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PhD Writing: Tips And Prompts

Dissertation Help: When Your Academic Image Is at Stake

A dissertation is the most important project that a doctoral student will ever work on. This paper is the summation of years of work and nearly a decade of college education. Students that plan on continuing in academia will need to have a dissertation that is innovative and well researched. With so much pressure on students to complete a dissertation, it is extremely important to stay on track. Students who need help completing a dissertation can use some of the following tips.


The student is not just stapling several long papers together. A dissertation is supposed to be based on a single thesis. Although students can use research from former essays, this research will have to be integrated into their dissertation. They should create an entirely new introductory chapter that manages to tie in all of the information that they have already collected. Afterward, they will need to place the chapters in a logical order. Pieces of the argument must gradually build upon each other until the end of the essay.

Expand the Text

Many students finish writing their dissertation only to discover that they have made it to short. When this occurs, there are several options for increasing the size of the text. Reading through the dissertation, students should jot down areas that could use new examples or supportive information. Likewise, certain parts of the paper may need to be clarified. Each new example, detail or piece of data is a way for the student to effectively expand the document.

Put it in Context

Before explaining the role of chariots in the Roman legion, the student should contextualize the information. Few people are experts on a highly specific subject like Roman chariots. For the reader to understand what the paper is about, they have to understand the context. A few pages or a chapter that covers the state of the field or historical background will help the reader to understand the thesis of the paper.

Go Through Paragraph by Paragraph

If the paper lacks a logical argument, the academic committee will return it to the student. Students that have difficulties with writing a strong argument should take out a red pen and go through the paper paragraph-by-paragraph. With each paragraph, students should write what the paragraphs purpose is and how it helps the reader to understand the thesis. If the student cannot do this, then the paragraph is probably not helping the argument.

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