Writing a dissertation is literally the most difficult, challenging, and time-consuming academic requirement both Master’s and PhD students face in their academic careers. Some of us have the time and resources to approach our dissertation as a passion project and complete it on time. The rest of us are not so lucky due to various reasons, starting from procrastinating and the need to read more before writing to outside responsibilities that make the completion of a dissertation daunting, and even close to impossible.
While research is not easy by any means and dissertations seem to actively resist your planning attempts, there is only one major thing that distinguishes a productive and effective researcher from one who misses their deadlines. And this thing is a mindset or, let us put it this way, a dissertation-finishing mindset.
Students with this kind of mindset take a pragmatic approach to writing a dissertation. You know the sort: those students who can abandon a line of inquiry without hesitation if it does not add value to their writing or is going somewhere unproductive. Their dissertations get approved because they strictly follow their university’s content, formatting, structure, and ethical requirements. No more and no less. A successful dissertation writer is not precious about their point of view or ‘voice’, which makes them effective. All that matters for these people is that the job must be done efficiently.
One might say that experience is the best teacher and the more you write academic papers, the more you become effective and efficient in doing it. However, how could you possibly plan and complete your dissertation on time if this is the first time you face such a huge task? Indeed, few of us as students write more than one dissertation. But let’s face it: writing a dissertation is not much different from writing your ordinary essay. Of course, a dissertation is a much more complex piece of research and academic writing but your academic career has been developing up to this particular point where you need to apply the skills and competencies you have been developing since your admission. Thus, it’s not something completely new, it’s just another level of complexity.
So what do you need to develop a dissertation-finishing mindset? Well, there are several tips we can give that will help you stop procrastinating and become a more effective and efficient writer.
Other people’s opinions can be unhelpful noise
If you want to finish your dissertation on time, you should make it a priority. However, some students’ definitions of priority may differ drastically. When we say your dissertation comes first, we mean above all commitments. Some people may be resistant to this idea and that is ok.
Your family members and friends might not get why you are so committed to your dissertation, so spending some time explaining your reasons might be a good idea to keep your relationships healthy. You should also take other people’s opinions about your study with caution. Sure, it is helpful to get some advice from recognised experts and supervisors on how to improve your thesis. However, all these people have their own pet methods and theories, so hearing how they would do it is largely pointless. Remember that they are not writing your dissertation – you are.
Finishing your dissertation ‘properly’ is a mirage
Dissertations, especially at a PhD level, open as many research issues and problems as they solve. That is why you should find a way to draw a narrow line between arriving at a useful and meaningful conclusion and a willingness to invest more resources in the study. The truth is that no dissertation is ‘complete’ in terms of its data-gathering exercise, meaning every academic study could benefit from more time, effort, and money. Developing the ability to identify this line, even if it is uncomfortable, is a useful skill that would help you become a more effective and efficient writer and complete your dissertation on time.
Do not see mistakes as a path to perfection
Making mistakes in research and academic writing is a reality we all have to bear with. Believe us when we tell you that literary every academic writer has had the experience of throwing out a piece of writing or a data set and starting all over again. One could argue that without mistakes it is impossible to learn how to become better. There is even a popular quote by Samuel Beckett who said “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better”.
However, there is no point in spending too much time dwelling on your mistakes because you can end up thinking you are dumb and you will never get your dissertation done on time. Still, sometimes we can make the same mistake over and over again, and this is something you must deal with to become an efficient writer. To do that, you should identify what went wrong. Afterwards, do what you can to rectify your mistake and move on. If the same mistake happens again, think about how you could avoid it next time.
Take care of your health and wellbeing
Sure, your dissertation should take priority over many things if you want to complete it on time. However, one thing that is more important than your dissertation is your health because it will significantly affect your research and writing abilities. Do not forsake eating organic food, drinking plenty of fluids, and exercising to keep your body healthy and your mind active. Sleep well and give yourself some rest from time to time to avoid burnout, maintain a high level of motivation and engagement.
There is a myriad of circumstances that can hinder students’ ability to finish their dissertations on time. While we all have outside commitments and responsibilities, it is crucial to have the right mindset to complete your study according to the schedule. We believe that the tips outlined in this article can help you cross the dissertation finish line without flying past the deadline.
Author Bio: Anna is Marketing Manager for online essay writing service 15 Writers. She is an expert in digital marketing and enjoys writing articles on Business, Marketing and Technology.