How to write a Ph.D. dissertation

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How to write a Ph.D. dissertation

After a series of exams and tests it is important to remember: the key to a degree is not a diploma with fives, but writing a research paper. This article has collected information from experienced scientists and recent graduate students on how to write a Ph.D. dissertation.

How to write a Ph.D. dissertation

The author of a special writing course, Randy Ingremanson, developed the snowflake method, which allows you to easily write large texts and books. The methodology involves the formulation of the main idea, the creation of the “skeleton” of the text and the gradual increase in volume due to the “rays” of the snowflake.

To create “rays”, a graduate student can start with an introduction or prepare a section from the second chapter. The main thing is that it turns out to increase the volume of text fragments. The final stage is an increase in the number of semantic connectives and editing the style to obtain a harmonious text.

The basis of the snowflake is the theme of the candidate. If a potential candidate of science enters postgraduate study at a “native” university, the supervisor will highly recommend the topic.

It’s not scary if the scientific novelty is not obvious, and the young scientist in the subject is zero: it is a matter of time and immersion in the topic

Trust the teacher: in establishing a friendly relationship, he will make sure that you quickly complete the dissertation and will assist in preparing for the defense. You can request a finished topic at a non-native university.

Another good option is to formulate a topic based on the scientific interests of the leader.

Read books, textbooks, study the information about the chosen teacher and offer some concepts.

The scientist will give recommendations on the choice of subject and object of study and help to correctly formulate the topic.

After selecting a topic, proceed to the second stage: structure.

Ph.D. dissertation structure

The standards for writing a dissertation almost identically govern the structure of work for different branches of science. The text of the research consists of introduction, three chapters, conclusion, list of references and applications. The introduction contains several key elements:

  • relevance;
  • description of the research problem;
  • analysis of the degree of elaboration of the topic;
  • subject and object of the dissertation;
  • purpose of research;
  • research objectives;
  • research methods and methodology;
  • provisions to be defended;
  • approbation of work;

The structure of the study is written not only as a guide for a potential candidate of sciences, but is also used to generate reports in the first and second semesters of postgraduate studies. A condition for obtaining credit for research work may be a completed copy-book of a graduate student, where a U-turn is reserved for key aspects of the study.

A plan prospectus may be requested from applicants during the second semester. The details of the work can also be asked at a meeting of the council of the department or institute when approving the topic, so you need to start working on the structure as soon as possible. After completing work on the material, the research plan will again be needed in preparing an abstract – a brief retelling of the key provisions of the work.

The methodology in the dissertation

Under the methodology in the dissertation is understood the sum of the methods that the graduate student used to achieve the goal of scientific research. The methods in the dissertation are divided into general scientific and special. General scientific methods are theoretical and experimental.

The most common theoretical methods are deduction and induction. The deduction method allows one to derive a particular conclusion from general information. The induction method involves the movement from frequent to general. The formalization method is in demand: it involves the expression of volumetric concepts in graphs, charts and tables

Special methods depend on the scientific industry. The comparative historical method is popular in philology, and legal modeling in jurisprudence. Study books on methodology in your chosen field of science to choose as many special methods as needed. Formulate the methods in a short paragraph and think through examples in advance: they are asked to lead on defense.

The purpose and objectives of the dissertation

Goals and objectives are what they start with when they decide to write a dissertation. Properly formulated goals and objectives accelerate the progress of the study. Consider a methodology that helps to properly format this part of the introduction:


  • One for a dissertation;
  • Substantially repeats the title of a scientific work;
  • The structure is a combination of a verb and a dissertation topic: “to formulate …”, “To substantiate …”, “to present …”.
  • The theme and goal should combine the problem and the results of its solution.


There are no rules for writing tasks in the dissertation, but you can prepare a draft list, and then refine it with the supervisor, based on the following standard:

  • the first task to devote to the disclosure of the problem and analysis of sources devoted to it.
  • devote the second to a review of solutions to the problem.
  • the third should be given for the practical stage of the research: to present an example of a solution to the problem.

Traditionally, the number of tasks corresponds to the number of chapters in the dissertation. If there are more tasks, they are distributed evenly, two or three for each chapter.

Object and subject in the dissertation

The object and the subject are related as a whole and particular. An object is a problem field, an object is a detail, by the example of which the manifestation of a problem is obvious and it is possible to propose a solution to it.

Consider an example from the text of a dissertation on medicine: “The object of research is the formation of immune dysfunctions during the intensification of the adaptosis process. The subject of the study is immune dysfunctions that occur during high loads among biathletes. ”

It should be borne in mind that in a number of studies the object and subject of the study are not indicated at all: then the problem field and the material on which the scientist works should be clear from the provisions to be defended.

Defense Provisions

Finish and defend the candidate will not succeed without the provisions to be defended. The provisions are the main section that members of the dissertation council study. A defense thesis is a summary of the results achieved by the applicant. This may include terms and formulations proposed by the graduate student, a description of the place that the discovery occupies in the chosen branch of science. The provisions should clearly correspond to the content of the dissertation, be prepared and reviewed during the entire design of the work.

Remember! Usually, 5-6 theses are put forward for defense.

How to quickly write a dissertation

The defended graduate school graduates are sure that you can write a scientific work in the short term if you follow four rules:

The text will not be written if the topic does not correspond to the inclinations of the author. You can write on an uninteresting topic, but not quickly.

Basic texts should be available. The necessary benefits should be in the physical reach of the graduate student, if there is no time to go after them to the other end of the country.

The style of presentation of the main texts should be clear and consistent with the level of intelligence of a particular applicant. Sophisticated sources slow down work.

The methodology should be appropriate for the writer. The chance to apply the experimental method tends to zero if the laboratory work schedule is scheduled for the year ahead.

Read a book on how to write a dissertation

Four of the above rules were formulated by the Italian scientist and writer Umberto Eco in the book “How to write a thesis.” The manual will help those who do not know how to write a dissertation or diploma, do not know where to start writing a dissertation. The monograph includes theory and examples.

The methodology for writing a dissertation, proposed by Umberto Eco, allows you to accumulate the volume of thematic cards with quotes on the topic under study and consistently include them in the text

Work on the Eco methodology is not the fastest – scientists recommend taking at least six months to work. If you have only a month to work, you can try to find motivation yourself.