Congratulations! You have completed all of your Ph.D. course work, and you have only one milestone left – that dissertation! Unless you are or plan to be a perennial student, you have never produced one before and shall never produce one again. This, indeed, is a once in a lifetime activity, and you are now preparing to tackle the project.
You and your advisor have probably explored areas for research and, presumably, you and he/she have narrowed the focus to the specific project you shall undertake. That said, you now have before you the often lonely task of preparing the most important written work of your academic career. If you are like most Ph.D. candidates, moreover, you have an entire semester before you without any classes, and you can devote all of your time to this important work. This can be both a blessing and a curse.
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With so much time on your hands, it is easy to “float” into that “never land” of procrastination. Thoughts such as, “I’ll work on this later, after I go grab some coffee with my friends,” or, “I can always work on this tonight, but right now it’s a great day and I want to be outside,” are clues that you are moving down this path of procrastination.
The only way to remain on task with such a large project is to set aside certain hours of the day for dissertation work and to stick to that schedule, with as few exceptions as possible. If you remain on schedule, the work will proceed well, and you will not find yourself scrambling to complete certain parts in time for that next appointment with your advisor.
There should be one area of your living space devoted to your dissertation work. Clear everything else away. Get a Xerox paper box or some other container into which you may place your files. Yes, you will need file folders in which to separate the content/research/documents for all chapters, as well as to house your notes from all resources. The space should be large enough for you to have materials spread out and easily reachable. As well, make the environment as pleasant as possible, so that, from a psychological point of view, you will not avoid it!
You and your advisor may believe that you have a research question and/or a hypothesis fully constructed. However, you will not really have this finalized until a review of the literature is accomplished. You should therefore begin with this chapter, first in order to complete one of the most tedious and time-consuming sections and, second, to be certain that your question or hypothesis is valid. In addition, it will be impossible to finalize your research design until this phase is completed. Organize your research into salient topics and/or categories, so that when you do produce Chapter 1 (the Introduction/Problem Statement), you can support what you say in chapter 1.
Your introduction or problem statement should delineate something that is missing in knowledge, some gap in theory or research, some question that should be answered, or a theory/model that should be further tested and verified. The review of literature that you have already completed will either verify your original problem/hypothesis or send you in another direction.
Exactly how will you verify or test? You must set up a plausible, academically-sound research design that includes the sample and population, the instruments you will use, the procedures to be implemented, and, of course, the analysis of the data you collect. This is where a solid understanding of statistical analysis comes in, and, if you are timid about this portion, you should definitely seek some dissertation help from a seasoned professional who is familiar both with the topic of your dissertation and with the methods and procedures for gathering and analyzing data.
Chapter 4 is the “meat” of your dissertation for it provides the reader with you full analysis of the results and their significance with respect to your question, problem or hypothesis. Again, statistical analysis may not be your strength, but you can certainly rely on others to assist you.
Your summary, conclusions, and potential implications are all housed in chapter 5. What conclusion can you logically affirm, based upon the existing literature and your contribution to this literature through your research? What are the implications for future research? What questions remain? Here, you want to summarize what your data says and means and what others may want to explore to build upon your data.
You cannot write your abstract until the work is final. Limit your abstract to about 250 words and succinctly summarize what your research has attempted to do or add to the existing knowledge.
Your department or university will have strict guidelines pertaining to your reporting of references, both within the text and at the end of the text. Be certain that you follow the required format!
Please understand that you will reach impasses all along the way. You will experience the feeling of being overwhelmed by the task; you will stumble as you write; you will experience “writer’s block;” you will want to give up. Everyone who has produced a dissertation has experience the same issues you are facing. When overwhelmed or “blocked,” put down your pencil, get away from the stacks of research, walk away from your computer, and go do something totally unrelated to this task that you enjoy.
Your advisor can be a fundamentally sound and critical resource as your move through this process. You should access his/her advice and counsel often, especially at times when you feel overwhelmed. As well, you probably have already accessed dissertations of others in your field and can use these as models as you prepare your own.
If you are looking for a fresh and objective “hand,” certainly get in touch with ESSAYTHINKER.COM. We have Ph.D. academicians in virtually every field of study, and we are ready to provide you with an expert in your field. This individual can provide assistance during any phase and/or chapter. He/she can conduct a literature review, set up your research design, analyze the research results, and assist in the summary and conclusions of that research. Do not hesitate to contact us with any issues you may have. We have helped thousands of Ph.D. candidates with their dissertations and are certainly willing to give you the valuable assistance you may need!
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