Developing An Effective Dissertation Plan: Basic Hints

Planning your work on a dissertation you’ll need to compile a to-do list and create an outline of your main points. Creating an effective plan will save your time and effort during the research and writing process. Use the following tips to know about different ways of organizing your work.

  • A linear plan.
  • This type of sketching lies in creating a step-by-step plan. As a result, you’ll get a clear outline of the essential parts or elements of your dissertation. First of all, think what pushed you to choose that topic. After that, clarify all the key terms and overview the literature and current theories. Your next step is to explain the methods of research you used, present your findings and discuss them in brief. Then, provide an answer to your hypothesis and call for further research. The last item of your list should be the materials and sources you used while writing your paper. Your outline will generally look as follows:

    • Introduction and substantiation of a question.

    • Key points that will be covered.

    • Literature overview.

    • Methods of research or major supporters.

    • Conclusion and possible further development of the issue.

    • References.
  • Mind maps.
  • In comparison with linear planning, this form of outline is more informal. Write your thesis in the center of the page, and then surround it with all the possible questions that can be related to it. One of its advantages is that it urges you to brainstorm the main points you need to cover in your paper. They are useful for those who think visually and want to see the whole picture of a problem. The main disadvantage of mapping your ideas is the absence of order in which you should present your ideas. Additionally, many people don’t find mind maps helpful. On the contrary, some consider them confusing and difficult to follow. Although you’ve created a mind map, you’ll still need to develop a formal well-structured outline in order to have a clear idea of the points to be covered.

  • To-do lists.
  • You need to manage your time wisely so consider creating a plan for your actions. It can be written in the form of a schedule. Estimate how much time is left for completing your dissertation. Then draw a chart and mark the days or weeks which you’re ready to dedicate to research and writing. Note down what you should do on those days (write a literature review, analyze data, have an appointment with your advisor, etc).