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How long does it take to write a dissertation, published by steve tippins on july 11, 2019 july 11, 2019.

Last Updated on: 2nd February 2024, 05:00 am

How long does it take to write a dissertation? The most accurate (and least helpful) answer is, it depends. Since that’s probably not the answer you’re looking for, I’ll use the rest of the article to address the realities of how long it takes to write a dissertation.

How Long Does It Take to Write a Dissertation?

Based on my experience, writing your dissertation should take somewhere between 13-20 months. These are average numbers based upon the scores of doctoral students that I have worked with over the years, and they generally hold true.

I have seen people take less time and more time, but I believe that with concerted effort, the 13-20 month timeframe is reasonable. 

“Based on my experience, writing your dissertation should take somewhere between 13-20 months.”

University Requirements

Once you hit the dissertation stage, some schools require a minimum number of hours in the dissertation area before you can graduate. Many schools require the equivalent of one year of dissertation credits to graduate. 

So, even if you can finish your dissertation in three months, you will still have to pay for nine more months of dissertation credits before you can graduate. However, unless research and writing is your superpower, I wouldn’t worry about having to pay extra tuition.

But this requirement does offer some insight into how long it takes to write a dissertation. Based on this requirement, it’s reasonable to expect that writing your dissertation will take a year of more. This is consistent with my experience.

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However, this timeframe is based on several assumptions. First, I am assuming that you are continually working towards finishing your dissertation. This means that no family emergencies, funding conundrums, or work issues get in the way of completing. Second, there are no major changes in your dissertation committee. Third, you will have access to the data that you need. 

Assuming these assumptions hold true, this article should give you a general idea of how long it might take to write your dissertation.

How Long Does it Take to Write A Dissertation? Stage-By-Stage

Let’s break down each stage of the dissertation writing process and how long it takes. 


This is the hardest one to judge, as this is where you lay the groundwork for the rest of your dissertation and get buy-in from committee members. Normally this takes from 3-6 months. Not all of this is writing time, though–much of it is spent refining your topic and your approach.

can you write a dissertation in 4 months

Why does this stage take so long? For many people, starting to express themselves using an academic voice can take time. This can hold up the review process as your committee members ask for writing-related revisions before they even get to evaluating the content. Don’t worry, once you learn the academic language things will start to flow more easily.

One common mistake students make is lack of specificity, both in their writing in general and in their topic focus. 

Proposal (Chapters 1-3)

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Chapter 1 is often an expansion of your Prospectus. However, you’ll be expected to develop your ideas more and have even more specificity on things like your research question and methodology, so don’t underestimate how long this chapter will take.

Chapter 2 can take some time as you will be digging deep into the literature but I think this can be done in 3-4 months. One caution, some people, and committees, like to start with Chapter 2 so that you are immersed in the literature before completing Chapters 1 and 3. Regardless of where you start, 3-4 months is a good estimate.

Chapter 3 requires an in-depth explanation of your methodology. I suggest working closely with your Chair on this one to avoid multiple submissions and revisions. Get clear on your methodology and make sure you and your chair are on the same page before you write, and continue to check in with your chair, if possible, throughout the process.

IRB Approval

While this step can be full of details and require several iterations it seems that allowing 2 months is sufficient. Most schools have an IRB form that must be submitted. To save time you can usually start filling out the form while your committee is reviewing your Proposal.

Collecting Data

This step varies a great deal. If you are using readily available secondary data this can take a week but if you are interviewing hard to get individuals or have trouble finding a sufficient number of people for your sample this can take 4 months or more. I think 1-4 months should be appropriate

Chapters 4 and 5

These two chapters are the easiest to write as in Chapter 4 you are reporting your results and in Chapter 5 you explain what the results mean. I believe that these two chapters can be written in 2 months.

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Defense and Completion

You will need to defend your dissertation and then go through all of the university requirements to finalize the completion of your dissertation. I would allow 2 months for this process.

Variables That Affect How Long It Takes to Write A Dissertation 

When students say something like, “I’m going to finish my dissertation in three months,” they likely aren’t considering all of the variables besides the actual writing. Even if you’re a fast writer, you’ll have to wait on your committee’s comments, 

Timing Issues

Many schools have response times for committee members. This is important when looking at how long it takes to finish a dissertation. For example, it you have two committee members and they each get up to 2 weeks for a review, it can take up to a month to get a document reviewed, each time you submit. So, plan for these periods of time when thinking about how long that it will take you.

Addressing Comments

How long it takes to write your dissertation also depends on your ability to address your committee’s comments thoroughly. It’s not uncommon for a committee member to send a draft back several times, even if their comments were addressed adequately, because they notice new issues each time they read it. Save yourself considerable time by making sure you address their comments fully, thus avoiding unnecessary time waiting to hear the same feedback.

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This is the biggest variable in the dissertation model. How dedicated are you to the process? How much actual time do you have? How many outside interests/requirements do you have? Are you easily distracted? How clean does your workspace need to be? (This may seem like a strange thing to discuss, but many people need to work in a clean space and can get very interested in cleaning if they have to write). Are you in a full-time program or in a part time program? Are you holding down a job? Do you have children? 

All of these things will affect how much time you have to put into writing–or rather, how disciplined you need to be about making time to write.

One of the things that can influence how long it takes to write your dissertation is your committee. Choose your committee wisely. If you work under the assumption that the only good dissertation is a done dissertation, then you want a committee that will be helpful and not trying to prove themselves on your back. When you find a Chair that you can work with ask her/him which of their colleagues they work well with (it’s also worth finding out who they don’t work well with).

Find out how they like to receive material to review. Some members like to see pieces of chapters and some like to see completed documents. Once you know their preferences, you can efficiently submit what they want when they want it.

How Long Does it Take to Write a Dissertation? Summary

Barring unforeseen events, the normal time range for finishing a dissertation seems to be 13-19 months, which can be rounded to one to one and a half years. If you are proactive and efficient, you can usually be at the shorter end of the time range. 

can you write a dissertation in 4 months

That means using downtime to do things like changing the tense of your approved Proposal from future tense to past tense and completing things like you Abstract and Acknowledgement sections before final approval.

I hope that you can be efficient in this process and finish as quickly as possible. Remember, “the only good dissertation is a done dissertation.”

On that note, I offer coaching services to help students through the dissertation writing process, as well as editing services for those who need help with their writing.

