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12 Essentially Exceptional Academic Writing Tools For A Polished Dissertation

12  Essentially Exceptional Academic Writing Tools For A Polished Dissertation

A dissertation is defined as a document submitted in support of an academic degree or a professional qualification. It presents the author’s research and findings pertaining to a particular subject.

The requirements do vary from country to country and institute to institute but the overall structure is relatively similar. The process of writing a dissertation may take anywhere from 2 to 3 months to over a year. Students will investigate the subject of their dissertation presenting their final point of view in retrospect to the results of their research.

1. ThinkWell

One of the most important factors to writing a dissertation is sticking to a timetable. The timetable should be designed in such a way that it is achievable as well as practical. ThinkWell provides logistic support to design custom schedules, keeping in mind the objectives which need to be achieved. Students can use their assistance to schedule their activities for the next 6 months to even over a year in some cases. This is an ideal tool for students who are working on their thesis as well as taking classes.

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2. ThinkFree

Almost all students are anxious to start writing the introduction of their dissertation. In some cases, they are unable to find the proper tools to help them compose their project. ThinkFree provides you a stable and efficient platform for all sorts of documents from spreadsheets to presentations and even regular word processing documents. The best feature of this software is that it allows you all in one access to your documents from several locations, for example, a smartphone, tablet, laptop or even a desktop.

3. MHR Writer

Sometimes due to unavoidable circumstances, student are unable to complete their assigned academic work. It just so happens that they might have completed half or just the brainstorming session for the given assignment and they are unable to complete the project. MHR Writer provides expert academic assistance to complete your dissertations or assignments to meet your deadline. They provide comprehensive guarantees regarding plagiarism as well as a guarantee to meet your deadline. Around the clock customer support is also a standard feature of their assistance.

4. Crocodoc

In the course of writing your dissertation, there will come times when you need to design certain pages or illustrations which need attention to minute details. With the help of this application, you can embed complete images and pictures using 360 views. You can edit the background as well as each and every layer in the final document. You can use both the 2D view and the 3D view to make sure that your images are designed perfectly. This is an extensive tool which can provide pertinent assistance in the completion of a final project.

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5. The Free Dictionary by Farlex

This is a tool which is productive for use for students from all stages of life. This UK based facility employs several different resources all in one place. Students can use their dictionary to improve their vocabulary as well as improve their final presentation with the help of the thesaurus. This software can also be used on your mobile phone. The best part about this resource is that it is completely free of charge.

6. Dictionary.com

There are times when we come across new words and are unable to make out the exact usage of the word. With the help of this US based dictionary, you can find out the meaning of words as well as find different synonyms to convey your message across appropriately. You can also find out the meanings of idioms and phrases which you are unaware of. This application can also be used in your tablet, laptop or even desktop.

7. ThinkBinder

During the course of your research for writing your dissertation, there will be times when you will need to organize meetings with your colleagues. ThinkBinder lets you start a study group with the set of people related to your research. You can use this software to accumulate writing material pertaining to your thesis all in one place, with the help of your colleagues or instructors. This tool will come in especially handy during the research phase of your dissertation.

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8. Canva

Need help presenting your ideas in an attractive overall layout and presentation? Canva provides you several templates and tools to customize your complete project. This is a great way to combine illustrations and diagrams to your work with effectively displaying the appropriate material. You can customize graphics precisely and meticulously with the help of this tool. If you are unable to find what you are looking for Canva also provides customer support assistance.

9. A.nnotate

If your research involves getting information from several different sources, you will face the problem of collaboration. With the help of this software, you can annotate web pages into your project as well as documents and even PDF files. It is compatible with almost all web browsers. It is an efficient way to centralize all the results of your investigations with the help of this tool. If you have received material from your teachers or your colleagues it might not be in the format you required. With this tool, you can combine all the information in one place.

10. Sketch

Sketch is a practical app which was created by the makers of Evernote. You can create diagrams, pictures and even their captions with this software. Even after you have created a diagram or an illustration that diagram or illustration is still completely 100% editable. You can view the pictures in minute details right down to the last pixel. You can even adjust the borders and shadows of your drawings. The best part about the drawings made using sketch is that they are completely exportable without having to add or remove anything.

