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  • Developing A Thesis

Think of yourself as a member of a jury, listening to a lawyer who is presenting an opening argument. You'll want to know very soon whether the lawyer believes the accused to be guilty or not guilty, and how the lawyer plans to convince you. Readers of academic essays are like jury members: before they have read too far, they want to know what the essay argues as well as how the writer plans to make the argument. After reading your thesis statement, the reader should think, "This essay is going to try to convince me of something. I'm not convinced yet, but I'm interested to see how I might be."

An effective thesis cannot be answered with a simple "yes" or "no." A thesis is not a topic; nor is it a fact; nor is it an opinion. "Reasons for the fall of communism" is a topic. "Communism collapsed in Eastern Europe" is a fact known by educated people. "The fall of communism is the best thing that ever happened in Europe" is an opinion. (Superlatives like "the best" almost always lead to trouble. It's impossible to weigh every "thing" that ever happened in Europe. And what about the fall of Hitler? Couldn't that be "the best thing"?)

A good thesis has two parts. It should tell what you plan to argue, and it should "telegraph" how you plan to argue—that is, what particular support for your claim is going where in your essay.

Steps in Constructing a Thesis

First, analyze your primary sources.  Look for tension, interest, ambiguity, controversy, and/or complication. Does the author contradict himself or herself? Is a point made and later reversed? What are the deeper implications of the author's argument? Figuring out the why to one or more of these questions, or to related questions, will put you on the path to developing a working thesis. (Without the why, you probably have only come up with an observation—that there are, for instance, many different metaphors in such-and-such a poem—which is not a thesis.)

Once you have a working thesis, write it down.  There is nothing as frustrating as hitting on a great idea for a thesis, then forgetting it when you lose concentration. And by writing down your thesis you will be forced to think of it clearly, logically, and concisely. You probably will not be able to write out a final-draft version of your thesis the first time you try, but you'll get yourself on the right track by writing down what you have.

Keep your thesis prominent in your introduction.  A good, standard place for your thesis statement is at the end of an introductory paragraph, especially in shorter (5-15 page) essays. Readers are used to finding theses there, so they automatically pay more attention when they read the last sentence of your introduction. Although this is not required in all academic essays, it is a good rule of thumb.

Anticipate the counterarguments.  Once you have a working thesis, you should think about what might be said against it. This will help you to refine your thesis, and it will also make you think of the arguments that you'll need to refute later on in your essay. (Every argument has a counterargument. If yours doesn't, then it's not an argument—it may be a fact, or an opinion, but it is not an argument.)

This statement is on its way to being a thesis. However, it is too easy to imagine possible counterarguments. For example, a political observer might believe that Dukakis lost because he suffered from a "soft-on-crime" image. If you complicate your thesis by anticipating the counterargument, you'll strengthen your argument, as shown in the sentence below.

Some Caveats and Some Examples

A thesis is never a question.  Readers of academic essays expect to have questions discussed, explored, or even answered. A question ("Why did communism collapse in Eastern Europe?") is not an argument, and without an argument, a thesis is dead in the water.

A thesis is never a list.  "For political, economic, social and cultural reasons, communism collapsed in Eastern Europe" does a good job of "telegraphing" the reader what to expect in the essay—a section about political reasons, a section about economic reasons, a section about social reasons, and a section about cultural reasons. However, political, economic, social and cultural reasons are pretty much the only possible reasons why communism could collapse. This sentence lacks tension and doesn't advance an argument. Everyone knows that politics, economics, and culture are important.

A thesis should never be vague, combative or confrontational.  An ineffective thesis would be, "Communism collapsed in Eastern Europe because communism is evil." This is hard to argue (evil from whose perspective? what does evil mean?) and it is likely to mark you as moralistic and judgmental rather than rational and thorough. It also may spark a defensive reaction from readers sympathetic to communism. If readers strongly disagree with you right off the bat, they may stop reading.

An effective thesis has a definable, arguable claim.  "While cultural forces contributed to the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, the disintegration of economies played the key role in driving its decline" is an effective thesis sentence that "telegraphs," so that the reader expects the essay to have a section about cultural forces and another about the disintegration of economies. This thesis makes a definite, arguable claim: that the disintegration of economies played a more important role than cultural forces in defeating communism in Eastern Europe. The reader would react to this statement by thinking, "Perhaps what the author says is true, but I am not convinced. I want to read further to see how the author argues this claim."

A thesis should be as clear and specific as possible.  Avoid overused, general terms and abstractions. For example, "Communism collapsed in Eastern Europe because of the ruling elite's inability to address the economic concerns of the people" is more powerful than "Communism collapsed due to societal discontent."

Copyright 1999, Maxine Rodburg and The Tutors of the Writing Center at Harvard University

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10 tips for writing a PhD thesis

Ingrid curl shares simple rules for keeping your work clear and jargon-free.

Woman writing using laptop computer

Writing up a PhD can often take place in a frenzy of activity in the last few months of your degree study, after years of hard work. But there are some steps that you can take to increase your chances of success.

If you stick to these simple rules, your writing will be clear and jargon-free. Above all, take to heart Orwell’s advice: “Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.”

Ingrid Curl is associate editor of  Times Higher Education , and a former PhD student.

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PhD Dissertation/Thesis Writing Tips

PhD Dissertation or PhD thesis is the final output of your hard spending hours in your PhD. Writing your PhD dissertation required huge writing skills. Here are top tips to write your PhD dissertation or thesis easily.

.Always follow the given thesis’ format

Whether you want to write thesis, you must take the sample format that is available with your seniors. Never follow your own format to write thesis or do not take it from online. Usually every university has its own regular thesis format to write. Follow it strictly. This is the first step of writing a good thesis. Choose some nice location and serene place where your reflections flow straight from the mind to write a thesis for PhD. Whatever the small idea, make a point to write on your short note. This way you can collect some important points.

.Choose which are the 5 chapters to write in a thesis

Every thesis must consist of 5 chapters at least. So you must think of the name of chapters on which you will depend to write the whole thesis. Be clear about which chapter to start first and last. Your supervisor will help you here. Never take your own choices about the names of chapters. Always ask your supervisor and collaborate each other to bring out the names of chapters. To get some ideas, visit public library and seek some important sources those are relevant to your topic. This will allow you to get some points about your topic. Always maintain short notes for this. Or else you will be in trouble forgetting what you have read. Visiting library and spending some time over your topic is always a quality habit to bring success

.Also decide the headings and sub headings in a thesis

Do not start writing your thesis all the way chapter wise. First touch all the chapters and give headings and sub headings all the chapters that you have decided to write. Your class teacher is the near best source on whom you can rely on for every help. So make use of her or him to the fullest. They can guide you being your favorite teacher. So do not be lazy t approach your teachers around you.

A thesis has a standard format that has headings which are useful because they guide the scholar on the type of content expected in different sections of the paper.

The headings enable the researcher to divide the research paper into parts. Equally important are subheadings that fall under the broader headings and aid the student to identify relevant content that should be researched.

They assist the researcher in ensuring that the paper is uniform and that all areas are covered adequately. Subheadings also make the paper have a structure, presentable and readable. Therefore it becomes more comfortable for the reader to understand how the research shifts from one point to another.

.Expand in appropriate length of all headings

Somehow try to expand all heading in a good paragraphs. Do everything according to the research that you have been doing for the last three to four years. Put together aptly and coinciding each other with out any problems. There should be a good readability while writing a thesis.

Always have strong determination from the beginning to the end. Sometimes you are very excited to finish your dissertation but in the long run you will get rid of your past excitement and there is a possibility that you lose interest in your topic.

Be ready to rectify mistakes: Whatever the work you do may sometimes put you in a situation to redo the work. Which means doing same work again and again? So have patience to rectify your mistakes.

Your Guide: Meet your guide as often as possible. This will raise positive impression on you. Arrange your meeting with your guide to discuss things of interest about your topics and finally I can say that if you follow the 7 rules, your will successfully submit.

.Write thesis in a short paragraphs through out

Never include to big paragraphs or repetetive paragraphs. Every paragraph must be unique not exceeding 300 words. If it is necessary only, you must go beyong the limit of paragraph. How to write a PhD thesis depends on how you enjoy when writing a PhD. dissertation. Many scholars find the structure of a PhD thesis boring and therefore tend to develop a negative attitude thus they become less motivated.

While writing doctoral dissertation, It is common knowledge that when a person does not find something enjoyable, they lack the incentive to work hard towards achieving the fruits of the same.

To avoid such a situation, the scholar is advised to develop a positive attitude towards the thesis and follow tips for writing a PhD thesis and consider the process as a learning opportunity as well as an avenue that will enable them to achieve their long-term goals and objectives.

It is recommended that scholars should adapt to their schedule designed by themselves so that they allocate reading and writing time as they deem fit.

.Do not write too short or long thesis ( Follow your university norms to write PhD thesis)

Normally most of the universities follow 70000 to 83000 words. You must maintain double space and probably around 250 words may fit in a single page of thesis writing. But anyhow the normal calculation about the length of the thesis is 83000 words. There are some universities which have less number. But it all depends upon the university norms and conditions. I suggest you ask your supervisor about this. But in no way, you can exceed the 83 number in any university. Any research scholar who is aspiring to get a doctoral degree writes a PhD thesis or dissertation. Here I am giving tips for writing dissertation. This PhD thesis advice will help you to get rid of all sorts of confusion in terms of how to start writing a dissertation. This advice is simply a help to write PhD thesis

.Use good number of tables and figures ( Do not overuse)

The one important thing that every PhD student misses is not explaining figures and tables at an appropriate length for which many thesis’ gets a review for the second time after submission. So be careful not to just insert figures and tables and foget them. Every figure and table must be explained perfectly and more in length.The reason why the scholar is advised to ensure that thesis write up is enjoyable is to prevent the candidate from getting bored and losing interest along the way.It is essential that the candidate should have an interest in the reading and learning process so that they can love what they are doing.The main reason why it is essential for the scholar to find the dissertation process enjoyable is to ensure that they understand the importance of writing a good research paper.Once the importance is established, the scholar is in a position to know how to write a PhD thesis paper that meets the requirement. A candidate that is bored with the thesis is guaranteed to produce a bad thesis.

.Brush up writing your thesis with introduction, conclusion and references, bibliography etc;

For bibliography and references writing for your thesis., for note-making to write phd thesis., for storage and back up to write phd thesis..


.For Project Management to write a good PhD thesis.


.For Academic Writing to implement well in your PhD thesis.

