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Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

A postgraduate dissertation is one of the most important documents a college student will write in their entire academic career. Of course, depending on your major and your university, you may not need to write one. Dissertations are most popular in humanities degrees, especially in Philosophy.

At some universities, a passing dissertation paper is required to earn your degree. This is why it is crucial that you do well on this assignment. Below are some key points that you should keep in mind while working on your dissertation paper if you want it to be a success.

1. Start Early and Work Continuously

Beginning work on this project as early as possible (as soon as it is assigned, if possible) is best. The last thing you want to do is run out of time to complete your project. One great way to make sure that doesn’t happen is to schedule your time wisely.

Give yourself goals and milestones on a realistic schedule. Make sure to schedule in time for researching, doing the actual writing, and lots and lots of editing. The better you manage your time, the less overwhelming the paper is likely to feel.

Of course, constantly researching, writing, and editing can be stressful at times, even if you are on a schedule. Make sure to also schedule in time for taking breaks. This will do wonders for your mental health.

2. Research, Research, Research!

Researching is one of the first steps you are going to have to take when it comes to working on your dissertation. While you can do bits of research after you have already started your writing, it is best to get as much of it out of the way as possible, as soon as possible.

Research doesn’t all have to be reading books and taking notes, so keep that in mind. If you ever get tired from reading books and scholarly articles, take a break to watch a documentary on your dissertation subject to mix things up.

3. Primary Sources

Primary sources are some of the best kinds of sources that you can use for any college project, including your dissertation. Since writing a custom dissertation is usually something that is done by psychology and philosophy students, you may be able to collect some data of your own, thus, making your own primary sources. There are several ways in which you can do this.

  • Do a Case Study
    • Can be done with groups or with many single people
    • Focused on cause and effect
  • Conduct a Survey
    • Ask the questions you need answers to
    • Can be done online, over the phone, or in person
    • Can be used for large or small groups
    • Can be used for virtually every subject/dissertation topic
  • Interviews
    • Can be one-on-one or in groups
    • This tends to be more personal
    • Can be structured with pre-formed questions or not
    • Does not require many people to work
    • Can be conducted over email, phone call, or in person

4. Cite Your Sources

Dissertations are long, to say the least. You are going to pack a lot of information into the paper, which means that you will likely need to use a lot of sources. You will need to make sure to cite all of your sources. If you get caught plagiarizing, whether it was on purpose or by accident, you may fail your entire dissertation. Cite your sources as you use them so that you do not forget about it later.

5. Ask for Feedback

Your dissertation is important, so it is best to get other people’s opinions on it. Ask professors to look over sections you have already completed to make sure that you have conducted your research correctly and written everything well. Doing this as early on as possible is important, that way, if you are doing something wrong, you will know early, and you can avoid making the same mistakes in the future.

6. Check for Errors

Editing is a crucial part of writing any paper, including a dissertation. Since a dissertation is so large, you may want to edit small chunks of the paper at a time. This is a place where feedback from professors, or even your peers, can be useful. Often times, when someone is staring at their own work for long enough, they begin to gloss over their mistakes.

There are a couple of ways to avoid glossing over little mistakes. Firstly, try to use a spelling and grammar checker. After all, if you are about to earn a degree, you should know how to use correct spelling and grammar, and if you don’t, you should at least know how to use a spelling and grammar checker.

Secondly, you can try to ask someone to look over your paper for you, as mentioned above. Ask them to point out any phrases that don’t sound right, or to look for mismatched words that a spelling and grammar checker might not notice.

If you don’t want to ask for help, you can instead try reading the paper out loud to yourself. By doing this, you are more likely to catch mistakes that you may not have noticed when you read the paper in your head. Reading the paper backward, or jumping through different sections, may also make it easier to catch mistakes that you may have missed earlier.

In conclusion, a dissertation paper is serious, so you need to take it seriously! By following the tips in this article, you are sure to do a great job. Manage your time well, do your research, and carefully proofread your paper, and you will do well!