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PhD Dissertation Guide: Be Unique

A dissertation especially at PhD level is not only a reflection of what the student has been learning in class but of how they apply it to solve problems in the field of study they choose. It is also a reflection of oneself and their writing, organization and delivery skills. To make a true impression with their dissertation, the student needs to be unique in their research and delivery.

Choosing a topic

This is one of the most important stages when writing a dissertation. The topic that the student chooses determines everything that is in the paper. This is where the uniqueness of the dissertation is determined. A topic can make or break the paper, and the writer should be very careful when choosing.

  • They should choose a topic with which they are familiar; this will help them when researching. Many students tend to choose from topics that are close to one of the units they study in class. The student should therefore be careful and make sure they stand out from the class when choosing.
  • The student should choose a topic in which they have personal interest and preference. Choosing a topic like this means they bring some knowledge to the table. Choosing a topic they have interest in means that they will be motivated to research various aspects of the topic and deliver a quality essay.
  • Formulating a research question. The research question is the question that the researcher will ask themselves throughout the research and ensure that they answer satisfactorily. It sets the tone of the dissertation and determines the direction the student goes with their paper.
  • The student should also define their research area and process. This means putting their paper in the right bigger picture context. The best way to do this is to perform a gap analysis. This is where the student analyses how their area of study is currently and compares it with how they would like it to be ideally. They then base their research on how to use the knowledge they gained in class to bridge the gap between the reality on the ground and the ideal situation.

These are just some of the general points to consider if the student wants their dissertation to stand out. They should also make sure their writing and delivery stand out because most of the time dissertations have set formats and guidelines. The student should however be careful to avoid over zealousness.