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Practical thesis paper writing advice for any university student

Updated on May 11, 2009

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Everyone has to write at least one thesis or dissertation to graduation from college/ university. This can be a long and boring process which lasts months and requires a lot of commitment from the student. According to my experience, there are some tips below that can speed up your writing process. These thesis paper writing tips are mostly for social sciences and business dissertations, for those technical guys may be the dissertation writing will be a bit different, but anyhow, you can still find a little good help here.

Start early: if you have to find a company for a case study, start every early. For example in my situation, I have to find a company as a case study, because I study business administration. If you don't have to, you are lucky. Begin the idea generating early because it takes a lot of time to narrow down to a specific area for your dissertation. Your supervisor or any professor at university can help you in this process. So find an area you are interested in and have some knowledge about, start to read around, seek for advice and then narrow to a reasonable size topic.

WRITE, WRITE, WRITE: I cannot emphasize this enough. Don't wait until the last minute to write: start writing when you start to collect data already. Probably you will need one "literature review" part in your thesis, so it's better to start taking notes about what you have read, how you think it will be related to your thesis topic. Whatever happens on the way of your dissertation, write it down, about the difficulties in collecting data, about how you want to structure the dissertation, about what sub questions you may need to answer the main research question, write everything down! It's very useful also to make a journal to note all your ideas down.

Don't be a perfectionist! Don't think that you can only start your thesis paper writing process until you have gained a great deal about your topic. Listen to me, it will take forever to finish your dissertation that way. Just do it! ;) It's better just to write some crappy pages and then improve on it rather than wait and only read and write in a big hurry in the end.

Find a dissertation sample on a similar topic (or similar field, social work for example) for reference. You will learn a lot from how they structure their dissertation, what theories they used and their way of using "academic" terms. Of course you cannot copy their idea and work, but you can get from them a general direction for your dissertation.

Write every day a little. It is important to create a thesis writing habit. Just spend around one or half an hour everyday to write a bit. You don't have to spend too much time on it (unless you have a deadline the same week or so), just to create a writing habit. And when you are in some groove, words will flow out easier.

I hope you find these tips helpful, they have helped me a great deal when I was writing my graduation thesis. Thesis writing can be a time consuming and tiring process, you can have a critical supervisor that keeps correcting your work and makes you do it over and over again. Don't get disheartened! Think of the day that you will get it done and happily become a graduate.

Below is a very useful Youtube video about research, outline and writing your thesis paper.


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      Kimberly Davison-Fujioka 7 years ago

      Hello. I agree with this advice, to start your paper early so you have time to either change your mind about your topic or narrow it down to make a suitable thesis. I taught English at the university level for over 20 years and I know what it takes to impress a professor.

      Read more on hibpages. I will be making an account here and posting lots of free information about writing research papers for college or university.