammar/spelling hygiene for intelligence, correct?

Carol J.

I feel very identified, good post!

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Trapped in dissertation revisions?

Dissertation timeline, published by steve tippins on june 26, 2022 june 26, 2022.

Last Updated on: 2nd February 2024, 05:21 am

So, you’re writing a dissertation? Amazing! Congratulations! (Also, I’m sorry. And good luck.). 

If you’re embarking on this difficult journey, you need to go where you’re going. Every treasure hunt begins with a good map. (This particular treasure hunt happens to be for information that fills an extremely specific gap in the scholarly literature ).

Your dissertation timeline is the map you’ll rely on as you navigate the stormy waters of your dissertation journey. It will tell you what you need to be working on at any given stage of the process, and what you should prepare for when you’re done with your current task.

Expect the Unexpected

Remember that the map is not the journey. You can plan everything out perfectly, but life happens. Life even happens to doctoral students, who have ostensibly given up having a life.

The point is, don’t beat yourself up when your experience doesn’t match up with your dissertation timeline. The timeline is there to guide you and provide useful goals, but it can be adapted along the way as things come up. 

african american woman updating her dissertation timeline on her laptop

Perhaps your proposal needs five rounds of revision instead of the one or two you planned for (a common occurrence, except for those who have the foresight to hire a dissertation editor ). Maybe your committee chair decides to take an unexpected vacation. Maybe an unexpected family event happens.

All of these bumps are normal parts of the dissertation process. Don’t worry if you don’t live up to your own expectations as far as how quickly you finish. The important thing is not to go quickly, but to get to completion. 

Here are the major steps you’ll need to take when writing your dissertation, from ideation to graduation.

Over 50% of doctoral candidates don’t finish their dissertations.

can you write a dissertation in 6 months

Step 1: Prospectus

The timeline for a dissertation begins with the generation of your idea. This usually takes the form of a prospectus . A prospectus explains, What are you planning to do? Then, you get your chair and committee to agree that it’s a reasonable topic. Most people go through more than one idea before settling on their topic, and that can take some time. 

It may take you a month to come up with your idea because you’re going to be looking for a gap in the research. Once you find a gap in the research, see whether you could complete a relevant study within a reasonable time period. 

A tip – most students try to tackle topics that are entirely too broad. Look at past dissertation topics in your department, and you’ll see just how specific you need to be. 

Step 2: Proposal (Chapters 1 to 3)

smiling woman with curly hair working on her dissertation at home

After your prospectus, you move on to the proposal stage. At most universities, that means writing Chapters 1, 2, and 3. These three chapters are going to be about 60 to 70 pages total. You are going to have to do a lot of writing and research and get committee approval. 

A timeline might say you can do your dissertation proposal in three to four months, but that is only true as long as what you’re submitting is well-written and your committee approves it. For argument’s sake, we’ll say it takes four months. The next level of your dissertation is to collect data. But before you can collect data, you have to get IRB approval. 

Step 3: Institutional Review Board Approval

Approval from the Institutional Review Board, or IRB, states that what you’re going to be doing will not harm any participants in your study. IRB approval is usually relatively quick, depending on what type of research you’re doing. If you want to research small children, for example, it’s going to take longer to get approval. There must be safeguards in place to protect those children. Once you have IRB approval, you move on to collecting your data. 

Step 4: Data Collection

woman typing on her laptop in her bright home office

Collecting data can be as short as a couple of hours if you are accessing data for a quantitative study from a secondary data source . In that case, you would just be getting the data you need from the database. Then, take that data, make sure it’s in the format you need, and enter it into the appropriate statistical software package. If you need help with this, check out our quantitative data analysis services.

On the other hand, if you’re doing a qualitative study and you have to track people down, it can take several months in order to just find and interview them. Then, you can process those interviews by transcribing and entering them into the appropriate statistical or software program to come up with themes. 

Step 5: Analysis and Conclusion (Chapters 4 and 5)

Once you have statistical results and themes, you can write Chapter 4 and report your findings. Then, write Chapter 5 , in which you analyze your findings. Say what they mean and how it fits in the literature. Compare your findings to the literature you used to begin your study and address what future research should be done. 

This phase could take anywhere from three to nine months, depending on how quickly you can collect your data. It is conceivable that you could finish your dissertation within a year or a year and a half. All of these time periods we’ve presented so far assume you’re working on your dissertation full-time. If you have a job and a family and are also working on a dissertation, it can take longer.

Step 6: Defense

doctoral student with red hair defending her dissertation

Once you have finished your dissertation (Chapters 1 through 5) you have to go back to your committee, get approval, and then do your dissertation defense. This process can be as short as a month. But if your committee has problems with what you’ve done or it needs more work, it could take several months. 

Variables in the Dissertation Timeline

There are a number of variables outside your control. For example, you might finish in July and then one or two of your committee members are off on research projects of their own and won’t be back until September. But in an ideal timeline, a year to a year and a half is reasonable.

While we can present ideals and hypotheticals, you do have a lot of control over the timeline. If you dedicate yourself and work ahead, you can minimize the amount of time it will take to have “Dr.” in front of your name. 

Dealing With Unexpected Events

man worried about change in calendar

Unexpected things can come up as well. First of all, if you’re not a full-time student, life can throw many things in your way. Somebody could become sick, a pandemic could come about, or your job could increase its demands on you. 

You don’t control your committee’s time, and they may have other things going on that prevent them from responding quickly. Funding interruptions can also happen. Being good at handling details is going to help you stay on track as much as possible. 

can you write a dissertation in 6 months

That’s where a dissertation timeline comes in. Get this together from the very beginning, and you’ll be better-equipped to deal with unexpected events and finish your dissertation in as little time as possible.

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Steve Tippins

Steve Tippins, PhD, has thrived in academia for over thirty years. He continues to love teaching in addition to coaching recent PhD graduates as well as students writing their dissertations. Learn more about his dissertation coaching and career coaching services. Book a Free Consultation with Steve Tippins

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How to Write a Dissertation in Ten Days or Less

Published by Owen Ingram at January 27th, 2023 , Revised On October 9, 2023

Can you Complete your Dissertation in Ten Days?

Most students struggle at some point with deadlines, and we regularly get asked questions such as ‘Can you write a dissertation in a month?’ and ‘Can you write a dissertation in three days?’ We do not judge why you are in this situation, we’re here to help you get your dissertation done. The answer to the questions is yes. But of course, the less time you have, the more pressure you are under.

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How Long Does it Take to Write a 10,000-word Dissertation?

This is a common question, as is “How long does it take to write a 7,000-word dissertation?” There is no figure in hours or days that answers this; it differs for everyone.  “Is it possible to write a 10,000-word dissertation in two days?” Well, yes. But you will only find out if you can do it when the two days are up. You need to get started immediately, follow our advice and use our dissertation guides . But we are not claiming it’s easy.

Can I Complete my Dissertation in 3 Days? How Fast do I Need to Write?

If you have to produce 10,000 words in ten days, you have to average 1,000 a day. If you have two days, then 5,000 per day and if you work on it for 12 hours each of those days, you need to turn out 417 words per hour. A tall order, but it can be done. Do not let panic or pressure overwhelm you; and remember, it is perfectly acceptable to ask for help . You can stop asking your friends ‘How quickly can you write a dissertation?’ You are going to show them how quickly.

Can I Really Produce 10,000 Words in a Week?

How long d oes it take to write a 10k word dissertation? To give you some perspective, most people speak this many words in a day with no effort. You probably have more than enough words in your notes. It will make a big difference if you have your research project results analysis done already. If this is the case, you ‘only’ need to write them up. If you already made a good start but you are having trouble progressing, maybe you just need to focus on writing up your findings or certain chapters or areas.

You might think your notes are messy and disorganised or that they lack the right academic sound. Regardless, do not think of this task as producing all 10,000 words, rather, it is laying out your notes, organising them, and giving them a more formal, academic tone.

Can you Write a Dissertation in a Day?

Can you write a dissertation in a day? This is surely the most demanding academic writing challenge. It means 100% focus and work: Type up your notes, ensuring they have an academic/formal tone to them. Keep going, section by section and as it grows, you will start to see your dissertation appear.

Preparing to Write your Dissertation Fast

Prepare to start work.

You know your subject well, and you have probably written many essays on it by now. The main difference is that this assignment is longer. So, let’s get started. You need to prepare well; normal life can be suspended for the time you will spend working. The first preparations to make concern you and where you are going to work.

Distractions and Interruptions

Turn off your phone and avoid TV. If you are really serious, you will really do it. When you procrastinate or allow yourself to be distracted, what do you do? Gaming? Staring out of the window? Baking? Make these things difficult or impossible to do. Be aware of something called productive procrastination. This is when you do something productive but it’s not what you are meant to be doing. Do not mistake activity for productivity. When you find yourself vacuuming around your desk, snap out of it.

I’m Writing my Dissertation all Week. Quiet, Please

Some people can work with music playing, and some need silence. Listening to words, whether sung or spoken, can distract you when producing text. If there is something that will help you, such as instrumental music, use it. Make sure everyone knows what you are doing and ask them to leave you alone (except for bringing you food and drinks). Can someone else handle your duties and obligations for a while?

Create a Work Area

Set up a workplace and de-clutter it. Remove irrelevant books and anything you can fiddle with. Gather all your materials: this means textbooks, notes on paper and in digital form. Your research is likely over, but you will need everything to hand.

Give all materials specific places and keep them there. As you use them, you will remember where they are. Putting them down in different places will mean time lost looking for them, which will add frustration to the work.

Do All of your Legwork Before Starting

Getting up and walking away from the desk unnecessarily uses time you do not have. Do not let shopping trips interrupt your work. If you do not have enough food and supplies in before starting, get them first. Certain foods/snacks can help get you through, maybe you can suspend your usual health regime for a while. You need to feel comfortable in this. But do not overdo the caffeine or sugar .

Make a Work Schedule

Look ahead at your available time and make a schedule. If you work 21 hours on the first day, you might find yourself burnt out the next day. Sleep when you have to, work when you feel good. How long can you realistically work each day? Be careful not to create an unrealistic schedule, you will not keep up to it and will become demoralised. Remember that writing the dissertation is only 1% of your entire course; it is acceptable to get help at this late stage.

Where to Start

Start here – write an outline.

As well as a work schedule, you need a dissertation structure . You may be tempted to think that making an outline for your dissertation is extra work, that it would be quicker to just start writing. That would be like going on a driving tour to every European country with no plan. Without regular destinations, you will drift about aimlessly.

