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Writing a PhD Dissertation: Content and Style

So you picked a thesis, you have the research done, and you're ready to write your dissertation. Your dissertation is a professional piece of work and there are certain tips that will help your dissertation to demonstrate that you are indeed ready to graduate and become a full member of the community.

Professional Tone

This is the most serious piece of writing you have done as an academic, and you should treat it as such. You need to keep the tone of your paper entirely professional. This is not the paper to write casually. When you turn in your dissertation to the dissertation committee, they are going to expect you to write like a member of the professional community. Any less will result in the possibility of insulting the committee.

Sufficient Research

One of the biggest problems people have with their dissertations is that their claims are not backed up sufficiently. Every claim you make need to be supported thoroughly. It can seem tedious to back up every little thing, but if you don't you can leave room for holes in your argument.

Also, you should really bring up most of the contemporary theories about the topic. As an expert on the subject now, you should know the major names in the conversation. Be inclusive and explain the similarities and differences between your stance and the other people's.

Address the Opposition

People will have beliefs opposite or different from yours. And when this is the case, you need to be aware of the other beliefs and take time to explain why your thesis holds more weight. This can be a whole section of your dissertation. It's also important not to just address one person with opposing views. You should try to find most of the other works on the topic that you differ from.

Pay Close Attention to Detail

This can be frustrating with such a large work, but it needs to be adhered to. It can be tempting to focus solely on the content and the large ideas of your paper. However, you need to be sure that you focus on the small things like grammar. At this level, you probably think you have a pretty good handle on basic writing rules, but this is a new level of writing that requires perfection. Sure, you've been in school for about eight years at this point, but do you know where to place a comma?