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10 Useful Ways To Perfect Your Dissertation

10 Useful Ways To Perfect Your Dissertation

Writing your dissertation is certainly not an easy task. It is hard to know where to start when so much depends on this one paper. These 10 tips will help you structure your thoughts and make a compelling argument. So get some coffee or tea, grab a pen and paper, and let’s get started!

1. Do Your Research

Your dissertation will not be successful without solid research. Find scholarly journal articles and books on your topic. Make sure you have a good selection from which to choose your material. Websites like Google Scholar can be particularly helpful.

2. Get Organized

Write down your sources on flashcards as you go. You can color code your sources so each source gets its own color of flashcards. Write the quote or concept you will use on one side of the card and the properly formatted source on the back. Keep these with you as you write to make the process easier.

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3. Create an Outline

Once you have a solid idea of where you would like your dissertation to go, create an outline. Write out your main points as their own sections. Then, beneath each point, draft several topics for which you have supporting research. The outline is extremely important because it will give you an idea of what areas still need more research before you start writing. It can also help you to structure your thoughts before you get in too deep.

4. Take Advantage of Writing Tools

As you write, take advantage of the many online resources that can assist you. Once the paper is written, Plag Tracker can make sure that you have not quoted anything without giving proper credit. There are many more, so do your research.

5. Perfect Your Bibliography

Make sure you have a sufficient number of primary and secondary sources. Ask your professor what style to use when referencing them. You can use online tools like Citation Machine to help with this process.

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6. Give Proper Credit

This is your dissertation, and many of the ideas are yours alone. But some are not. You certainly learned from others. Be sure to give proper credit when citing ideas that are not originally yours.

7. Manage Your Time

Don’t sit down and expect to brilliantly write your whole thesis at once. Set a solid schedule. Choose when you will research your topic. How many hours will you need? Make sure to build in time to organize your thoughts and create flashcards for your sources. You can use Toggl to help manage your time when working on multiple parts of your dissertation at once.

8. Walk Away

At some point, you will no longer be able to be objective about your dissertation. When you are so close to the material, it is easy to think you’ve explained yourself, when you are actually missing a large piece of explanation. It can also be easy to miss typos or confusing sentences. Walk away for a few days. Give yourself a break. Do something fun and engaging. Read books that have nothing to do with your topic. Then, when you come back to your dissertation, it will feel new again.

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9. Structure Your Sentences

Determine your main points, and write each point in its own sentence. Do not diminish them by grouping them together. Avoid passive voice when writing. As you move forward with writing the dissertation, you can incorporate these sentences or rewrite them as necessary. One resource that can help strengthen your sentences is After The Deadline. You just copy and paste your writing into their free platform, and it tells you how to improve the writing.

10. Write the Introduction Last

It is tempting to write out your introduction first. Some people feel that if they have the introduction down, they will be able to use it as an outline for the rest of the paper. But the introduction will be much easier to write once you have completed the paper. Your dissertation might take a different shape than you originally expected. Write the introduction after the rest of the paper is finished.

There will be times when finishing this dissertation seems impossible. Take it in pieces. You can always walk away for a while to get a fresh perspective. Then come back and tackle it like the rock star you are!

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Featured photo credit: peter honeyman via flickr.com

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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