PhD Thesis Writing: a General Guide to Writing

Dissertations

A PhD thesis is an important academic paper that presents the research and findings of an author and it is submitted by a student to avail the doctoral degree. The complexity of the research to gather the data for a PhD thesis varies from one country to another country or from one university to another university. A PhD thesis is a lengthy piece of writing and most of the students are not able to complete it before the deadline and they try to get help from experts of PhD thesis writing services. A general guide to writing a PhD thesis is given below; Understand PhD thesis structure The structure of a PhD thesis provides look to a thesis and it lasts the first impression on the minds of the readers. Therefore, before commencing PhD thesis writing task, the students should have enough idea about the general structure of a PhD thesis. A PhD thesis structure consists of the following components;

  1. Title page

The title page is the first page of a PhD thesis. On the title page, the students should write the following things;

  1. Title of thesis
  2. Student’s name
  3. Supervisor’s name
  4. Date of submission
  5. Department’s name
  6. Name of the institution
  7. Abstract

An abstract of a PhD thesis is its brief summary. By reading the abstract of the PhD thesis, the readers can understand the purpose of writing the thesis. An abstract also provides an answer to the question of why is it necessary for the readers to read this PhD thesis. The maximum length of an abstract of a PhD thesis should not exceed from 400 words. Some essential tips to write an abstract of a PhD thesis are given below;

  1. First of all, you should identify your purpose of writing a PhD thesis
  2. Secondly, you should explain the problem at hand
  3. Thirdly, you should explain your methods
  4. Fourthly, you should summarize the results of your thesis
  5. At last, you should sum up your summary by giving closure to your thesis
  6. Table of contents

It is a fact that a PhD thesis is a lengthy piece of writing and it is also divided into different components. Therefore, it is necessary for you to prepare a table of contents in the PhD thesis. In this table of contents, you should write the headings and subheadings of your PhD thesis along with their page numbers. These headings and subheadings should be indented.

  • List of figures

While writing a PhD thesis, you will have to explore your concepts with the help of some figures. You should also provide a list of these figures along with page numbers in the list of figures page.

  • List of tables

Along with figures, it is also necessary for the students to include some tables in a PhD thesis. A list of tables along with their page numbers should also be included in the list of tables’ page.

  • Introduction

The introduction is the first major chapter of a PhD thesis. Most of the students try to write the introductory section of the PhD thesis before other chapters. It is the wrong strategy. No doubt, the introduction is the first major chapter of your PhD thesis but it should be written after completing the rest of the chapters. The introductory chapter of your PhD thesis should be compelling and it should motivate the readers to read the rest of your thesis. Some essential tips to write a compelling PhD thesis are given below;

  1. Explain the goals of writing the PhD thesis
  2. Provide sufficient background information, so that it should allow the readers to understand the significance of the research questions
  3. Acknowledgement of the previous work. It is possible only if you have read lots of papers relevant to the topic of your PhD thesis
  4. Try to explain the scope of your research
  5. Methods

With the help of the research methodology chapter of the PhD thesis, you should try to convince the readers that your research is helpful for them and it should contribute something new in your subject area. To write a PhD thesis, you have to gather a huge amount of data either by adopting a qualitative research methodology or quantitative research methodology. The research methodology chapter will provide a complete detail about your data collection method. Some essential tips to describe your overall approach in the research methodology chapter of your PhD thesis are given below;

  1. You should commence the research methodology writing task by restating your research questions
  2. You should develop your overall approach (either qualitative or quantitative) by establishing your overall methodological approach
  3. You should also define your gathered data
  4. You should also tell the audience members why you have not used other research methods
  5. You should cite all the sources that are contributing to your choice of research methodology
  6. You should also describe how to analyze the results
  7. You should also explain either your findings are generalized or transferred
  8. Results

After conducting in-depth research to write a PhD thesis, you will find some new things. These are known as findings of your PhD thesis. These findings should be written in the results section of the PhD thesis. The results section of your PhD thesis will provide an idea to the readers whether you have achieved the required goals to write the PhD thesis or not. You should summarize the findings of your research into clear and concrete statements of facts.

