Dissertation Research

A lengthy process that should be well planned. In this chapter, the basic knowledge of scientific writing is required, ie you should be able to deal with sources adequately, have exercised in the literature research, the evaluation of sources and the proper formulation. In addition, you know how to build a dissertation systematically and logically. Consequently, in this chapter, only the essential aspects that you should consider especially in a large scientific project, such as a dissertation, are discussed. Another important topic is the scientific writing style. Our knowledge database provides you with many tips and examples.

What do you think about your topic for the dissertation?

The topic of your dissertation should you choose after your own interests, because it is more difficult, the motivation to maintain a foreign-imposed topic of the thesis for which you yourself are interested only passable. Since the scope of a dissertation is about 100 pages large, you should be aware of your own motivation, the effort and the time to invest from the very beginning and be sure that you both the interest and the Perseverance has to plan, implement and finish the project.

Please note the following regarding topic finding:

  • It may be that earlier scientific papers (term paper, bachelor thesis or master’s thesis) have opened up certain fields of research that could not be explored in this work.
  • Do you already have a preferred field and do you already know some of the existing literature and previous research projects and results?
  • The knowledge of already investigated topic areas helps you with the precise demarcation and definition of your own question. The examination of thematically similar dissertations provides first indications for a relevant literature search.

Get an early overview of your question

As a next step, you should get an overview of the source for your topic. Appropriate scientific literature such as textbooks, monographs, journals, and other specialized publications – no Wikipedia entries and popular science online articles – can be searched in university and specialized libraries, national libraries and electronic full text or literature review methodology databases.

With regard to the selected sources: quality over quantity! Already in this phase of the literature research study, you should take notes or use a program for literature management, focus on topics, survey the necessary literature and investigate the question of whether it is available or can only be viewed locally – in abroad.

Beware of spluttering

In a scientific work of this magnitude, the danger of getting bogged down is great. Make sure that you weigh correctly which aspects and research questions are relevant to your dissertation topic. Avoid areas that are too far away. You prove that you master your topic and that you can proceed systematically.

Keep in mind that a dissertation of 500 or more pages certainly weighs more, but that’s why it’s not necessarily “heavyweight”, ie innovative. Also, it is usually more difficult to publish later, or it must be shortened before publication. It is essential that you deliver new research results for a clearly formulated topic, that you finish in a fixed time and publish the dissertation quickly.

Search criticism and help!

Writing a dissertation is a big project that accompanies you over several years. In order to avoid that you burn yourself during the time of creation, it is advisable to maintain good contact with your supervisor and to collect feedback and opinions of others. To want to do everything on your own, without seeking to exchange with others, is more of a hindrance. Below you will find information that may help you in this regard.

Find the right supervisor for your dissertation

A factor that should not be underestimated is the search for a suitable faculty member who accompanies you professionally, ie after a “doctoral supervisor” or a “doctor’s mother”. Ideally, your supervisor should have not only subject-specific but also human qualities to accompany you over this period. Committee members help to find a topic that can be mastered in three years, they also advise on substantive and methodological questions and provide suggestions. Search for a regular contact, because if you visit your supervisor only once and then continue as a lone fighter, you’re doing! Experience has shown that it is difficult to work independently and requires more time.

It is recommended to prepare a rough topic plan in advance. Possible points that you should discuss with your supervisor are the topic itself, limitation of the topic, topic-relevant individual aspects, chapter structures, availability of literature, time-consuming archive research abroad or the rough timeframe.

Even if you can not get any further in between, you should seek early on the exchange with your supervisor. Especially in the phase of conception and the first uncertain steps, the exchange helps you well. It does not matter whether you are doing a doctorate within the framework of a research project, doctoral program, lecturer contractor on your own. Once the work has picked up speed, individual chapters can be submitted for reading and the further course of action discussed.

Colloquia for doctoral students

Another opportunity for subject-related, content-related and personal exchange are special meetings in which doctoral students exchange interdisciplinary problems of all kinds. Your supervisor can recommend doctoral colloquia or conferences in which you can present your dissertation process and get suggestions.

Predictive planning and a systematic approach

It may not be easy to set a timetable for the next few years, but it helps. Questions that you need to clarify in this connection are, for example: How much time is actually available to me? Do I have to work “by the way”? Is research stays abroad necessary that need is prepared? How can I finance my doctorate? Likewise, technical exchange and critical discussions require time. In addition, you should always plan recovery periods and comply with them. This increases the motivation at work. All this means that you should think of the dissertation at the beginning of the thesis, to avoid hassle, stress and deadline pressure.

Set up real time and work schedules

In this context, the timely preparation of real-time and work plans, as well as their orientation, helps. It should also contain space for unpredictable things. If you get into time trouble, you have to weigh: Is it really better to hand in a very extensive work, or can the topic be slimmed down in terms of time and content? Is quality really dependent on quantity?

When writing a dissertation, you are mainly concerned with the research, conception, and writing of the thesis. Because you also have to schedule time for the editorial final review (eg formal unification, rewriting, corrections, editing of your dissertation ).

Clear key question and a common thread

The basic principles of how to create a clearly structured work remain the same for a dissertation: A clear key question and orientation along a common thread are indispensable for your own research. Analytical accuracy and a targeted review of relevant research projects are only possible on the basis of this key question. From your central research question, the sub-questions that are relevant to your topic develop. They are closely related to the key question. It is important that you do not open any new fields of research with these sub-questions, but that you can answer your central research question meaningfully and consistently. The developed sub-questions form the basis for the structure of your work and the reference point for your literature research.

As a next step, you should make rough notes on sections and chapters, the classification of research work by other authors in their own outline points, the thematic process and the dramaturgy of their own reasoning. If you collect the literature consistently at this time, evaluate and the exact sources (with page numbers!) Holds, you do not have to do a follow-up research later.

Tips for efficiently writing the thesis

A dissertation is above all a written work; Researching reading, collecting and literature alone does not lead to the goal. Due to the processing time, you should start writing at the same time, because if you move this to a later date, you probably have to use the already read literature again. As a result, you lose time unnecessarily. You should work on the central questions first while researching and writing. On the one hand, this avoids time constraints if you are bogged down in secondary aspects that you have previously dealt with. On the other hand, you gain time, which you can later use specifically for side areas and new. Another important aspect is continuous writing: attempts to write 5 (or more) pages each day. Anyone who stays on a regular basis does not have to get used to it again and again. Further dissertation tips you can find in our knowledge base for Students and doctoral candidates.

Effective source management in Word

You should also consider how to effectively manage your literature research. Due to the abundance of sources, a systematic approach provides good services. Social science programsor your personal form of literature management help with the time-saving and qualitative evaluation of the research literature. It is recommended that source references and bibliographical references for future reference lists are already entered in the correct form. You should know the right way of recitation recommended for your department and keep it consistent.