A dissertation can take many forms, although the basic elements remain consistent across all styles and formats. The first step to writing a dissertation is to select a thesis that provides the framework for the research presented. This will often be a thorough examination of the literature with an original viewpoint on the topic. From there, the writer will develop a model of the historical evolution of the particular field, drawing on the published work of others in support of his or her own interpretations. Supporting evidence for the model is also necessary. After developing a thorough hypothesis, the writer must choose a reference volume or assigned author who will oversee the writing of the actual dissertation, which is typically an original paper submitted to the appropriate committee.
One of the most common styles of dissertation is the composition thesis, which is essentially a condensed version of the original thesis for acceptance at the university. Another common style is the review thesis, which is similar to the composition thesis, except that a much more careful editing has been done to make sure that all the appropriate citations have been made. Another popular style is the index/notation thesis, which requires a thorough reading of the cited works (together with a lengthy account of the associated literature) in order to derive a suitable index. Finally, there is the executive summary thesis, which is quite literally a summary of what has been discussed in the various sections of the dissertation paper.
A dissertation can be written in one of three different ways, all of which are applicable to all disciplines. The first is what I call the traditional dissertation, which consists of an Introduction, Topics, Conclusions, and Reference Supplement. In the case of a traditional dissertation, the writing is usually done in two separate parts: the research and the analysis. Part one of the research will consist of the literature review, which will provide the background for the study covered by the individual writings, and will show how the research was conducted. The other part of the research consists of the evaluation, which will examine the strengths and weaknesses of the literature review and will ultimately offer a recommendation as to how the study should be further developed.
The second method, known as the contextual dissertation, consists of four different parts: the introduction, a brief description of the field, a discussion of methodology and research methods, and a defense. The introduction is where the writer wants the reader to get familiar with the field and provides a summary of the various areas of expertise that the author has sought to address. In contrast, the third part, which is referred to as the critique, is the most difficult for writers, as it involves a critical examination of the author’s arguments and any sources cited in support of them.
The thesis also varies between different universities and institutions and is dependent on whether the Ph.D. candidate is completing their degree at a university where they can earn either a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in their chosen discipline. For example, if a Ph.D. candidate is seeking to obtain a doctoral degree in Education, they may specialize in Teaching Methods and Development. In addition, there are some university departments where the Ph.D. candidate must acquire their thesis in order to graduate. At many public universities, a student who is awarded a thesis will have the freedom to submit it to a specific faculty with the aim of having it published as a dissertation. If you choose to pursue this option, be sure that your dissertation committee members will not review your work prior to acceptance into your university’s program, as the thesis is considered a document of special importance to your candidacy for graduation.
The dissertation editor will edit the title page and table of contents (if applicable), plus all footnotes and internal and final references to satisfy the guidelines for style prescribed by the university. One should bear in mind that the term “Editors” refers to individuals or companies who are contracted to edit a dissertation for a Ph.D. candidate. It is up to the individual to notify these people of any corrections that need to be made throughout the course of the writing process. It is advisable to consult the graduate school’s department chairperson about the name of an appropriate person to consult with (or to ask about the name of the person responsible for the editing of your thesis).
The dissertation is an important part of the degree program, and students should make special efforts to have their theses edited as early as possible in their studies. The research process takes several years, and the dissertation must be complete by the end of the final year of study in order to be eligible for acceptance into the graduate program of your choice. Having your theses corrected well ahead of time will help you prepare for your finals, as the late-stage corrections will likely be easier to do than the corrections made early on in the semester.