You can save time by focussing only on the main parts of the dissertation. If you run out of time, it will be better if the parts not completed are the less significant ones, although ideally nothing should be left unfinished. This is an exercise in prioritisation: Write the most valuable, points-scoring parts first.

Sacrifices May be Necessary

With a tight time limit, you might have to make sacrifices. People with the luxury of time will spend a day or more on just the table of contents or references section . You might not have this option. The focus has to be on the rapid production of text and its quality; things like detailed formatting and page layout will be secondary.

Prioritising your Order of Work

In the detailed plan below, skip the greyed-out parts to start with. You can use this to create an outline by adding a note under each part of the different sections stating what you are going to include there. This is where the job starts to appear less daunting; 10,000 now becomes 2,000 for this section, 1,000 for that section… The mountain becomes a set of smaller hills. And the introduction section can be written after the body, it is easier and quicker that way.

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Writing the Dissertation Body

When you have an outline, you need to put some meat on those bones and build a body. Working from start to finish may be best (skipping the introduction), but the order you work in is your choice. If your notes are not in order, a quick way to identify notes that apply to the different sections is to mark them with different coloured highlighters as in the table above. This will draw your eyes to the relevant notes quickly. You can do this on your computer screen by highlighting similarly.

After the main body, the introduction is next. This will be easier to write because all the information will be fresh in your mind. What next? The appendices or the parts at the front? This should be your decision based on remaining time.

Good Practices for Writing your Dissertation

Ignore spelling and grammar.

Do not pay attention to spelling, grammar, and language rules at this stage. Attending to spelling and grammatical details as you work will distract you and spoil your flow. Spelling and grammatical mistakes do not matter in a work in progress. You can turn checking functions off until you reach the editing and proofreading stage. Concentrate only on writing up your notes, do not switch between tasks.

Attend to One Part of the Dissertation at a Time

Constantly switching between research, writing, and tidying up the reference section is inefficient. Each time you switch, your mind needs time to catch up then settle into that activity. By focussing, we mean you should do all the analysis in one session until it is finished, all the writing of major sections in another, and sorting out the reference section can be done in one sitting. Less switching saves time and usually turns out a better job.

Take Regular Short Breaks

Take Regular Short Breaks

Save and Back up Routinely

When you leave the desk, click to save your work. Also do this after any burst of writing, and at regular intervals. Back up your work on another drive too. This is one of the most important things you will write. Treat it as the valuable document that it is.

For when you resume work, make sure you know where you left off, highlight it if that helps. When you come back to your work the next day, sometimes you can’t remember where you were; it can be difficult to resume the same line of thought. A habit of Ernest Hemingway was to leave an unfinished sentence to come back to so that he could…

Have a Strict but Simple Method of Noting Sources

Every time you quote or paraphrase something, note the source. Use a simple referencing technique while writing that does not demand much time. One such method is for the first in-text reference, just put (1) after the quote, use (2) for the second and so on. Start a list of sources that correspond to each number. You could highlight the numbers in a specific colour so you can attend to them later and not miss any. Missing just one reference, even accidentally, will still count as plagiarism . Before you start, be absolutely clear whether you are including a reference list or bibliography . Completing your list according to the required style ( Harvard , Chicago, etc.) can be done in one session.

Get a Qualified Appraisal of your Work

You will need someone to read your finished work. Having it read by someone unfamiliar with the subject and the structure of dissertations will be unproductive. Ideally it should be someone who understands the topic. And these days that person need not be physically present; you can email your draft to someone to get an opinion on changes & improvements .

Writing your Dissertation in Days

We are not going to sugar-coat the task of producing a dissertation in days rather than months and weeks. It is not easy, and regardless of what caused you to have such a short time remaining, it puts all your work in jeopardy. When someone asks us “Can I complete my dissertation in three days?” we have to answer yes, you can, but… It depends on the individual, how much work you have done so far, your personal circumstances, your other obligations, how much of those three days can you dedicate to the task.

How to Write a Dissertation Fast Checklist

Frequently asked questions, can i write my dissertation in under a week.

The short answer is yes but there are several factors to consider that may help or hinder you. Few people have the support around them to allow them to drop all commitments and focus on just one task. Also, few people will have taken on such a large a task in such a short time before, and might become overwhelmed.

The dissertation is where your study course culminates; all the time, effort, and expense you have invested should come to fruition here. This might not be a good time for  maybe I can do it . Maybe you can make it to the bank before it closes. No? Oh, well, you can go tomorrow. Maybe I can write 10,000 words in a week. If the answer is no, the consequences are more serious.

This guide and all the other  dissertation guides  on this site are here to help you with every aspect of dissertation writing. You can also contact us directly through the chat box or Whatsapp.

I have to write my dissertation in three days. Where do I start?

Start by getting organised. Gather all the materials you need, create a work area, get rid of distractions, and if possible, delegate any obligations or chores to someone else for the duration. Then read this guide from the start. If you need further help when you are deep into the writing, just ask us. We exist just for this purpose. Our team and expert writers have handled almost every kind of dissertation emergency.

Can I do my research, analysis, and write my dissertation in ten days?

The more time you have, the better. But carrying out the research and analysis in such a short time will be very demanding. It can be done though; our team can do this in under a week. You would need a great level of support around you and an impressive level of determination and focus. If you supply the determination, we can provide the support .

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10 truths to help you write your dissertation (and actually finish it)

10 truths to help you write your dissertation (and actually finish it)

As you begin to write your dissertation, you begin to understand that not all of your thoughts are nearly as profound as you imagined. Dr. Michael Munger confirms that writing, editing, and responding to feedback is usually far from glamorous. As Dr. Munger says in the interview below:

“I think if you’re not a little bit confused, embittered, and angry, you’re not working hard enough on your writing.”

But he is quick to point out that dedication to consistency and hard work pay off. Here are a few of his thoughts on keeping the perfect from becoming the enemy of the good as you write, finishing your dissertation sooner rather than later, finishing graduate school (on time), and getting a job afterward. The podcast below contains the full interview with Dr. Munger.

Transcript: 10 Truths to Help You Write Your Dissertation

Jeanne hoffman.

Welcome to this Kosmos online podcast. I’m Jeanne Hoffman. Today our topic is dissertation writing and research agendas, and my guest is Mike Munger. Dr. Munger is a professor at Duke University in the political science and economics department and the School of Public Policy, as well as the director of the joint UNC Duke Philosophy Politics and Economics Program. Welcome, Dr. Munger.

Mike Munger

It’s a pleasure to be on.

It’s a pleasure to have you. Our interview today is based on your essay, “Writing your Dissertation and Creating your Research Agenda,” which was originally written for IHS’s guide for graduate students, Scaling the Ivory Tower . Where do you place the importance of these activities in relation to other graduate school responsibilities?

it seems to me that people, when they’re in graduate school, have to recognize that their chief job is to redirect their energies from where they were as an undergraduate to where they will be as a professional.

A graduate student is somewhere between an undergraduate and a professional. The people who succeed are those who make that transition faster. What’s disturbing about it is that faculty often don’t really tell you that. This is something that you have to pick up on your own.

The problem is faculty would like you, and I’m no different, faculty would like for you to validate their pathetic lives by taking their classes very, very seriously. You’re not going to get a job taking classes. You’re going to try to get a job as an independent researcher who has their own ideas. Who’s able to make his or her own ideas clear to someone in writing.

The sooner you start working on that, the sooner you’re going to be able to make that transition. And the easier it will be to write your dissertation.

I’ve noticed that in the second or third year of graduate school there’s something that’s approaching an inversion where the people who were the real stars in the first and second year, who managed to make the faculty smile and pat them on the head and say, “Good student. Here’s a biscuit.” These are the ones who, after their second or third year, are thinking, “You know, I’m going to take more classes.”

Whereas the other people, and frankly I was one of the other people, were thinking, “You know, classes are sort of boring. I’m going to try to write some stuff on my own.”

Those are the ones who end up succeeding.

The stars in the first and second year, a lot of them don’t finish a thesis and they don’t get a job. Be of good cheer, if you feel like an odd ball, if you’re someone who’s working on research and taking the classes. Getting through the classes is fine. But you’re not going to get a job taking classes. You’re going to get a job doing your research.

Start working on writing. Start working on your dissertation as soon as you can.

In your essay, you also listed 10 truths about writing. I just want it go through them all briefly because I think each of them is a great piece of advice for students to keep in mind when they’re writing. The first is writing is an exercise. What do you mean by that?

Mike Munger:

Suppose you were going to run a marathon six months from now. You wouldn’t wait until the night before the marathon and train all night. What you would do is run a little bit at a time. Now, some days you’d go slow. You wouldn’t feel like it, but you would recognize that your performance in this marathon is going to be based on having practiced in situations where you developed the lung capacity, the ability of your muscles in your legs to perform.

Writing is the same way.

If you write every day, some days it’s not going to be very good. You’re going to throw a lot of it away. But when it comes time to do the marathon, you’ll be ready to write the dissertation that you have to finish in order to leave graduate school.

And as I often tell graduate students, “How will be ever miss you if you won’t go away?”

The key to this is to treat it as an exercise. Writing is something that you do every day, and like training for a marathon you will get better. The fact that some of what you do is a waste isn’t the point.

The point is to develop the skills so when the dissertation comes up, you’ll be ready.

Jeanne Hoffman:

You also mentioned “set goals.” What type of goals should graduate students be setting?

So many people have this fetish about input based metrics. I worked for three hours today. Yeah, well you didn’t do a thing. You need output based metrics. I wrote three pages today. That’s a goal. Not I went to the office. Think of all the times that you as a graduate student said, “Well, I worked for six hours today. I read a book.”

No, what you have to do is set a goal of writing. Have an output based metric. Focus on that, and once you’ve done that, yes, then go do something else. But make sure you have an output that you produce every day. Not input.

Nobody cares about the labor pains. They just want to see the baby.

Now, this other one sounds really profound, but could you explain it to me? It says “write for the ages.” What does that mean?

This comes from an experience that I had that was pretty darned embarrassing.

I was interviewing in 1984 at George Mason University, and one of the people I was interviewing with was James Buchanan. Now, this was two years before he won the Nobel prize in economics. He won it in 1986. This was 1984, but he was pretty scary even without a Nobel prize. The first question he asked me in our interview … (Note that this was a job I really wanted. I so wanted to be at George Mason. This meant the world to me.) His first question was, “What are you working on? What are you writing that somebody might read 10 or 100 years from now?”

I had nothing. His point, and he says this pretty often, is you ought to be working on something that people are going to want to read years from now. Because if you know when you’re working on it that’s really of no consequence, why are you spending your time on it? How are you going to stay excited enough about it to be able to produce a decent quality piece of work if you already know that it’s trivial?