Many candidates find it difficult to complete the thesis paper in good time, and some of them are forced to request an extension which is not a good thing.

In part, failing to complete the dissertation on time creates the impression that the scholar is irresponsible and incapable of organizing and planning their time efficiently.

To prevent this from happening, it is highly recommended that the candidate avoids procrastination as much as possible and concentrate on how to write a good PhD dissertation. To avoid delaying the paper, the scholar should ensure that start working on the paper as soon as they are admitted and assigned a supervisor.

Once the dissertation process is initiated, the candidate must be consistent all the way and try as much as possible to work on the thesis on a daily basis.

.Do not set back if something goes wrong while writing thesis for PhD.

Writing a thesis is not easy and cannot be compared to writing a ten-page essay, and therefore the scholar is bound to encounter challenges along the way.

Such problems should be welcomed and viewed as opportunities to learn new things and also promote creativity and innovation in formulating new ideas. First one must know how to start writing a thesis. If things do not go as planned, the candidate is advised to avoid despairing and losing momentum.

Instead, they should face the challenge and find ways of preventing the same problem from arising in future. They should understand that other researchers before them also encountered difficulties but did not give up.

On the contrary, they should be more enthusiastic in ensuring that they present a good research paper that will impress the reviewers and accepted for publication by reputable journals.

.Double save the copy all your PhD thesis writing

Accidents happen, and there are cases where researchers lose their years of work because they kept their research on single storage. For instance, a scholar may be writing their research on their laptop and fail to have a backup copy.

In case the laptop crashes get damaged or stolen, all the research work is lost. To avoid such an incident, the researcher is advised to double save their work preferably in external storage such as an external hard disk.

Besides, technology has improved, and people can save their work on cloud storage which makes it easy to retrieve data. Some cloud-based storage has subscription charges, but others like Gmail are entirely free depending on the size of data.

.Keep in mind the mind of your supervisor while writing PhD thesis writing.

Writing a thesis is an independent process, and the scholar is required to write the same on their own, but they are advised to regard the supervisor’s advice.

The supervisor’s role is to guide the candidate throughout the writing process. They have experience in writing a dissertation and therefore have valuable information that would ensure that the scholar writes a good research paper.

The candidate should cooperate with the supervisor from the starting point which is choosing a research topic. Before making a decision that has a significant impact on the thesis, a candidate must ensure that they consult the supervisor and listen to their views. If the supervisor feels that the changes are necessary, they will give the candidate the, but if they think otherwise, they will advise against the same.

. Writing a PhD thesis acknowledgment

Here you have to make sure to congratulate and thank everyone who has helped to finish your Ph.D. dissertation.

. Writing PhD Thesis Structure

200 pages thesis means write two pages of thesis for 100 days (set clear target)Depending on the number of page requirement, the scholar must be in a position to create a schedule that fits their program.It is essential because it enables proper allocation of time which is a scarce resource and is never enough. The scholar is advised to formulate a schedule so that the thesis is divided into tasks. Not only does this make it easy to manage time, but it also breaks down the thesis so that it does not appear as a big task.

Apart from forming a schedule, it is vital that the candidate sets realistic targets that can be achieved comfortably without too much strain since they may also be required to meet other responsibilities such as work and personal commitments.

.How many chapters should a PhD thesis have

A typical PhD thesis or dissertation consists of 5 to 6 chapters as per the requirement. Each chapter has its own headings and sub-headings.  You may get help in writing PhD thesis from your professors or read others’ online.

.Reward yourself at the end of the day’s work of writing thesis.

Writing a thesis involves adapting to a specific routine which can be boring and therefore, the researcher can easily find themselves having deviated from the schedule.

It is vital that the scholar renews their enthusiasm and ensure that they reward themselves if possible on a daily basis. It is essential because it breaks the monotony and keeps the scholar motivated thus they cannot lose interest in the project.

There are different ways of rewarding oneself such as going out with friends for the favorite drink at the place where the scholar likes to hang out during leisure time.

Others may prefer to go for a movie or watch a football match while others want to go shopping. The important thing is that the scholar should assess their hobbies and do what they find enjoyable.

.Learn to use Micro soft word to speed up your PhD thesis writing.

Writing PhD thesis in word may sound strange to a scholar especially when they consider themselves computer literate. Surprisingly, many people that think themselves conversant with a computer are perplexed when they find out that basic computer programs such as Ms.

Word have many features that remain unexplored. Writing a 200-page paper may not be an easy task, but some features can make the writing process tranquil. Some shortcuts can save the researcher considerable time thus make writing enjoyable.

It is worth noting that the program has a dictionary that makes it easy to check the meaning of new vocabulary encountered rather than necessarily consulting the dictionary or searching on the internet.

.Relax on the weekends and festivals giving a short breaks during thesis writing.

As the saying goes “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” we recommend the scholar to set aside time for relaxing especially the weekends.

After a week of hard work through researching, the mind is bound to be exhausted and cramped with new information. It is necessary to relax the mind so that it can assimilate further information.

In cases where the scholar is working, the weekend is the best time for relaxation and engage in light activities. During festivals, the researcher should find time to participate in social activities and interact with other people such as family members, friends, and neighbors. After relaxation, the mind becomes fresh, and therefore the cognitive process is facilitated.

.Choose the best place to write PhD thesis and chair to sit (Comfortable writing)

Effective reading and writing take place in a comfortable environment, and therefore the scholar is advised to create one. They should find a quiet place and a comfortable chair to sit on so that they do not tire easily or strain their body.

When the candidate is relaxed, they can concentrate on the readings and also understand the content. Effective comprehension is necessary which is facilitated by good cognitive abilities.

A good location is free from noise and unnecessary distractions which enable the researcher to understand the content and retain the same for a long time before it becomes necessary to revisit the reading material.

.Be patient in the beginning, and later you will feel much easier while writing thesis for your PhD

At the onset of writing the thesis, it common for the scholar to feel demoralized or lack motivation since the work appears endless especially when they think about the total number of words that are required.

Candidates are advised to disregard the feeling of lacking motivation and instead focus on achieving the targets as stipulated in the schedule. Focusing on the goals one step at a time makes the task seem easier and less.

Furthermore, it takes time to get used to the schedule, and at times it may take months. However, once the scholar adapts to the timetable, writing the thesis becomes easier. It becomes much more comfortable after the candidate familiarizes with the topic and the databases where content can be researched.

.Read some other old thesis before even writing PhD thesis

The best way to familiarize with what a thesis should look like is going through previous arguments of thesis that have been written by other scholars. Such research papers are available are available on the internet and can also be accessed in databases such as the University of Manchester’s thesis search .

We recommend the scholar to compare those that have been accepted as well as those that were rejected. The practice is important because the candidate places themselves in a better position to understand what qualifies as a good thesis and what does not.

By considering previously done papers, the researcher can identify areas that need improvement and also those that need to changes altogether.

.Write the names of  graphs and diagrams carefully in your PhD thesis.

Unlike small essays, a thesis requires the use of visual aids such as diagrams and chart to support the information contained in the text. Some sections require the scholar to use facts and figures to support their argument.

Such instances are understood better when the data is illustrated in tables. However, it is worth noting that visual aids must be used appropriately which means that they should represent data found in the text.

It is prohibited to include diagrams and graphs that contain foreign data that is not in the thesis. Also, the scholar should ensure that they use the appropriate number of tables and figures.

.Gather all the notes that you researched for three years and add to your PhD thesis that is relevant.

A thesis is a collection of notes that have been collected and written as one document in a chronological fashion such that it is comprehensible.

Before writing the thesis, the scholar should collect all the notes written over the period of researching and the content arranged and organized.

The notes are fitted into the headings and subheadings before writing a draft. Within three years of research, the candidate should ensure that they have written notes enough to comprise a full thesis paper.

It is crucial for the researcher to note the importance of note-taking because it directly reflects how much research has been conducted. All the notes are collected and written on a single document categorizing the points according to the most appropriate headings.

.Use more references and bibliography while writing your PhD thesis.

Referencing is probably the most prevalent aspect of the paper that gives the reader a hint of how extensive the research has been done. Sources must be reliable and relevant to the research topic.

However, a Ph.D. the thesis requires advanced research techniques, and this involves using as many sources as possible. It is recommended that the researcher ensures that they cite their work after every 2 to 3 sentences.

It not only provides that the thesis is adequately cited, but it also indicates that the scholar has done thorough research and therefore they have addressed the problem sufficiently. The reviewer can tell how many sources have been used in the thesis by looking at the Bibliography section.

.Use some technical keywords in the same manner throughout thesis writing

As discussed in another article, every field has technical terms that should be used to exhibit that the scholar commands an understanding of the topic.

The candidate must ensure that they understand the meaning of such terminologies as they are used in context regarding the source. Since such terms must also be included in the thesis, the scholar must ensure that they use such vocabulary appropriately and uniformly within the text.

They should not be used to bring out other meaning(s). It is common for some terminologies to have different meanings depending on how they are used but this is discouraged. If a technical term has been used to mean something, whenever it is used again in the thesis it should maintain that meaning to eliminate ambiguity.

.Be aware of all numbers (how many chapters, tables, graphs, figures, etc.)

The fact that a thesis has abstract, headings, subheadings and visual aids such as tables, figures and charts mean that they are numbered. The scholar must be aware of how many headings and subheadings are found in the thesis. Numbering the headings enable the researcher to know how many sections the paper comprise and can, therefore, divide the word requirement evenly.

The case for graphs, tables, and figures is much easier because Ms. Word has a feature for inputting captions on the same and it numbers them automatically.

Numbering also makes the work organized, and the researcher can identify sections that require more attention than others and allocate them more research time and word requirement.

.Always keep in mind the structure of all your thesis

One thing that the researcher should keep in mind is a visualization of the thesis’ structure at all times when researching.

It may not be easy to look at the whole document at a glance since a thesis is the size of a book. The best that the scholar can do is to meditate upon the appearance of the paper and towards maintaining its structure as dictated by the headings and subheadings.

The process becomes more comfortable if the candidate has divided the paper into sections that cover the entire topics and also assigned each section the best wording.

.Write a Title Formation to your thesis

The title is the first section of the thesis paper and comes at the beginning with relevant information regarding the thesis, student, institution and supervisor. The title page must contain the title of the thesis which entails the topic and the problem being researched. It should also include the student’s name, the course, supervisor information and the university where the candidate is studying their doctorate. Another important information on the title page are the dates when the thesis process began and when it was submitted.

