What They Don’t Tell You About Dissertation Writing

Why dissertation is hard?

One of the most complicated and challenging college assignments is dissertation writing. The process is lengthy and can be overwhelming for the unsuspecting college student. Unfortunately, prior to signing up for an advanced degree that requires the completion of this complicated program, students are not informed of the time, research, and frustration that dissertation writing includes.

Learning the Steps

Most students entire their masters or doctoral program knowing that they have to write a long, extended paper. But, those students are caught unaware with all of the tedious steps that are involved with crafting this project. From the process of creating the title, building the bibliography, conducting research, and synthesizing the research, this paper is unlike anything that students have ever written in any other stage of their academic careers.

Time Commitment

The first unexpected part of the process is the amount of time that is spent with working with an advisor and a committee. Students are not on their own creating this paper, which is both a blessing and a curse.

The advisor’s job is to help guide the student through the entire process, especially when it comes to revising and editing. Unfortunately, the adviser will not do any of the revising and editing; the advisor will only tell the student what section needs to be altered. While it is meant to be helpful, many students get frustrated while trying to constantly figure out what to fix and where.

Bibliography Page

Another surprise for students is the bibliography page. Students are used to crafting bibliographies after their research paper experiences in high school and undergrad, but this project requires more sources than all of those research papers combined. And, in some cases, the bibliography also has to be annotated, which is a completely new process for most students.

Students also have to be thoughtful about the sources they use in the paper; the sources need to be fully analyzed for reliability. Many advisers prefer their students actually use primary sources or conduct experiments on their own.

Following the Formatting

Something else that schools do not tell students about writing a dissertation is the fact that students have to follow the formatting rules perfectly. There is absolutely no room for error when it comes to writing the bibliography, adding in-text citations, formatting the page, and organizing the different sections.

If there are any errors, students run the risk of having accusations of plagiarism or of having to completely reformat papers. Prior to this massive project, students are often given some leeway for errors in documentation, simply because they are learning. But, at the advanced degree level, errors are not permitted.

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Picking the Best Advisor

Posted 45 minutes ago

Students seeking their advanced degrees do have some say in the process of writing this project. One thing that they can do is get an advisor who will be helpful. There are plenty of professors at the masters and doctorate level who are self-absorbed and care very little for their students’ successes. They would rather fail students than help them, because it adds to their tough mystique as professors. So, if you get an advisor that you know will not be beneficial, you can request a new one. In many cases, the newer professors are going to be more helpful, simply because they still remember what it is like to work on the dissertation.