Writing a dissertation is probably the hardest thing that any student will do in their academic careers. First of all, it’s usually a really long paper: much longer than any of the other paper they’ve written. Second, it requires that you do original or primary research. So, unlike the research papers and analytical papers that you’ve written before, you can’t simply just reference other peoples ideas and writing. Instead, you must gather your own primary sources or data and use them to attempt to answer a research question.
Use these 8 secrets of history dissertation writing to make the most of your experience:
Understand that you’ll probably be working on your dissertation for several years. So it is critical that you pick the right topic that will be able to keep your attention and motivation, and that will serve you best in the future.
Most universities keep bound or electronic versions of theses and dissertations in their libraries. Take some time to look through these for past papers on similar topics. They may prove to be helpful. You can also search dissertations from other universities on this website or others like it.
While this isn’t quite as important in a subject like history as with the sciences, it is a good practice to write out a detailed methodology before you begin your research. This will help to you stay on track, and will be useful if you need to defend why you went about something the way you did.
There’s lots of great software, some of it free, out there to help you do this.
The worst thing you can do is wait till the end to consult with your advisor and end up having to redo any of your work.
This will help you write much better!
Most universities have writing centers that can help you to edit and proofread your final draft.
Once you’ve finished your dissertation make sure that you get it out there. Send it to interested parties or publish sections of it in journals.