.Secondly Write Abstract insertion

The abstract like in other essay papers is a summary of the entire document that allows the reader to know what the thesis contains. It will enable the reader to glance at the thesis and identify the significant points discussed within without necessarily reading the whole document. Although the abstract appears at the beginning of the text, it is advised that the scholar writes it after writing the entire thesis so that they can be able to pinpoint all the major ideas contained in the research paper.

.Thirdly Write acknowledgement

The supervisor is the candidate’s advisor although there may be other faculty members that may have made contributions to the completion of the research paper.

The title page on contains the name and portfolio of the advisor, unlike this section which goes into details. The researcher mentions the advisers and their contributions to ensuring that the project was a success.

In most cases, the supervisor is considered to be the student’s co-author, and therefore they also have rights to the research paper and should be acknowledged if other researchers cite the paper.

.Write Table of content for the whole thesis.

The table of contents is a section that contains the thesis headings and subheadings as they appear in the research paper. The titles and subtitles are numbered following their appearance and the page number where each of them is located. The table of content is also vital to the reader as the author because it enables them to find desired content easily by looking up the heading and page number. Once this information is acquired, one can quickly jump to that page and read the content.

.Writing a good preface to thesis

A preface is a form of introduction to the writing usually written by the author and introduces the reader to the literary work. However, it should be noted that a thesis does not require a preface unless the scholar feels like including it. Usually, a preface concludes with acknowledgment and seeing that the section has already been covered shows that the preface is not necessary for a Ph.D. thesis.

.Writing Relevant Introduction to your PhD thesis.

At the beginning of the thesis is the introduction section that prepares the reader for what they are going to read in the thesis. The introduction briefly states the topic and identifies the problem(s) that are facing the community making it necessary to address the issue. At the introduction, the scholar defines terms that may be difficult for most people. The section also briefly describes the causes of the problem and may also state the most affected population. The introduction prepares the reader for the thesis.

.Write and narrate all chapters with research problem and Results

This section contains all the headings and subheadings in the thesis and is where the scholar discusses all the content that they have researched.

In this section, the candidate writes all the points according to their finding being careful to ensure that all information is appropriately cited according to the rules and guidelines of writing. In most cases, they may be required to cite using APA, Chicago or Harvard format.

The candidate must provide in-text citations for every information according to the author of the source document. In this section, the scholar writes all the findings, results, findings and recommendations.

.Write strong conclusion to the thesis.

After the previous section, the author is required to provide a conclusion of the entire research where they restate the objectives of the study and summarize the findings and results. In this section, the candidate makes a recap of the significant points and ensures that they do not include new information.

The conclusion comprises of data that is contained in the thesis, and it is through the conclusion that the author states whether the findings were according to expectation and whether they think that their recommendations are practical solutions to the problems identified in the investigation.

.Mention your publication history about this topic

After the conclusion, this section gives the author an opportunity to recognize previous efforts by the same to address the same problem in other research papers that have already been published. It is important to note that scholars are allowed to publish papers before submitting their thesis to the faculty.

If they choose, they can print the thesis, but it is not encouraged since there are instances where researchers have complained that other researchers have stolen their ideas. If the scholar has managed to write other research papers that relate to the thesis’ topic, they are at liberty to write about such publications in this section.

.How to write PhD thesis with References

The thesis paper is not complete without the work cited section which is a list of all sources that have been used in the research.

The list is arranged alphabetically and must include all sources that have been included in the in-text citations. It is essential that the bibliography must contain only reputable sources and if possible they should all be books that are published by reputable publishers in reputable journals. References must originate from credible databases.

After the bibliography is the appendices which contain visual aids that contain information relevant to the research’s topic.

How to write a Ph.D. thesis is the greatest challenge for many. For this reason, many opt for some services online. If you follow the above guideline, you will easily get success in your Ph.D. thesis submission and your Ph.D. thesis will never get rejected.

Bonus tips to write PhD thesis

Writing the thesis is probably the most stressful moment during the bachelor phase. Do not panic, below you will find several supporting tips so that you too can successfully submit your thesis.

Suddenly you have to do whole research, make a plan, write an argument with findings and standpoints. And then there is also the use of very many sources. While writing your thesis you go through many different phases, as we know the research, reading infinite jurisprudence and literature, and then the threshold to start writing. How long do I have to spend? How do I divide the chapters? And more importantly, where do I start? Writing may take more time than expected. Do not panic, below you will find several supporting tips so that you too can successfully submit your thesis.

Tip 1. Keep Track Of The Sources As You Write And Collect All Your Thesis Material

While collecting all your sources, you no longer see the forest for the trees. That is why it is very important to keep track of everything from the start. For example, you can create a login which you write down used search terms and which sources you found with them. Place the sources you use directly in the footnotes and state for yourself which page numbers or legal considerations you use in your thesis. So in the end, when everything seems to be confused, you don’t forget which piece of the text comes from which source.

Tip 2. Write Your Thesis In Parts

Often, after a while of writing, you are not that sharp anymore, so that unnecessary mistakes are made and sentences do not always turn out smoothly. You must regularly work on your thesis in pieces. It is better to look at it more often in shorter time frames than to spend whole days doing it a few times. If you try to ram your thesis out in one go in a few days, you will overlook many mistakes. By regularly working on it you look at it with a fresh look every time. This way you prevent a lot of mistakes in your piece. Therefore always leave a few days before the deadline, in this way you look at it one last time with a fresh look and discover errors that you initially looked over.

Tip 3. Always Submit A Complete Concept

In the rush of writing, it seems tempting to skip deadlines for submitting a draft to continue working. But it is important to use every feedback moment. That is why it is also very good to have regular contact with your thesis supervisor. It may not seem necessary, but the more you submit in advance, the more feedback you get. And with that the more you can improve. After all, a supervisor is there to support you in writing your thesis.

Tip 4. Don’t Know Much About Your Subject Yet? Then Look Up Many Current Events

Writing a thesis about a subject that you do not know much about or that you find not interesting is very difficult. It quickly feels boring and that makes you less productive. Therefore, try to read many current affairs about your subject. In this way, you may understand a certain problem behind the subject more and it will also come to life more. And so you might also have found a nice opening for your introduction.

Tip 5. Find Several Sample Theses Online

Especially during the bachelor phase, it is difficult to imagine what a thesis should look like. Universities often place an example thesis and the assessment of that thesis online. Read this through, then you can immediately see what teachers will look for when checking. You can also often find many other students’ theses on other websites. Looking at several theses globally can probably help you gain inspiration for your layout, and it can help with the image of what a thesis should look like.

Tip 6. Always Have Your Thesis Read By Someone Who Knows Nothing About The Subject

Of course, you must regularly read your pieces yourself, but a thesis must be easy to understand for others. For example, let a fellow student or your parents read it. If they understand your thesis easily, then your story is easily traceable. Then you can put your story on paper as clearly as possible. Others may also discover a few language errors that you did not see at first.

Syam Prasad Reddy T

Hello, My name is Syam, Asst. Professor of English and Mentor for Ph.D. students worldwide. I have worked years to give you these amazing tips to complete your Ph.D. successfully. Having put a lot of efforts means to make your Ph.D. journey easier. Thank you for visiting my Ph.D. blog.

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16 Proven Tips to Write a Thesis for PhD

“A PhD thesis is a written draft of the entire work you have done during your doctorate degree.” 

Writing a thesis for PhD is the toughest part of the PhD degree, however, achieving a PhD is itself the toughest task to complete. The PhD- doctor of philosophy is the top privilege in any education system. The reputation of universities is built from its PhD candidates, how good they will do in the real world. 

The reason why the PhD degree is so important is that once a candidate has awarded it, he or she has the responsibility to solve the real-world problem with their logical intelligence. 

So it is obvious that getting a PhD is a tough job. A PhD thesis is a key element of the entire academic program because it is a written proof of your work. A good thesis should be clear, self-explanatory, and errorless. 

A thesis of your PhD clarifies to the reviewer how you perform your research during the tenure. If you have done an excellent piece of research but aren’t able to demonstrate it properly through your writing, believe me, you have to pass another year. 

So, writing a PhD thesis is undoubtedly a key to success in a doctorate or PhD. Here in the present article, I will give you sixteen proven tips for writing a thesis for a PhD. 

Read things- thesis, reviews and articles:

The very first tips before writing a thesis is to start reading things. Read as many articles and thesis as you can in the initial period. Why to read first? 

Trust me, if you write your thesis without reading others, at least after completing the entire thesis you will regret that I could do better than this. So many PhD theses are now available on various online platforms, go and download it and start reading it. Understand their writing style and content. 

Read articles, research papers and thesis related to your topic and make notes on which topics and points they have covered in it. Now in the next step-

Create a rough draft: 

You are not an expert and that is why you have allocated a PhD supervisor to guide you throughout your PhD. Create a rough draft, note down what you will write in which chapter. 

Divide your thesis in chapters like introduction, review of literature, material & method, result & discussion, conclusion and references. Next, decide which piece of information you want to write in which chapter. For example, some general overview and information can be written in the introduction part. 

Your method, instruments you used, SOPs and other related information are written into the material and method part. While all your results should be written into the consecutive chapter or in the results and discussion part. 

Based on that, mark the information when you are reading the stuff. Like this, see the image. 

Start writing: 

To do all these things we have discussed in the above section, you may have passed two years of your PhD, if so, immediately start writing your dissertation from anywhere. 

It is not necessary that you have to start writing the “introduction” first. You can start from anywhere, for example, start with the “material & methods” , write up all the information of the method, process, SOP, protocol, materials, instruments and other things you have used. 

And then write other chapters as you read various articles.

Spelling and punctuations: 

Your thesis should be free from spelling and punctuation mistakes. A punctuation in the wrong place can misinterpret the sentence.    

“According to one survey only 20% of the world’s population can speak and write english.” 

Writing a draft of 300 to 400 pages for a non-English speaking person is the toughest task. Spelling mistakes and punctuation are common mistakes that annoy your supervisor more. 

Don’t panic, there are some intelligent tools that make your writing assignments like thesis, report, dissertation and research paper spelling and punctuation error-free. 

“Grammarly” is one of the most trusted, widely accepted, intelligent and fastest tools that help you to do so. After the next section which is also related to writing, I will show you how you can use Grammarly. 

Related article: How long does it take to get a PhD?

Prevent grammatical mistakes: 

Grammar is yet another problem for non-English speaking people, verbs, nouns, adjectives, tenses, speeches and voices are the common mistakes noticed. 

Grammatical errors make your thesis worsen! Even your research paper can’t be accepted in reputed and peer-reviewed journals. 

