5 Dissertation Completion Tips That Will Make Your Life Easier


Face up to it. Your dissertation is the hardest thing you have ever done and the most important work you have ever done. Two hundred pages of pouring out your heart’s desire looms ahead of you, so it is not surprising that you might get a little put off and decide that this is not for you. Let us go through the reasons why that decision is wrong.

The main reason a dissertation does not get finished is purely psychological.

Reasons why people fail


  1. The lack of externally imposed structure. Up until now, your teachers have given you a due date when work needs to be handed in or you fail. There are no clear deadlines, unless you impose them in a timeline.
  2. There is so much work to do, you feel like you are drowning. If you cannot learn how to sort your work into manageable portions you will fail.
  3. That perfectionist part of you keeps telling you that you cannot do this. How you silence your inner critic is up to you, but you have to find a way.
  4. Being scared of your advisor. Even if you do not agree with what he or she says, the words will give you a direction if only to prove him or her wrong.
  5. Being shut up in a room on your own all the time. Talk to other students in your situation. They might have overcome that problem and be able to tell you how they did it, while you can offer other help.

Ways to succeed

  1. Organization. Be methodical in how you set about your work. Break it up into manageable portions and set up a timeline with deadlines for each section.
  2. Be professional. As you complete each section, hand it to your advisor for comments so that you can improve it.
  3. Choose a subject you are passionate about – when even enthusiasm fails, passion can carry you to the end. Pose a serious question and provide compelling arguments with solid evidence.
  4. Write even when you do not want to write. If you have timetabled writing time, then sit at your desk and write. You will find that the words you have to drag out like pulling teeth can turn out to be better chosen than those that flow like water.
  5. Remember that your first draft is going to be bad. You cannot edit and polish your work if all you have is a blank page. So get on and write.