Composing A Harvard Style Dissertation: Writing Tips For Students

What are the elements that separate a regular dissertation from a Harvard style one? In short, the harder and cleverer the student works, the better quality his or her dissertation will possess. Here are some expert tips for students who want to take their dissertation to a new level and impress their school board.


Spend half your time planning

One aspect of dissertation writing that distinguishes good writers from great ones is the fact that great writers spend more time planning than anything else. Planning and writing should take up the same amount of time. Doing your outline and mapping out every section makes the writing process go that much quicker. Great writers always spend about 50% of their time planning.


Divide and sub-divide

Part of the planning process is taking your headings and creating sub-divisions for each one before the writing even begins. Smaller sections can be further broken down into even smaller sections so as to make reading easier. By categorizing your sections, you will create a dissertation that is easy to navigate and understand.


Write succinct paragraphs

A skill that takes time to master is how to say as much as possible in less words. As a student, you may be tempted to use lots of words to convey one simple principle. Great dissertation writers will always write succinct paragraphs that flow well and don’t confuse the mind.


Describe processes to dummies

Great writers always explain a process as if the reader has no background information. This is important because when you assume that the reader knows more than they do, you run the risk of losing them throughout the process. Always supply adequate background information whenever a process or experiment is being explained.


Write with authority

Your reader can tell whether or not you know what you are talking about. Write in such a way that displays thorough knowledge of the topic. This is simply done by making sure you understand everything being mentioned in your dissertation paragraph. If it takes some extra research to gain that confidence, take the time to conduct it.

Harvard students have mastered these skills and for them, many of these processes are second nature. You too can get better at dissertation writing; it just takes some effort, lots of time, and the willingness to start over if you fail.

Set goals and reward yourself.

As you work on your project you should have goals in place to motivate you to finish in a timely manner. As you complete parts of your work you are getting closer to finishing your work according to your schedule. Maybe you can entice yourself to finish sooner if something was waiting for you upon completion. Make it something fun and enjoyable. It helps if it is something you may not usually enjoy. Make things interesting to encourage yourself to finish faster. You can at least consider trying to get your work done a week or so before your deadline.

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