Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Ten tips for writing your dissertation

240 views

Published on

I supervise many MSc students in their dissertation projects. Writing a dissertation can be challenging, and students are often faced with many obstacles. Here are ten tips that relate to the writing aspect of the dissertation that I believe are important and will help with writing a good dissertation.

Published in: Education
  • Be the first to comment

Ten tips for writing your dissertation

  1. 1. Ten tips for writing your dissertation Joost Rietveld | UCL School of Management | j.Rietveld@ucl.ac.uk | June 13, 2019
  2. 2. 1. Write, and write regularly  Writing is one of the hardest things to do (esp. for non-natives), and getting your point across takes time and requires constant refinement  By revising what you wrote, you will be able to attain clarity of thought, which will help you to better formulate what you trying to convey  A dissertation is an exercise in writing as much as it is an exercise in research
  3. 3. 2. Never lose sight of your research question  Every chapter serves as a piece of the puzzle you are trying to solve  Every chapter tells its own story and serves as a step towards the overarching research question  If you don’t know why you do what you do, how is your audience supposed to know?
  4. 4. 3. Develop a compelling argument  You should be able to summarize your entire dissertation into a concluding paragraph (or even in a tweet) that conveys a compelling argument about your topic  Every chapter functions as a subplot or as a partial argument to the bigger argument you are trying to develop and convey  This argument should be built by using logic, evidence, and structured writing
  5. 5. 4. You are writing for an audience  Remember the different audiences you are writing for  Ask yourself with every sentence you write: “Am I assuming any existing knowledge on the part of my reader? Are there any leaps in my logic?”  Don’t assume your audience knows what is implicit in your writing!
  6. 6. 5. Your RQ will determine your research design  Just collecting some data (from interviews, surveys or secondary sources) will not get you anywhere unless you know which question(s) you are trying to answer  Once you have collected your data, it’s hard to go back or change the structure of your research design; have a plan before putting in the work  A well-defined question will lead to a more focussed (more efficient, effective and enjoyable) research process, which will result in more interesting findings
  7. 7. 6. Focus!  Answering a well-defined and demarcated research question will result in more valuable answers for a smaller group of people; your audience is often restricted  A business plan written with the aim of raising working capital for a new venture will emphasize different aspects than a business plan written with the aim of exploring how to best enter a new geographical market for an established firm  Trying to do too much signals not having clarity of thought…
  8. 8. 7. Be realistic in your statements  We live in a connected world that has been around for a while; it’s highly likely that there is (or was) someone who has done something similar  Draw from external research (be it market research for practitioners or academic literature) to back up your claims and signal validity  You will be perceived as more credible when you set out to do a few things really well rather than doing many things OK-ish
  9. 9. 8. Communicate your contributions clearly  What is it that we did not know before, but know now after having read your dissertation?  How is this specifically relevant for your intended audience?  Be realistic in communicating your contributions. It is better to over-deliver than to over-promise
  10. 10. 9. Acknowledge your limitations  No dissertation is free from limitations. Especially considering the time-constraints you are facing. Pre- empt your audience’s critical reactions  Limitations give your audience something to work with (e.g., future research, mentoring and support for your company, etc.)  Acknowledging limitations and weaknesses signals credibility and validity
  11. 11. 10. Good writing is rewriting…  “I’m not against thinking; I’m only against thinking that thinking on its own will get you out of a hole. Shovel also needed.” - Scott Westerfeld  “I have rewritten — often several times — every word I have ever published. My pencils outlast their erasers.” - Vladimir Nabokov  “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” – Louis L’Amour
  12. 12. Joost Rietveld UCL School of Management j.Rietveld@ucl.ac.uk

×