 Proper use and balance of active and passive voice and the appropriate use of direct and indirect speech is very crucial. 

Again, thanks to Grammarly, you do not need to bother about grammar. Grammarly will itself suggest to you what to do with your sentence. Also, it will indicate grammatical mistakes and suggest to you how to correct them. The auto-correct option of it is smarter than any other. 

How to use grammarlay? 

The first option is to ‘use the Grammarly extension’ for your browser. For Chrome, you can download it from the chrome store and install it. Once you are done just turn it on. 

For all your docs, email, social media handles and other stuff, it will suggest grammar, spelling, and punctuation in real-time. 

The Grammarly add-on is also available for MS office and Pages (PC and Mac), You can purchase it here: Grammarly premium . 

In addition to this, you can use the Grammarly for your mobile keyboard for iPhone and Android. Download Grammarly for free: Download

We have covered an amazing article on grammarly; what is it, how to download it, prices and benefits. Go and read it here: Grammarly: Your PhD writing assistant.

Mentioning someone in your report, paper or thesis for his own work is known as a citation. Cite every piece of information properly and correctly, experts always check the citations, first. 

Your citations dictate how correctly and sincerely you have done your searcher. That is why in the first point I had mentioned that, read every article and make a note on it; who wrote it, date and what they had researched?

You can cite it with the number and name of scientists & year of publishing.

Listing the references: 

Now in the next step, you have to arrange the references you have used in the citation. For instance, what information you cited as (1), the same you have to mention in the reference as (1). 

The reason for doing this is to give proper navigation to cross-check the information. Remember, if you have not done accurate citation and referencing it will be included in plagiarised content and your thesis will not be considered for submission. 

Again don’t be panic, Use the online tool “ Mendeley ”. It will take care of your citations and references. It will work as you write. It automatically creates the citation at the end of the sentence and creates another file to reference it. 

You can use a citation method recommended by your university either numbering or name & year for citation. Down load Mendeley from here its free.

Review with your colleague or friend: 

Before submitting your thesis to your supervisor, please review it properly with your colleague or friend whose English is good. Although Grammarly had corrected all your grammar and spelling mistakes.

Still, make a quick check with your friend and get applause from your guide. 

Include objective, abstract and annexures:

Until and unless you don’t have included your objectives to thesis, how can someone understand your results? 

Enlist general and specific objectives of your study in the objective section or introduction (whatever suggested by your university or as per the guidelines). 

Also, at the beginning of the thesis, include a 250 to 500 words abstract which is the brief and comprehensive overview of whole research. 

Besides this, at the end of the thesis make annexures for calculations and other. These three things should be there in your thesis because objective, abstract and annexures give ideas to a reviewer regarding the background of your thesis. 


You will not be there while the reviewer reviews your thesis thus all things that make the navigation easy should be there in the draft or thesis. Numbering is one of them. Based on the number given in the index section to each chapter, the reviewer examines the thesis. 

For example, if he wants to read the material and method first, then he will go through the page number given to that chapter in the index. If he didn’t find it on that page number, then, only God will save you. 

What I mean to say, check and recheck all the page numbers of all chapters, tables and images to make it easy for the examiner to navigate. 

Related read: Doing part-time PhD .

Title and front page matter: 

Your thesis should be in accordance with the recommendations given by universities to write a thesis. However, matters like abstract, introduction, materials & methods, results & discussion and interpretations are common for all. Although the matter for the front page may vary among universities. 

But the common formats include the title of our PhD, your name, university and department name, your supervisor’s name and designation. 

Backup thesis:

While writing, it is very important to autosave your content, first, and second, make copies and back of your write up in multiple devices. Let me tell you, if somehow your computer stops working, you will be in a big problem, trust me. 

Always make a habit to save your PhD thesis on multiple devices. Use google drive or cloud storage. Also, send a mail of your everyday work to yourself or to your supervisor, so that you can excess it from anywhere. 

Making thesis impressive and attractive: 

I know a thesis is an education written draft but still it should look attractive, use images, charts, pies and tables to dictate results and other points. Also, try to explain things by flowcharts. 

Usually, images and photos can be used in introductions and reviews, flowcharts and workflows can be used in material-methods and charts, pie charts and graphs are used to indicate results. It makes your thesis more interesting to read. 

After all, a reader should be engaged with your thesis. 

One of the important things while using an image you have to take care of is the source of the image. If you are using someone else’s image or picture, make sure to give them credit, moreover, you can also use your own images.   

Avoid all other stuff: 

While writing a thesis, try to concentrate fully on the content because writing is a hard thing. Avoid checking mails, social media, messages and other things while writing. 

In addition to this, always prefer to write in a calm place, noisy places distract you. 

Print it and note it: 

Print chapters once you think you have completed it, on the next day morning when you feel fresh, read it on your high tea, take pencil and note down the mistakes. 

The point of doing all these things to make the thesis nearer to perfect before submitting it to your supervisor. 

Don’t try fancy things!

Keep in mind that you are preparing a professional write up, not some personal blog post or facebook note. Therefore, the thesis or dissertation should look professional, simple and straightforward.  

Try not to fill fancy, lengthy words and phrases or wordy sentences. Avoid complex sentences. Write to the point. 

My opinion: 

Writing a PhD thesis is not a one day process. You can’t write your entire thesis in a day, week or month. It required time. As per my personal opinion, start writing your thesis from the first week of your PhD. 

You have to pass at least three year to get a PhD. You think it is more than enough but trust me it is not! So don’t wait, start reading and writing. 


This is all for writing the thesis guys. I hope it will help you. Also, use grammarly premium, it will help you not only in PhD thesis but also in future to write research papers and other stuff. 

Download the free version from here or purchase it. 

Dr. Tushar Chauhan is a Scientist, Blogger and Scientific-writer. He has completed PhD in Genetics. Dr. Chauhan is a PhD coach and tutor.

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write a phd thesis

This page will explain what a PhD thesis is and offer advice on how to write a good thesis, from outlining the typical structure to guiding you through the referencing. A summary of this page is as follows:

What Is a Thesis?

A thesis is the main output of a PhD as it explains your workflow in reaching the conclusions you have come to in undertaking the research project. As a result, much of the content of your thesis will be based around your chapters of original work.

For your thesis to be successful, it needs to adequately defend your argument and provide a unique or increased insight into your field that was not previously available. As such, you can’t rely on other ideas or results to produce your thesis; it needs to be an original piece of text that belongs to you and you alone.

What Should a Thesis Include?

Although each thesis will be unique, they will all follow the same general format. To demonstrate this, we’ve put together an example structure of a PhD thesis and explained what you should include in each section below.


This is a personal section which you may or may not choose to include. The vast majority of students include it, giving both gratitude and recognition to their supervisor, university, sponsor/funder and anyone else who has supported them along the way.

1. Introduction

Provide a brief overview of your reason for carrying out your research project and what you hope to achieve by undertaking it. Following this, explain the structure of your thesis to give the reader context for what he or she is about to read.

2. Literature Review

Set the context of your research by explaining the foundation of what is currently known within your field of research, what recent developments have occurred, and where the gaps in knowledge are. You should conclude the literature review by outlining the overarching aims and objectives of the research project.

3. Main Body

This section focuses on explaining all aspects of your original research and so will form the bulk of your thesis. Typically, this section will contain four chapters covering the below:

Depending on your project, each of your chapters may independently contain the structure listed above or in some projects, each chapter could be focussed entirely on one aspect (e.g. a standalone results chapter). Ideally, each of these chapters should be formatted such that they could be translated into papers for submission to peer-reviewed journals. Therefore, following your PhD, you should be able to submit papers for peer-review by reusing content you have already produced.

4. Conclusion

The conclusion will be a summary of your key findings with emphasis placed on the new contributions you have made to your field.

When producing your conclusion, it’s imperative that you relate it back to your original research aims, objectives and hypotheses. Make sure you have answered your original question.

Finding a PhD has never been this easy – search for a PhD by keyword, location or academic area of interest.

How Many Words Is a PhD Thesis?

A common question we receive from students is – “how long should my thesis be?“.

Every university has different guidelines on this matter, therefore, consult with your university to get an understanding of their full requirements. Generally speaking, most supervisors will suggest somewhere between 70,000 and 100,000 words . This usually corresponds to somewhere between 250 – 350 pages .

We must stress that this is flexible, and it is important not to focus solely on the length of your thesis, but rather the quality.

How Do I Format My Thesis?

Although the exact formatting requirements will vary depending on the university, the typical formatting policies adopted by most universities are:

What Happens When I Finish My Thesis?

After you have submitted your thesis, you will attend a viva . A viva is an interview-style examination during which you are required to defend your thesis and answer questions on it. The aim of the viva is to convince your examiners that your work is of the level required for a doctoral degree. It is one of the last steps in the PhD process and arguably one of the most daunting!

For more information on the viva process and for tips on how to confidently pass it, please refer to our in-depth PhD Viva Guide .

How Do I Publish My Thesis?

Unfortunately, you can’t publish your thesis in its entirety in a journal. However, universities can make it available for others to read through their library system.

If you want to submit your work in a journal, you will need to develop it into one or more peer-reviewed papers. This will largely involve reformatting, condensing and tailoring it to meet the standards of the journal you are targeting.

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How to Write a Perfect Ph.D. Thesis

Writing a thesis or dissertation is considered the final phase of your Ph.D. journey. You must cover three to five years of study and research into your thesis. A doctoral thesis or dissertation is a long essay of knowledge and research on a specific niche that poses interesting questions and answers with your reasoning. Ph.D. candidates should carefully choose the study topic according to their expertise. This article explains how to write an impeccable Ph.D. thesis for outstanding results in 6 helpful steps.

write a phd thesis

Writing a thesis or dissertation is considered the final phase of your Ph.D. journey. You must cover three to five years of study and research into your thesis. Writing a Ph.D. thesis is among those assignments, which might be intimidating, despite, there is so much must do to get a Ph.D. thesis completed. However, the opposite can be truly satisfying if you have narrowed down the topic. A Ph.D. thesis is a final component or assignment of one’s candidacy for a degree and an opportunity to demonstrate what you’ve learned and researched.

A doctoral thesis or dissertation is a long essay of knowledge and research on a specific niche that poses interesting questions and answers with your reasoning. Ph.D. candidates should carefully choose the study topic according to their expertise. A thesis generally starts with an introductory paragraph with short background information on a topic you are examining. The thesis/dissertation statement is supposed to frame according to your stance on the topic you chose. This article explains how to write an impeccable Ph.D. thesis for exceptional results in 6 helpful steps.

