Requirements for a Doctoral Dissertation

Doctoral Dissertation

It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that doctoral dissertation is the most important piece of writing that a scientist undertakes in his life. All your coursework and years of studies are culminated in this paper which is expected to adequately demonstrate the real level of your scientific mastery. The fundamental requirements for a doctoral dissertation say that it has to be:

  • coherently structured to clearly develop your line of thought, known as argument
  • organized as independent research with insightful findings and numerous implications
  • divided into sections and subsections
  • based on reasonable and consistent methodology

Doctoral Dissertation Structure

These are the core principles that you should remember while writing your doctoral dissertation. As to the structure, the basic parts are as follows: Introduction, Literature Review, Methodology, Results, Discussion, Conclusions, and Recommendations. However, some of these sections may be merged, for example, Discussion often incorporates Conclusions and Recommendations.

You should consult your advisor as to the detailed requirements because they may vary significantly depending on your field and university.

How to Write a Doctoral Dissertation?

The process of writing can be divided into several major stages.

Topic Selection

This step is very important for the success of the entire undertaking, so you'd better address it as early as possible. You need to consult your advisor and other competent people to help you select a topic that is at once timely, not overused and not too complicated. Don't be ambitious: when you choose a very broad topic, you are likely to be confused when it comes to methodology. On the other hand, when the topic is too specific, sources may be significantly lacking. Try to maneuver  between these two extremities.

Developing your Research Question

After your topic has been approved, it is necessary to focus on specific issues that you will investigate. Formulate your thesis – that is the claim that you will try to prove throughout your doctoral dissertation. Identify the limitations of your research areas.

Objective Setting and Methodology Selection

Define your goals clearly and set an approximate deadline for each. Think of the possible implications of your research. Methodology selection should also be done at the very beginning because it determines your further course of action. If you put it off, you may just do a lot of excessive and useless work that is not on target at all.

Literature Review

Examine all the pertaining sources, whether it be books, journals or newspapers. Record the bibliographical information as you move ahead. Make index cards to fix the most important quotations and facts.

Research and Writing

This stage depends heavily on your area. Its is universally important, however, to record all your findings and create back-up copies of your drafts. Make sure you structure your work consistently and revise it properly.

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