Sponsored School

Featured Programs

*Earn your bachelor’s, master’s, Phd or PsyD online through an accredited program:

What are the Steps in Writing a Dissertation?

dissertationWhile there are many personally and professionally challenging experiences that a student can have throughout the course of his or her academic career, writing a dissertation can be uniquely rewarding. If you want to gain proficiency in writing your dissertation, you should know that there are generally three steps involved. Below you will find a basic breakdown of these three steps.

1. Research.

Research is the first step of the process involved in completing a dissertation, and it is very important. This is the case for several reasons, including that the quality of research that you do will determine how relevant, factual, and current your dissertation is. For this reason, it is a good idea to give yourself plenty of time to read a plethora of articles and books from a wide variety of sources during the period in which you conduct your research. To make the most out of this step of the dissertation process, it is oftentimes a good idea to continually confer with a librarian in order to ensure that you’re gaining access to current research surrounding the topic that you plan to cover. In many cases, individuals who write a dissertation find that the research they do regarding their subject dramatically alters the primary claims they attempt to explain and defend in their work.

2. Writing.

After you have completed the necessary research regarding your dissertation topic, the next step in the process will be to write the work. Typically, students will go through several drafts of their dissertation before completing the final copy. During both the research and writing phases of the dissertation process, the student should communicate with the dissertation advisor in order to attain insight, instructions, and correction. There is no one correct way to write a dissertation given that each student will bring a unique perspective, vocabulary, and frame of reference when completing the work. However, the dissertation advisor can oftentimes help the student write more effectively-which means helping the student convey information in a profoundly clear and concise manner without sacrificing his or her unique style.

3. Defense.

The third step in the process of completing a dissertation is defending it. Defending the thesis is oftentimes the most important and exciting aspect of the process for the student. As Tara Kuther notes in her important article “What is a Dissertation?,” “the dissertation is the final hurdle in completing a PhD or other doctoral degree.” Since this is the case, students are oftentimes very concerned about ensuring that they are successful in defending their dissertation. After completing the final draft of the dissertation, the student will present the findings to a faculty panel who will analyze it for various criteria-strength, quality of research, etc. Although the dissertation defense will not involve the student sharing the entire body of work with the faculty panel, she or he will be responsible for summarizing the most important elements of the arguments being advanced. If the student is successful in defending the thesis, she or he will be awarded a doctoral degree.

Resource: State Listing of Psychology Degree Programs

Individuals who are about to begin the process of completing a dissertation should note that doing so can be an intellectually stimulating endeavor. By reviewing the outline of the steps involved in writing a dissertation outlined above, students can begin the process with confidence.