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11. PlagTracker

Once you have completed your dissertation, it is imperative to check for any traces of plagiarism. Maybe inadvertently you might have forgotten to mention the source or reference of a certain quote. With the help of PlagTracker you can pinpoint and eliminate any occurrences of plagiarism. PlagTracker also helps you edit the plagiarized text should the need arise. They have a panel of writers to edit your final dissertation to make sure that you have a completely unique piece of work.

12. Plagium

This is a NY based company which has targeted the general public for their assistance. They provide an extensive plagiarism check which is unparalleled. They provide assistance to check documents larger than 5,000 characters as well. The smaller documents are checked for plagiarism free of charge but there may be a charge for the larger documents. Before associating any work with your dissertation it is advisable to use this service to apprehend plagiarism.

Summing It Up

Always keep in mind that coordination with your institute requirements for the schedule, formatting and structure related to the academic writing and whole project should always be taken into consideration. With the assistance of all these above tools and with the coordination of your academic dissertation  supervisor the project will be completed in no time.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Published on November 18, 2019

How to Think Critically: 5 Powerful Techniques

How to Think Critically: 5 Powerful Techniques

Critical thinking is the art of filtering through information to reach an unbiased, logical decision that guides better thought and action. It can be learned through powerful techniques listed in this article.

Before you read further, it is important for you to know that critical thinking is a state of mind, not a tool or strategy.

If you are bogged down in the trivial day to day matters of your professional and personal life, learning skills to develop your ability to think critically can help you rise above these issues and focus your energies where they are needed – to solve problems and accomplish objectives.

It stands to reason that the better the learning techniques, the better critical thinking and reasoning will be. My experience in helping people grow means I know exactly what is needed to teach critical thinking (hint: it’s not just pondering over the problem).

There are 5 powerful techniques that form the base of critical thinking:

  1. Analytical thinking
  2. Communication
  3. Creativity
  4. Open-mindedness
  5. Problem-solving

Once you learn the techniques listed and start employing them in your daily life, you’ll quickly start to notice a change in the way you approach problems and consequently, how you resolve them too.

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1. Analytical Thinking

Analytical thinking is the gathering and breaking down of information into small bites that help make sense of it.

To use it for critical thinking:

  • Be very clear on why you need the information. This is to recognize your limitations and employ foresight to overcome them.
  • Gather information from as many sources as you can: peers and experts, podcasts, relevant literature and any other place you can think of.
  • Rephrase questions multiple times to get different perspectives on data available and possibly arrive at different solutions.
  • Break down the data into factual subsets and relate each to the issue at hand.
  • Think on paper to make new connections. Write, doodle, make mind-maps or use spreadsheets. Data presented visually can help you make new connections make sense of emerging patterns.
  • Tidy up the workplace. Once data has been gathered, your workspace and your brain will both be cluttered with excess information. Neaten the physical space and clear your mind with meditation. The change in focus will help you view the information in a new light, potentially helping you reach newer, better conclusions.

Want more information and tips on adopting this powerful technique? What Are Analytical Skills and How to Strengthen Them For Success has all the information you need.

2. Communication

Communication is a key technique for critical thinking as it gives you access to the thoughts of people around you.

Data can be communicated through audio and visual means and in many cases, through careful observation of body language:

  • Ask for different points of view and seek justification for the same thing. When you invest in the matter, you will be able to explore all options to reach the best solution.
  • Listening without interrupting and only asking questions or voicing concerns once the speaker is done helps you make better connections.
  • Be 100% focused on a verbal or written discussion, you can better hear/read the opinions of the people involved.
  • Paraphrase the speaker/writer’s point of view and ask for affirmation. This enables you to pay full attention and use the input to think critically.
  • In a meeting, subtle communication cues are given by the body language of fellow attendees. An imperceptible frown, a small nod, pencil tapping etc. will all give you clues to what they are really thinking, just in case their actions are not in sync with their words!
  • Active observation, where you are watching and listening intently helps you know what to make of the information that is being passed around. It gives you clues to the general opinion about the topic under discussion and opens up new possibilities.

The information you gather through such communication will be invaluable in thinking critically to arrive at a decision that is holistic and unbiased.

