Writing a dissertation is a long-term project that requires a lot of time and dedication. It can take years to complete because of all the research required, which means you have plenty of time to make mistakes along the way. That’s why it’s essential to avoid those common errors that could slow down your progress or even cause you to fail at completing your degree program.
1. Not identifying an original research problem while writing a dissertation
A well-defined research problem is critical to the success of your study. Without it, you are simply taking up space on someone else’s desk. The point of doing a dissertation or thesis is not only to add another piece of writing to the world but also to develop knowledge that will help other researchers in their pursuits. Suppose you cannot identify your research problem and explain how it differs from previous studies on similar topics. In that case, it will be difficult for anyone involved in this process (i.e., faculty members and reviewers) to understand why yours is worth pursuing.
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2. Using only secondary sources
It’s easy to get the impression that you can use secondary sources to support your arguments. And, in some cases, this is true. However, if you’re writing a paper on an original topic and you don’t have any primary sources available yet (or they are not available), then relying on secondary sources alone will make it hard for the reader to trust your research. How do you know what’s reliable?
The best way to use secondary sources is by using them as a way of finding primary ones—using them to guide your search for relevant data rather than just referencing them directly. If there’s an important concept or idea in a particular area of study, there will likely be multiple papers written about it; these papers can give us new perspectives on our topic while also providing us with ideas about where else we might look for information.
3. Trying to write the comprehensive monograph – straight out of the gate
You’ve been told that you need to write a dissertation, but how do you go about doing it? Many students will jump in and start writing the wrong thing – straight out of the gate. This is one of the most common mistakes students make when writing dissertations.
Most academic writers know what a comprehensive monograph looks like: it’s an overview of any subject area intended for publication in book form (i.e., print). These are often total volumes attempting to explain everything there is to know about one topic.
The problem with these types of documents is that they tend not only to be prohibitively long but also incredibly dry and dull – which makes them hard, if not impossible, for less interested readers to get through unless they’re passionate about your topic (which doesn’t always happen). This type of writing may work well if its purpose is primarily educational or instructional; however, many times, this style isn’t appropriate for academic projects because it fails miserably at fulfilling other vital objectives such as communicating ideas clearly or persuading people who aren’t already familiar with your research area.
4. Being unable to produce a clear and concise argument.
- A good argument is clear and concise.
- A good argument has a logical structure, with each step in the reasoning clearly explained and well supported by evidence.
- A good argument is well reasoned, i.e., it takes its premises to be accurate and then concludes them according to appropriate rules of inference.
- A good argument is well argued, i.e., it uses appropriate forms of reasoning (deduction, induction etc.) to support its claims and counter-claims. It also addresses possible objections to its position by presenting alternative views or arguments about the same issue so that readers can assess them for themselves before deciding which one better fits their view on things (this is called “[refuting] opponents’ views”). Finally – because writing an essay means defending something – if you don’t feel strongly about your topic/claims, why bother writing?
5. Disregarding the rules of writing
This is a prevalent mistake, but it’s also one of the easiest to fix. The rules of writing are there for a reason, so while they can feel restrictive at times, they certainly exist to help you. When writing your dissertation, ensure you follow every rule set by your university or research institution. If there are any rules in particular that you aren’t familiar with or don’t understand, research them before starting work on your dissertation. This will save time later on when it comes time to write up your thesis statement or reference list because these documents have strict formatting requirements, which may take some getting used to if this is something new for you!
If you try to avoid these common dissertation mistakes and ensure you know what to do before you start writing, your dissertation will be much smoother for everyone involved. You can also rely on the dissertation writing service for help.