Now, a lot of the things that you think are interesting at first turn out to be not as important as you had hoped, but you have to have some aspiration to write on the kinds of questions that people care about and that might conceivably they would want to read in 10 or even 100 years.

Next you have, “give yourself time.” Do you mean time to write?

I certainly do mean time to write. We’re used to being patted on our heads for our prolixity–and the fact that even the night before a paper was due we could produce a decent quality paper.

Well, if you try to carry that over into graduate school or into your professional career, you’re going to fail. Look at something that Adam Smith wrote or that Ayn Rand wrote (or whatever writing that you care about), they didn’t sit down the night before it was due and write the whole thing. They wrote it then they went for a walk, had dinner, talked to someone. Then they wrote it again.

They worked on it over and over again.

In a way, this is the same thing as write for the ages. This is take your work seriously enough to treat it as something that’s worthy of your full attention over an extended period.

Not I work really well under pressure. The fact is nobody works really well under pressure. You’re just smart enough that you’ve been able to get away with it up until now.

Speaking of people leaving things to the last minute, you have as your fifth truth, “edit your work.” Which I know a lot of undergraduates don’t get to because they do their paper overnight. But what does this mean for graduate students who have an extended amount of time to work on their papers?

A lot of people don’t like the idea of editing their work, and I think there’s two reasons. (Maybe they’re related, but students always give two different reasons.)

  • One is it’s boring to edit (especially as you write your dissertation), and it’s more interesting and fun to work on something new.
  • The other is, you know, they hate to waste anything that they’ve written.

Once you get used to editing, it’s really quite liberating. Try to find out if you can shorten everything into something that’s better.

When you’re writing, often less is more.

The first paper that I published came out in the journal public choice in 1984. Started out as 22 pages of calculus and proofs. When it came out in the journal it was two-and-a-half pages, and it had two short equations. It bore no resemblance to the paper I started out with, but it was much better.

That first paper was unpublishable. If I had sent it to the journal it would have just been turned out, and then I would have thought, “Oh I was born under a dark star.” No, I was too lazy to edit the thing.

If you don’t like editing your own papers, find another graduate student and switch as you.

It’s often much easier to edit and find the mistakes or infelicities that other people have made. One of the things that we’re all good at is criticizing, so find a writing buddy and switch papers and edit each other’s stuff. There’s one other thing about editing that Deirdre McCloskey always says. Deirdre McCloskey’s claim is “Let editors edit.”

Which means that if someone, an editor or a friend who you’ve gotten to edit your paper, volunteers that there’s a problem with that sentence, there is. Nobody cares what you think. The fact is that when someone else looks at that and says, “You know, I don’t understand this.” Or, “I think you should reword it.” You should. Don’t get defensive. Just do it.

Let the editor edit.

Okay, now here you have, “pick a puzzle.” That is a puzzle to me. What do you mean by that?

There are a lot of ways of making a paper that you’re working on seem, and in fact be, more interesting.

One of the key ways to do that when you’re setting it up is to choose one of the classic kind of puzzle formulations. Some examples that I could give are, well, we start with the problem of, “there’s a lot of people that have noticed empirically X happens, but the theory says that Y should happen. Why is it that our theory implies something different from what we actually observe?”

Another famous and common kind of puzzle that’s quite useful is, “There’s this theory about phenomenon X, and there’s another theory about apparently very different phenomenon Y. It turns out that the same underlying explanation accounts for both of these apparently very different things.”

Well, there again, if you start with that, you have the readers interest. It’s a way of organizing your discussion. It’s a way of getting started. A lot of people have trouble writing the first page of their paper, so we sometimes jokingly say, “Okay start with the second page!” It’s hard to set the thing up.

Using the puzzle (even if it seems rather mechanical at first) is a good way to get past that first hurdle of presenting your work. Tt has the bonus of grabbing the reader’s attention.

Now, your seventh truth seems to tie into your fourth truth, your “give yourself time” one. Your seventh truth is “schedule time for writing.”

The reason that it’s different is the “give yourself time” means that you start long before it’s due.

Scheduling means that you have to think when is my most productive time. Am I a morning person? Am I a night person? Then make sure that you schedule your writing during your most productive time. For instance, take classes or teach them (as the case may be) at a time that doesn’t conflict with your most productive writing time.

Now, it’s perfectly true that when I teach I get enough of an adrenaline rush. It happens that I’m a morning person, so I always schedule my writing in the morning and then I teach in the late afternoon. The late afternoon, a lot of times, I might need a little nap. I’m a little tired after lunch, and I’m kind of nodding off, but when it comes to teaching I get a rush of adrenaline. It’s like having two different peak times because you spend your writing time when you’re naturally most productive. Then you do your teaching at a time that otherwise would be a down time. It makes you enormously more productive.

The problem that I see is that people say, “Well, I’m so busy, so I’ll write when I get a chance.” It’s a residual category. It’s what I do after I’ve done everything else.

You have to turn that on it’s head. Schedule your writing first, and make everything else fit. First and foremost, if you’re going to succeed, you need to be a writer.

Now, I want to tie your eighth and ninth together because I think one flows from the other one. Your eighth truth is “not all of your thoughts are profound,” and your ninth one is “your most profound thoughts are often wrong.” Why aren’t all my thoughts profound? I think they are.

You know, they are as long as they’re thoughts. Actually this is going to tie into the next one also, so let me tie all three together.

When I think of an idea, or when I talk about an idea in a bar to my friend, we’re having cigarettes and beers, and it’s 1:30 at night. You know, you think that’s really clever. That’s something.

The problem is I sit down to write it, it turns out to be much more complicated than I thought it was.

When I was in graduate school, and I was a beginning assistant professor, would keep a list of what I thought were interesting ideas. Half of them by the time I had worked on them for a day turned out to be not that important. A lot of the things that seem interesting and important are not as important once you start to write them.

That means that you need to start to write them as soon as possible. You learn about your own thoughts by trying to write them. Not by just repeating them and having other people say, “Oh, that’s a clever nugget.”

Writing is how you learn whether your ideas are profound.

The ninth one that you mentioned was your most profound thoughts are often wrong.

I have a friend who made this suggestion that you should kill your children. What he means by “kill your children” is after you finished a paper, and you think it’s almost ready to send to the journal, go through it and underline the three most clever and profound sentences, and delete them because you’re bored with this paper. You have read this paper so often. You thought about it so much. The three sentences that you think are the best are almost all non sequiturs. They’re usually something that they have nothing to do with the paper, or they’re an ad hominem attack on someone you should leave alone. You think, “Oh I really got that guy.”

Go through and take all of those “profound” thoughts out. They’re the things that are going to make referees angry or that are going to side track the reader.

You’re no longer competent to judge whether or not these thoughts are profound.

This leads to the tenth truth, which is that everyone’s unwritten work is brilliant.

In my essay, I try to conjure a figure that we’ve all met. Usually, it’s a like seventh year graduate student, and it could be a fourth year assistant professor who hasn’t published anything, but he’s extremely glib. He generally has a cigarette and probably a black turtle neck sweater and an imported beer. Probably a Hefeweizen from Germany. A person that excludes good taste. He holds court in this bar or in this coffee shop with his cigarette and tells you a three-or-four-hundred-word summary of what he’s going to write his dissertation or his next book on in the case of a professor.

You think, “Wow that’s so interesting.”

Then he asks you, “What are you working on?”

You’re a little confused because the chapter that you’re currently working on, you’re not quite sure it’s going right. The direction isn’t at good. You finished another chapter, but you’re not sure it hangs together, and so you sort of stutter. From this guy, you get a smug smile, “It’s hard, isn’t it?”

Well, the truth is that guy is a poser.

He’s not actually working on anything. The reason that his glib superficial description of his work is so impressive is that he’s been saying the same thing for five years.

You are the winner here. You’re the one who’s actually working on something. You’ve written several pages today. You wrote several pages yesterday. You finished a chapter in the past month.

It’s hard to know because you’re in the middle of a project. Beware of the people that have this description of their work that is practiced and sounds like it’s good. People who are writing are often confused, embittered, and angry.

In fact, I think if you’re not a little bit confused, embittered, and angry, you’re not working hard enough on your writing.

This guy’s work is unwritten. That’s why it sounds brilliant. Everyone’s unwritten work is brilliant. You have to encounter how hard your idea is by writing it.

If you could give grad student just one piece of advice over all about their dissertation what would that be?

I’m going to give three. I’m a professor. I have a hard time giving just one.

Okay. I’m a lawyer, so I can negotiate, so that’s fine.

I’ll try to be brief about it, though.

The first is that graduate students elevate the dissertation in their mind to the status of something that’s enormous.

In a way, that absolves them of responsibility for not finishing it very quickly. You should think of the dissertation as being a sort of glorified class requirement. It doesn’t have to be publishable. It doesn’t have to be close to publishable. In fact, when you start to think of your dissertation what you’re doing is saying, “I have to write something that four or five people who may not like each other very much have to all sign off on.”

Which brings me to the second point. How good does your dissertation have to be?

Well, one of my professors told me a good dissertation is a done dissertation, and a done dissertation is good.

What that means is that as soon as you get it finished then you’ve already accomplished the first piece of advice was don’t elevate this to having the status of some gigantic important book. You recognize it’s just a glorified class requirement. Now you look and there’s four different people on your committee. Maybe they don’t like each other very much. Maybe they don’t even talk to each other, and so they communicate only through you. Where you bring a draft to one, and they give you corrections. You make the changes, and then another person says, “No, no. Change all that back.”

Well, what you need to do is have them talk to each other. But what you really need to do is recognize that a done dissertation is good. Just finish what they say. Don’t let them use you as a pawn in a personal war that for them goes back ten years. Just get the work finished, and once you’re in a position to have it done you can work on a book that then you won’t have to please four masters who are making different demands on your time.

The way to do that is the third piece of advice which is don’t read. Write.

I ask my students, the students who work with me on their dissertation, to put up a three by five card in their work cubicle or their library carrel or wherever they’re working, that says, “Don’t read. Write.” Because writing is an output-based metric. Reading is an input-based metric. You should always avoid input-based metrics.

“I read two books today” means you did nothing. If you wrote something then you had an accomplishment. What are you supposed to read though? The answer is let other people, including your faculty advisors, be your research assistants. You can hire them as research assistants, and you don’t have to pay them. You give them a draft, and they say, “Oh, here’s four things you should cite.” Well, go look up precisely those four things. Cite those four things, and add them to your references because then you’re not reading to decide whether or not it’s relevant. You already know that it is. You have used your faculty advisors as unpaid, really smart, highly-trained research assistants.

Make the system work for you.

