Constructing Veritable Content For A Doctoral Thesis

When you are putting the final touches on your thesis or dissertation, you should make certain that your content is trustworthy, thorough, and useful to the broader academic community. After all, the main goal of a PhD thesis or dissertation is to demonstrate, once and for all, that the student is a fully fledged member of the academic community. You should make a lasting and theoretically important contribution to your field, and leave the literature with a powerful insight that will inform studies for years to come.

But how can you be truly certain that your dissertation is veritable and weighty enough? There are a number of ways, at all stages of the dissertation writing process. Whether you are a senior graduate student writing a proposal or a recently graduated post doc, there are steps you can take to make sure that your dissertation is meaningful and lasting. Here are just a few.

  1. For your candidacy exams or comprehensive tests, choose a topic that is timely and popular. Ideally, it should be a topic about which a ton of papers are currently being published. You want to become an expert in a burgeoning field.

  2. Locate the gaps in a current and growing subfield of study. What are the major conflicts at the heart of the literature? What questions are still lingering? The more you read on a subfield, the greater sense you will have of what is needed.

  3. If you are at the proposal stage, choose a research design that is cutting edge, or make use of a particularly novel and interesting analytic method. You want to appear not only as an expert in a topic area, but a groundbreaking researcher with a ton of technical prowess.

  4. As you write your proposal and your final thesis, make sure to pepper in plenty of current citations from big names in your field. This will earn their interest and respect, and demonstrate that you are well read.

  5. Try to write a relatively short and compact thesis, if your committee will allow you to do so. The shorter your dissertation is, the easier it will be to cut and edit the document and submit it for publication.

  6. If your research results are compelling enough, or even if your project was generally successful, send your thesis to a peer reviewed journal as quickly as possible.

  7. When your thesis or dissertation project has been completed, immediately expand on your findings with a new follow up study. Create a large “program” of research and try to get it all published.