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Steve Tippins

Steve Tippins, PhD, has thrived in academia for over thirty years. He continues to love teaching in addition to coaching recent PhD graduates as well as students writing their dissertations. Learn more about his dissertation coaching and career coaching services. Book a Free Consultation with Steve Tippins

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Ten things I wish I'd known before starting my dissertation

The sun is shining but many students won't see the daylight. Because it's that time of year again – dissertation time.

Luckily for me, my D-Day (dissertation hand-in day) has already been and gone. But I remember it well.

The 10,000-word spiral-bound paper squatted on my desk in various forms of completion was my Allied forces; the history department in-tray was my Normandy. And when Eisenhower talked about a "great crusade toward which we have striven these many months", he was bang on.

I remember first encountering the Undergraduate Dissertation Handbook, feeling my heart sink at how long the massive file took to download, and began to think about possible (but in hindsight, wildly over-ambitious) topics. Here's what I've learned since, and wish I'd known back then…

1 ) If your dissertation supervisor isn't right, change. Mine was brilliant. If you don't feel like they're giving you the right advice, request to swap to someone else – providing it's early on and your reason is valid, your department shouldn't have a problem with it. In my experience, it doesn't matter too much whether they're an expert on your topic. What counts is whether they're approachable, reliable, reassuring, give detailed feedback and don't mind the odd panicked email. They are your lifeline and your best chance of success.

2 ) If you mention working on your dissertation to family, friends or near-strangers, they will ask you what it's about, and they will be expecting a more impressive answer than you can give. So prepare for looks of confusion and disappointment. People anticipate grandeur in history dissertation topics – war, genocide, the formation of modern society. They don't think much of researching an obscure piece of 1970s disability legislation. But they're not the ones marking it.

3 ) If they ask follow-up questions, they're probably just being polite.

4 ) Do not ask friends how much work they've done. You'll end up paranoid – or they will. Either way, you don't have time for it.

5 ) There will be one day during the process when you will freak out, doubt your entire thesis and decide to start again from scratch. You might even come up with a new question and start working on it, depending on how long the breakdown lasts. You will at some point run out of steam and collapse in an exhausted, tear-stained heap. But unless there are serious flaws in your work (unlikely) and your supervisor recommends starting again (highly unlikely), don't do it. It's just panic, it'll pass.

6 ) A lot of the work you do will not make it into your dissertation. The first few days in archives, I felt like everything I was unearthing was a gem, and when I sat down to write, it seemed as if it was all gold. But a brutal editing down to the word count has left much of that early material at the wayside.

7 ) You will print like you have never printed before. If you're using a university or library printer, it will start to affect your weekly budget in a big way. If you're printing from your room, "paper jam" will come to be the most dreaded two words in the English language.

8 ) Your dissertation will interfere with whatever else you have going on – a social life, sporting commitments, societies, other essay demands. Don't even try and give up biscuits for Lent, they'll basically become their own food group when you're too busy to cook and desperate for sugar.

9 ) Your time is not your own. Even if you're super-organised, plan your time down to the last hour and don't have a single moment of deadline panic, you'll still find that thoughts of your dissertation will creep up on you when you least expect it. You'll fall asleep thinking about it, dream about it and wake up thinking about. You'll feel guilty when you're not working on it, and mired in self-doubt when you are.

10 ) Finishing it will be one of the best things you've ever done. It's worth the hard work to know you've completed what's likely to be your biggest, most important, single piece of work. Be proud of it.

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The 8 Most Asked Questions About Dissertations

Blog #110 - The 8 Most Asked Questions About Dissertations

A Ph.D. represents the highest level of education in most fields. People who earn this degree earn the honorific of “doctor” and are considered experts in their field. A doctoral degree is often a prerequisite for teaching at the highest levels in academia or ascending career ladders in education, the government and the nonprofit space.

In 2020 , doctoral degree holders had median weekly earnings of $1,885 and an unemployment rate of 2.5%—lower than any other group. And yet, the dissertation is often a major barrier to completing a doctorate and realizing its many financial and personal benefits. 

So what is a dissertation, and what role does it play in your educational trajectory? At SNU, we value exceptional dissertations and integrate the writing process into your coursework. Here are the most common questions we hear about writing dissertations and earning your doctorate.

1. What is a dissertation?

A dissertation is a published piece of academic research. Through your dissertation research , you become an expert in a specific academic niche. After writing your dissertation, you then defend it to a committee of experts in the field. A dissertation is integral to the process of earning a doctoral degree, contributing innovative ideas to your chosen field. Until you have written, published and defended a dissertation, you can’t graduate from a doctoral-level program.

2. Why are dissertations so important?

Dissertations are the crucial piece of research in most doctoral-level programs. The process of writing, researching and amending the dissertation serves several important goals: 

  • It contributes novel research to the field, supporting innovation, growth and ongoing scholarship. 
  • It requires students to write a substantive piece of academic research across many semesters, sharpening research skills and expertise. 
  • It demands that s tudents defend their research, ensuring strong communication and critical thinking skills. 
  • It requires deep, comprehensive research—including a literature review—improving reading comprehension and writing skills. 
  • It is a challenging project that serves as a test of the skills you might use as an academic professional in your chosen field. 
  • It helps establish new members of an academic discipline as contributors to the field. 
  • It fosters academic connections as you interview sources and defend your work.

3. Why do so many students struggle with the dissertation?

The dissertation process is difficult. However, this difficulty establishes the credibility of doctoral degrees, proving that the student can commit to long-term, intensive research and become a true subject-matter expert. 

However, for many adult learners, the dissertation proves especially challenging thanks to work-life balance difficulties, financial constraints and lack of family or institutional support. At SNU, we know that a dissertation is critical to your growth as an academic. But we also know that institutional support can make a big difference in your ability to finish this impressive work. That’s why we integrate dissertation writing into our curriculum, rather than leaving you to do it all on your own time. 

One study suggests that more than half of students never complete their dissertation. Other research indicates that academic reforms that help students with their work reduce dropout rates, ensuring more students complete their dissertation and earn the coveted title of doctor.

4. How long is a dissertation?

Most dissertations are 100 pages or longer — roughly the length of a book. The specific length of your dissertation depends on the type of research, how much research exists in the field and similar factors. The goal of dissertation writing is not to attain a specific length, but to be comprehensive and thoughtful. It anticipates and answers potential objections, gives appropriate credit to the source materials and reviews prior work in the field. 

