Your doctoral dissertation is a big deal—you should be planning it well ahead of time and dedicating lots of hours to it every week. This is the biggest and most in depth assignment, you’ll probably ever write. If that seems discouraging or you’re struggling with part of it, you might need to take a break. It’s one thing to put enough time into it, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed you probably need some time away in order for your brain to properly process what it needs to do.
If you don’t know where to start, you’re in the right place. We’re going to talk about how you can get the structure of your thesis correct before even writing anything, to save your time and editing later on. The list below shows the order of each section that you’ll need in this assignment, and what each one entails. You can go through in order as you work, or jump to the sections that seem easiest to write first. There’s no one way to go about writing this kind of project, as long as you have all of these chapters in order for the finished version.
Once you’ve done each of those parts, it’s time to give your thesis some space. Have a few days or ideally, a week or so, where you work on something else or just take a break. Then when you come back to the dissertation, you’ll have a fresh perspective and that distance will help you to make it even better.
Make sure you ask your professor or thesis advisor if you need help with any part of this. That’s what they’re there for, and they’ve gone through this before with their own dissertations. If there are other students researching in the same field of study as you, then you could collaborate on some of your findings and brainstorm for ideas together.
It makes things flow easier to have a friend and keep you accountable for time spent on the writing of this thesis. When you’re neck deep in research and confused what to do next, it’s a good idea to have some help.