If you are near the end of your dissertation rope tie a knot and hang on; don’t give up. Have you given up on your New Year’s resolution to complete your PhD? This blog is written to drag you back from that decision and force you to reconsider. Today is Feb 1, 2012. There is still plenty of time to accomplish this goal. If you haven’t started, start now. If you thought about giving up, think again. Remember if you are wallowing in self pity it means that you scheduled is not tight enough. Your schedule should be so structured that you do not have enough time to feel sorry for yourself. You should be too busy writing or working on your dissertation that you don’t have time to think about anything else other that “what’s next” on your list of things to do or deadlines to meet. If you are writing your dissertation you should be too busy to be stressed. If you are near the end you should be thinking about writing the last chapter rather than giving up.
Below are some helpful hints on writing the last chapter of your dissertation.
When writing the last chapter of the dissertation, stude nts generally are tired of the dissertation and can’t think of anything new to say. As we come down to the wire many of you will have to reread chapter 1 to begin writing your last chapter (conclusions, future recommendations, limitations and or policy implications). Stop trying to polish chapter 1 to perfection before you move on to next chapter. Reading chapter 1 will help you to write the last chapter. And writing the last chapter will help you to revise the first one.
These suggestions are directed to all of you who are planning on finishing your dissertation in the next couple of months.
Start your conclusion chapter by rereading Chapter 1. Reading the initial chapter should remind you of the research question and the problem that you were trying to solve with your research. Rereading this chapter should give you some insight about the last chapter of your dissertation. You might consider moving on from editing chapter 1 and come back to it later.
When writing your conclusion chapter there are a number of questions to consider:
- What academic discipline or field does this dissertation fall into and under what general topic does this research address?
- Did you do what you said you would do in Chapter 1?
- Did you get the results you expected based on the problem in Chapter 1 or the literature in Chapter 2?
- Based on the literature, are your results the same or different from previous researchers, if not why not?
- Based on the research problem described in chapter 1 how did you provide a possible solution to the problem?
- What is still left unresolved?
- What is the next logical step for your research?
- What are the limitations of your research?
- How could this research be improved?
After writing your conclusion you might have to slightly revise chapter 1 and or the methods chapter.