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A Guide to Writing a Dissertation Essay

In most cases, dissertations form the climax of an essential stage in the education journey of all students. The primary goal of a dissertation essay is to demonstrate your ability to carry out research in your area of specialization and present empirical results by presenting your original piece of work that will add value to the academic community.

To begin with, let us get one thing clear; what is the meaning of a dissertation?

It is a formal document usually written by PhD students, through a self-directed process, in defense of a particular thesis. It is written in support of a candidate’s academic degree or professional qualification.

The planning, research and writing process can be quite complex and lengthy; therefore, it requires total commitment and hard work. However, the end results after a successful dissertation are so much rewarding although you have to overcome several obstacles to reach that point. Despite the seemingly overwhelming challenges, it is crucial to assume a step-by-step formats to ensure all the essential data has been captured in your dissertation. This writing guide will help you in identifying the necessary steps in writing a good dissertation.

Step 1: Writing a dissertation proposal

A dissertation proposal is a skeleton of what the final dissertation will involve. It is meant to convince the committee members that your paper will be valuable and that you have taken the right path in your research. A proposal is fundamental because it enables you to brainstorm, identify a significant research question, draw a plan and in assembling the right information for your paper. In writing a proposal, consider the following;

  • The primary goal of your research, what problem do you want to address?
  • What makes it a problem?
  • How do you find answers to your problem

The dissertation assumes a formal structure to make it more convincing and easy to follow; the most common components include;

  1. The title of your dissertation- it should be clear and concise
  2. The objectives- have at least two to three objectives and ensure you narrow them down to match your topic. Being too extensive here makes you seem unfocused.
  • Literature review- mention the specific references and other areas of study that you will use in your research
  1. Research- a brief description of the critical ideas of your research question.
  2. Methodology- state clearly the research design you are planning to use; state also the method of data collection
  3. Possible outcomes- explain your expected results from the study
  • References- provide a list of all the references used in the proposal

Step 2: Conduct your research

This is a crucial stage because it determines the direction with which your research will take. The data obtained from this stage greatly informs the findings of your study. You are required to conduct a careful search to avoid wasting too much time on irrelevant sources. Therefore, you should narrow down your search strategy by having a timeline for your sources, locating the right places to search for your resources such as EBSCOhost and Google Scholar, and organizing your sources systematically to avoid confusion.

Step 3: Writing the dissertation essay

This is the most critical stage in writing your dissertation essay. It involves composing the final product of your research in the form of a project. Up to this step, you have done a fantastic job, and you are better positioned to start writing your dissertation.  You already have a dissertation so at this point you don’t need to develop an outline instead enrich your proposal with the new points which you feel should be included in your dissertation. Write your dissertation systematically to ensure all key information has been captured using the following fundamental outline;

  • Introduction

This is basically the first chapter of your dissertation and should outline the background of your study problem, and provide a problem statement. Moreover, give a rationale for your study as well as provide the research question and the objectives

  • Literature review

This is your second chapter; describe all the reviewed literature which is relevant to your research. Include the findings of such studies and the identified gaps in the literature.

  • Methodology

Here, focus on the data collection methods; explain how you obtained data for your research. Write your methodology appropriately based on the research design utilized.

  • Findings

This is a very fundamental stage of your entire dissertation process. This is where your intellectual capability is tested. In this stage answer the main research questions based on the obtained data and evidence.

  • Conclusion

This is the last chapter of your dissertation where you are expected to provide a summary of your research and as well give a brief report of your findings. Also, include the implications of your findings to policy formation and as well, show their contribution to the academic community. Included in this chapter also is a list of recommendations for further study. Propose areas in your topic that you feel needs further research to clarify the topic or issue under study.

  • Bibliography

Include all sources used in your research using the recommended citation style.

Step 4: proofread your dissertation

Proofread your project to correct any spelling, grammar or style errors that might be present. Read through carefully, sentence by sentence to ensure your dissertation is free from any form of errors.

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