Your dissertation review committee is more interested in a comprehensive dissertation that displays your critical thinking and research skills than they are in a dissertation of a specific length. Excessive wordiness without value wastes a reader’s time.  

The right length for a dissertation depends on several factors: 

  • How much research already exists in the field?
  • What field are you publishing in?
  • What type of research are you doing?
  • Is your research controversial?
  • How much space do you need to explain your research and address objections?

Put simply: A dissertation should be long enough to comprehensively cover the subject, but no longer.

5. How do you write a dissertation?

In general, the dissertation process follows this schedule: 

  • Research the field and identify potential topics. 
  • Meet with an advisor to choose and improve a topic. 
  • Perform a literature review. 
  • Conduct new research. 
  • Write the dissertation. 
  • Edit the dissertation. 
  • Defend the dissertation.

Each step involves weeks to months of work and many phases of revision, reevaluation and research. At SNU, we incorporate many phases of the writing and research process into your coursework. This ensures you are on track to graduate and addresses dissertation writing challenges before they snowball into a serious problem.

6. When should you start writing a dissertation?

The dissertation writing process should begin almost as soon as you enroll in school. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to have content written on your first day of class. Instead, you will need to engage in substantive pre-writing that includes: 

  • Familiarizing yourself with relevant research in the field. 
  • Developing an opinion on recent research. 
  • Designing your research to address a clear and narrowly defined topic. 

As you hone in on your topic, you can begin the writing and research portion of the project. In most cases, this starts within a semester or two of enrollment. A dissertation is not something you can leave until the last semester or shortly before graduation. SNU ensures this doesn’t happen by integrating the writing process into your coursework. You will start working on your dissertation early, preventing you from becoming overwhelmed.

7. How do you cite a dissertation?

A dissertation is a published scholarly work. Each style manual has specific instructions for citing a dissertation, so be sure to consult the style manual you’re using. 

You can cite other dissertations in your dissertation. In many cases, dissertations can provide useful starting points for your research. The literature reviews they contain may also help with your literature review.

8. How do you choose a school for your dissertation?

Choosing the right school for your dissertation can mean the difference between finishing this scholarly work and languishing at the dreaded “ all-but-dissertation” (ABD) stage . SNU specializes in supporting adult learners by encouraging intensive research and protecting your work-life balance. 

At SNU, your dissertation is a part of your coursework . You will get support from start to finish, including a dissertation advisor who is an expert in your chosen field. We are here for you, and we want to see you succeed. 

To learn more about our course offerings and compare online vs. in-person  education, check out our free guide, “Choose Your Path: Online vs. On-Campus  Education."

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What Is a Dissertation? | Guide, Examples, & Template

Structure of a Dissertation

A dissertation is a long-form piece of academic writing based on original research conducted by you. It is usually submitted as the final step in order to finish a PhD program.

Your dissertation is probably the longest piece of writing you’ve ever completed. It requires solid research, writing, and analysis skills, and it can be intimidating to know where to begin.

Your department likely has guidelines related to how your dissertation should be structured. When in doubt, consult with your supervisor.

You can also download our full dissertation template in the format of your choice below. The template includes a ready-made table of contents with notes on what to include in each chapter, easily adaptable to your department’s requirements.

Download Word template Download Google Docs template

  • In the US, a dissertation generally refers to the collection of research you conducted to obtain a PhD.
  • In other countries (such as the UK), a dissertation often refers to the research you conduct to obtain your bachelor’s or master’s degree.

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Table of contents

Dissertation committee and prospectus process, how to write and structure a dissertation, acknowledgements or preface, list of figures and tables, list of abbreviations, introduction, literature review, methodology, reference list, proofreading and editing, defending your dissertation, free checklist and lecture slides.

When you’ve finished your coursework, as well as any comprehensive exams or other requirements, you advance to “ABD” (All But Dissertation) status. This means you’ve completed everything except your dissertation.

Prior to starting to write, you must form your committee and write your prospectus or proposal . Your committee comprises your adviser and a few other faculty members. They can be from your own department, or, if your work is more interdisciplinary, from other departments. Your committee will guide you through the dissertation process, and ultimately decide whether you pass your dissertation defense and receive your PhD.

Your prospectus is a formal document presented to your committee, usually orally in a defense, outlining your research aims and objectives and showing why your topic is relevant . After passing your prospectus defense, you’re ready to start your research and writing.

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The structure of your dissertation depends on a variety of factors, such as your discipline, topic, and approach. Dissertations in the humanities are often structured more like a long essay , building an overall argument to support a central thesis , with chapters organized around different themes or case studies.

However, hard science and social science dissertations typically include a review of existing works, a methodology section, an analysis of your original research, and a presentation of your results , presented in different chapters.

Dissertation examples

We’ve compiled a list of dissertation examples to help you get started.

  • Example dissertation #1: Heat, Wildfire and Energy Demand: An Examination of Residential Buildings and Community Equity (a dissertation by C. A. Antonopoulos about the impact of extreme heat and wildfire on residential buildings and occupant exposure risks).
  • Example dissertation #2: Exploring Income Volatility and Financial Health Among Middle-Income Households (a dissertation by M. Addo about income volatility and declining economic security among middle-income households).
  • Example dissertation #3: The Use of Mindfulness Meditation to Increase the Efficacy of Mirror Visual Feedback for Reducing Phantom Limb Pain in Amputees (a dissertation by N. S. Mills about the effect of mindfulness-based interventions on the relationship between mirror visual feedback and the pain level in amputees with phantom limb pain).

The very first page of your document contains your dissertation title, your name, department, institution, degree program, and submission date. Sometimes it also includes your student number, your supervisor’s name, and the university’s logo.

Read more about title pages

The acknowledgements section is usually optional and gives space for you to thank everyone who helped you in writing your dissertation. This might include your supervisors, participants in your research, and friends or family who supported you. In some cases, your acknowledgements are part of a preface.

Read more about acknowledgements Read more about prefaces

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can you write a dissertation in 4 months

The abstract is a short summary of your dissertation, usually about 150 to 300 words long. Though this may seem very short, it’s one of the most important parts of your dissertation, because it introduces your work to your audience.

