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It’s YOUR Dissertation, after all….. Writing It. Revising it. Owning It. Rebecca Rickly

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Presentation on theme: "It’s YOUR Dissertation, after all….. Writing It. Revising it. Owning It. Rebecca Rickly"— Presentation transcript:

1 It’s YOUR Dissertation, after all….. Writing It. Revising it. Owning It. Rebecca Rickly

2 Getting Started Find a problem that you can address, one that you won’t get sick of. Make sure it’s a problem, and not an area. Identify a gap. Figure out how you can address that gap.

3 Getting Started Review the existing literature. There’s always one more book to read, one more article to find, one more person to talk to.

4 Getting Started Don’t be afraid to write things out of order. A good introduction is best written AFTER you know what your findings are. Know your writing style—if helps to talk, talk.

5 Getting Started Read other dissertations. Know the genre. –Intro –Problem –Lit review –Methods –Results –Analysis –Conclusion


7 Time Management Find a time of day that’s productive for you. Try to write a little each day. Set a goal: 30 minutes, 10 pages, or something that’s do-able. Give yourself a “perq” for getting work done.

8 Time Management Prioritize tasks. Learn to say “no”. If you simply cannot work on the dissertation, do the housekeeping: works cited, acknowledgements page, and so forth.

9 Your Topic …….is not carved in stone. Be open to revision….. WITH your advisor/committee’s input

10 Focusing Your Dissertation Think about how variables might be cut down/out without affecting the rigor of your research. Look at other dissertations to get an idea how much you should be doing. Don’t save the world. ALWAYS talk with your advisor/committee about changes, progress, and so forth.

11 Revising Your Dissertation Revise with a strategy: Print it out? (able to see “big picture” more easily) Does the information you’ve gathered fit with your topic/questions? You can revise these! Look at each section: what does it do? Is it doing what it’s supposed to? Does the content belong in this section? Description/analysis ok?

12 Revising Your Dissertation Make an inventory of changes: Line edits, content edits, etc.—helpful for committee. “De-construct” the draft: what’s worth keeping? What is out of place? What’s missing? What needs substantial revision? Remember: Dissertations are academic arguments. Situate your dissertation that way.

13 Dealing with Feedback If you don’t understand something, ASK! Find out before you draft if your advisor has particular expectations. Dealing with “descriptive” –Descriptive: what’s there –Critical: synthesizing in context/offering feedback 80 hours!

14 Re-Focusing Your Dissertation When you get overwhelmed by data, go back to the original research questions. Figure out how your methods/research led to addressing those questions in the context of your discipline/lit review.

15 Your Advisor Expect some guidance, but remember: it’s YOUR dissertation. You are ultimately responsibility Talk with your advisor about how often you should meet, what stage the drafts should be in, and so forth. Ask about turn-around time. Make a schedule. Try to stick to it.

16 Your Advisor Tell your advisor what kind of feedback you’d like/would be most helpful. If there are problems, open communication is the best solution. And one more piece of advice:

17 Don’t be a “mini-me”

18 Your Committee Talk with your committee about how they’d like to see drafts, what kind of feedback you’d like, and so forth. Keep in contact with your committee. Let them know what’s going on (even if they aren’t seeing drafts)—tell them about publications, presentations, and where you and your advisor are in the process.

19 Thinking Beyond the Dissertation/Thesis Publications are the cultural capital of academia Think about the dissertation as a series of articles OR Think about the dissertation as a book But know the Genre

20 What do you call a grad student who barely squeaks a lousy dissertation past her committee? Doctor

21 Best of Luck!


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