Excellent dissertation advices from dissertation-zone.com: In the dissertation literature review chapter or section, you shouldn’t just summarise existing studies, but develop a coherent structure and argument that leads to a clear basis or justification for your own research. For example, it might aim to show how your research: Addresses a gap in the literature; Takes a new theoretical or methodological approach to the topic; Proposes a solution to an unresolved problem; Advances a theoretical debate; Builds on and strengthens existing knowledge with new data. The literature review often becomes the basis for a theoretical framework, in which you define and analyse the key theories, concepts and models that frame your research. In this section you can answer descriptive research questions about the relationship between concepts or variables.
Dissertations have hundreds of references and you don’t want to be scrambling at the end to track them all down. Using a reference manager like Endnote or Zotero will help you keep track of all the papers and books you might need to cite and makes adding citations in any style easy. Take breaks when you need a rest. At the same time, don’t be afraid to say no to social activities if you need to. Your friends will understand if you miss some social events–especially if you will be stressed to actually enjoy them. See additional info on https://dissertation-zone.com/.
Strive for excellence but remember that this is not your magnum opus. A dissertation needs to be of publishable quality and it will need to past the muster of your supervisor and committee. But it is also a graduation requirement. Do the research. Make a contribution. Finish the project. And plan to write your five-volume theology when you have 30-40 more years of study, reflection, and teaching under your belt. Take careful notes. Taking careful notes is essential for two reasons. First, keeping a meticulous record of the knowledge you glean from your research will save you time: there will be no need to later revisit your resources and chase bibliographic information, and you will find yourself less prone to the dreaded, “Where did I read that?” Second, and most importantly, you will avoid plagiarism. If you fail to take good notes and are not careful to accurately copy direct quotes and make proper citations, you will be liable to reproducing material in your dissertation that is not original with you. Pleading that your plagiarism was inadvertent will not help your cause. It is your responsibility to take careful notes and attribute all credit to whom it is due through proper citation.
Claim writing time by learning to say no. One of the challenges of writing a dissertation is being surrounded by people who don’t understand; some of your colleagues, friends, and family likely have no idea what writing a long form project like a dissertation is like. It is hugely overwhelming and distracting, and you need to be able to say “Go away, I’m writing.” Sometimes this means turning down a seat on that committee, choosing not to go to that concert, or kicking your friends out of your office. My friends often struggle with the fact that I don’t have the free time to spend with them that I used to, but it is important to my sanity to say “no” every now and then, as much as I hate it.
Spend adequate time determining your thesis and methodology. This probably could fit in the number one slot, but I wanted to emphasize the importance writing right away. Besides, you might find that you modify your thesis and methodology slightly as you write and make progress in developing your overall argument. Nevertheless, the adage is true: form a solid thesis and methodology statement and your dissertation will “write itself.” Plan to spend some time writing and rewriting and rewriting (again) your thesis and methodology statements so that you will know where you are going and where you need to go.
As long as you can handle feedback, anyway. There may be times when you don’t need actual criticism, and instead just need to write, or to have someone say something encouraging. One of my biggest stumbling blocks while drafting came from receiving negative feedback on a chapter. My fragile ego interpreted the critique as a condemnation of my viability as a scholar, and I moped around for several weeks, wasting time assuming I was worthless. At a time when I needed encouragement, hearing any criticism, no matter how constructive, hurt my productivity. Knowing yourself and the kinds of feedback you need as you write is important on a project like this. If you need someone to say “yay, good job!” find someone to say that to you.
Go on walks. It has been said recently that walking promotes creativity. I agree. Whether you like to walk among the trees or besides the small coffee shops along quaint side streets, I recommend that you go on walks and think specifically about your dissertation. You might find that the change of scenery, the stimulus of a bustling community, or the refreshing quiet of a park trail is just the help you need. Make use of a capture journal. In order to make the most of your walks, you will need a place to “capture” your ideas. You may prefer to use the voice memo or notepad feature on your smartphone, or, if you’re like me, a small 2.5”x4” lined journal. Whatever your preference, find a method that allows you to store your ideas as they come to you during your walks or as you fall to sleep at night. I wonder how many useful ideas many of us have lost because we failed to write them down? Don’t let this happen to you. Resolve to be a good steward of your thinking time and seize those thoughts.