Your abstract should:

  • State your main topic and the aims of your research
  • Describe your methods
  • Summarize your main results
  • State your conclusions

Read more about abstracts

The table of contents lists all of your chapters, along with corresponding subheadings and page numbers. This gives your reader an overview of your structure and helps them easily navigate your document.

Remember to include all main parts of your dissertation in your table of contents, even the appendices. It’s easy to generate a table automatically in Word if you used heading styles. Generally speaking, you only include level 2 and level 3 headings, not every subheading you included in your finished work.

Read more about tables of contents

While not usually mandatory, it’s nice to include a list of figures and tables to help guide your reader if you have used a lot of these in your dissertation. It’s easy to generate one of these in Word using the Insert Caption feature.

Read more about lists of figures and tables

Similarly, if you have used a lot of abbreviations (especially industry-specific ones) in your dissertation, you can include them in an alphabetized list of abbreviations so that the reader can easily look up their meanings.

Read more about lists of abbreviations

In addition to the list of abbreviations, if you find yourself using a lot of highly specialized terms that you worry will not be familiar to your reader, consider including a glossary. Here, alphabetize the terms and include a brief description or definition.

Read more about glossaries

The introduction serves to set up your dissertation’s topic, purpose, and relevance. It tells the reader what to expect in the rest of your dissertation. The introduction should:

  • Establish your research topic , giving the background information needed to contextualize your work
  • Narrow down the focus and define the scope of your research
  • Discuss the state of existing research on the topic, showing your work’s relevance to a broader problem or debate
  • Clearly state your research questions and objectives
  • Outline the flow of the rest of your work

Everything in the introduction should be clear, engaging, and relevant. By the end, the reader should understand the what, why, and how of your research.

Read more about introductions

A formative part of your research is your literature review . This helps you gain a thorough understanding of the academic work that already exists on your topic.

Literature reviews encompass:

  • Finding relevant sources (e.g., books and journal articles)
  • Assessing the credibility of your sources
  • Critically analyzing and evaluating each source
  • Drawing connections between them (e.g., themes, patterns, conflicts, or gaps) to strengthen your overall point

A literature review is not merely a summary of existing sources. Your literature review should have a coherent structure and argument that leads to a clear justification for your own research. It may aim to:

  • Address a gap in the literature or build on existing knowledge
  • Take a new theoretical or methodological approach to your topic
  • Propose a solution to an unresolved problem or advance one side of a theoretical debate

Read more about literature reviews

Theoretical framework

Your literature review can often form the basis for your theoretical framework. Here, you define and analyze the key theories, concepts, and models that frame your research.

Read more about theoretical frameworks

Your methodology chapter describes how you conducted your research, allowing your reader to critically assess its credibility. Your methodology section should accurately report what you did, as well as convince your reader that this was the best way to answer your research question.

A methodology section should generally include:

  • The overall research approach ( quantitative vs. qualitative ) and research methods (e.g., a longitudinal study )
  • Your data collection methods (e.g., interviews or a controlled experiment )
  • Details of where, when, and with whom the research took place
  • Any tools and materials you used (e.g., computer programs, lab equipment)
  • Your data analysis methods (e.g., statistical analysis , discourse analysis )
  • An evaluation or justification of your methods

Read more about methodology sections

Your results section should highlight what your methodology discovered. You can structure this section around sub-questions, hypotheses , or themes, but avoid including any subjective or speculative interpretation here.

Your results section should:

  • Concisely state each relevant result together with relevant descriptive statistics (e.g., mean , standard deviation ) and inferential statistics (e.g., test statistics , p values )
  • Briefly state how the result relates to the question or whether the hypothesis was supported
  • Report all results that are relevant to your research questions , including any that did not meet your expectations.

Additional data (including raw numbers, full questionnaires, or interview transcripts) can be included as an appendix. You can include tables and figures, but only if they help the reader better understand your results. Read more about results sections

Your discussion section is your opportunity to explore the meaning and implications of your results in relation to your research question. Here, interpret your results in detail, discussing whether they met your expectations and how well they fit with the framework that you built in earlier chapters. Refer back to relevant source material to show how your results fit within existing research in your field.

Some guiding questions include:

  • What do your results mean?
  • Why do your results matter?
  • What limitations do the results have?

If any of the results were unexpected, offer explanations for why this might be. It’s a good idea to consider alternative interpretations of your data.

Read more about discussion sections

Your dissertation’s conclusion should concisely answer your main research question, leaving your reader with a clear understanding of your central argument and emphasizing what your research has contributed to the field.

In some disciplines, the conclusion is just a short section preceding the discussion section, but in other contexts, it is the final chapter of your work. Here, you wrap up your dissertation with a final reflection on what you found, with recommendations for future research and concluding remarks.

It’s important to leave the reader with a clear impression of why your research matters. What have you added to what was already known? Why is your research necessary for the future of your field?

Read more about conclusions

It is crucial to include a reference list or list of works cited with the full details of all the sources that you used, in order to avoid plagiarism. Be sure to choose one citation style and follow it consistently throughout your dissertation. Each style has strict and specific formatting requirements.

Common styles include MLA , Chicago , and APA , but which style you use is often set by your department or your field.

Create APA citations Create MLA citations

Your dissertation should contain only essential information that directly contributes to answering your research question. Documents such as interview transcripts or survey questions can be added as appendices, rather than adding them to the main body.

Read more about appendices

Making sure that all of your sections are in the right place is only the first step to a well-written dissertation. Don’t forget to leave plenty of time for editing and proofreading, as grammar mistakes and sloppy spelling errors can really negatively impact your work.

Dissertations can take up to five years to write, so you will definitely want to make sure that everything is perfect before submitting. You may want to consider using a professional dissertation editing service , AI proofreader or grammar checker to make sure your final project is perfect prior to submitting.

After your written dissertation is approved, your committee will schedule a defense. Similarly to defending your prospectus, dissertation defenses are oral presentations of your work. You’ll present your dissertation, and your committee will ask you questions. Many departments allow family members, friends, and other people who are interested to join as well.

After your defense, your committee will meet, and then inform you whether you have passed. Keep in mind that defenses are usually just a formality; most committees will have resolved any serious issues with your work with you far prior to your defense, giving you ample time to fix any problems.

As you write your dissertation, you can use this simple checklist to make sure you’ve included all the essentials.

Checklist: Dissertation

My title page includes all information required by my university.

I have included acknowledgements thanking those who helped me.