  • Discussion

There are four main components of the discussing chapter of a PhD thesis. First of all, the students have to state their interpretations. Secondly, students have to declare their opinions. Thirdly, the students have to explain the effects of their findings. Fourthly, the students have to make predictions for future research. Some essential tips to write the discussing chapter of PhD thesis are given below;

  1. The structure of the discussing chapter should be specific to the general
  2. While writing the discussion chapter, you have to adopt a consistent tone
  3. You should commence a discussion chapter writing task by restating your hypothesis
  4. You should try to explain the results of your literature
  5. You should give proper attention to the results of your thesis
  6. You should defend the answers to your research questions
  7. There should be a discussion about all the unexpected findings of your research
  8. There should be a brief summary of the implications of your findings
  9. You should try to discuss each and everything in a specific manner
  10. Conclusions

The conclusion is considered as the last chapter of the PhD thesis. In the conclusions, the students have to summarize all the main points of a PhD thesis. While writing the conclusion, you should keep in mind that there is no need to include such a main point relevant to your topic idea that is not explained in the main body of your thesis. Some essential tips to write conclusion are given below;

  1. Summarize the strongest and most important statements of your thesis
  2. Summarize the new observations, interpretations and insights relevant to your topic idea
  3. You should also try to include the broader implications of the results of your thesis
  4. There is no need to repeat the sentences of abstract, introduction and discussion in the conclusion rather than you should summarize the main points in your words
  5. Recommendations

It is a fact that there is a limit of words in your PhD thesis. Therefore, it is almost impossible for us to cover all the angles of the topic in our thesis. As a result, there is a possibility of some gaps in our thesis. In the recommendations, the students have to explain gaps in their research and they should provide the recommendations for the future research relevant to that topic idea.

  1. Acknowledgement

To write a lengthy piece of writing just like a PhD thesis, you will have to get help from others. The acknowledgement section of the PhD thesis provides a chance for the students to thank all the people who have provided assistance to you while writing the PhD thesis.

  1. References

To write the PhD thesis, you will have to gather the data from different resources. In the references section of the PhD thesis, it is necessary for you to provide a list of all the resources from where you have gathered the data for your PhD thesis. The references section of the PhD thesis has two main advantages. First of all, it saves your thesis from the plagiarism issues. Secondly, it tells the readers that the information written in your thesis is gathered from authentic resources.

  1. Appendices

There is some data like tables, calculations and list of equipment etc that are not in the main body of the thesis. The students can write it in the appendices.

These are the main components of your PhD thesis. Anyhow, before commencing the PhD thesis writing task, you should read all the guidelines and requirements to write the thesis. By reading these guidelines and requirements, you will get an idea which things are required by your advisor.

Tips to write a PhD thesis After clearly understanding the structure of the PhD thesis, the next step is to commence the thesis writing task. No doubt, to write a PhD thesis is a time-consuming task. Therefore, you will face lots of obstacles to write a PhD thesis. Some essential tips to write a PhD thesis are given below;

  1. Make a schedule

Without preparing a schedule, it is almost impossible for you to complete the PhD thesis writing task before the deadline. You should set some deadlines to write each chapter of your PhD thesis. You should also think how much pages are required to write in a day to complete the PhD thesis before the deadline. You should work on the PhD thesis writing task by setting a routine and you should choose such hours of the day for the PhD thesis writing task during which you are feeling fresh.

  • Just start writing

After preparing a schedule for the PhD thesis writing task, you should commence the thesis writing task as soon as possible. Its reason is that a PhD thesis is a lengthy piece of writing and if you delay it, you will face lots of difficulties to complete it before the deadline. If you have some solid reasons to delay the thesis writing task, you will have to prepare a new timeline to write a PhD thesis.

  • The first draft is not the final draft

To write a PhD thesis, the students should keep in mind that the first draft of their thesis is not the last draft. Therefore, they should continue the thesis writing task without taking care of the perfectness of sentences and arguments. After completing the first draft of their thesis, they should refine their work during rewriting and revising process.

  • Be flexible

While writing a PhD thesis, there is a possibility that there may occur a writer’s block. The students should overcome writer’s block calmly. No doubt, due to this writer’s block, their schedule will be disturbed. The students should adjust their schedule accordingly and try to complete their thesis before the deadline. While preparing a timeline to complete the thesis, the students should set their deadline before the actual deadline. This kind of flexibility will allow the students to adjust their deadlines under critical circumstances.

  • Write the introductions last

As we have discussed earlier that an introduction is the first main chapter of PhD thesis but it should be written after completing the rest of the sections. Its reason is that if you are going to write the introductory chapter of your thesis before resting of the sections, there is a possibility that you may be stuck because you don’t have enough idea what things you are going to introduce in your thesis. On the other hand, if you write the introductory chapter of your thesis after writing the main body of your thesis, it will be easy to you to get an idea about those thoughts that you are going to introduce in your thesis.

