PhD students often face different challenges while writing their PhDs. A PhD thesis reflects years of research, and thus, it can sometimes be a tough work to present everything in a coherent paper. As the final result for a PhD student is rewarding and helps build future career prospects, the importance of writing a perfect PhD dissertation cannot be underestimated. In the process of writing, it is particularly significant to plan everything in advance and ensure comfort while researching. Also, you should not forget about yourself and your health if you write a PhD thesis. Thus, your work should be balanced, and you should give yourself breaks while writing. Here are some tips that can be useful if you start writing your dissertation and want to make it perfect or if you just want to improve what you have already written.
1. Develop a plan or a schedule
Students often have a habit of leaving work for the last days. In the case of writing a PhD, this approach cannot be used as it will adversely affect the quality of your paper. The research sufficient for developing a high-quality PhD thesis that presents scientific novelty should take many months and even years of work. In the dissertation, you should concentrate everything you know on the subject and provide evidence of independent research through your own hypothesis, arguments, and approaches. That is why you should develop a plan or a schedule outlining the main steps of writing a dissertation. It can be helpful to set deadlines for each step so that you know that you have enough time for the final deadline. A plan will help you structure your work, and you will understand more clearly what you can start from.
2. Structure your paper
This tip is connected to developing a schedule. In order to make your PhD dissertation perfect, you should structure your paper properly. Even if later on, in the process of actual writing, some of the themes and focuses will be changed, the approximate contents of your paper will be effective for the process in general. It is apparent that you may need to learn more on your topic before structuring the paper. After that, you can correct the plan or develop a new one. Besides that, the structure of the finished paper is not less important. The PhD dissertation should include a title page, introduction, several parts of the main text including theoretical and practical parts, conclusions, the list of references, and other elements depending on discipline and particular instructions of your institution or supervisor.
3. Develop drafts and do not hesitate to change them
In order to be fluent in academic writing, you should write often. For this purpose, it is useful to develop drafts concerning the particular part and paragraphs of your PhD dissertation. Besides that, you should realize that the first draft is not the last, and it is possible that you will change either only some details or some significant concepts and hypotheses in the process of writing. It is a normal thing as while researching; you learn new information that can affect your previous vision and understanding of the topic. Besides that, revising and rewriting can not only help you improve the paper but also enhance your skills of critical thinking and analysis.
4. Get professional feedback
The process of writing a PhD dissertation should be balanced. In this case, you can share the materials you have developed with your supervisor regularly. If you want your PhD thesis to be perfect, you should get professional feedback from the supervisor as often as you can. It is sometimes difficult to recognize own mistakes, while a new vision can help you build a wider perspective. The supervisor can direct you in problematic and unanswered questions and help you find a better approach to analyzing a certain topic or issue. He/she would share his/her own experience and knowledge, and it would help you improve not only the content of your PhD dissertation but also develop important skills for future professional growth.
5. Pay attention to sources
A perfect PhD dissertation requires the use of credible and reliable sources. The theoretical background of the topic should be presented in a conscious and comprehensive way. Moreover, existing theories, concepts, statistical data, and other available information should become a basis for the practical part of your independent research. Thus, it is important to pay attention to the sources you use. For writing a PhD dissertation, you are allowed to use scholarly articles and books, peer-reviewed sources, and other academic works. Do not use Wikipedia and other unreliable Internet sources, especially those with no mentioned author. Besides that, it is forbidden to use databases with completed papers on the same or similar topic. All the quotes from the used sources should be cited according to the required formatting style. The reference list is a considerable part of the dissertation, to which your supervisor and other professors would pay particular attention.
6. Avoid plagiarism
It is apparent that plagiarism in such important scientific research as a PhD dissertation can result in bad outcomes for not only your dissertation and degree but also for your future career and reputation. If you mention somebody else’s opinion in your dissertation, you should use direct and indirect quotes and properly cite the source, from which they were taken. While using indirect quotes, you can paraphrase a quote in your own words. However, it does not mean that you can steal an opinion if it is expressed in other words. Your PhD thesis should be the reflection of your independent work and a product of years of research and your own scientific visions. That is why no part of the dissertation can be plagiarized.
7. Focus on unanswered questions
Always try to focus on unanswered questions. You should understand that any field of science is full of them, and it is natural that the more you research and find out, the more questions arise with regard to that. Do not try to hide the unanswered questions that remain in your PhD dissertation. It will be more effective to mention them and draw attention to the fact that they need further investigation and present the perspective of your study.
8. Make sure to meet all the requirements
Apparently, in order to make your PhD dissertation perfect, you should double-check whether your paper follows the specific requirements of your institution. These requirements may concern content, structure, style, and formatting. Also, it is not less significant to make sure that you have followed all the instructions and tips given by your supervisor. Never be afraid to check everything once more and change or add something if needed.
9. Present your work wherever you can
A significant part of a PhD dissertation is a dissertation defense. For this part, you should be able to prepare an oral presentation that explains the main focus of your work, its objectives, novelty, and scientific conclusions. In order to deliver a persuasive and fluent speech, you should practice a lot. Thus, try to present your work wherever you can by delivering speeches in Ted format and other speeches at conferences and other meetings.
10. Give Yourself Breaks
Your dissertation will not be perfect if you only write and forget about your health. Thus, it is important to give yourself breaks to renew power and find inspiration. The working process will be easier and more interesting if it is balanced and does not exhaust you.