My abstract provides a concise summary of the dissertation, giving the reader a clear idea of my key results or arguments.

I have created a table of contents to help the reader navigate my dissertation. It includes all chapter titles, but excludes the title page, acknowledgements, and abstract.

My introduction leads into my topic in an engaging way and shows the relevance of my research.

My introduction clearly defines the focus of my research, stating my research questions and research objectives .

My introduction includes an overview of the dissertation’s structure (reading guide).

I have conducted a literature review in which I (1) critically engage with sources, evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of existing research, (2) discuss patterns, themes, and debates in the literature, and (3) address a gap or show how my research contributes to existing research.

I have clearly outlined the theoretical framework of my research, explaining the theories and models that support my approach.

I have thoroughly described my methodology , explaining how I collected data and analyzed data.

I have concisely and objectively reported all relevant results .

I have (1) evaluated and interpreted the meaning of the results and (2) acknowledged any important limitations of the results in my discussion .

I have clearly stated the answer to my main research question in the conclusion .

I have clearly explained the implications of my conclusion, emphasizing what new insight my research has contributed.

I have provided relevant recommendations for further research or practice.

If relevant, I have included appendices with supplemental information.

I have included an in-text citation every time I use words, ideas, or information from a source.

I have listed every source in a reference list at the end of my dissertation.

I have consistently followed the rules of my chosen citation style .

I have followed all formatting guidelines provided by my university.


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What Is a Dissertation? | 5 Essential Questions to Get Started

Published on 26 March 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on 5 May 2022.

A dissertation is a large research project undertaken at the end of a degree. It involves in-depth consideration of a problem or question chosen by the student. It is usually the largest (and final) piece of written work produced during a degree.

The length and structure of a dissertation vary widely depending on the level and field of study. However, there are some key questions that can help you understand the requirements and get started on your dissertation project.

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Table of contents

When and why do you have to write a dissertation, who will supervise your dissertation, what type of research will you do, how should your dissertation be structured, what formatting and referencing rules do you have to follow, frequently asked questions about dissertations.

A dissertation, sometimes called a thesis, comes at the end of an undergraduate or postgraduate degree. It is a larger project than the other essays you’ve written, requiring a higher word count and a greater depth of research.

You’ll generally work on your dissertation during the final year of your degree, over a longer period than you would take for a standard essay . For example, the dissertation might be your main focus for the last six months of your degree.

Why is the dissertation important?

The dissertation is a test of your capacity for independent research. You are given a lot of autonomy in writing your dissertation: you come up with your own ideas, conduct your own research, and write and structure the text by yourself.

This means that it is an important preparation for your future, whether you continue in academia or not: it teaches you to manage your own time, generate original ideas, and work independently.

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During the planning and writing of your dissertation, you’ll work with a supervisor from your department. The supervisor’s job is to give you feedback and advice throughout the process.

The dissertation supervisor is often assigned by the department, but you might be allowed to indicate preferences or approach potential supervisors. If so, try to pick someone who is familiar with your chosen topic, whom you get along with on a personal level, and whose feedback you’ve found useful in the past.

How will your supervisor help you?

Your supervisor is there to guide you through the dissertation project, but you’re still working independently. They can give feedback on your ideas, but not come up with ideas for you.

You may need to take the initiative to request an initial meeting with your supervisor. Then you can plan out your future meetings and set reasonable deadlines for things like completion of data collection, a structure outline, a first chapter, a first draft, and so on.

Make sure to prepare in advance for your meetings. Formulate your ideas as fully as you can, and determine where exactly you’re having difficulties so you can ask your supervisor for specific advice.

Your approach to your dissertation will vary depending on your field of study. The first thing to consider is whether you will do empirical research , which involves collecting original data, or non-empirical research , which involves analysing sources.

Empirical dissertations (sciences)

An empirical dissertation focuses on collecting and analysing original data. You’ll usually write this type of dissertation if you are studying a subject in the sciences or social sciences.

  • What are airline workers’ attitudes towards the challenges posed for their industry by climate change?
  • How effective is cognitive behavioural therapy in treating depression in young adults?
  • What are the short-term health effects of switching from smoking cigarettes to e-cigarettes?

There are many different empirical research methods you can use to answer these questions – for example, experiments , observations, surveys , and interviews.

When doing empirical research, you need to consider things like the variables you will investigate, the reliability and validity of your measurements, and your sampling method . The aim is to produce robust, reproducible scientific knowledge.

Non-empirical dissertations (arts and humanities)

A non-empirical dissertation works with existing research or other texts, presenting original analysis, critique and argumentation, but no original data. This approach is typical of arts and humanities subjects.

  • What attitudes did commentators in the British press take towards the French Revolution in 1789–1792?
  • How do the themes of gender and inheritance intersect in Shakespeare’s Macbeth ?
  • How did Plato’s Republic and Thomas More’s Utopia influence nineteenth century utopian socialist thought?

The first steps in this type of dissertation are to decide on your topic and begin collecting your primary and secondary sources .

Primary sources are the direct objects of your research. They give you first-hand evidence about your subject. Examples of primary sources include novels, artworks and historical documents.

Secondary sources provide information that informs your analysis. They describe, interpret, or evaluate information from primary sources. For example, you might consider previous analyses of the novel or author you are working on, or theoretical texts that you plan to apply to your primary sources.

Dissertations are divided into chapters and sections. Empirical dissertations usually follow a standard structure, while non-empirical dissertations are more flexible.

Structure of an empirical dissertation

Empirical dissertations generally include these chapters:

  • Introduction : An explanation of your topic and the research question(s) you want to answer.
  • Literature review : A survey and evaluation of previous research on your topic.
  • Methodology : An explanation of how you collected and analysed your data.
  • Results : A brief description of what you found.
  • Discussion : Interpretation of what these results reveal.
  • Conclusion : Answers to your research question(s) and summary of what your findings contribute to knowledge in your field.

Sometimes the order or naming of chapters might be slightly different, but all of the above information must be included in order to produce thorough, valid scientific research.

Other dissertation structures

If your dissertation doesn’t involve data collection, your structure is more flexible. You can think of it like an extended essay – the text should be logically organised in a way that serves your argument:

  • Introduction: An explanation of your topic and the question(s) you want to answer.
  • Main body: The development of your analysis, usually divided into 2–4 chapters.
  • Conclusion: Answers to your research question(s) and summary of what your analysis contributes to knowledge in your field.

