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Things to Know Before Writing the Dissertation Starting Sentence

As you probably already know, your dissertation project might be the most important piece of academic writing you will ever do in both your academic and professional life. For many, it stands as the final accomplishment to cap off years of work in school, while for others it marks the beginning of a career in a specific discipline or industry.

No matter what the work means to you it’s important you pay the greatest attention to every detail. The first sentence, for instance, is highly important in that it sets the tone for the rest of the work. A poorly written first sentence might detract from your work and affect the way the reader reacts to each subsequent line. Here are a few things you should know about writing your dissertation’s beginning sentence:

Writing is a process, so don’t hesitate to get something (anything) down.

The first step in writing the first sentence to this work is to remind yourself that there is a process and composing great sentences takes time and sometimes several drafts. So, the best approach is to simply get something down to start and develop through revision. Start by writing a phrase or two identifying your topic, develop these words further buy saying something about the topic and you’ll find that you gradually come to a pretty good draft.

Compare your draft sentence to what others have come up with.

If you are unsure of the opening statement you’ve come up with, you should consider reading what other people in your field have written for their own projects. You can check academic journals and archived dissertations to get an idea of how other people have started their work. Get a number of examples to get a wide view of what has been successful in the past, or check with some of your colleagues to get a look at their opening statements for comparison.

Think creatively when you start rewriting your beginning.

The last step in writing a great start for your graduate project is to take your draft opening and rewrite in creative and interesting ways. The most effective academic works all begin with a great hook. One of the hardest parts is coming up with something from scratch, but if you take your draft statement which should include all of the key components of a good opening statement, then you will have an easier time playing around with different methods to catch the reader’s attention.