Understanding the importance of a thesis paper

Theses are of great importance when it comes to doctoral studies. According to Science , Ph.D. students must complete and defend at least one thesis to earn the degree. All research papers need a thesis statement to grab the target group’s attention to clear where the thesis and research are heading.

Some studies show that the length of the thesis can vary from a single page to an essay to a Ph.D. dissertation of hundreds of pages long.

One of the biggest mistakes researchers might make while writing is jumping into a broad topic. The secret to writing a perfect Ph.D. thesis or dissertation is to narrow down your expertise. Along with this, gather supporting evidence and research and develop an outline around that. However, it is advised to choose a topic related to your interest and career goals. It will help you in developing skills and competencies that will be advantageous in a job search. The following simple tips might be beneficial to you on how to write a perfect Ph.D. thesis.

Step 1: Drafting a thesis statement

A thesis statement is a crucial part of a thesis or dissertation as it sums up the main objective of the thesis, and it is usually one or two sentences long, and it usually appears at the end of the introduction part. However, first, you need to find the study topic and theories that you’ve studied and researched over the course and adequately select a narrowed-down niche that is worth exploring further for you.

Step 2: Develop a study outline

A good Ph.D. thesis should be clear and precise. A study outline helps you ensure that the thesis is to the point and easy to follow. To ensure that, you must include an outline to structure the thesis within the interesting topic. Define the introduction and conclusion first, if you can, as it will help you cover the table of contents accordingly.

Ph.D. thesis

Step 3: Accumulate research evidence

After completing the crisp statement and a precise outline, the next essential step is to gather the shreds of evidence and support from your research. For a perfect dissertation or thesis to strive to excel, you need to put your points and claims effectively. Moreover, the best way to do so is by relying on the research and facts you will gather. Spend time researching your topic and accumulate knowledge, evidence, data, and fact to develop a perfect thesis.

The research process will be easy for you when you remind yourself that the goal is to explore and find new knowledge in the selected niche. Introduce different perspectives, add questions, find answers, and gain deeper insight.

Step 4: Start writing your Ph.D. thesis

When you start writing your Ph.D. thesis, you should write down most of the content and worry about editing and proofreading later. Remember, the quality of the research is what allows you to strive, not the quality of the writing. For the thesis, your writing format must be concise and specific. Add counterpoints, interrogating questions, and valid arguments.

Step 5: Format and style special sections

The last step of writing a Ph.D. thesis is to format the paper and highlight the important sections. It must be done after writing the Ph.D. thesis paper and completing the editing and proofreading phases. Highlight the points that you are confident about and contribute the most to the valid points. After this, you need to frame out the table of content and page numbers to phrase the paper formally.

Step 6: Avail professional thesis editing and proofreading service

Writing a Ph.D. thesis is not an easy task. However, systematic thinking and structure can make the process easier. From the introduction to the demonstration of your argument, literature review, and analysis of the result, everything is vital to prepare an outstanding Ph.D. thesis. However, if you want to seek assistance from a professional editing and proofreading service provider to write a seamless discussion chapter and thesis, feel free to  contact us.  We will be happy to help you.

Taking Ph.D. thesis help from professional editing and proofreading services doesn’t only facilitate the writing process but also helps you execute a flawless Ph.D. thesis with a well-formed and informative thesis paper. When highly qualified writers take responsibility for your Ph.D. thesis, you don’t need to worry about structure, consistency, flow, tone, grammar, and accuracy.

Conclusion and Implication

A Ph.D. thesis should be a scientific and scholarly piece of work. It must fulfill all the above-mentioned strategic points and conditions. According to a study by Faryadi (2018):

“ The Ph.D. thesis is not a simple book, but a scientific document as it includes the scholarly work, researched material, concepts, experimentations, contributions, and findings that could solve or mitigate a problem.”

When crafting a Ph.D. thesis, you must honestly ask yourself whether your research findings are arguable enough. As the niche is considered the foundation of the thesis, and it must be strong enough to hold the argument. Furthermore, the introduction of your thesis must be interesting enough to catch the reader’s curiosity. It should reinforce a desire to read your thesis till the end. Lastly, keep the format of the thesis in your mind and structure it accordingly. For example — place the thesis statement in the last paragraph of the introduction. People expect to find it there.

If you need us to make your Ph.D. thesis shine, contact us unhesitatingly!

Best Edit & Proof expert editors and proofreaders focus on offering manuscripts with proper tone, content, and style of  academic writing,  and also provide an upscale  editing and proofreading service  for you. If you consider our pieces of advice, you will witness a notable increase in the chance for your research manuscript to be accepted by the publishers. We work together as an academic writing style guide by bestowing subject-area editing and proofreading around several categorized writing styles. With the group of our expert editors, you will always find us all set to help you identify the tone and style that your manuscript needs to get a nod from the publishers.

Thesis/dissertation formatting service

You can also avail of our assistance if you are looking for editors who can format your manuscript, or just check on the  particular styles  for the formatting task as per the guidelines provided to you, e.g.,  APA,   MLA, or Chicago/Turabian styles. Best Edit & Proof editors and proofreaders provide all sorts of academic writing help, including editing and proofreading services, using our user-friendly website, and a streamlined ordering process.

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Visit our  order page  if you want our subject-area editors or language experts to work on your manuscript to improve its tone and style and give it a perfect academic tone and style through proper editing and proofreading. The process of submitting a paper is very easy and quick. Click here to find out how it  works.

Our pricing is based on the type of service you avail of here, be it editing or proofreading. We charge on the basis of the word count of your manuscript that you submit for editing and proofreading and the turnaround time it takes to get it done. If you want to get an instant price quote for your project, copy and paste your document or enter your word count into our  pricing calculator.

Ph.D. thesis

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Ph.D. thesis

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This article explains how to write an impeccable Ph.D. thesis for outstanding results. To give you an opportunity to practice proofreading, we have left a few spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors in the text. See if you can spot them! If you spot the errors correctly, you will be entitled to a 10% discount.

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write a phd thesis

You have been working hard on your research paper and want to write an excellent dissertation/thesis. You have researched all the materials, and your data are perfect— all you need to do is put them together in a dissertation or thesis. But how do you manage that? While working on the research is not easy, it’s structuring a dissertation or thesis that the main issue lies with. Therefore, if you are struggling with structuring your dissertation or thesis, this article may be of help.

write a phd thesis

At the end of most undergraduate or postgraduate degrees, you are required to submit a thesis or a dissertation based on original research. The way of writing and the structure of a dissertation depends on your field of study and sometimes your program. However, it is largely divided into at least four or five chapters, including the introduction and conclusion. A dissertation is an extended usually written treatment of a subject, specifically one submitted for a doctorate. This article provides a step-by-step guide on writing and structuring a dissertation

write a phd thesis

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write a phd thesis

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How to nail your PhD proposal and get accepted: Examples included

How to nail your PhD proposal and get accepted: Examples included

Getting a PhD place is not easy – which is why your PhD proposal needs to be passionate and convincing. A good research proposal will make a difference between acceptance and rejection, between making your project a reality and going back to the drawing board.

Nearly 200.000 people earn a PhD every year in the U.S. alone, making the field incredibly competitive.

That’s why a PhD research proposal is important: it formally outlines the intended research, including your methodology, timeline, feasibility, and many other factors that need to be taken into consideration.

So, here is what your PhD proposal should contain, how the PhD process looks like and how it should look.

What is a PhD proposal?

A PhD proposal represents a brief rundown of your project which highlights its uniqueness and aims to convince the recipients of the importance of your work.

Usually, it contains the following elements and responds to the following questions:

In terms of length, there isn’t an exact answer.

This depends on the institution you’re applying to, so always go through guidelines or contact the department in charge to make sure you have the correct information.

Benefits of having a strong PhD application

The main and the most obvious benefit of having a strong PhD application is being accepted to the PhD program. This is the most important step as it can make or break your success.

Most applicants are somewhat confused by the process since it requires a lot of information and a big emphasis is put on using the correct proposal structure.

That doesn’t have to be the issue, though, since you have access to awesome research proposal templates that will do half the work for you.

If you’re still unsure whether applying for a PhD is a good choice, let’s consider the main benefits of going through with the process:

Stages of PhD programs

Applying for PhDs and going through the program is a rigorous process that consists of different stages.

Those stages are:

Step 1. The first words: your project title

This section is pretty self-explanatory: it’s the first page of your proposal that outlines your project’s name and basic information.

Being the first thing potential supervisors will be looking at, your title page should be engaging and invite them to read on.

In other words, your project should have an engaging title that demonstrates the potential of the whole idea in a few words.

However, the title page should go a little further than simply conveying the name of your project – it should some indication of how you’ll approach the problem and what kinds of key questions you’ll be answering.

This page should also contain your information: name, academic title, date of birth, contact, etc.

Step 2. Introduce your research supervisor

Right after your project title, you have to state the name, department, and faculty of your supervisor.

Your research supervisor will also cooperate with you to review and improve the proposal before submission to ensure it meets all the criteria of your subject area.

These details are sometimes included right on the first page, with your project title and description.

Step 3. Outline the proposed mode of research

Your mode of research is essentially the type of research you’ll be doing.

Think of it as a format or style of research – field research, written work, data studies – all of these are modes of research. Different sciences, disciplines, and problems require different types of research, so this will usually be closely linked to your field.

This is usually not needed for research in the sciences field but you should consult with your supervisor to learn how to formulate this section.

It’s also important not to go too deep into describing your research at this point – then you’re going into the methodology. Here, you just need to briefly describe what’s the nature of your proposed project.

Step 4. List your aims and objectives

Now we’re getting into the specifics.

In this section of your PhD or thesis proposal , you need to tell the reader exactly what you’re looking to achieve with your research. It should also reference what’s the reason for your application to get a research degree.

Are you testing a theory, addressing some deficiencies in the current research, or something else?

So, start with the big questions your research is trying to answer – those will usually be your aims.

Your objectives, on the other hand, are your aims broken down, the specific steps that need to be taken to achieve your intended outcome.

Here is a graduate research proposal example:

Aim of the research:

Establish whether the occurrence of adolescent violence can be caused by the portrayal of violence in the media.


As you can see, the aim is a broad statement while objectives are more specific. If this seems too difficult, you might want to try some customizable research proposal templates .

