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6 ways to write an outstanding dissertation

Your dissertation should be the single best piece of academic writing and scholarship you have ever created so far in your career. That is a tall order, and many students fail to hit the mark. However, if your dissertation is truly outstanding, you may potentially earn a vote of distinction from your committee, an honor which will be published on your diploma and which you can mention on your curriculum vitae as you enter into the job market.

But how does one write a truly remarkable and impressive dissertation, exactly? Follow these six steps to improve your writing and your paper as a whole:

  1. Be Inventive
  2. A unique, important, and relevant research design will yield many results. Choose a dissertation topic that other people besides your committee will actually care about. Look to current events and pressing social issues to find a subject that you can focus on. A timely and unique research design will increase your odds of publication by a huge amount.

  3. Edit Thoroughly
  4. Review your dissertation many times, to make sure the content is perfect. Do not just make superficial grammatical and syntax edits. Be willing to cut and restructure as needed. Read your work aloud to ensure it is high quality.

  5. Cite Current Research
  6. There is nothing more underwhelming than a research paper that builds upon decades old research. Wow your committee by citing the very latest innovations. This will also impress readers outside of your own department.

  7. Be Organized
  8. Go above and beyond basic expectations, in terms of your paper’s formatting. Use a lot of negative space and headings to make everything flow very smoothly and professionally. Create tables and figures that look striking and interesting and convey a ton of information.

  9. Be Creative in Your Writing
  10. Just because you are writing a dissertation does not mean your sense of humor and literary verve needs to go by the wayside. Allow a bit of your personality to show through in your paper. Keep it appropriate, of course, but allow your prose to breathe. Have a sense of style; keep your sentences short and write them in the active voice. Use illustrative anecdotes or cultural references, but be sure that your committee will be able to keep up with them.

  11. Listen to Criticism
  12. One of the key ways to ensure success in graduate school is to be open and yielding to criticism. Do not let pride get in your way. If your paper is criticized, pay heed and improve your prose.