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Best Dissertation Defense Tips. How To Be Prepared?

July 01, 2016 - Posted toStudy

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Facing Your Dissertation? How to be Prepared

You have faced a mountain of challenges in your academic career, and now you are about to pursue your doctorate. With this comes the most challenging paper that you will ever write, your doctoral dissertation.

For many that have looked forward to getting their Ph.D., it is the dissertation that they say they would remove from the equation if they could.

What Type of Dissertation Will You Write?

Start with this because whatever type you choose will determine the type of research that you do for your paper. There are three main types:

  1. Quantitative dissertations- which rely heavily on statistics, get your math ready. If you are great with planning and stick to a schedule, then this is the one for you to take on. It tends towards the sequence type of writing, and doesn’t change the outcomes from month to month.
  2. Qualitative dissertations-are a more people centered research process, depending on the outcomes and interviews with those effected by what is being researched. This type of paper can change dramatically during the process because it needs room for variants to take place due to the flexibility during the learning process of this type of paper. You may have to deal with a lot of plusses and minuses along the way.
  3. Mixed-Method Dissertations- is what is sounds like, a mixture of the previous two. Be careful with the goals you want to set for your research outcomes because they oppose one another.

Thesis vs. Dissertation

Before tackling this paper, first define what it is. It has been aligned with a thesis and that is just a part of the paper. The thesis is the assumptions made or presumed that have to be proved by the dissertation.

The dissertation takes these assumptions and through original, and substantial research, finds ways to support the thesis through the writer’s original contributions. Therefore, the most difficult part of writing your dissertation will be the organizing and the gathering of evidence to bring it all together in an intelligent coherent form.

Your doctoral committee will be looking for every statement in this paper to be correct and able to defend in a coherent and scholarly manner. This paper is preparing and training you to communicate in a technical organized manner with the colleagues in your field.

Don’t get too overly concerned with which one you are tackling, a thesis or a dissertation, they intersect often. Both of these types of papers are going to have a defining factor in your academic career. If you write everyday now, you will be ready for the challenge they will bring to your plate later.

How to Write a Dissertation

Get Started. Avoiding this paper is not the answer to delivering one that will knock the committee off their feet. They will be able to tell if hard work and time has been put into it.

Get a good list of words to avoid. Your grammar and voice throughout your dissertation is going to be a defining factor of the committee’s decision.

There's a list of Ph.D. defense rules to follow and consider when preparing to your dissertation defense, some of which are:

  1. Focus on one subject.
  2. Provide refreshments
  3. Prepare a one-page summary

The Basics

Change the way you think. As a candidate for a Ph.D. you have to start thinking like one. Writing will be a large part of your future career. They say that anything you do for two weeks or more becomes a habit, so make sure that writing is a habit in your daily routine and you will have a successful career.

As you wrestle with the writing of your dissertation, keep in mind that it won’t be perfect. The doctoral committee is looking for progress not perfection. They remember all too well how it was for them when they did their dissertation and can empathize with you.  Your advisors during this process are there to help with writing this paper. There is also help in the form of professional writing services.

Write while you are going nuts with the writing. There is a known fact among dissertation writers that the writing can make you crazy, want to give up, and want to throw things at your cat for looking at you like he is saying, “You loser! You can’t do this.” Before you take it out on kitty, just keep thinking hard. Writing is a process of thinking, processing the thoughts, killing what you just wrote down, and starting from scratch if need be.

You may end up with so much research that you get lost in what you should or should not use. Lost is a place all writers end up at times. Writers block is our nemeses, but it is part of the process. Get comfortable with the fact that there are good days in writing and there are bad days. When someone is hooked up to a heart monitor, there are ups and downs, nobody wants to flat-line. You have to look at your writing days like that.

On the good days, write like your fingers are on fire, on the bad days, read. Reading is going to be your BFF (best friend forever for those that don’t know). As you read you will be gathering ideas that can help you push on in your dissertation. Wherever you get stuck, type that thought that stopped you into search and study whatever comes up.

Walk away from the work. Although you need to work on this dissertation every single day, you have to take a break from the work so that you can come back to it with new eyes. Grab one of your roommates or maybe a family member and ask them to look over it in intervals. Give them what you want them to look for in the way of specifics. For instance, one friend may be looking for your words usage, and the other friend may be looking for supporting facts. After they have had a chance to look over it, return to your work the following day, not the same day.

Acknowledging Those That Help

This section of your dissertation acknowledgments may not have bearing on the marks that you get, but you don’t want to forget those that helped you along the way. They may be on the committee that is grading your paper, so be careful to include them in your acknowledgements. “It can be accomplished with three moves; the reflecting of the years in school and how you got through to this stage, the thanking of your professors, organizations and family, and the announcing of names.” ~Laerd Dissertation

When all is said and done, you will gain your Ph.D. in your field of study. Don’t forget to go back and give help to those that are going to come behind you. The same questions that you think are driving you crazy today, will be driving them crazy tomorrow. Good luck!

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