Step 5. Give a brief synopsis (give an example)

A synopsis is a brief summary of what your research is about. Think of it as a shortened version of the proposal that needs to explain to the reader what your research project is looking to achieve without getting into too many specifics.

A good test is to simply give someone your synopsis to read without looking at the rest of the proposal. Then simply ask them if they understand what you’re trying to do and what the project is all about.

Here is an example of a brief summary.

My PhD project will be situated within the field that takes a look at all the social impacts of environmental degeneration. The research will focus on how climate change affects inequality, violence, and other social issues that take place in many Eurasian countries. I will specifically address my primary research question towards the case of the Phillippines as a country rich with natural resources that are being exploited by Western countries and which has been experiencing high levels of violence and inequity. It’s an understudied case that has been affecting the entire region […]

Step 6. Get into details with your background

This is where you give the reader the “why” of your research.

What has been happening in your field and what is the current research client on the topic? Provide some context through an existing literature review and introduce the reader to the specific issues you’ll later be addressing.

This does two things:

Make sure you rely on the existing research of notable scholars in your area of research and explain how they have affected the field so far.

Step 7. Expected research contribution: what are you bringing to the table?

In this section, you want to tell the reader not only why there’s a need for your proposed research but how it will affect the entire field of study.

Start by answering the following questions:

The last question is particularly important and it plays a vital part in creating a connection with the reader. It shows that you’re applying at the right place, for the right reasons.

Step 8. Explain your proposed methodology

In the research methodology section, you need to explain the how – what techniques you’ll be using to conduct your research.

Don’t be afraid to go into great detail here: describe what equipment, personnel, and subject you’ll need. Tell the reader how you will collect your data and which theoretical frameworks you’ll be drawing on.

Make sure to explain why these particular research methods are suitable for your project but also cover why some others might not be.

This will demonstrate that you took the time to find the perfect solution to carrying out your research.

When writing the methodology section , you should also anticipate any potential issues like time constraints, ethical considerations, personnel challenges, and anything else you might think of.

Address these issues and offer potential solutions.

Ultimately, this section should leave the reader with no questions about your research design and data collection.

They should have a clear picture of how you’ve thought out the practical aspect of the project and how you plan to tackle everything that goes with it.

Step 9. Provide a detailed work plan

Your work plan is essentially a detailed timeline that shows how you plan to execute your research through the course of your postgraduate studies.

Remember, PhD students can take up to four years to complete their studies so you have to show that you understand the time involved with the project.

You need to demonstrate your planning capabilities and give a plan that covers everything with realistic, thought-out deadlines.

It’s a good idea to separate your Goals from your Activities so that the reader can see both what you’re planning to do and the specific activities you’ll be participating in to make everything happen.

You can also provide a detailed plan for year one with more general overviews for later years.

Here is an example of a work plan for the first year.

Step 10. List all your required resources

This is another section where you need to demonstrate just how much thought and planning you’ve put into your PhD application.

In the resources section, your goal should be to list everything you’ll need to make your project a reality: materials, equipment, travel expenses, staff – everything that could be considered a cost or resource.

It should all be boiled down to a single proposed budget.

Resources are often presented in the form of a table to make things easier to track and identify.

Step 11. List all your sources in the bibliography section

Finally, there is the obligatory Bibliography section where you need to mention all the references you used throughout the proposal.

Where possible, provide links to the publications.

A bibliography section will usually look something like this.


Federici, S. (2012). The Reproduction of Labor Power in the Global Economy and the Unfinished Feminist Revolution (2008). In S. Federici (Ed.). Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction and Feminist Struggle. Oakland: PM Press, pp.91-111.

Virdee, S. (2019). Racialized capitalism: An account of its contested origins and consolidation. The Sociological Review, 67(01), pp.3-27. [Online]. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/0038026118820293.

Bhattacharyya, G. (2018). Social Reproduction: Gender, Racism, Nature. In G. Bhattacharyya (ed.). Rethinking Racial Capitalism: Questions of Reproduction for Survival. London: Rowman and Littlefield, pp.39-69.

The pros and cons of templates for PhD proposals

There are no particularly strict rules when it comes to the format of PhD proposals – your supervisor will be more than capable of guiding you through the process.

Still, since everything is so structured and formal, you might want to use a template to help you get started. Templates can help you stay on track and make sure your proposal follows a certain logic.

A lot of proposal software solutions offer templates for different types of proposals, including PhD proposals.

But, should you use a template? Here are some pros and cons to help you make a decision.

In our research proposal template , we give you just enough direction to help you follow through but we don’t limit your creativity to a point that you can’t express yourself and all the nuances of your research.

For almost all sections, you get a few useful examples to point you in the right direction. The template provides you with a typical PhD proposal structure that’s perfect for almost all disciplines.

It can come in quite handy when you have everything planned out in your head but you’re just having trouble putting it into pen and paper!

Conclusion: writing a PhD proposal

Writing and completing a PhD proposal might be confusing at first: you need to follow a certain logic and share all the required information without going too long or sharing too much about the project.

And, while your supervisor will certainly be there to guide you, the brunt of the work will still fall on your shoulders.

That’s why you need to stay informed, do your research, and don’t give up until you feel comfortable with what you’ve created.

If you want to get a head start, you might want to consider our research proposal template . It will offer you a structure to follow and give you an idea on what to write in each section.

Start your free trial with PandaDoc and check out all the functionalities you’ll have at your disposal!

Frequently asked questions about PhD proposals

How long should a phd proposal be.

There really isn’t a specific rule when it comes to the length of a PhD proposal. However, it’s generally accepted that it should be between 1,500 and 2,000 words.

You can’t elaborate on such a serious project in less than 1,200-1,500 words but going over 2,000 is overkill. You’ll lose people’s attention and water down your points.

What’s the difference between a dissertation proposal and a PhD proposal?

There seems to be some confusion over the terms “dissertation” and “PhD” and how you write proposals for each one. However, “dissertation” is just another name for your PhD research so the proposal for a dissertation would be the same since it’s quite literally the same thing.

Does a PhD proposal include budgeting?

Yes, as mentioned, you need to demonstrate the feasibility of your project within the given time frame and with the resources you need, including budgets. You don’t need to be 100% exact but you need to have accurate, based estimates for everything.

More importantly, you need to show that you thought of every little detail.

How is a PhD proposal evaluated?

This will change from one institution to another but these things will generally have a big impact on the reviewers:

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How to write a fantastic thesis introduction (+15 examples)

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Elements of a fantastic thesis introduction

Ways to capture the reader’s attention, open with a (personal) story.

An established way to capture the reader’s attention in a thesis introduction is by starting with a story. Regardless of how abstract and ‘scientific’ the actual thesis content is, it can be useful to ease the reader into the topic with a short story.

Start by providing data or statistics

Data and statistics are another established way to immediately draw in your reader. Especially surprising or shocking numbers can highlight the importance of a thesis topic in the first few sentences!

Begin with a problem

Emphasising the thesis’ relevance.

A good thesis is a relevant thesis. No one wants to read about a concept that has already been explored hundreds of times, or that no one cares about.

Define a clear research gap

Describe the scientific relevance of the thesis, describe the societal relevance of the thesis, formulating a compelling argument.

Arguments are sets of reasons supporting an idea, which – in academia – often integrate theoretical and empirical insights. Think of an argument as an umbrella statement, or core claim. It should be no longer than one or two sentences.

Write down the thesis’ core claim in 1-2 sentences

Support your argument with sufficient evidence.

The core claim of your thesis should be accompanied by sufficient evidence. This does not mean that you have to write 10 pages about your results at this point.

Consider possible objections

Think about reasons or opposing positions that people can come up with to disagree with your claim. Then, try to address them head-on.

Providing a captivating preview of findings

Address the empirical research context.

If you focus on a specific empirical context, make sure to provide some information about it. The empirical context could be, for instance, a country, an island, a school or city. Make sure the reader understands why you chose this context for your research, and why it fits to your research objective.

Give a taste of the thesis’ empirical analysis

Hint at the practical implications of the research, presenting a crystal clear thesis structure, provide a reading guide, briefly summarise all chapters to come, design a figure illustrating the thesis structure, get new content delivered directly to your inbox, the most useful academic social networking sites for phd students, 10 reasons not to do a master's degree, related articles, phd thesis types: monograph and collection of articles, better thesis writing with the pomodoro® technique, how to prepare your viva opening speech, first meeting with your dissertation supervisor: what to expect.

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Are you a non-native English speaker or do you struggle to write fluently? Are you worried about the quality of the writing in your PhD? 

That’s a problem, because a thesis with language and fluency issues will get sent back for costly and time consuming corrections.

We can help. 

We offer the world’s most popular and comprehensive PhD writing check-up. It’s our job to correct your writing and make sure your thesis reads like a native speaker wrote it. With our help, you can submit with confidence and be one step closer to calling yourself ‘Doctor’.

We’re a member of the  Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading  (CIEP) and are bound by their Code of Practice . That means you can be assured of the highest levels of quality and professionalism in everything we do.

We’ve helped over 6,000 students graduate, so no one is better qualified to make your writing shine.

“The PhD Proofreaders exceeded my expectations. The end result was a dissertation which was not only written in proper English but had much clearer content as well.”

Andrew – university of sydney., read more reviews ., the world’s most comprehensive phd writing check-up.

Did you know it takes 40 hours to proofread an 80,000 word thesis? Or that your proofreader has to watch out for up to 100 common language, fluency and grammar problems?

You’ll certainly notice the difference when you open your thesis and you can’t believe your eyes.

You’ll notice it when long, hard-to-read paragraphs now flow seamlessly and that your ideas are presented with flawless, fluent writing.

When you get your proofread thesis back, you’ll think to yourself, “It reads like a native speaker wrote it”.

Our experienced proofreaders will comb your writing line-by-line. They check for anything that gets in the way of you presenting your research clearly and fluently.

So whether it’s grammar, syntax, repetition or spelling you struggle with, let us find the language flaws and correct them for you.

You’ll be one step closer to calling yourself Doctor

We’re a member of the  Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading  (CIEP) and are bound by their Code of Practice .

Money-back guarantee

You’ll love how we polish and fine-tune your text. If you don’t, we’ll proofread it again for free. If you’re still not happy, we’ll give you a refund.

Need proof? Send us a chapter from your thesis and we’ll proofread the first 500 words for free.

We have a strict Privacy Policy and will gladly sign a non-disclosure agreement to give you complete peace of mind. 

Because we’re the most popular PhD-dedicated proofreaders, you know you’re in safe hands.