That’s brilliant. You mentioned that students make the mistake of elevating their dissertation much higher than it should be. What are some other common mistakes that you see students making as they work on their dissertation?

I guess an elaboration of that first one is the one that’s most important which is after I’ve been working on it for six months, and I haven’t written anything, the explanation has to be that it’s really hard and really profound. After 18 months or two years, I knew a guy who worked for seven years on his dissertation. He had 600 pages written, but since he’d been working on it for six years it had to be something enormous. Now, he could have turned in what he had, and it would have been fine, but it wouldn’t have been fantastic. It wasn’t good enough because he couldn’t explain to himself why he’d done it for six years. He ended up not finishing, although he had 600 pages written.

Well, believe me, by that time the faculty really just wanted him to go away. Write an introduction, write a conclusion, hand it in. Say, “That’s enough. I’m done.”

What else separates a student who gets their dissertation done from a student who doesn’t complete their dissertation on time?

I would say that completing your dissertation on time largely just requires you sitting down and writing out a timeline that starts with finishing . Then give yourself reasonable amounts of time to do all the things you need to do in the middle, and work backwards to now. Now, I finished my dissertation when I was 25. I wrote the whole thing in six months. Was it good? No. It was terrible, but a good dissertation is a done dissertation. After I finished it I was able, on my own without the infighting and bickering of faculty members looking over my shoulder, to be able to fix the problems, and send it to journals, and I got it published.

Think of it as a job. Think of it as something that has a schedule that you can produce. Rather than “I’m working on this, and my lack of productivity is a sign of my profundity,” which is a trap many of us fall into.

Having a deadline is an important part of becoming a professional because you have to learn to generate internal deadlines. Journal editors do not have deadlines. They would prefer that you don’t send your paper to them.

The editor of the philosophy journal, economics journal, political science journal, they’re not going to call you and say, “Hey, are you going to send that paper in?” They hope you don’t. You have to generate your own internal deadlines. You might as well start doing it now. Think of it as a job. Have deadlines, and meet the deadlines. If it isn’t perfect that’s fine. The faculty will tell you what you have to add.

In this timeline that you’re talking about (other than sending your work to journals) what other steps should people consider in making it?

I guess I would suggest you send papers to journals before a lot of people actually send their papers to journals. Let me see if I can explain that. For anyone who does computer programming, you know something called “machine intensive debugging.” Machine intensive debugging means that I don’t stare at the program and try to figure out what errors of programming or logic are in it. I send it to the computer, and it comes back with error messages.

Now, there are no obvious mistakes. I don’t send it to the computer so that it bombs in the first line. I do the best that I can to make sure that it doesn’t immediately bomb. Well, you can think of journals the same way. Since I, myself, was the editor of the Journal Public Choice for five years, let me say immediately that doesn’t mean send in half-finished papers. It means get the paper to a certain point of being good and then finish it in the sense that you edit it. You correct the references. You make sure the title page is right. There are no typos. There’s no hanging widow titles. It looks like a professional paper.

Then the referees are going to tell you what you should work on.

You need to have a portfolio of papers. People are surprised when they first come out. You know, they’re teaching, they’re spending time trying to get their dissertation into shape, and two or three years pass by. Start sending papers to journals right away, and that sort of generates it’s own momentum, its own logic. You get the paper back, and you’ve got comments. Basically these are like error messages from the computer. Fix those. Send it back again. You’ll be publishing papers before you know it.

Send the paper out before you think it’s perfect because the editors aren’t going to think it’s perfect anyway. Even the paper you worked on for three years is going to come back with error messages.

This is my final question. Do you have any advice on how to generate really interesting ideas that spark quality papers?

I do, and the answer is write a lot of different papers, and recognize that not all of your ideas are as profound as you thought they were. As we’ve already discussed. When the paper comes back from the journal … This has happened to me several times. My most cited paper is the 1986 American Political Science review paper with Arthur Denzau. We had sent it to four other journals before it was finally accepted. When the paper started out, it wasn’t very good, but we got comments from referees that said, “You know, this is stupid, but if you were really going to do this here’s what you could go and do.”

Well, we took those seriously. By the time I had worked on it for two and a half years, it had been turned down at four places. We had gotten comments from twelve different referees. The paper was excellent, and it was partly because of the important ideas that we had gotten from machine intensive debugging.

From having those very smart anonymous referees make suggestions.

Again, you can use smart people as your unpaid research assistants as long as you keep at it, and take comments seriously. Let the editors edit. Let the referees tell you. If they think there’s something wrong with a passage, there is. Don’t be defensive about it. Fix it.

Well, thank you very much for joining us, Dr. Munger and for your great advice.

It was a pleasure.

The IHS

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How to finish your thesis in 6 months.

It is possible to finish your thesis in 6 months, even if you don’t know what to write or haven’t finished your research. In this hour-long webinar that I gave earlier this week for students of Dora Farkas’s Finish Your Thesis , I break down the process of how to go from crippling writer’s block to writing hundreds of words a day.

I discuss the following:

  • A simple daily habit that will help you start writing your dissertation
  • How to make it impossible not to write everyday
  • How to write even if all your research isn’t finished
  • How to get the most out of your advisor meetings
  • How to get your friends actively help you finish, even if they aren’t academics.

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What Is a Dissertation? | Guide, Examples, & Template

Structure of a Dissertation

A dissertation is a long-form piece of academic writing based on original research conducted by you. It is usually submitted as the final step in order to finish a PhD program.

Your dissertation is probably the longest piece of writing you’ve ever completed. It requires solid research, writing, and analysis skills, and it can be intimidating to know where to begin.

Your department likely has guidelines related to how your dissertation should be structured. When in doubt, consult with your supervisor.

You can also download our full dissertation template in the format of your choice below. The template includes a ready-made table of contents with notes on what to include in each chapter, easily adaptable to your department’s requirements.

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  • In the US, a dissertation generally refers to the collection of research you conducted to obtain a PhD.
  • In other countries (such as the UK), a dissertation often refers to the research you conduct to obtain your bachelor’s or master’s degree.

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Table of contents

Dissertation committee and prospectus process, how to write and structure a dissertation, acknowledgements or preface, list of figures and tables, list of abbreviations, introduction, literature review, methodology, reference list, proofreading and editing, defending your dissertation, free checklist and lecture slides.

When you’ve finished your coursework, as well as any comprehensive exams or other requirements, you advance to “ABD” (All But Dissertation) status. This means you’ve completed everything except your dissertation.

Prior to starting to write, you must form your committee and write your prospectus or proposal . Your committee comprises your adviser and a few other faculty members. They can be from your own department, or, if your work is more interdisciplinary, from other departments. Your committee will guide you through the dissertation process, and ultimately decide whether you pass your dissertation defense and receive your PhD.

Your prospectus is a formal document presented to your committee, usually orally in a defense, outlining your research aims and objectives and showing why your topic is relevant . After passing your prospectus defense, you’re ready to start your research and writing.

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can you write a dissertation in 6 months

The structure of your dissertation depends on a variety of factors, such as your discipline, topic, and approach. Dissertations in the humanities are often structured more like a long essay , building an overall argument to support a central thesis , with chapters organized around different themes or case studies.

However, hard science and social science dissertations typically include a review of existing works, a methodology section, an analysis of your original research, and a presentation of your results , presented in different chapters.

Dissertation examples

We’ve compiled a list of dissertation examples to help you get started.

  • Example dissertation #1: Heat, Wildfire and Energy Demand: An Examination of Residential Buildings and Community Equity (a dissertation by C. A. Antonopoulos about the impact of extreme heat and wildfire on residential buildings and occupant exposure risks).
  • Example dissertation #2: Exploring Income Volatility and Financial Health Among Middle-Income Households (a dissertation by M. Addo about income volatility and declining economic security among middle-income households).
  • Example dissertation #3: The Use of Mindfulness Meditation to Increase the Efficacy of Mirror Visual Feedback for Reducing Phantom Limb Pain in Amputees (a dissertation by N. S. Mills about the effect of mindfulness-based interventions on the relationship between mirror visual feedback and the pain level in amputees with phantom limb pain).

The very first page of your document contains your dissertation title, your name, department, institution, degree program, and submission date. Sometimes it also includes your student number, your supervisor’s name, and the university’s logo.

Read more about title pages

The acknowledgements section is usually optional and gives space for you to thank everyone who helped you in writing your dissertation. This might include your supervisors, participants in your research, and friends or family who supported you. In some cases, your acknowledgements are part of a preface.

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The abstract is a short summary of your dissertation, usually about 150 to 300 words long. Though this may seem very short, it’s one of the most important parts of your dissertation, because it introduces your work to your audience.

Your abstract should:

  • State your main topic and the aims of your research
  • Describe your methods
  • Summarize your main results
  • State your conclusions

Read more about abstracts

The table of contents lists all of your chapters, along with corresponding subheadings and page numbers. This gives your reader an overview of your structure and helps them easily navigate your document.

Remember to include all main parts of your dissertation in your table of contents, even the appendices. It’s easy to generate a table automatically in Word if you used heading styles. Generally speaking, you only include level 2 and level 3 headings, not every subheading you included in your finished work.

Read more about tables of contents

While not usually mandatory, it’s nice to include a list of figures and tables to help guide your reader if you have used a lot of these in your dissertation. It’s easy to generate one of these in Word using the Insert Caption feature.

Read more about lists of figures and tables

Similarly, if you have used a lot of abbreviations (especially industry-specific ones) in your dissertation, you can include them in an alphabetized list of abbreviations so that the reader can easily look up their meanings.

Read more about lists of abbreviations

In addition to the list of abbreviations, if you find yourself using a lot of highly specialized terms that you worry will not be familiar to your reader, consider including a glossary. Here, alphabetize the terms and include a brief description or definition.

Read more about glossaries

The introduction serves to set up your dissertation’s topic, purpose, and relevance. It tells the reader what to expect in the rest of your dissertation. The introduction should:

  • Establish your research topic , giving the background information needed to contextualize your work
  • Narrow down the focus and define the scope of your research
  • Discuss the state of existing research on the topic, showing your work’s relevance to a broader problem or debate
  • Clearly state your research questions and objectives
  • Outline the flow of the rest of your work

Everything in the introduction should be clear, engaging, and relevant. By the end, the reader should understand the what, why, and how of your research.

Read more about introductions

A formative part of your research is your literature review . This helps you gain a thorough understanding of the academic work that already exists on your topic.