The chapters of the main body can be organised around different themes, time periods, or texts. Below you can see some example structures for dissertations in different subjects.

  • Political philosophy

This example, on the topic of the British press’s coverage of the French Revolution, shows how you might structure each chapter around a specific theme.

Example of a dissertation structure in history

This example, on the topic of Plato’s and More’s influences on utopian socialist thought, shows a different approach to dividing the chapters by theme.

Example of a dissertation structure in political philosophy

This example, a master’s dissertation on the topic of how writers respond to persecution, shows how you can also use section headings within each chapter. Each of the three chapters deals with a specific text, while the sections are organised thematically.

Example of a dissertation structure in literature

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Like other academic texts, it’s important that your dissertation follows the formatting guidelines set out by your university. You can lose marks unnecessarily over mistakes, so it’s worth taking the time to get all these elements right.

Formatting guidelines concern things like:

  • line spacing
  • page numbers
  • punctuation
  • title pages
  • presentation of tables and figures

If you’re unsure about the formatting requirements, check with your supervisor or department. You can lose marks unnecessarily over mistakes, so it’s worth taking the time to get all these elements right.

How will you reference your sources?

Referencing means properly listing the sources you cite and refer to in your dissertation, so that the reader can find them. This avoids plagiarism by acknowledging where you’ve used the work of others.

Keep track of everything you read as you prepare your dissertation. The key information to note down for a reference is:

  • The publication date
  • Page numbers for the parts you refer to (especially when using direct quotes)

Different referencing styles each have their own specific rules for how to reference. The most commonly used styles in UK universities are listed below.

You can use the free APA Reference Generator to automatically create and store your references.

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The words ‘ dissertation ’ and ‘thesis’ both refer to a large written research project undertaken to complete a degree, but they are used differently depending on the country:

  • In the UK, you write a dissertation at the end of a bachelor’s or master’s degree, and you write a thesis to complete a PhD.
  • In the US, it’s the other way around: you may write a thesis at the end of a bachelor’s or master’s degree, and you write a dissertation to complete a PhD.

The main difference is in terms of scale – a dissertation is usually much longer than the other essays you complete during your degree.

Another key difference is that you are given much more independence when working on a dissertation. You choose your own dissertation topic , and you have to conduct the research and write the dissertation yourself (with some assistance from your supervisor).

Dissertation word counts vary widely across different fields, institutions, and levels of education:

  • An undergraduate dissertation is typically 8,000–15,000 words
  • A master’s dissertation is typically 12,000–50,000 words
  • A PhD thesis is typically book-length: 70,000–100,000 words

However, none of these are strict guidelines – your word count may be lower or higher than the numbers stated here. Always check the guidelines provided by your university to determine how long your own dissertation should be.

At the bachelor’s and master’s levels, the dissertation is usually the main focus of your final year. You might work on it (alongside other classes) for the entirety of the final year, or for the last six months. This includes formulating an idea, doing the research, and writing up.

A PhD thesis takes a longer time, as the thesis is the main focus of the degree. A PhD thesis might be being formulated and worked on for the whole four years of the degree program. The writing process alone can take around 18 months.

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A Step-By-Step Guide to Write the Perfect Dissertation

“A dissertation or a thesis is a long piece of academic writing based on comprehensive research.”

The significance of dissertation writing in the world of academia is unparalleled. A good dissertation paper needs months of research and marks the end of your respected academic journey. It is considered the most effective form of writing in academia and perhaps the longest piece of academic writing you will ever have to complete.

This thorough step-by-step guide on how to write a dissertation will serve as a tool to help you with the task at hand, whether you are an undergraduate student or a Masters or PhD student working on your dissertation project. This guide provides detailed information about how to write the different chapters of a dissertation, such as a problem statement , conceptual framework , introduction , literature review, methodology , discussion , findings , conclusion , title page , acknowledgements , etc.

What is a Dissertation? – Definition

Before we list the stages of writing a dissertation, we should look at what a dissertation is.

The Cambridge dictionary states that a dissertation is a long piece of writing on a particular subject, especially one that is done to receive a degree at college or university, but that is just the tip of the iceberg because a dissertation project has a lot more meaning and context.

To understand a dissertation’s definition, one must have the capability to understand what an essay is. A dissertation is like an extended essay that includes research and information at a much deeper level. Despite the few similarities, there are many differences between an essay and a dissertation.

Another term that people confuse with a dissertation is a thesis. Let's look at the differences between the two terms.

What is the Difference Between a Dissertation and a Thesis?

Dissertation and thesis are used interchangeably worldwide (and may vary between universities and regions), but the key difference is when they are completed. The thesis is a project that marks the end of a degree program, whereas the dissertation project can occur during the degree. Hanno Krieger (Researchgate, 2014) explained the difference between a dissertation and a thesis as follows:

“Thesis is the written form of research work to claim an academic degree, like PhD thesis, postgraduate thesis, and undergraduate thesis. On the other hand, a dissertation is only another expression of the written research work, similar to an essay. So the thesis is the more general expression.

In the end, it does not matter whether it is a bachelor's, master or PhD dissertation one is working on because the structure and the steps of conducting research are pretty much identical. However, doctoral-level dissertation papers are much more complicated and detailed.

Problems Students Face When Writing a Dissertation

You can expect to encounter some troubles if you don’t yet know the steps to write a dissertation. Even the smartest students are overwhelmed by the complexity of writing a dissertation.

A dissertation project is different from any essay paper you have ever committed to because of the details of planning, research and writing it involves. One can expect rewarding results at the end of the process if the correct guidelines are followed. Still, as indicated previously, there will be multiple challenges to deal with before reaching that milestone.

The three most significant problems students face when working on a dissertation project are the following.

Poor Project Planning

Delaying to start working on the dissertation project is the most common problem. Students think they have sufficient time to complete the paper and are finding ways to write a dissertation in a week, delaying the start to the point where they start stressing out about the looming deadline. When the planning is poor, students are always looking for ways to write their dissertations in the last few days. Although it is possible, it does have effects on the quality of the paper.

Inadequate Research Skills

The writing process becomes a huge problem if one has the required academic research experience. Professional dissertation writing goes well beyond collecting a few relevant reference resources.