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Proofreading specifically for PhD students

We check for and correct mistakes with grammar, spelling, word use, repetition and tone. We spend 40 hours combing line-by-line through an 80,000 word thesis, so you know that no mistakes will be left. Even your examiner won’t read your thesis that carefully.

We do everything we’re allowed to as proofreaders while preserving your integrity. We never disrupt or alter your ideas. Instead, we take what you’ve written and make it shine.

We understand deadlines

You’re up against tight deadlines and you feel under pressure to submit. That’s why we work quickly and efficiently when proofreading your thesis.

We typically take four working days for a 10,000 word chapter or twelve for an entire 80,000 words thesis. We can work more quickly though if you need us to – just let us know (additional fees may apply).

Our turnaround times are guaranteed and we’ll clearly communicate them with when you order. We’ll never cause you to miss a deadline.

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60 disciplines, 100 countries, 6,000 satisfied students

Our proofreaders are experienced in a wide range of academic areas. Our service is designed specifically for:

Tailored to your requirements

You need to know that the person proofreading your PhD can understand the technical terms of your discipline.

That’s why we assign it to an accredited proofreader with expertise in your discipline. All our proofreaders have at least a master’s degree, with most having PhDs themselves. In either case, they speak your language.

Because we only proofread PhDs, we know the process inside out. We know exactly what’s required and what standard you should be writing at. You can be sure we’ll treat your thesis with the respect it deserves and catch every writing mistake.

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Safe, secure and 100% confidential.

You need to be 100% sure that you can trust the people working on your thesis. That’s why we treat your thesis safely, securely and confidentially. We treat it as if it were our own. 

We have a robust Privacy Policy and we will gladly sign a non-disclosure agreement to give you complete peace of mind. We’re also bound by the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading’s Code of Practice,  so you can be sure of a professional, thorough service. 

We will also work on a 500-word free sample, so you can assess the quality of our work, and we offer a 100% money-back guarantee if you aren’t happy with the finished product. 

What other students say

Finishing a PhD is a difficult and nerve-racking endeavour   the final phases especially can be quite stressful. As I had re-read some of the chapters in my thesis over and over again, I felt that I could not really ‘see’ the words anymore, so I decided to look for a proofreader. I’m a perfectionist, so I figured that I’d save myself a lot of nerves by having someone look over it critically. While I’m not a native English-speaker, I’m a very confident writer, so I did not need any help with the language. Instead, I was looking for someone who could help spot typos as well as repetitions and general inconsistencies. I contacted a range of different proofreading services. The PhD Proofreaders stood out to me from the start. It felt very personal, and Max really took the time to listen to all of my enquiries. In addition to his expertise, he can empathise with the stress of handling the final stages of writing. Turnaround time was very quick, and the proofreading was generally quite thorough. The entire process was very smooth; we agreed on a timetable and he even managed to send comments back before the deadline we had agreed upon. Even after sending me his comments, he checked in regularly to see if I needed help with anything in the final weeks before submission. He is encouraging, always goes the extra mile, and super easy to communicate with; I was always able to get a hold of him when I needed something. All in all, it was well worth the money and I highly recommend his services!

PhD Researcher , University of Cambridge

“Without this personalised assistance, there is no way I would have felt comfortable paying a proofreader. The PhD Proofreaders couldn’t have done a better job. It was such a relief. The thesis they sent back read so beautifully and I was awarded no corrections.”

“You and your excellent professional skills can always cheer me up and bring me more confidence at the last stage of this long matharon.”

“Without The PhD Proofreaders, there is no chance I would have submitted my thesis on time. I wouldn’t have passed first time, either. My thesis was let down by poor English, so the money I spent was worth every penny. It was a great investment.”

“Your solidarity with developing countries’ PhD students who would never be able to afford other similar services, makes you standout not only high quality proofreading services provider but also an understanding and personal service supplier. This unique approach puts you at the helm of the pack.”

“After talking to Elizabeth [a PhD coach], I didn’t wake up in the middle of the night last night for the first time in months! Ahh to have this feeling over my destiny again is very nice”.  – Rachel, France.

Frequently asked questions...

What's included.

When we’re finished, your thesis will read like a native speaker wrote it. Included as standard:

1. Checking and correcting misspelling and incorrect punctuation.

2. Checking grammar and syntax. This can include rewording parts of a sentence or a whole sentence in order to clarify your English, which can be in US, UK or Australian spellings.

3. Leaving comments for you where the meaning of the text is unclear or confusing in order to help readability.

4. Identifying the incorrect use of words and suggesting alternatives or the need for you to investigate alternatives.

5. Ensuring consistency in terms of spelling,  punctuation, capitalisation and other aspects of style.

We always use track changes, so you can see every change that was made. Plus, we never guess your meaning – if anything isn’t clear we’ll ask for further clarification.

What isn't included?

There are strict rules governing what we are allowed to do. That means we can’t:

1. Edit your text to make it more concise.

2. Alter the structure of your text.

3. Feedback on the structure, content, or argumentation.

4. Cut the overall word/page count (although we may leave comments to suggest where you might do this).

5. Make stylistic changes to make the work more ‘academic’ or ‘professional’.

6. Format the text, tables, reference list, or in-text citations (sometimes we are able to do this on a case by case basis, please ask us when you make your booking).

Who will proofread my work?

Your work will be proofread by two accredited proofreaders with subject-specialism. We always assign the most qualified proofreader, so nothing gets misunderstood.

We always use contractors, meaning we have the pick of some of the world’s best proofreaders (and we know where to find them).

How can I trust you?

We are a member of the Chartered Institute of Editors and Proofreaders and are bound by their Code of Practice . That governs the quality of our work and the way we interact with you, and shows our commitment to professionalism. 

We also offer a money back guarantee. That’s how confident we are in the quality of our work.

We also follow the rules laid out by your university or, where these aren’t available, the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading Code of Practice.

We also offer a free, no-obligation sample so you can see for yourself the quality our work.

We always treat your work securely and confidentially. We have a strict Privacy Policy  governing how we manage your thesis and data, and will gladly sign a non-disclosure agreement, to give you complete peace of mind.

Avoid months of unnecessary corrections with a thesis that's right first time

When you first started your PhD you were fired by ambition and excited by the possibilities of your field.

Then reality struck. Writing 80,000 words of clear, error-free prose on a highly specialised subject is no easy task. If writing is not your forte, or English is not your first language, the challenge becomes even more daunting.

At The PhD Proofreaders, we understand the position you’re in.

Our mission is to make your life easier and less stressful than ours was when we were doing our PhDs. We saw people failing or facing months of corrections because of poor-quality written work, despite being experts in their field.

We’ve seen over and over again the value of a writing check-up. Language mistakes undermine all the hard work, time and money you’ve put into your thesis. They can harm your credibility and delay your graduation. Our writing check-up is a small price to pay to make sure your thesis is right first time.

PhD proofreading can transform the quality of your written work and allow you to submit a more competent thesis more quickly. 

Doctor. Sooner.

That’s what it’s all about.

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Above 40,000 words, turnaround times.

We guarantee the following turnaround times.

If you need your work back more quickly, let us know when you make an inquiry. We can meet even the tightest deadlines (additional fees may apply).

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Prize-Winning Thesis and Dissertation Examples

Published on September 9, 2022 by Tegan George . Revised on November 11, 2022.

It can be difficult to know where to start when writing your thesis or dissertation . One way to come up with some ideas or maybe even combat writer’s block is to check out previous work done by other students on a similar thesis or dissertation topic to yours.

This article collects a list of undergraduate, master’s, and PhD theses and dissertations that have won prizes for their high-quality research.

Table of contents

Award-winning undergraduate theses, award-winning master’s theses, award-winning ph.d. dissertations.

University : University of Pennsylvania Faculty : History Author : Suchait Kahlon Award : 2021 Hilary Conroy Prize for Best Honors Thesis in World History Title : “Abolition, Africans, and Abstraction: the Influence of the “Noble Savage” on British and French Antislavery Thought, 1787-1807”

University : Columbia University Faculty : History Author : Julien Saint Reiman Award : 2018 Charles A. Beard Senior Thesis Prize Title : “A Starving Man Helping Another Starving Man”: UNRRA, India, and the Genesis of Global Relief, 1943-1947

University: University College London Faculty: Geography Author: Anna Knowles-Smith Award:  2017 Royal Geographical Society Undergraduate Dissertation Prize Title:  Refugees and theatre: an exploration of the basis of self-representation

University: University of Washington Faculty:  Computer Science & Engineering Author: Nick J. Martindell Award: 2014 Best Senior Thesis Award Title:  DCDN: Distributed content delivery for the modern web

University:  University of Edinburgh Faculty:  Informatics Author:  Christopher Sipola Award:  2018 Social Responsibility & Sustainability Dissertation Prize Title:  Summarizing electricity usage with a neural network

University:  University of Ottawa Faculty:  Education Author:  Matthew Brillinger Award:  2017 Commission on Graduate Studies in the Humanities Prize Title:  Educational Park Planning in Berkeley, California, 1965-1968

University:  University of Ottawa Faculty: Social Sciences Author:  Heather Martin Award:  2015 Joseph De Koninck Prize Title:  An Analysis of Sexual Assault Support Services for Women who have a Developmental Disability

University : University of Ottawa Faculty : Physics Author : Guillaume Thekkadath Award : 2017 Commission on Graduate Studies in the Sciences Prize Title : Joint measurements of complementary properties of quantum systems

University:  London School of Economics Faculty: International Development Author: Lajos Kossuth Award:  2016 Winner of the Prize for Best Overall Performance Title:  Shiny Happy People: A study of the effects income relative to a reference group exerts on life satisfaction

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University : Stanford University Faculty : English Author : Nathan Wainstein Award : 2021 Alden Prize Title : “Unformed Art: Bad Writing in the Modernist Novel”

University : University of Massachusetts at Amherst Faculty : Molecular and Cellular Biology Author : Nils Pilotte Award : 2021 Byron Prize for Best Ph.D. Dissertation Title : “Improved Molecular Diagnostics for Soil-Transmitted Molecular Diagnostics for Soil-Transmitted Helminths”

University:  Utrecht University Faculty:  Linguistics Author:  Hans Rutger Bosker Award: 2014 AVT/Anéla Dissertation Prize Title:  The processing and evaluation of fluency in native and non-native speech

University: California Institute of Technology Faculty: Physics Author: Michael P. Mendenhall Award: 2015 Dissertation Award in Nuclear Physics Title: Measurement of the neutron beta decay asymmetry using ultracold neutrons

