hi I’m mark Baldwin founder and CEO of edit nine-one-one today I’d like to give you the top 12 tips in writing a dissertation this is kind of an abridged version and you can find a full-length article on the subject on our blog first of all find a topic that you love and care about choose the topics that you’ll be able to live with think about constantly and even dream about for a few years number two begin thinking about your dissertation topic from the beginning of your studies every course you take will require you to submit a paper or some sort of project so try to make an original observation about the topic in every paper or project you submit number three when considering original research topics your dissertation don’t overlook the possibility of synthesizing sub-disciplines it isn’t unusual to find two different disciplines or sub disciplines that address the same problem on different domains with different methodologies number four when taking classes and reading assignments make a note of every term concept and reference to another work that you’re not familiar with then take the time to learn about unfamiliar ideas unfortunately many people don’t learn how to be true lifelong learners during their undergraduate studies number five learn all you can about research methods in your discipline while research methods are broadly divided into qualitative quantitative and mixed methods within those general areas are many specific sub methods understand the methodology that’s generally used in the sub disciplines you’re focusing on and how it compares to other methodologies you could use learn to use the terminology correctly making it part of your everyday vocabulary number six when doing research on your selected topic work on understanding and evaluating all sides of the issue both in terms of research methods used and in terms of those theories pertaining to your area of interest be open-minded when reading viewpoints that oppose your own think clearly about why you don’t agree with an author stance and build clear specific arguments it directly addressed the points that you don’t agree with number seven if you’ll be using statistics consider auditing a stats course or the very least invest in a good textbook on statistics learn to talk and write about statistics correctly and knowledgeably number eight set up a good organization system for your library of articles and books at the very beginning of your graduate studies if you have hard copies of articles invest in a small file cabinet folders and finally articles according to topic sub discipline or author name use a system that makes sense to you number nine learn and use good file management on your computer many articles today are available in PDFs such files can be searched for key terms but you can’t search in an article if you can’t find it so learn to create folders on your computer and net and nest them make them neat number 10 as part of your file management begin building a spreadsheet file or a database if you have the software know-how of all the articles books webpages and videos you found number 11 early on in your research process determine the documentation style you’ll use your grad school or program may mandate a particular style or you may be free to select your own if you can select your own learn the style that is used most often in your discipline number 12 once you know which documentation style you’ll use for your dissertation by the appropriate manual and use it as often as possible for papers written in classes note the documentation styles include much more than simply outsources are used they often specify how numbers would be treated in the text how tables and figures are displayed how sources are referred to for example APA requires past tense when writing about a source while literary works cited an MLA are generally written about in present tense and even which prefixes occur with hyphens and types of phrases are hyphenated becoming familiar with the documentation style before you actually begin writing the dissertation will make your writing process much easier taking the time to consider these tips early on in your graduate studies can make the process of writing your dissertation go much more smoothly and strengthen the integrity of your work
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