You need to do both primary and secondary research for your paper. Depending on the dissertation’s topic and the academic qualification you are a candidate for, you may be required to base your dissertation paper on primary research.

In addition to secondary data, you will also need to collect data from the specified participants and test the hypothesis . The practice of primary collection is time-consuming since all the data must be analysed in detail before results can be withdrawn.

Failure to Meet the Strict Academic Writing Standards

Research is a crucial business everywhere. Failure to follow the language, style, structure, and formatting guidelines provided by your department or institution when writing the dissertation paper can worsen matters. It is recommended to read the dissertation handbook before starting the write-up thoroughly.

Steps of Writing a Dissertation

For those stressing out about developing an extensive paper capable of filling a gap in research whilst adding value to the existing academic literature—conducting exhaustive research and analysis—and professionally using the knowledge gained throughout their degree program, there is still good news in all the chaos.

We have put together a guide that will show you how to start your dissertation and complete it carefully from one stage to the next.

Find an Interesting and Manageable Dissertation Topic

A clearly defined topic is a prerequisite for any successful independent research project. An engaging yet manageable research topic can produce an original piece of research that results in a higher academic score.

Unlike essays or assignments, when working on their thesis or dissertation project, students get to choose their topic of research.

You should follow the tips to choose the correct topic for your research to avoid problems later. Your chosen dissertation topic should be narrow enough, allowing you to collect the required secondary and primary data relatively quickly.

Understandably, many people take a lot of time to search for the topic, and a significant amount of research time is spent on it. You should talk to your supervisor or check out the intriguing database of ResearchProspect’s free topics for your dissertation.

Alternatively, consider reading newspapers, academic journals, articles, course materials, and other media to identify relevant issues to your study area and find some inspiration to get going.

You should work closely with your supervisor to agree to a narrowed but clear research plan.Here is what Michelle Schneider, learning adviser at the University of Leeds, had to say about picking the research topics,

“Picking something you’re genuinely interested in will keep you motivated. Consider why it’s important to tackle your chosen topic," Michelle added.

Develop a First-Class Dissertation Proposal.

Once the research topic has been selected, you can develop a solid dissertation proposal . The research proposal allows you to convince your supervisor or the committee members of the significance of your dissertation.

Through the proposal, you will be expected to prove that your work will significantly value the academic and scientific communities by addressing complex and provocative research questions .

Dissertation proposals are much shorter but follow a similar structure to an extensive dissertation paper. If the proposal is optional in your university, you should still create one outline of the critical points that the actual dissertation paper will cover. To get a better understanding of dissertation proposals, you can also check the publicly available samples of dissertation proposals .

Typical contents of the dissertation paper are as follows;

  • A brief rationale for the problem your dissertation paper will investigate.
  • The hypothesis you will be testing.
  • Research objectives you wish to address.
  • How will you contribute to the knowledge of the scientific and academic community?
  • How will you find answers to the critical research question(s)?
  • What research approach will you adopt?
  • What kind of population of interest would you like to generalise your result(s) to (especially in the case of quantitative research)?
  • What sampling technique(s) would you employ, and why would you not use other methods?
  • What ethical considerations have you taken to gather data?
  • Who are the stakeholders in your research are/might be?
  • What are the future implications and limitations you see in your research?

Let’s review the structure of the dissertation. Keep the format of your proposal simple. Keeping it simple keeps your readers will remain engaged. The following are the fundamental focal points that must be included:

Title of your dissertation: Dissertation titles should be 12 words in length. The focus of your research should be identifiable from your research topic.

Research aim: The overall purpose of your study should be clearly stated in terms of the broad statements of the desired outcomes in the Research aim. Try and paint the picture of your research, emphasising what you wish to achieve as a researcher.

Research objectives: The key research questions you wish to address as part of the project should be listed. Narrow down the focus of your research and aim for at most four objectives. Your research objectives should be linked with the aim of the study or a hypothesis.

Literature review: Consult with your supervisor to check if you are required to use any specific academic sources as part of the literature review process. If that is not the case, find out the most relevant theories, journals, books, schools of thought, and publications that will be used to construct arguments in your literature research.Remember that the literature review is all about giving credit to other authors’ works on a similar topic

Research methods and techniques: Depending on your dissertation topic, you might be required to conduct empirical research to satisfy the study’s objectives. Empirical research uses primary data such as questionnaires, interview data, and surveys to collect.

On the other hand, if your dissertation is based on secondary (non-empirical) data, you can stick to the existing literature in your area of study. Clearly state the merits of your chosen research methods under the methodology section.

Expected results: As you explore the research topic and analyse the data in the previously published papers, you will begin to build your expectations around the study’s potential outcomes. List those expectations here.

Project timeline: Let the readers know exactly how you plan to complete all the dissertation project parts within the timeframe allowed. You should learn more about Microsoft Project and Gantt Charts to create easy-to-follow and high-level project timelines and schedules.

References: The academic sources used to gather information for the proposed paper will be listed under this section using the appropriate referencing style. Ask your supervisor which referencing style you are supposed to follow.

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Investigation, Research and Data Collection

This is the most critical stage of the dissertation writing process. One should use up-to-date and relevant academic sources that are likely to jeopardise hard work.

Finding relevant and highly authentic reference resources is the key to succeeding in the dissertation project, so it is advised to take your time with this process. Here are some of the things that should be considered when conducting research.

dissertation project, so it is advised to take your time with this process. Here are some of the things that should be considered when conducting research.

You cannot read everything related to your topic. Although the practice of reading as much material as possible during this stage is rewarding, it is also imperative to understand that it is impossible to read everything that concerns your research.

This is true, especially for undergraduate and master’s level dissertations that must be delivered within a specific timeframe. So, it is important to know when to stop! Once the previous research and the associated limitations are well understood, it is time to move on.

However, review at least the salient research and work done in your area. By salient, we mean research done by pioneers of your field. For instance, if your topic relates to linguistics and you haven’t familiarised yourself with relevant research conducted by, say, Chomsky (the father of linguistics), your readers may find your lack of knowledge disconcerting.

So, to come off as genuinely knowledgeable in your own field, at least don’t forget to read essential works in the field/topic!

Use an Authentic Research database to Find References.

Most students start the reference material-finding process with desk-based research. However, this research method has its own limitation because it is a well-known fact that the internet is full of bogus information and fake information spreads fasters on the internet than truth does .