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3. Creativity

Critical thinking is an art, and like any art form, its lifeblood is creativity. To really learn critical thinking, you need to include elements of creativity in the process!

  • Brainstorm with your team in an all-new location or work-shadow an industry expert to step out of your comfort zone. You could be surprised by the ideas that flow at a picnic or a game of billiards!
  • Gather data and tabulate it in the form of colorful, eye-catching charts, graphs and mind maps. The simple exercise makes your mind bring data together in different ways and presents them so multiple unique conclusions can be reached, giving you the flexibility to choose the best one.
  • Play brain games such as Sudoku or chess to appreciate how different factors can be manipulated to reach a preferred outcome. These games help make connections between previously disconnected nerves, giving your brain the power to find multiple pathways to answering problems.
  • In a similar vein, you can forge new neural connections by learning a new skill, a new language or even a new recipe!

I break down creativity in my other article What is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It. If you want to be good at critical thinking, you need to adopt creativity!

4. Open-Mindedness

It’s easy to say you’re open minded but is your mind really open?

To get an idea,

  • Be brutally honest about your strengths and weaknesses, and how these will impact the matter at hand.
  • Hear an opinion that conflicts with your own without forming a response before the opinion is fully voiced.
  • Acknowledge that there may be more than one approach to solving a problem and that they may all be right in some way.
  • Consider your true feelings when you will implement any required changes.
  • Disregard your long-held beliefs and assumptions and let go of habits.
  • Imagine the decision-making factors placed on weighing scales. Are they balanced?

Open-mindedness is a powerful technique for critical thinking. New possibilities can be uncovered, helping you resolve personal and professional matters in a manner that doesn’t frustrate you or alienate the other party.

5. Problem-Solving

Critical thinking is heavily dependent on problem-solving. An effective critical thinker will be a problem solver with the foresight to anticipate roadblocks and negative outcomes, and the experience and presence of mind to resolve them quickly and move on.

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One of the most effective problem-solving methodologies is the 5 Whys Analysis. Invented by Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyota Motors in the 1950s, it has been used successfully by the automobile giant to get to the root cause of problems.

The idea behind this is simple: start with the end problem and keep asking why until you get to the root cause of it.

The general idea is that asking why 5 times from the effect is enough to get to the cause, hence the name. However, the methodology does not limit the questions to 5, and why can be asked as many times as need to peel away the layers until a satisfactory answer is reached.

To use the 5 Whys Analysis, start off by listing the problem and writing why in front of it. The next point in the list should be answer to the first why with another why in front of it. Continue answering the question asked above followed by a why until you’ve asked the question 5 times and answered it six times. 99% of the time, the last answer will be the root cause of the problem stated in the first point.

For example, consider the a commonly given scenario where a vehicle does not start.

  1. Vehicle will not start. Why?
  2. Battery is dead. Why?
  3. The alternator is not functioning. Why?
  4. The alternator belt has broken. Why?
  5. It was old and worn out. Why?
  6. The car is not maintained according to manufacturer’s recommendation.

By this example, it is clearly demonstrated that 5 whys were asked to reach the root cause of the problem.

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The 5 techniques discussed here are important for effective critical thinking. When employed regularly they will become a habit and will definitely improve your critical thinking skills so you can get better at predicting and resolving issues that concern you and your environment.

Over the years, the 5 Whys Analysis has been adopted by millions to reach the root cause of their personal and professional problems. Industry giant Six Sigma has also incorporated the 5x Why Analysis in the Analyze phase of their DMAIC methodology.[1]

Final Thoughts

Is critical thinking a new-fangled notion? Not at all. Its history can be traced back to Socrates who questioned commonly held beliefs. This practice was carried forward by leading scholars and thinkers from different times such as Aristotle and Plato, Colet and Moore, Descartes, Galileo and Newton.[2]

Today’s world is dependent on critical thinking to resolve all sorts of issues. It is now indispensable for issues ranging from personal relationships to professional jobs and those involving the global community.

The 5 techniques discussed here are important for effective critical thinking. When employed regularly, they will become a habit and will definitely improve your critical thinking skills so you can get better at predicting and resolving issues that concern you and your environment.

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Featured photo credit: Mariya Pampova via unsplash.com

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