Literature reviews encompass:

  • Finding relevant sources (e.g., books and journal articles)
  • Assessing the credibility of your sources
  • Critically analyzing and evaluating each source
  • Drawing connections between them (e.g., themes, patterns, conflicts, or gaps) to strengthen your overall point

A literature review is not merely a summary of existing sources. Your literature review should have a coherent structure and argument that leads to a clear justification for your own research. It may aim to:

  • Address a gap in the literature or build on existing knowledge
  • Take a new theoretical or methodological approach to your topic
  • Propose a solution to an unresolved problem or advance one side of a theoretical debate

Read more about literature reviews

Theoretical framework

Your literature review can often form the basis for your theoretical framework. Here, you define and analyze the key theories, concepts, and models that frame your research.

Read more about theoretical frameworks

Your methodology chapter describes how you conducted your research, allowing your reader to critically assess its credibility. Your methodology section should accurately report what you did, as well as convince your reader that this was the best way to answer your research question.

A methodology section should generally include:

  • The overall research approach ( quantitative vs. qualitative ) and research methods (e.g., a longitudinal study )
  • Your data collection methods (e.g., interviews or a controlled experiment )
  • Details of where, when, and with whom the research took place
  • Any tools and materials you used (e.g., computer programs, lab equipment)
  • Your data analysis methods (e.g., statistical analysis , discourse analysis )
  • An evaluation or justification of your methods

Read more about methodology sections

Your results section should highlight what your methodology discovered. You can structure this section around sub-questions, hypotheses , or themes, but avoid including any subjective or speculative interpretation here.

Your results section should:

  • Concisely state each relevant result together with relevant descriptive statistics (e.g., mean , standard deviation ) and inferential statistics (e.g., test statistics , p values )
  • Briefly state how the result relates to the question or whether the hypothesis was supported
  • Report all results that are relevant to your research questions , including any that did not meet your expectations.

Additional data (including raw numbers, full questionnaires, or interview transcripts) can be included as an appendix. You can include tables and figures, but only if they help the reader better understand your results. Read more about results sections

Your discussion section is your opportunity to explore the meaning and implications of your results in relation to your research question. Here, interpret your results in detail, discussing whether they met your expectations and how well they fit with the framework that you built in earlier chapters. Refer back to relevant source material to show how your results fit within existing research in your field.

Some guiding questions include:

  • What do your results mean?
  • Why do your results matter?
  • What limitations do the results have?

If any of the results were unexpected, offer explanations for why this might be. It’s a good idea to consider alternative interpretations of your data.

Read more about discussion sections

Your dissertation’s conclusion should concisely answer your main research question, leaving your reader with a clear understanding of your central argument and emphasizing what your research has contributed to the field.

In some disciplines, the conclusion is just a short section preceding the discussion section, but in other contexts, it is the final chapter of your work. Here, you wrap up your dissertation with a final reflection on what you found, with recommendations for future research and concluding remarks.

It’s important to leave the reader with a clear impression of why your research matters. What have you added to what was already known? Why is your research necessary for the future of your field?

Read more about conclusions

It is crucial to include a reference list or list of works cited with the full details of all the sources that you used, in order to avoid plagiarism. Be sure to choose one citation style and follow it consistently throughout your dissertation. Each style has strict and specific formatting requirements.

Common styles include MLA , Chicago , and APA , but which style you use is often set by your department or your field.

Create APA citations Create MLA citations

Your dissertation should contain only essential information that directly contributes to answering your research question. Documents such as interview transcripts or survey questions can be added as appendices, rather than adding them to the main body.

Read more about appendices

Making sure that all of your sections are in the right place is only the first step to a well-written dissertation. Don’t forget to leave plenty of time for editing and proofreading, as grammar mistakes and sloppy spelling errors can really negatively impact your work.

Dissertations can take up to five years to write, so you will definitely want to make sure that everything is perfect before submitting. You may want to consider using a professional dissertation editing service , AI proofreader or grammar checker to make sure your final project is perfect prior to submitting.

After your written dissertation is approved, your committee will schedule a defense. Similarly to defending your prospectus, dissertation defenses are oral presentations of your work. You’ll present your dissertation, and your committee will ask you questions. Many departments allow family members, friends, and other people who are interested to join as well.

After your defense, your committee will meet, and then inform you whether you have passed. Keep in mind that defenses are usually just a formality; most committees will have resolved any serious issues with your work with you far prior to your defense, giving you ample time to fix any problems.

As you write your dissertation, you can use this simple checklist to make sure you’ve included all the essentials.

Checklist: Dissertation

My title page includes all information required by my university.

I have included acknowledgements thanking those who helped me.

My abstract provides a concise summary of the dissertation, giving the reader a clear idea of my key results or arguments.

I have created a table of contents to help the reader navigate my dissertation. It includes all chapter titles, but excludes the title page, acknowledgements, and abstract.

My introduction leads into my topic in an engaging way and shows the relevance of my research.

My introduction clearly defines the focus of my research, stating my research questions and research objectives .

My introduction includes an overview of the dissertation’s structure (reading guide).

I have conducted a literature review in which I (1) critically engage with sources, evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of existing research, (2) discuss patterns, themes, and debates in the literature, and (3) address a gap or show how my research contributes to existing research.

I have clearly outlined the theoretical framework of my research, explaining the theories and models that support my approach.

I have thoroughly described my methodology , explaining how I collected data and analyzed data.

I have concisely and objectively reported all relevant results .

I have (1) evaluated and interpreted the meaning of the results and (2) acknowledged any important limitations of the results in my discussion .

I have clearly stated the answer to my main research question in the conclusion .

I have clearly explained the implications of my conclusion, emphasizing what new insight my research has contributed.

I have provided relevant recommendations for further research or practice.

If relevant, I have included appendices with supplemental information.

I have included an in-text citation every time I use words, ideas, or information from a source.

I have listed every source in a reference list at the end of my dissertation.

I have consistently followed the rules of my chosen citation style .

I have followed all formatting guidelines provided by my university.

Congratulations!

The end is in sight—your dissertation is nearly ready to submit! Make sure it's perfectly polished with the help of a Scribbr editor.

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Ten things I wish I'd known before starting my dissertation

The sun is shining but many students won't see the daylight. Because it's that time of year again – dissertation time.

Luckily for me, my D-Day (dissertation hand-in day) has already been and gone. But I remember it well.

The 10,000-word spiral-bound paper squatted on my desk in various forms of completion was my Allied forces; the history department in-tray was my Normandy. And when Eisenhower talked about a "great crusade toward which we have striven these many months", he was bang on.

I remember first encountering the Undergraduate Dissertation Handbook, feeling my heart sink at how long the massive file took to download, and began to think about possible (but in hindsight, wildly over-ambitious) topics. Here's what I've learned since, and wish I'd known back then…

1 ) If your dissertation supervisor isn't right, change. Mine was brilliant. If you don't feel like they're giving you the right advice, request to swap to someone else – providing it's early on and your reason is valid, your department shouldn't have a problem with it. In my experience, it doesn't matter too much whether they're an expert on your topic. What counts is whether they're approachable, reliable, reassuring, give detailed feedback and don't mind the odd panicked email. They are your lifeline and your best chance of success.

2 ) If you mention working on your dissertation to family, friends or near-strangers, they will ask you what it's about, and they will be expecting a more impressive answer than you can give. So prepare for looks of confusion and disappointment. People anticipate grandeur in history dissertation topics – war, genocide, the formation of modern society. They don't think much of researching an obscure piece of 1970s disability legislation. But they're not the ones marking it.

3 ) If they ask follow-up questions, they're probably just being polite.

4 ) Do not ask friends how much work they've done. You'll end up paranoid – or they will. Either way, you don't have time for it.

5 ) There will be one day during the process when you will freak out, doubt your entire thesis and decide to start again from scratch. You might even come up with a new question and start working on it, depending on how long the breakdown lasts. You will at some point run out of steam and collapse in an exhausted, tear-stained heap. But unless there are serious flaws in your work (unlikely) and your supervisor recommends starting again (highly unlikely), don't do it. It's just panic, it'll pass.

6 ) A lot of the work you do will not make it into your dissertation. The first few days in archives, I felt like everything I was unearthing was a gem, and when I sat down to write, it seemed as if it was all gold. But a brutal editing down to the word count has left much of that early material at the wayside.

7 ) You will print like you have never printed before. If you're using a university or library printer, it will start to affect your weekly budget in a big way. If you're printing from your room, "paper jam" will come to be the most dreaded two words in the English language.

8 ) Your dissertation will interfere with whatever else you have going on – a social life, sporting commitments, societies, other essay demands. Don't even try and give up biscuits for Lent, they'll basically become their own food group when you're too busy to cook and desperate for sugar.

9 ) Your time is not your own. Even if you're super-organised, plan your time down to the last hour and don't have a single moment of deadline panic, you'll still find that thoughts of your dissertation will creep up on you when you least expect it. You'll fall asleep thinking about it, dream about it and wake up thinking about. You'll feel guilty when you're not working on it, and mired in self-doubt when you are.

10 ) Finishing it will be one of the best things you've ever done. It's worth the hard work to know you've completed what's likely to be your biggest, most important, single piece of work. Be proud of it.

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What Is a Dissertation? | 5 Essential Questions to Get Started

Published on 26 March 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on 5 May 2022.

A dissertation is a large research project undertaken at the end of a degree. It involves in-depth consideration of a problem or question chosen by the student. It is usually the largest (and final) piece of written work produced during a degree.

The length and structure of a dissertation vary widely depending on the level and field of study. However, there are some key questions that can help you understand the requirements and get started on your dissertation project.

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Table of contents

When and why do you have to write a dissertation, who will supervise your dissertation, what type of research will you do, how should your dissertation be structured, what formatting and referencing rules do you have to follow, frequently asked questions about dissertations.

A dissertation, sometimes called a thesis, comes at the end of an undergraduate or postgraduate degree. It is a larger project than the other essays you’ve written, requiring a higher word count and a greater depth of research.

You’ll generally work on your dissertation during the final year of your degree, over a longer period than you would take for a standard essay . For example, the dissertation might be your main focus for the last six months of your degree.

Why is the dissertation important?

The dissertation is a test of your capacity for independent research. You are given a lot of autonomy in writing your dissertation: you come up with your own ideas, conduct your own research, and write and structure the text by yourself.

This means that it is an important preparation for your future, whether you continue in academia or not: it teaches you to manage your own time, generate original ideas, and work independently.

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During the planning and writing of your dissertation, you’ll work with a supervisor from your department. The supervisor’s job is to give you feedback and advice throughout the process.

The dissertation supervisor is often assigned by the department, but you might be allowed to indicate preferences or approach potential supervisors. If so, try to pick someone who is familiar with your chosen topic, whom you get along with on a personal level, and whose feedback you’ve found useful in the past.

