Sometimes, even if you appreciate the differences between the dissertation and previous work and know that you really want to complete the degree, you may still have trouble. Both external and internal stresses can cause the dissertation process to be more difficult than it has to be.By the time you’ve reached this stage, you have probably already defended a dissertation proposal, chosen an advisor, and begun working with a committee.
Writing a dissertation is a lot like writing a book. There are usually no weekly deadlines from professors, no regular discussions with classmates, no reading assignments, no one telling you what to do—you are on your own, writing something longer than you’ve ever written, and doing it without a net.
This independence can make the process seem very intimidating.
Sometimes, however, those three elements can prove to be major external sources of frustration.
So how can you manage them to help yourself be as productive as possible?
Graduate school pundits often cite 50% or more as the attrition rate for ABD students (those who have completed All the requirements of their programs But the Dissertation). This handout will not only answer this question, but also give you good, practical advice on starting, drafting, and completing your dissertation.
The Writing Center can’t advise you about technical questions (for example, how to force Microsoft Word to set up tables correctly or format page numbers the way you want), but we know people who may be able to! Why don’t doctoral candidates manage to get rolling on the dissertation any sooner, or KEEP rolling once they get started?On the other hand, it can be an end as well as a beginning—you don’t have to develop the dissertation beyond the completion of the degree if you don’t want to.If you’re sick of the topic, you can focus on just finishing it for the degree, and then move on to other projects.Thinking analytically, synthesizing complicated information, writing well, and organizing your time will all serve you well regardless of the career you begin.If you choose a career in academia, the systems of support, research strategies, work schedules, and writing techniques that help you do the dissertation will help you write books, articles and lectures for many years to come.Partly because the dissertation is a completely new experience that is much larger and more independent than your previous academic work.To this point, being a graduate student has been, more or less, an extension of your earlier life as a student.University counseling services may prove helpful as well.They regularly talk with students about just this issue. does not mean that you have “quit” or that others who remain in the program are smarter, more driven, or more virtuous than you are.If you find yourself questioning your commitment to your dissertation or a career in academia, consider these tactics: This may be a time to ask yourself what the Ph. means to you and whether you really want to continue.Remember that what it means to you and what it means to your partner, family, or friends may be very different. You might try free-writing about your topic and the reasons it inspires you.