The General Idea Of a Good Dissertation
If you are in graduate school, nothing looms larger and more frightening than the PhD dissertation. It is the cornerstone of the graduate degree, the final bar to clear, the most intimidating task known to all of academia.
But you can’t simply write an adequate dissertation. It’s not just a lengthy paper, on the order of something you might submit for a class, even the most rigorous of classes. A dissertation must be carefully crafted for a year or more, and submitted to an adviser for draft upon draft, until it lacks any discernible flaws in its writing, logic, theory, or presentation of data. This draft must then be submitted to a whole panel of academic faculty members and thoroughly vetted; only then it is passed and considered successful.
How do you even begin to meet such stringent requirements? By focusing on what a good dissertation is expected to do. Below are some of the key expectations placed on any dissertation.
A Good Dissertation Is Thought Provoking
A dissertation is a presentation of novel academic research. In the intro section of the paper, you should make a convincing case of two primary things. The first is that the topic you have chosen is interesting, fertile ground for research, and that everyone should be inherently interested in it. Second, and perhaps most importantly, a good dissertation should communicate why the present study is particularly necessary.
You must truly believe in the importance and necessity of your dissertation research. Do not be humble in your paper about the need for the work you are doing. Sell your project from the very beginning, and play up the theoretical impact of the questions you are exploring. This will give your committee a more favorable overall impression of your work.
A Good Dissertation Should Demonstrate Expertise
You should also use your dissertation to illustrate your strengths and skills as an academic and a researcher. Use the statistical, theoretical, and writing talents you have spent so many years developing in graduate school. Use tricky, complex statistical procedures and reference really esoteric, difficult theoretical points. Show off a little. Leave no stone unturned in your paper; really explore the data and provide some dazzling new findings and insights. This will make you appear as a professional to your readers.
A Good Dissertation Is Comprehensible
You should also strive to make your paper engaging. Grab the reader’s attention, and hold it using language that is plain and clear. Don’t writing overlong sentences or use language that obfuscates. A simple, well written paper is more impressive than one crammed with difficult terminology.