How will your supervisor help you?

Your supervisor is there to guide you through the dissertation project, but you’re still working independently. They can give feedback on your ideas, but not come up with ideas for you.

You may need to take the initiative to request an initial meeting with your supervisor. Then you can plan out your future meetings and set reasonable deadlines for things like completion of data collection, a structure outline, a first chapter, a first draft, and so on.

Make sure to prepare in advance for your meetings. Formulate your ideas as fully as you can, and determine where exactly you’re having difficulties so you can ask your supervisor for specific advice.

Your approach to your dissertation will vary depending on your field of study. The first thing to consider is whether you will do empirical research , which involves collecting original data, or non-empirical research , which involves analysing sources.

Empirical dissertations (sciences)

An empirical dissertation focuses on collecting and analysing original data. You’ll usually write this type of dissertation if you are studying a subject in the sciences or social sciences.

  • What are airline workers’ attitudes towards the challenges posed for their industry by climate change?
  • How effective is cognitive behavioural therapy in treating depression in young adults?
  • What are the short-term health effects of switching from smoking cigarettes to e-cigarettes?

There are many different empirical research methods you can use to answer these questions – for example, experiments , observations, surveys , and interviews.

When doing empirical research, you need to consider things like the variables you will investigate, the reliability and validity of your measurements, and your sampling method . The aim is to produce robust, reproducible scientific knowledge.

Non-empirical dissertations (arts and humanities)

A non-empirical dissertation works with existing research or other texts, presenting original analysis, critique and argumentation, but no original data. This approach is typical of arts and humanities subjects.

  • What attitudes did commentators in the British press take towards the French Revolution in 1789–1792?
  • How do the themes of gender and inheritance intersect in Shakespeare’s Macbeth ?
  • How did Plato’s Republic and Thomas More’s Utopia influence nineteenth century utopian socialist thought?

The first steps in this type of dissertation are to decide on your topic and begin collecting your primary and secondary sources .

Primary sources are the direct objects of your research. They give you first-hand evidence about your subject. Examples of primary sources include novels, artworks and historical documents.

Secondary sources provide information that informs your analysis. They describe, interpret, or evaluate information from primary sources. For example, you might consider previous analyses of the novel or author you are working on, or theoretical texts that you plan to apply to your primary sources.

Dissertations are divided into chapters and sections. Empirical dissertations usually follow a standard structure, while non-empirical dissertations are more flexible.

Structure of an empirical dissertation

Empirical dissertations generally include these chapters:

  • Introduction : An explanation of your topic and the research question(s) you want to answer.
  • Literature review : A survey and evaluation of previous research on your topic.
  • Methodology : An explanation of how you collected and analysed your data.
  • Results : A brief description of what you found.
  • Discussion : Interpretation of what these results reveal.
  • Conclusion : Answers to your research question(s) and summary of what your findings contribute to knowledge in your field.

Sometimes the order or naming of chapters might be slightly different, but all of the above information must be included in order to produce thorough, valid scientific research.

Other dissertation structures

If your dissertation doesn’t involve data collection, your structure is more flexible. You can think of it like an extended essay – the text should be logically organised in a way that serves your argument:

  • Introduction: An explanation of your topic and the question(s) you want to answer.
  • Main body: The development of your analysis, usually divided into 2–4 chapters.
  • Conclusion: Answers to your research question(s) and summary of what your analysis contributes to knowledge in your field.

The chapters of the main body can be organised around different themes, time periods, or texts. Below you can see some example structures for dissertations in different subjects.

  • Political philosophy

This example, on the topic of the British press’s coverage of the French Revolution, shows how you might structure each chapter around a specific theme.

Example of a dissertation structure in history

This example, on the topic of Plato’s and More’s influences on utopian socialist thought, shows a different approach to dividing the chapters by theme.

Example of a dissertation structure in political philosophy

This example, a master’s dissertation on the topic of how writers respond to persecution, shows how you can also use section headings within each chapter. Each of the three chapters deals with a specific text, while the sections are organised thematically.

Example of a dissertation structure in literature

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Like other academic texts, it’s important that your dissertation follows the formatting guidelines set out by your university. You can lose marks unnecessarily over mistakes, so it’s worth taking the time to get all these elements right.

Formatting guidelines concern things like:

  • line spacing
  • page numbers
  • punctuation
  • title pages
  • presentation of tables and figures

If you’re unsure about the formatting requirements, check with your supervisor or department. You can lose marks unnecessarily over mistakes, so it’s worth taking the time to get all these elements right.

How will you reference your sources?

Referencing means properly listing the sources you cite and refer to in your dissertation, so that the reader can find them. This avoids plagiarism by acknowledging where you’ve used the work of others.

Keep track of everything you read as you prepare your dissertation. The key information to note down for a reference is:

  • The publication date
  • Page numbers for the parts you refer to (especially when using direct quotes)

Different referencing styles each have their own specific rules for how to reference. The most commonly used styles in UK universities are listed below.

You can use the free APA Reference Generator to automatically create and store your references.

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The words ‘ dissertation ’ and ‘thesis’ both refer to a large written research project undertaken to complete a degree, but they are used differently depending on the country:

  • In the UK, you write a dissertation at the end of a bachelor’s or master’s degree, and you write a thesis to complete a PhD.
  • In the US, it’s the other way around: you may write a thesis at the end of a bachelor’s or master’s degree, and you write a dissertation to complete a PhD.

The main difference is in terms of scale – a dissertation is usually much longer than the other essays you complete during your degree.

Another key difference is that you are given much more independence when working on a dissertation. You choose your own dissertation topic , and you have to conduct the research and write the dissertation yourself (with some assistance from your supervisor).

Dissertation word counts vary widely across different fields, institutions, and levels of education:

  • An undergraduate dissertation is typically 8,000–15,000 words
  • A master’s dissertation is typically 12,000–50,000 words
  • A PhD thesis is typically book-length: 70,000–100,000 words

However, none of these are strict guidelines – your word count may be lower or higher than the numbers stated here. Always check the guidelines provided by your university to determine how long your own dissertation should be.

At the bachelor’s and master’s levels, the dissertation is usually the main focus of your final year. You might work on it (alongside other classes) for the entirety of the final year, or for the last six months. This includes formulating an idea, doing the research, and writing up.

A PhD thesis takes a longer time, as the thesis is the main focus of the degree. A PhD thesis might be being formulated and worked on for the whole four years of the degree program. The writing process alone can take around 18 months.

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How to Write a Doctoral Dissertation in Two Months

can you write a dissertation in 6 months

Don’t navigate through a forest of challenges.

Instead of taking two years to write your doctoral dissertation, what if you could write it in two months? Think you can do it? Yes, it ’ s possible, but your success will depend upon dedicating yourself to the task and, if needed, requesting help of others who thrive at researching.

Avoid navigating through unknown territory alone

When you discipline yourself, you can create an outline, define the steps for acquiring your data, and write a draft in six weeks. However, you must set up deadlines for each phase, and it ’ s important to note that social invitations and other shiny objects that might tempt you to delay even one day in your deadline are not an option.

How to Begin your Writing

First, decide on start and stop dates for your researching and writing. Next, find a competent academic editor to review your first draft, which will allow you another week to fine-tune your final document before submitting it. If you can follow these rules, then you will finish writing your doctoral dissertation in two months.

Reassure your doubting brain that you can do this. Don ’ t share this information with family, friends, or anyone who is in your world. Why? Their opinions, thoughts, and suggestions don ’ t matter. You ’ re in this to complete your dissertation, not get feedback or approval from peers, family, friends, or strangers.

can you write a dissertation in 6 months

On a sheet of lined paper, write time slots down the left column. Next, fill in the blanks for each time slot with a task that you will accomplish that day. Think of it as a tiny check list. You do one thing from 9:00-10:00. Take a 15-minute break. Then from 10:15-11:00, complete the next task. If you can work six hours in one day, then fill in the details for what you WILL accomplish in each of those time slots.

Establish a start date for your two-month project. Write the date on your calendar, and put a huge note in a place you can’t miss to remind yourself of your start date. Know in your heart and mind that it’s an exciting date and you’re looking forward to it.

can you write a dissertation in 6 months

Arrange for sufficient time to select your topic. This is one of the most important steps in this process because it sets the goal for your research work. If you allow one week to brainstorm ideas and choose a topic that you ’ re passionate about, the rest of your work will go more smoothly and quickly. Note : Not completing this step in the time allotted could mean you won’t be able to complete your thesis, and you might wind up delaying your thesis indefinitely. Stay positive. Stay focused. Complete this step!

Create a working outline. Below are bullet points to get you started. Reject, accept or add more bullet points as needed.

can you write a dissertation in 6 months

  • Jot down the key points and ideas that you’ll include in your project
  • Define how you will arrange your arguments and supporting paragraphs
  • Establish a method for recording your research notes in such a way that the details almost write themselves
  • Use your smartphone to take a picture of your bibliography sources from printed materials. Don’t waste precious time writing this down. Let a photographic image be your resource tracker.
  • Make a short list of anything that you ‘must’ cover and that you don’t want to forget about later.
  • Make a quick list of your analytical findings that you’ll use in your final statements and resolutions.
  • Finally, as the thoughts and impressions cross your brain, write down and record the results that you interpret from all your data gathering sessions.

Once you have your outline with you, it is merely a 15-day task to write and proofread your thesis. If you have missed your earlier deadlines for some reason, you can utilize the remaining time by staying focused and active. You will have to dedicate all your time to writing in the last 15 days. Do not let yourself take leave under any circumstances. Write on a regular basis and dedicate at least half of your day to writing your thesis.

To complete your thesis writing project in less than two months, you must have your data and raw material assembled in a digital form that you can quickly look through to extract only the best information you will use during the writing process. Once you have researched your topic thoroughly and you know the results you want to present, the writing process becomes much easier.

Caution : It you begin the writing process with only bits of information, thinking that, if needed, you will stop and collect additional data and then start the writing process again, this could increase the amount of time you need to finish your dissertation. Be careful with this step. When you discipline yourself and proceed according to your deadline dates, you will write at an easier pace. Slow and steady wins the race, as they say.

About halfway through your project, you might want to take a two-to-three-hour break to walk in the woods, have a coffee with your friends, or get a little more rest to relax your eyes and hands—and your tense, deadline-driven brain. Reward yourself with a favorite food or beverage, knowing you ’ re half-way finished. That’s good!

can you write a dissertation in 6 months

Dedicate the last 15 days to writing and editing your thesis. Do not let anything or anyone interfere with this precious time that you ’ ve set aside to reach your goal. Write every day. Write and only write at the same dedicated time. No exceptions.

