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Kavitha Vijeyavelan
14 Aug 2015 196 2 mins Share

LOOK OUT- Top Five Dissertation Blunders You Didn’t Know You Were Making!

The tiny seemingly harmless things that could spell DISASTER with a capital 'D' on your dissertation...

14 Aug 2015 196 2 mins Share

Tick tock! Tick Tock - what do you know- it’s Feb already and you haven’t even thought of kick starting that dissertation of yours as of yet. It seemed like you had all the time in the world, so you procrastinated, procrastinated, and procrastinated some more till the very last minute. Now your trigger finger is getting all itchy with an overwhelming urge to push that panic button! Well- hold it right there- here we are with a few pointers on how to hold yourself together through this.

What NOT To Do!!!

But FIRST- put that phone down, get off Facebook, and step away from your tablet slooowly! That’s right, things are about to get serious- it is now time to put pen to paper.
Let’s do a little warm up for the main activity and go through a few basic don’ts, shall we?

What Is your Point?

Do NOT over generalize and address any topic in too broad a sense and risk looking unfocussed. You wouldn’t want that now, would you? We do understand that your preference to stay away from specifics probably stems from your wanting to avoid the possibility of evoking disagreement. However, we insist that you do not start your dissertation until you are done internalizing and establishing your basic argument. Ask yourself, “Am I presenting a dynamic and unique perspective? Is this valuable information to the already available literature in my field?” If you answered yes for both- then (take it from us) you are completely prepared to start. Also – main point to be noted-keep in mind that all parts of your dissertation should only work towards bolstering your main argument.

How It Looks!

Primarily associated with the quality of a dissertation is its structure! This is the reason why it must have a clear structure overall -through every chapter and its layout as well. You will have a persuasive argument only when you build up the body of the dissertation methodically. Elucidate your points in the appropriate order to help the reader follow what you are trying to convey. For example- let’s say- point ‘x’ needs to be made in order for the reader to follow point ‘y’, then ensure you elaborate on ‘x’ in the appropriate chapter prior to ‘y’. Simple, right? That’s how it should be. No matter how highly technical or complex in nature your subject matter, your dissertation should be easy and straight forward to read- period!

Bombastic Language!

Even with a solid structure and a persuasive argument- you are headed for a fall if you are making use of over-sophisticated vocabulary (quite unnecessary to make a good impression) and convoluted sentences.  In other words- your dissertation reader should not have to re-read any sentence to perceive its intended meaning. Be concise and break up long sentences wherever you feel required. Make use of punctuation in ways that enhance the reading experience- and by that we do not mean indiscriminate use of semi-colons and commas! Before attempting to use a word, we suggest you know not just its meaning but its connotations as well.  

A Total Buzz Kill! 

After having spent endless hours on the topic and argument, you may wind up (unintentionally) repeating yourself throughout! Perhaps you are worried that your reader won’t quite be convinced and have resorted to repetition as the means to enhancing the validity of your argument. This, however, just makes your dissertation more cumbersome than convincing (trust us on this)! You do not have to keep reminding the reader of an already well stated point with extensive details- he will have it in mind. 

Getting Casual Are We?! 

We emphasized that you should refrain from using flowery language-true-but we also insist that your style of writing must be academic-friendly and formal. No usage of slang, colloquial expressions, or contractions.  Here’s a simple example: You ‘obtain’ results…you don’t ‘get’ them. You ‘investigate’ a phenomenon …you don’t ‘look’ at it. 

Now, these- put briefly- are just a few simple factors that should help you get started on the right note. Did you find these helpful? 


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