University:  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Faculty: Computer Science Author:  John Criswell Award:  2014 Doctoral Dissertation Award Title:   Secure Virtual Architecture: Security for Commodity Software Systems

University:  Stanford University Faculty: Management Science and Engineering Author:  Shayan O. Gharan Award:  Doctoral Dissertation Award 2013 Title:   New Rounding Techniques for the Design and Analysis of Approximation Algorithms

University: University of Minnesota Faculty: Chemical Engineering Author: Eric A. Vandre Award:  2014 Andreas Acrivos Dissertation Award in Fluid Dynamics Title: Onset of Dynamics Wetting Failure: The Mechanics of High-speed Fluid Displacement

University: Erasmus University Rotterdam Faculty: Marketing Author: Ezgi Akpinar Award: McKinsey Marketing Dissertation Award 2014 Title: Consumer Information Sharing: Understanding Psychological Drivers of Social Transmission

University: University of Washington Faculty: Computer Science & Engineering Author: Keith N. Snavely Award:  2009 Doctoral Dissertation Award Title: Scene Reconstruction and Visualization from Internet Photo Collections

University:  University of Ottawa Faculty:  Social Work Author:  Susannah Taylor Award: 2018 Joseph De Koninck Prize Title:  Effacing and Obscuring Autonomy: the Effects of Structural Violence on the Transition to Adulthood of Street Involved Youth

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PhD thesis first draft: 8 practical writing tips for PhD students

PhD thesis first draft: 8 practical writing tips for PhD students

Many early career researchers will agree that the most difficult step in writing a PhD thesis is getting started. Students often find themselves mentally unprepared to take on this challenge as most formal training revolves around conducting research with little focus on how to write a PhD thesis. Uncertainty about the guidelines for PhD thesis writing and how to present their study in an engaging, impactful way often results in procrastination, self-doubt, and anxiety among otherwise confident researchers. The fact is students need to write a PhD thesis to complete their doctoral degree, and as ironic as it seems, the only remedy to this inertia is to meet this challenge head-on.

This article provides young researchers with practical tips to help them deliver a successful first draft when writing a PhD thesis.

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Written by Ben Taylor

The PhD thesis is the most important part of a doctoral research degree: the culmination of three or four years of full-time work towards producing an original contribution to your academic field.

Your PhD dissertation can therefore seem like quite a daunting possibility, with a hefty word count, the pressure of writing something new and, of course, the prospect of defending it at a viva once you’ve finished.

This page will give you an introduction to what you need to know about the doctoral thesis, with advice on structure, feedback, submission and more.

On this page

Beginning your phd thesis.

The first stage of your PhD thesis will usually be the literature review . We’ve already written a detailed guide to what the PhD literature review involves , but here’s what you need to know about this stage of your PhD:

After finishing your literature review, you’ll move onto the bulk of your PhD dissertation. Of course, you’ll eventually return to the lit review to make sure it’s up-to-date and contains any additional material you may have come across during the course of your research.

PhD thesis research

What sets your PhD thesis apart from previous university work you’ve done is the fact that it should represent an original contribution to academic knowledge . The form that this original contribution takes will largely depend on your discipline.

Depending on the nature of your research, you may ‘write up’ your findings as you go, or leave it until the dedicated ‘writing-up’ period, usually in the third year of your PhD. Whatever your approach, it’s vital to keep detailed notes of your sources and methods – it’ll make your life a lot easier when it comes to using references in your dissertation further down the line.

PhD thesis vs dissertation

It’s common to use the terms ‘thesis’ and ‘dissertation’ interchangeably, but strictly speaking there is a difference in meaning between them:

Put simply, you submit a dissertation, but it’s the thesis it attempts to prove that will form the basis of your PhD.

What this also means is that the writing up of your dissertation generally follows the formulation of your thesis (it’s fairly difficult to write up a PhD before you know what you want to say!).

However, it’s normal for universities and academics to use either (or both) terms when describing PhD research – indeed, we use both ‘thesis’ and ‘dissertation’ across our website.

Can I use my Masters research in my PhD thesis?

If you’re studying an MPhil, it’s normal to ‘ upgrade ’ it into a PhD. You may be able to expand on a previous MA or MSc dissertation – or use part of it in one of your PhD thesis chapters. However, you should discuss this with your supervisor and be careful to avoid self-plagiarisation. Similarly, be aware that a PhD is supposed to be a completely original contribution to your field and shouldn’t draw too heavily on work that you’ve already done.

PhD thesis structure

Having completed your initial literature review and conducted your original research, you’ll move onto the next phase of your doctoral dissertation, beginning to sketch out a plan that your thesis will follow.

The exact structure and make-up of your thesis will vary between fields, but this is the general template that many dissertations follow:

How long should a PhD thesis be?

PhD thesis lengths vary from subject to subject, but all are far longer than those for undergraduate or Masters degrees. Your university will usually set an upper limit – typically between 70,000 and 100,000 words, with most dissertations coming in at around 80,000 words.

Generally speaking, STEM-based theses will be a little shorter than those in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

Different universities (and departments) will have different policies regarding what counts towards this word count, so make sure you’re aware what is expected of you. Check with your supervisor whether references, the bibliography or appendices are included in the word count for your dissertation.

How many chapters should a PhD thesis have?

There’s no hard and fast rule for the numbers of chapters in a PhD thesis, but most will have four or five chapters (in addition to the introduction and conclusion). This is the sort of thing you’ll discuss with your supervisor when planning out your research – you should agree on a suitable number of topics to tackle in your dissertation during your supervisory meetings.

Writing up your PhD thesis

Once you’ve conducted your research and settled upon your thesis, there’s only one thing left to do: get it down on paper. Appropriately enough, this final part of a PhD is often referred to as the ‘ writing up period ’.

This is when you produce the final dissertation, which will be submitted as the basis for your viva voce exam. The nature of this task can vary from PhD to PhD.

In some cases you may already have a large amount of chapter drafts and other material. ‘Writing up’ therefore becomes a process of re-drafting and assembling this work into a final dissertation. This approach is common in Arts and Humanities subjects where PhD students tend to work through stages of a project, writing as they go.

Alternatively, you may have spent most of your PhD collecting and analysing data. If so, you’ll now ‘write up’ your findings and conclusions in order to produce your final dissertation. This approach is more common in STEM subjects, where experiment design and data collection are much more resource intensive.

Whatever process you adopt, you’ll now produce a persuasive and coherent statement of your argument, ready to submit for examination.

PhD thesis feedback

Your supervisor will usually give you feedback on each chapter draft, and then feedback on the overall completed dissertation draft before you submit it for examination. When the thesis is a work-in-progress, their comments will be a chance for them to make sure your research is going in the right direction and for you to ask their advice on anything you’re concerned about. This feedback will normally be given in the form of a supervisory meeting.

Although your PhD supervisor will be happy to give you advice on your work, you shouldn’t expect them to be an editor – it’s not their responsibility to correct grammatical or spelling mistakes, and you should make sure any drafts you submit to them are as error-free as possible. Similarly, they won’t be willing to edit your work down to fit a particular word count.

Finishing your PhD thesis

When you’ve finished the final draft of your doctoral thesis and it’s been approved by your supervisor, you’ll submit it for examination. This is when it’s sent to the examiners who will conduct your viva.

Submitting your thesis involves printing enough copies for your examiners and the university’s repository. Don’t leave this until the last minute – printing multiple copies of a 300-page document is a substantial undertaking and you should always allow enough time to account for any possible glitches or issues with the printing process.

Your viva will usually take place within three months of submitting your thesis. You can find out more in our dedicated guide to the PhD viva . After your viva, your examiners will give you a report that confirms whether or not you need to make any changes to your thesis, with several different potential outcomes:

Most PhD students will need to fix some corrections with their thesis (hopefully not major ones). It’s very rare for a dissertation to be failed.

Once you’ve made any necessary changes to your thesis, you’ll submit it one last time (usually electronically).

If you have plans to publish all or part of your work, you may want to request an embargo so that it won’t be visible to the public for a certain time. 12 months is a fairly standard time period for this, although you may want to ask for a longer embargo if you know that you want to turn your thesis into a book or monograph.

Doing a PhD

For more information on what it’s like to do a PhD, read our guides to research proposals , academic conferences and the viva .

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  1. What Is a Dissertation?

    A dissertation is a long-form piece of academic writing based on original research conducted by you. It is usually submitted as the final step in order to finish a PhD program. Your dissertation is probably the longest piece of writing you've ever completed.

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    Step 1: Start with a question. You should come up with an initial thesis, sometimes called a working thesis, early in the writing process. As soon as you've decided on your essay topic, you need to work out what you want to say about it—a clear thesis will give your essay direction and structure.

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    Choose the type of paper you need written, the number of pages, deadline and other requirements. Select a writer from the list and contact a few of them via our live chat function to help you make your final choice. Add funds to your balance and writer will start working on your paper.

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    into a PhD thesis | that is another story. It is all about writing a successful thesis and enjoying the viva. Let's get started! 2 Writing a thesis At the point of writing up, PhD students are unlikely to have written many theses: typically one to document an undergraduate nal year project and possibly another one at Master level.

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    How to write a PhD thesis? Follow the sample format of seniors' thesis. Decide the names of the 5 chapters of thesis. Write headings and sub heading under each chapter. Expand each heading with out ambiguity and repetition. Write each paragraph in no more than 300 words. Write thesis to a minumum of 70000 words. Use table and figures appropriately.

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    So, writing a PhD thesis is undoubtedly a key to success in a doctorate or PhD. Here in the present article, I will give you sixteen proven tips for writing a thesis for a PhD. Read things: thesis, reviews and articles Create a rough draft start writing Avoid spelling and punctuation mistakes Defeat grammar mistakes Proper citation

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    Step 4. List your aims and objectives. Now we're getting into the specifics. In this section of your PhD or thesis proposal, you need to tell the reader exactly what you're looking to achieve with your research. It should also reference what's the reason for your application to get a research degree.

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    Our reliable PhD dissertation writing services in the UK have employed only PhD qualified writers to be a part of our team. We have 100+ subject specialists available with us and they have been crafting distinction-winning dissertations for UK students since 2003. Our top-rated PhD dissertation help specialises in writing dissertations on ...

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    Writing methodology for your PhD thesis requires exceptional skill that every . Q. Faryadi DOI: 10.4236/ce.2019.104057 770 Creative Education PhD candidate must take note. Unfortunately, of the majorityPhD candidates find it difficult to finish their thesis on time because of confusion and lake of ex-