Before you start, you may find it helpful to have a look at some sample dissertations and essays from the past: ask at the whipple people have a clear idea already of what they are going to write about; others find it more difficult to choose or focus on a topic. But i remember it 10,000-word spiral-bound paper squatted on my desk in various forms of completion was my allied forces; the history department in-tray was my normandy. Like me, you may start your journey by buying several "self help" books, like writing your dissertation in 15 minutes a day, by joan bolker, or writing your journal article in 12 weeks by wendy belcher.
Write the argument or topic idea in a circle, like the center of a wheel, then write related ideas in the spokes radiating outward. Planning ahead by submitting a few conference proposals helped me to think ahead about future chapters i would write if my proposal was accepted. The operative strategy here is shorter writing times coupled with commitment to a regular writing schedule.
This should help you and your readers to think more clearly about the natural divisions of the topic, the stages in your argument and the balance between different strands of interpretation and are expected to reference your material (quotations, statements of scholarly opinion etc) through footnotes: you can check on how to do this, if you don’t already know, with the ‘undergraduate style guide’ (which can be located on the history website under ‘final year study’ and then ‘final year handbooks’. In effect, drawing on ritual theory, i suggest you consecrate a sacred space for the act of writing. There are many professional guides to thesis writing which give you more information on the style and format of theses – for example the mls handbook (british) and the chicago manual of style (american), both in the whipple, and a booklet, h.
Have found that the best recipe for sustained intellectual productivity is a mix of structured writing practices, time management strategies, and holistic lifestyle are eight practical strategies for focused, sustained writing—ways to create the space and structure to shepherd unarticulated ideas into a cogently written argument. If you mention working on your dissertation to family, friends or near-strangers, they will ask you what it's about, and they will be expecting a more impressive answer than you can give. However, i soon realized that i had to get to the point of simply just writing the dissertation rather than thinking about how i would write my dissertation.
Preparing for a final-year history dissertation you need to bear in mind, firstly, that this is a 9,000 word essay and therefore a substantial piece of work (it is after all, a quarter of your assessed work for the year), and secondly, that to do it justice you need to give adequate time to think about your topic, the approach you intend to adopt, the sources you might use, and the way in which the dissertation is going to be ching a dissertation supervisor should be able to help you with this, once you have decided on a suitable topic and approach. I was teaching at a community college full-time (5/5 teaching load) during my first year of my dissertation writing journey, and so i knew i needed guidance on how to effectively juggle my time. I enjoyed hearing and sharing about personal issues, such as managing relationships with one's dissertation advisor and committee members, juggling various time constraints, and dealing with how to effectively sleep.
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Because it's that time of year again – dissertation y for me, my d-day (dissertation hand-in day) has already been and gone. My hope is that these strategies also help advisers to support their phd students through the nuts and bolts of the writing process. While targeted at the dissertation writer, this advice can be used by graduate students drafting their proposal, junior faculty members rewriting the dissertation into a book, and scholars working on articles.
Distilling your argument into a single sentence gives you a destination as you map the writing journey. Now and then you should read through a printout of your whole essay/dissertation, to ensure that your argument flows throughout the piece: otherwise there is a danger that your arguments become compartmentalised to the size of the screen. Regardless of the type of project, healthy writing strategies—as opposed to staying-up-all-night marathons—are crucial.
You do not need to bind the dissertation, just present it in a neat ’t forget to leave enough time to proof-read your work: your examiners will not be impressed if your spelling is incorrect or inconsistent or you have clearly not bothered to check dates or obvious facts. Also, i wrote emails to various scholars and most were responsive to scheduling brief phone conversations, or email exchanges about questions and ideas that helped shape my easley-houser is a newly minted phd recipient from rutgers, the state university of new jersey, department of history. She taught as a full-time history instructor for three years at hudson county community college and was the emerging scholar/visiting assistant professor of history at the richard stockton college of new jersey from 2011-2012.
This simple yet challenging writing assignment forces you to distill your many complex ideas into a single thesis statement. Nobody simply sits down and writes an article or a chapter from start to finish. It was great to connect with other graduate students from other departments, and publicly confess to the various ways that the dissertation was stressful.