Hire a reputable academic editor to review your document, and then allow sufficient non-rushed time to make changes, revisions and finish your final draft.

can you write a dissertation in 6 months

Submit your dissertation. Breathe a sigh of relief. Pat yourself on the back, and go celebrate. You did it!

Things to keep in mind 

Following the above procedure and completing your thesis within two months is no mean task. Apart from the meticulous planning elaborated above, there are certain other things which you will need to concentrate on as well. The most important of these is maintaining a positive mindset.

can you write a dissertation in 6 months

Psychology plays a great role in our success, and it is extremely important when you are trying to complete a thesis in just two months. Practice meditation or spend some time for exercise on a daily basis. This helps to keep your body and mind in good shape and, hence, improve your productivity. Be aware of the situation when you are feeling stressed out and be sure to have a few emergency stress relief mechanisms planned out when needed.

can you write a dissertation in 6 months

Discipline is also necessary. Successful completion of all the above steps is predicated on your ability to be disciplined throughout the span of work. No compromises should be made on the deadlines that are set up for completing each of the subtasks.

can you write a dissertation in 6 months

Possessing a good working relationship with your editor also helps make the whole process more efficient. Make sure that you invest some time finding the right editor for you. Maintain a good line of communication and give your editor full cooperation.

While completing a thesis in two months is a tough task, it is definitely achievable. With proper planning, a conducive mindset and efficient execution, the goal can be achieved—even with a bit of time to spare.

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Candace Sinclair is passionate about turning an author’s words into professional books and web-based content that delivers favorable results. In addition to editing and creating SEO-based content, Candace has ghostwritten more than 300 books and 20 screenplays for individuals and business owners. She has also authored hundreds of her own eBooks, edited thousands of books for authors, and has been traditionally published for more than 25 years. Her passion for editing drives authors to come back to her every time they write a new book, or when they want her expertise. Formerly the VP of Publishing for a major company in the Pacific Northwest, and the owner of three publishing companies, Candace traded in her corporate day job for the opportunity of serving others as a freelance writer, editor, and professional photographer.

Are 3 Months Enough to Write a Dissertation? A-Z Plan for Dissertation Writing

Write a Dissertation

Table of Contents

A dissertation is a written document that presents an original research study in a particular field. It is usually required as a final project for students in advanced academic programs. A dissertation takes a lot of time and effort to complete. Many students wonder if they can complete a dissertation in just three months. In this article, we will explore whether three months is enough time to write a dissertation and provide an A-Z plan for dissertation writing .

Can You Write A Dissertation In Three Months?

Yes, it is possible to write a dissertation in three months. However, it depends on several factors;

  • Complexity of the research
  • Availability of resources
  • Student’s writing skills

It is essential to note that writing a dissertation is a marathon, not a sprint. It requires a lot of planning, research, and writing. Therefore, students should be realistic about what they can achieve in three months.

A-Z Plan for Dissertation Writing:

1) choose a topic.

The first step in dissertation writing is to choose a dissertation topic . This is a crucial decision, as it will determine the direction of your research. Make sure you choose an interesting, relevant, and feasible topic. It would help if you also considered your topic’s availability of resources, such as data and literature.

2) Develop A Research Question

Once you have chosen a topic, you must improve the research question. A research question is a statement that identifies the problem or issue you want to investigate. It should be specific, clear, and relevant to your chosen topic.

3) Conduct A Literature Review

A literature review is a crucial part of a dissertation. It involves a critical analysis of existing literature on your chosen topic. A literature review identifies gaps in the literature and provides a theoretical framework for your research. Use credible sources like academic journals and books for your literature review.

4) Develop A Research Methodology

Research methodology is the approach to collecting and analysing data for your research. You should choose an appropriate method for your research question. Common research methodologies are surveys, interviews, experiments, and case studies.

5) Collect And Analyse Data

In the next step, you should collect and analyse data . This step needs time, so it is essential to plan. Use reliable sources to collect enough data to support your research question.

6) Write The Dissertation

The next step is to write your dissertation. You should have a clear structure in mind for all the dissertation sections (Introduction, Literature review, Methodology, Results, Discussion, and Conclusion). Use clear and concise language to support your arguments with evidence.

7) Edit And Proofread

Now the next step is to edit and proofread your written dissertation. This involves checking grammar and spelling errors. Ensure that your writing is brief and concise. You should also check your formatting style and accurate citations.

How Much Time Do You Need To Write A High-Quality Dissertation?

The time required to write a dissertation can vary for each dissertation. However, it can take a minimum of a year to progress an effective dissertation (from the initial research and planning stages to the final editing and revisions). It is important to plan, set realistic goals and timelines, and stay organised to ensure the dissertation is completed on time and to a high standard.

Dissertation Levels And Word Counts That Can Be Covered In 3 Months;

Following are the word counts and levels for a dissertation that can be covered in 3 months:

1) Undergraduate Dissertation:

An undergraduate dissertation normally ranges from 5,000 to 10,000 words. Proper planning makes it possible to complete an undergraduate dissertation in three months.

2) Masters Dissertation:

A master’s dissertation usually ranges from 10,000 to 20,000 words. Completing a master’s dissertation in three months requires a lot of dedication, hard work, and efficient time management.

3) PhD Dissertation:

A PhD dissertation is a substantial research document ranging from 40,000 to 100,000 words. Completing a PhD dissertation in three months is a challenging task and requires a high level of commitment and focus.

What Do You Do If You’ve Left It Very Late For Your Dissertation?

If you’ve left it too late for your dissertation, here are some steps you can take:

1) Don’t Panic:

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you realise you’ve left it too late to start your dissertation. Creating this panic will only make things worse. Take a deep gasp and try to stay calm.

2) Assess The Situation:

Take some time to assess the situation and determine how much time you have left before your dissertation is due. This will help you to create a plan of action.

3) Prioritise:

Prioritise your tasks according to the importance and time limit. This will help you use most of the time for the dissertation from when you left.

4) Set A Realistic Goal:

Set a realistic goal for what you can achieve in a short time. This will help you to stay attentive and motivated.

5) Manage Your Time:

Manage your time for effective use for your dissertation. Work late at night and sacrifice some social activities, but it will be worth it.

6) Be Prepared To Make Sacrifices:

You may need to sacrifice social activities, hobbies, or other commitments to finish your dissertation on time.

7) Stay Focused:

Stay focused on your goal and keep reminding yourself why you started your dissertation in the first place.

8) Get Help:

Seek help from Dissertation experts or your academic supervisor. They can guide how to structure your dissertation, conduct research, and write it up.

Remember, it’s never too late to start working on your dissertation, but the earlier you start, the better.

Tips for Writing a Dissertation in Three Months:

1) plan ahead.

Planning is crucial when writing a dissertation in three months. Make sure you set realistic deadlines for each stage of the process. The stages include research, writing, and editing. You should also schedule time for breaks and relaxation, as it can help to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

2) Use A Writing Schedule

A writing schedule can help you stay on track and make progress every day. You should set aside specific times each day for writing and stick to them. You can also use tools like timers and productivity apps to help you stay focused.

3) Seek Feedback

Seeking feedback from Dissertation writing experts or academic peers can help you improve your writing and ensure that you are on the right track.

Dissertation Writing in Three Months – Pro Tip

It’s important to remember that writing a dissertation in three months is challenging. Therefore, seeking help from a best dissertation writing service like Affordable Dissertation UK can be beneficial. They will help break down your dissertation into smaller tasks and allocate specific deadlines. Affordable Dissertation UK ensures the final product represents your ideas and research.

Conclusion:

Writing a dissertation in three months is possible but requires careful planning, hard work, and dedication. Following the A-Z plan for dissertation writing and implementing the tips provided can help students achieve their goal of completing a dissertation in three months. However, it is important to remember that every student’s situation is different, and some may need more or less time to complete their dissertation. Otherwise, it’s better to consult dissertation expert services if there is any difficulty.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Is it possible to write a high-quality dissertation in three months.

Yes, it is possible to write a high-quality dissertation in three months. However, it requires careful planning, dedication, and hard work.

How Can I Stay Motivated While Writing A Dissertation In Three Months?

Staying motivated while writing a dissertation can be challenging, but setting achievable goals and rewarding yourself for reaching them can help. It is also important to take breaks and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

What Should I Do If I Struggle To Write My Dissertation In Three Months?

If you struggle to write your dissertation in three months, seeking help from your Dissertation Writing Service or your academic tutor is much better. They can provide guidance and support and save you time and effort.

How Can I Ensure That My Dissertation Is Of High Quality?

To ensure that your dissertation is of high quality, follow these points;

  • Make sure you use credible sources
  • Follow a clear structure
  • Support your arguments with evidence from your research.

You should edit and proofread your dissertation to ensure it is error-free. Revising and editing can ensure a high-quality dissertation, and you can achieve a high academic goal.

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FACT SHEET: President   Biden Cancels Student Debt for more than 150,000 Student Loan Borrowers Ahead of   Schedule

Today, President Biden announced the approval of $1.2 billion in student debt cancellation for almost 153,000 borrowers currently enrolled in the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) repayment plan. The Biden-Harris Administration has now approved nearly $138 billion in student debt cancellation for almost 3.9 million borrowers through more than two dozen executive actions. The borrowers receiving relief are the first to benefit from a SAVE plan policy that provides debt forgiveness to borrowers who have been in repayment after as little as 10 years and took out $12,000 or less in student loans. Originally planned for July, the Biden-Harris Administration implemented this provision of SAVE and is providing relief to borrowers nearly six months ahead of schedule.

From Day One of his Administration, President Biden vowed to fix the student loan system and make sure higher education is a pathway to the middle class – not a barrier to opportunity. Already, the President has cancelled more student debt than any President in history – delivering lifechanging relief to students and families – and has created the most affordable student loan repayment plan ever: the SAVE plan. While Republicans in Congress and their allies try to block President Biden every step of the way, the Biden-Harris Administration continues to cancel student debt for millions of borrowers, and is leaving no stone unturned in the fight to give more borrowers breathing room on their student loans.

Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration’s SAVE plan, starting today, the Administration will be cancelling debt for borrowers who are enrolled in the SAVE plan, have been in repayment for at least 10 years and took out $12,000 or less in loans for college. For every additional $1,000 a borrower initially borrowed, they will receive relief after an additional year of payments. For example, a borrower enrolled in SAVE who took out $14,000 or less in federal loans to earn an associate’s degree in biotechnology would receive full debt relief starting this week if they have been in repayment for 12 years. The U.S. Department of Education (Department) identified nearly 153,000 borrowers who are enrolled in SAVE plan who will have their debt cancelled starting this week, and those borrowers will receive an email today from President Biden informing them of their imminent relief. Next week, the Department of Education will also be reaching out directly to borrowers who are eligible for early relief but not currently enrolled in the SAVE Plan to encourage them to enroll as soon as possible. This shortened time to forgiveness will particularly help community college and other borrowers with smaller loans and put many on track to being free of student debt faster than ever before. Under the Biden-Harris Administration’s SAVE plan, 85 percent of future community college borrowers will be debt free within 10 years. The Department will continue to regularly identify and discharge other borrowers eligible for relief under this provision on SAVE. Over four million borrowers have a $0 monthly payment under the SAVE Plan Last year, President Biden launched the SAVE plan – the most affordable repayment plan ever. Under the SAVE plan, monthly payments are based on a borrower’s income and family size, not their loan balance. The SAVE plan ensures that if borrowers are making their monthly payments, their balances cannot grow because of unpaid interest. And, starting in July, undergraduate loan payments will be cut in half, capping a borrower’s loan payment at 5% of their discretionary income. Already, 7.5 million borrowers are enrolled in the SAVE Plan, and 4.3 million borrowers have a $0 monthly payment.  

Today, the White House Council of Economic Advisers released an issue brief highlighting how low and middle-income borrowers enrolled in SAVE could see significant saving in terms of interest saved over time and principal forgiven as a result of SAVE’s early forgiveness provisions.

can you write a dissertation in 6 months

President Biden’s Administration has approved student debt relief for nearly 3.9 million Americans through various actions

Today’s announcement builds on the Biden-Harris Administration’s track record of taking historic action to cancel student debt for millions of borrowers. Since taking office, the Biden-Harris Administration has approved debt cancellation for nearly 3.9 million Americans, totaling almost $138 billion in debt relief through various actions. This relief has given borrowers critical breathing room in their daily lives, allowing them to afford other expenses, buy homes, start businesses, or pursue dreams they had to put on hold because of the burden of student loan debt. President Biden remains committed to providing debt relief to as many borrowers as possible, and won’t stop fighting to deliver relief to more Americans.

The Biden-Harris Administration has also taken historic steps to improve the student loan program and make higher education more affordable for more Americans, including:

  • Achieving the largest increases in Pell Grants in over a decade to help families who earn less than $60,000 a year achieve their higher-education goals.
  • Fixing the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program so that borrowers who go into public service get the debt relief they’re entitled to under the law. Before President Biden took office, only 7,000 people ever received debt relief through PSLF. After fixing the program, the Biden-Harris Administration has now cancelled student loan debt for nearly 800,000 public service workers.
  • Cancelling student loan debt for more than 930,000 borrowers who have been in repayment for over 20 years but never got the relief they earned because of administrative failures with Income-Driven Repayment Plans.
  • Pursuing an alternative path to deliver student debt relief to as many borrowers as possible in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision striking down the Administration’s original debt relief plan. Last week, the Department of Education released proposed regulatory text to cancel student debt for borrowers who are experiencing hardship paying back their student loans, and late last year released proposals to cancel student debt for borrowers who: owe more than they borrowed, first entered repayment 20 or 25 years ago, attended low quality programs, and who would be eligible for loan forgiveness through income-driven repayment programs like SAVE but have not applied.
  • Holding colleges accountable for leaving students with unaffordable debts.

It’s easy to enroll in SAVE. Borrowers should go to studentaid.gov/save to start saving.  

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  3. How to Write Dissertation Writing? A Step by Step Guide & Citations

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COMMENTS

  1. How Long Does it Take to Write a Dissertation?

    How Long Does It Take to Write a Dissertation? Based on my experience, writing your dissertation should take somewhere between 13-20 months. These are average numbers based upon the scores of doctoral students that I have worked with over the years, and they generally hold true.

  2. How long did you take your write your dissertation? : r/PhD

    In the humanities, this is measured in years, not months. It is standard in my field (Religious Studies) for the dissertation to take from 1.5 to 3 years. Humanities programs are typically in the 5-7 year expectation for the whole program, where the first 3-4 are coursework, exams, and prospectus. Once you're done with all that, you're ABD and ...

  3. 10 Steps to Finishing a PhD Thesis (or book) in 6 Months

    Most academics will admit to themselves and students that the majority of dissertations and books are written in a 6 month block of time (the remainder of the post focuses on a PhD process, but it can be easily applied to book writing).

  4. Dissertation Timeline

    You are going to have to do a lot of writing and research and get committee approval. A timeline might say you can do your dissertation proposal in three to four months, but that is only true as long as what you're submitting is well-written and your committee approves it. For argument's sake, we'll say it takes four months.

  5. How to Write a Dissertation in Ten Days

    Well, yes. But you will only find out if you can do it when the two days are up. You need to get started immediately, follow our advice and use our dissertation guides. But we are not claiming it's easy. Can I Complete my Dissertation in 3 Days? How Fast do I Need to Write?

  6. How long does it take to write a dissertation?

    You might work on it (alongside other classes) for the entirety of the final year, or for the last six months. This includes formulating an idea, doing the research, and writing up. A PhD thesis takes a longer time, as the thesis is the main focus of the degree.

  7. How Long Does It Take to Write a PhD Dissertation: A ...

    An average timeline for writing a Best PhD dissertation is generally 12-18 months, but this is just the writing part. The complete process, including research, can take 3-4 years.

  8. 10 truths to help you write your dissertation (and actually finish it)

    The first is that graduate students elevate the dissertation in their mind to the status of something that's enormous. In a way, that absolves them of responsibility for not finishing it very quickly. You should think of the dissertation as being a sort of glorified class requirement. It doesn't have to be publishable.

  9. How to Finish Your Thesis in 6 Months

    It is possible to finish your thesis in 6 months, even if you don't know what to write or haven't finished your research. In this hour-long webinar that I gave earlier this week for students of Dora Farkas's Finish Your Thesis, I break down the process of how to go from crippling writer's block to writing hundreds of words a day.

  10. What Is a Dissertation?

    A dissertation is a long-form piece of academic writing based on original research conducted by you. It is usually submitted as the final step in order to finish a PhD program. Your dissertation is probably the longest piece of writing you've ever completed. It requires solid research, writing, and analysis skills, and it can be intimidating ...

  11. Ten things I wish I'd known before starting my dissertation

    6) A lot of the work you do will not make it into your dissertation. The first few days in archives, I felt like everything I was unearthing was a gem, and when I sat down to write, it seemed as ...

  12. Is it possible to write a 5 chapter dissertation in 6 months?

    Yes. Start slow, do 1 hour a minimum every day including weekends. I'm assuming your publications will go into your dissertation and the lit review shouldn't take too long. 3 chapters in the middle will include your pubs. You can easily do this in 6 months. I am coming from this after a Ph.D. in Mech. Eng. so maybe not exact field Skholla

  13. Write Your PhD Thesis In One Month Or Less

    Thesis/dissertation writing need not be a multi-month ordeal that makes you pull your hair out and roll up into a fetal position. The trick is to get a head start, set goals and deadlines, and work steadily—not feverishly—toward that ultimate satisfaction of handing your magnum opus to the graduate school.The first three sections of this article are devoted to ways that you can get way ...

  14. Writing a Dissertation: A Complete Guide

    It could take days, months, or even years to write a dissertation, so hunker down for the long haul. If you put a lot of thought into your outline, writing the first draft is just a matter of following along and fleshing out the ideas. The body of your paper should be simple enough; simply present the data or analysis as best you can, point by ...

  15. Your Complete Dissertation Plan: Getting It Done on Time

    You can write your overall timeline across the top and then make individual to-do lists for each month beneath it. Start Writing Your Dissertation Before You Think You're Ready It's common for doctoral candidates to do an exhaustive amount of pre-writing work, such as background reading, a thorough literature review and methodology planning.

  16. How I wrote a PhD thesis in 3 months

    Academic writing Written By James Hayton How I wrote my PhD thesis in just 3 months Before reading this post please note: it took three and a half years of full-time research to gather the data for my PhD thesis; the three months refers only to the writing, which I did quickly at the end.

  17. What Is a Dissertation?

    This includes formulating an idea, doing the research, and writing up. A PhD thesis takes a longer time, as the thesis is the main focus of the degree. A PhD thesis might be being formulated and worked on for the whole four years of the degree program. The writing process alone can take around 18 months.

  18. 3 months for dissertation? : r/GradSchool

    I'm did my dissertation in polymer chemistry and it took me about 3 months of overthinkinking, writing, rewriting, changing colors on my figures, reorganizing... basically I wasted a lot of time because I had it. I've seen it done in a month within my research group. But let's be real, if you had 3 weeks, you'd get it done in 3 weeks. 5 m_believe

  19. Are 3 Months Enough to Write a Dissertation? A-Z Plan for ...

    A-Z Plan for Dissertation Writing: 1) Choose A Topic The first step in dissertation writing is to choose a dissertation topic. Can You Write A Dissertation In Three Months? Yes, it is possible to ...

  20. How to Write a Doctoral Dissertation in Two Months

    Instead of taking two years to write your doctoral dissertation, what if you could write it in two months? Think you can do it? Yes, it's possible, but your success will depend upon dedicating yourself to the task and, if needed, requesting help of others who thrive at researching. Avoid navigating through unknown territory alone

  21. Are 3 Months Enough to Write a Dissertation? A-Z Plan for Dissertation

    How Much Time Do You Need To Write A High-Quality Dissertation? Dissertation Levels And Word Counts That Can Be Covered In 3 Months; 1) Undergraduate Dissertation: 2) Masters Dissertation: 3) PhD Dissertation: What Do You Do If You've Left It Very Late For Your Dissertation? 1) Don't Panic: 2) Assess The Situation: 3) Prioritise:

  22. 6 Tips for Writing a Thesis in 3 Months

    1. Finding the Right Thesis Advisor In my opinion, the first thing you need to do is find the right thesis advisor. Although the field of study is not 100% parallel to your thesis subject,...

  23. Procrastinated and now I have 1 month to write my thesis

    One year I did NaNoWriMo (national novel writing month) and you basically just have to commit to writing 1-2 pages every single day. Dons worry if you write trash, just get it on the paper. ... You CAN slam the thesis in one month. Procrastinators also have the capacity to turn out when resources are tight. Even if you start writing now it is ...

  24. FACT SHEET: President Biden Cancels Student Debt for more than 150,000

    Today, President Biden announced the approval of $1.2 billion in student debt cancellation for almost 153,000 borrowers currently enrolled in the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) repayment plan.

  25. Public Accounts Committee Sitting. || 20th February 2024

    Public Accounts Committee Sitting. || 20th February 2024