  • Move around

While writing a PhD thesis, you will feel that some sections are straightforward and some sections are difficult. While writing the difficult section of your thesis, if there occurs a writer’s block, you should move towards straightforward section and try to complete it when you are feeling fresh. This is the best technique to save you valuable time while writing a thesis.

  • Get feedback early

It is a fact that different supervisors have different preferences. If you get feedback on your thesis after completing it, there is a possibility that your thesis will not fulfil the preferences of your supervisor. As a result, you will have to revise the complete thesis. On the other hand, if you are getting feedback from your advisor after writing each section of your thesis, you will be able to get an idea about the preferences of your supervisor. As a result, you will try to write the next sections of your thesis by giving importance to the preferences of your advisor. This early feedback will also provide you with a sense of satisfaction that you are doing the right work.

  • Take care of yourself

It is a common proverb that a sound body has a sound mind. To write a PhD thesis, there require unique and original ideas. The only way to generate unique and original ideas for your thesis is to keep your mind fresh. Therefore, while writing a thesis, it is also necessary for you to take care of yourself. To take care of yourself means that you should spend at least 6 to 8 hours in enjoying the sound sleep, in order to fresh your mind you should take short breaks during thesis writing hours, you should take exercise on the regular basis and you should eat a well-balanced diet.

  • Use a reference manager

To write a PhD thesis, you will have to gather the data from hundreds of resources. If you want to prepare a list of these resources at the end of the thesis writing task, there is a possibility that you may forget some references and they may occur plagiarism issues in your thesis. Therefore, it is also an essential tip for you to keep a record of these references while writing the thesis. For this reason, you can get help from a reference manager like Endnote or Zotero.

  1. Give a reward to yourself

After writing each section of your PhD thesis, you should give the reward to yourself. This reward can be in the form of spending some hours in socializing with your friends or going outside with your friends for a cup of tea. After giving a reward to yourself, you will get new enthusiasm to write a thesis.

Proofreading and editing of PhD thesis After creating the first draft of your PhD thesis, the next step is to proofread and edit it. Proofreading and editing mean to identify all the mistakes from your thesis and try to remove these mistakes from your thesis. Some essential tips to proofread and edit the PhD thesis are given below;

  1. Copy editing

The copy-editing process of a PhD thesis consists of five steps. First of all, you will have to proofread your thesis for several times. Secondly, you will have to remove all the spelling mistakes in your thesis. Initially, spellchecker software is the best choice for you to remove all the spelling mistakes from our thesis. Anyhow, you can’t rely on the spellchecker software. That’s why you should perform the final checking with your eyes. Thirdly, you should make sure that you have used complete sentences in your thesis. Fourthly, you should remove all the grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes from your thesis. At last, you should give your thesis to an expert and ask him to identify all the mistakes in your thesis.

  • Content editing

After the copy editing, there comes content editing. There involve three steps in content editing of a PhD thesis. First of all, you have to take an overview of the logical flow of all the paragraphs and sentences of your PhD thesis. Secondly, you should avoid repetition of words and sentences in your thesis. At last, you should take an overview of the style of your thesis.

  • Avoiding ambiguity

The words or phrases that have more than one meanings come into ambiguity. While writing a PhD thesis, you should make sure that your thesis is free from these kinds of words and phrases. While proofreading and editing, you should try to avoid ambiguity in your PhD thesis. Some essential tips to avoid ambiguity in your PhD thesis are given below;

  1. There is no need to use nested clauses or phrases in your PhD thesis
  2. There is no need to use such clauses and phrases which have more than one meanings
  3. You should avoid the use of double negative sentences in your thesis
  4. There is no place of dangling participles in your PhD thesis
  5. There should be an agreement between the use of subjects and verbs in your thesis
  6.  There is no place of noun strings in your thesis
  7. There is no need to use unexplained acronyms in your thesis

Conclusion To write a PhD thesis is the last hurdle to cross to get a PhD degree. The first step to write the PhD thesis is to get an idea about the structure of your thesis. In the structure of a PhD thesis, there come title page, abstract, list of contents, list of figures, list of tables, introduction, research methodology, discussion, conclusion, results and findings, references and appendices. Some essential tips to create the best quality content for a PhD thesis are to create a schedule, to commence thesis writing task as soon as possible, to get feedback from the advisor after writing each section of thesis, to use the reference manager, to take care of yourself and to give reward to yourself. After completing the first draft of your thesis, the next step is to proofread and edit it and try to remove all the grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes from your thesis.

Albert Barkley

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