Jewish Council

Outstanding Ideas for Writing a Powerful Doctoral Dissertation

The doctoral dissertation that a student writes is what they will be best known for in the several years after they have left university. The more powerful the dissertation is, the better remembered the student will be, and the more opportunities that they will have in the field that they have chosen. The following ideas and guidelines will ensure that the doctoral dissertation that you are known for is powerfully written and an inspiration to others. What makes a dissertation great: A powerful dissertation should be leaving the door open for at least another three dissertations in the future. The lines of thought that you have opened up should be like a spider's web, each line leading into a new idea. The research should also have changed the way that something is being done, solving a problem that has been in the field for years. You should also be an influence to both the field itself, and others who come after you.

  • Where to begin: Examine papers from the last two or three years that have appeared at the best conferences in your chosen field. Pay attention to the amount of work that went into an award-winning paper, the style of presentation that the author chose to use, and the style and type of research. Also take a look at the thesis papers of the members on your committee and your advisor. This will give you an idea of what they look for and what they consider to be publication material.
  • Title importance: When it comes time to write a title for your paper, consider that 7 to 8 words is considered the perfect number for a dissertation title. Also think about search terms that may be used to find your paper.
  • Use figures and statistics: Figures tend to be more interesting than just text. They can also help to draw the reader in.

Powerful dissertation do's:

  • Be clear, concise, honest, and reflective;
  • Stay factual;
  • Thoroughly explain how your work has contributed to your field;
  • Use "teaser" words and sentences to transition into the next chapter;
  • Mention other related work, properly cited;
  • Mention where your research did not go as expected and how you got back on the right track. What did you do to solve the problem?
  • Keep it interesting for those who will cite your paper in the future.
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