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Some General Advice On Dissertation Writing: Tips For University Students

Writing a dissertation is a big undertaking. Breaking it down into smaller, more manageable steps will really help move the process along. Here are some tips for more effective writing:

  1. Write something each day. It’s often recommended to write at least one page of your paper daily. Some days you can write more, but sticking to a minimum of one page per day will help your ideas get recorded while still fresh in your mind, as well as keep you in good practice of writing in general. This will help you avoid trying to write 40 or 50 pages in one day because you’ve procrastinated too long.
  2. Rough drafts are your friend. The first draft should never be expected to be perfect. Remember that writing is not the same as revising. When writing, don’t do any revising. Don’t stop and correct anything. Just keep moving forward. The whole purpose of the first draft is just to get all your information recorded. The revising is for later. Perfectionism in the first few drafts will kill your writing efficiency.
  3. Always use an outline. It helps you organize all the headings, subheadings, categories and chapters of your work in a logical order. Form the outline first before any writing starts. The outline will help to keep you on track and make sure you don’t forget anything important.
  4. Don’t try to write your paper in order from abstract to introduction to body to conclusion. Research is unpredictable and therefore the body of the paper could be in a constant state of flux until the research phase is completed. This is the best starting point. Write the body of the paper first. The introduction, conclusion and abstract are all based tightly on the body of the paper, so you can’t write them very well before the body has been written.
  5. Set specific, manageable and measurable goals for writing your paper. Stick to your goals and constantly revise your planning as circumstances dictate. If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. Keep track of your progress using a calendar. Timers are also very handy for making sure you get specific parts of your writing done in the allotted time frame.
  6. Do not go over 7 hours of writing in a day. It will lead to burnout, which will thwart your creativity and ability to think and write clearly.