So, it is important to pick your reference material from reliable resources such as Google Scholar , Researchgate, Ibibio and Bartleby . Wikipedia is not considered a reliable academic source in the academic world, so it is recommended to refrain from citing Wikipedia content.Never underrate the importance of the actual library. The supporting staff at a university library can be of great help when it comes to finding exciting and reliable publications.

Record as you learn

All information and impressions should be recorded as notes using online tools such as Evernote to make sure everything is clear. You want to retain an important piece of information you had planned to present as an argument in the dissertation paper.

Write a Flawless Dissertation

Start to write a fantastic dissertation immediately once your proposal has been accepted and all the necessary desk-based research has been conducted. Now we will look at the different chapters of a dissertation in detail. You can also check out the samples of dissertation chapters to fully understand the format and structures of the various chapters.

Dissertation Introduction Chapter

The introduction chapter of the dissertation paper provides the background, problem statement and research questions. Here, you will inform the readers why it was important for this research to be conducted and which key research question(s) you expect to answer at the end of the study.

Definitions of all the terms and phrases in the project are provided in this first chapter of the dissertation paper. The research aim and objectives remain unchanged from the proposal paper and are expected to be listed under this section.

Dissertation Literature Review Chapter

This chapter allows you to demonstrate to your readers that you have done sufficient research on the chosen topic and understand previous similar studies’ findings. Any research limitations that your research incorporates are expected to be discussed in this section.

And make sure to summarise the viewpoints and findings of other researchers in the dissertation literature review chapter. Show the readers that there is a research gap in the existing work and your job is relevant to it to justify your research value.

Dissertation Methodology

The methodology chapter of the dissertation provides insight into the methods employed to collect data from various resources and flows naturally from the literature review chapter.Simply put, you will be expected to explain what you did and how you did it, helping the readers understand that your research is valid and reliable. When writing the methodology chapter for the dissertation, make sure to emphasise the following points:

  • The type of research performed by the researcher
  • Methods employed to gather and filter information
  • Techniques that were chosen for analysis
  • Materials, tools and resources used to conduct research (typically for empirical research dissertations)
  • Limitations of your chosen methods
  • Reliability and validity of your measuring tools and instruments (e.g. a survey questionnaire) are also typically mentioned within the mythology section. If you used a pre-existing data collection tool, cite its reliability/validity estimates here, too.Make use of the past tense when writing the methodology chapter.

Dissertation Findings

The key results of your research are presented in the dissertation findings chapter . It gives authors the ability to validate their own intellectual and analytical skills

Dissertation Conclusion

Cap off your dissertation paper with a study summary and a brief report of the findings. In the concluding chapter , you will be expected to demonstrate how your research will provide value to other academics in your area of study and its implications.It is recommended to include a short ‘recommendations’ section that will elaborate on the purpose and need for future research to elucidate the topic further.

Follow the referencing style following the requirements of your academic degree or field of study. Make sure to list every academic source used with a proper in-text citation. It is important to give credit to other authors’ ideas and concepts.

Note: Keep in mind whether you are creating a reference list or a bibliography. The former includes information about all the various sources you referred to, read from or took inspiration from for your own study. However, the latter contains things you used and those you only read but didn’t cite in your dissertation.

Proofread, Edit and Improve – Don’t Risk Months of Hard Work.

Experts recommend completing the total dissertation before starting to proofread and edit your work. You need to refresh your focus and reboot your creative brain before returning to another critical stage.

Leave space of at least a few days between the writing and the editing steps so when you get back to the desk, you can recognise your grammar, spelling and factual errors when you get back to the desk.

It is crucial to consider this period to ensure the final work is polished, coherent, well-structured and free of any structural or factual flaws. Daniel Higginbotham from Prospects UK states that:

“Leave yourself sufficient time to engage with your writing at several levels – from reassessing the logic of the whole piece to proofreading to checking you’ve paid attention to aspects such as the correct spelling of names and theories and the required referencing format.”

What is the Difference Between Editing and Proofreading?

Editing means that you are focusing on the essence of your dissertation paper. In contrast, proofreading is the process of reviewing the final draft piece to ensure accuracy and consistency in formatting, spelling, facts, punctuation, and grammar.

Editing: Prepare your work for submission by condensing, correcting and modifying (where necessary). When reviewing the paper, make sure that there are coherence and consistency between the arguments you presented.

If an information gap has been identified, fill that with an appropriate piece of information gathered during the research process. It is easy to lose sight of the original purpose if you become over-involved when writing.

Cut out the unwanted text and refine it, so your paper’s content is to the point and concise.Proofreading: Start proofreading your paper to identify formatting, structural, grammar, punctuation and referencing flaws. Read every single sentence of the paper no matter how tired you are because a few puerile mistakes can compromise your months of hard work.

Many students struggle with the editing and proofreading stages due to their lack of attention to detail. Consult a skilled dissertation editor if you are unable to find your flaws. You may want to invest in a professional dissertation editing and proofreading service to improve the piece’s quality to First Class.

Tips for Writing a Dissertation

Communication with supervisor – get feedback.

Communicate regularly with your supervisor to produce a first-class dissertation paper. Request them to comprehensively review the contents of your dissertation paper before final submission.

Their constructive criticism and feedback concerning different study areas will help you improve your piece’s overall quality. Keep your supervisor updated about your research progress and discuss any problems that you come up against.

Organising your Time

A dissertation is a lengthy project spanning over a period of months to years, and therefore it is important to avoid procrastination. Stay focused, and manage your time efficiently. Here are some time management tips for writing your dissertation to help you make the most of your time as you research and write.

  • Don’t be discouraged by the inherently slow nature of dissertation work, particularly in the initial stages.
  • Set clear goals and work out your research and write up a plan accordingly.
  • Allow sufficient time to incorporate feedback from your supervisor.
  • Leave enough time for editing, improving, proofreading, and formatting the paper according to your school’s guidelines. This is where you break or make your grade.
  • Work a certain number of hours on your paper daily.
  • Create a worksheet for your week.
  • Work on your dissertation for time periods as brief as 45 minutes or less.
  • Stick to the strategic dissertation timeline, so you don’t have to do the catchup work.
  • Meet your goals by prioritising your dissertation work.
  • Strike a balance between being overly organised and needing to be more organised.
  • Limit activities other than dissertation writing and your most necessary obligations.
  • Keep ‘tangent’ and ‘for the book’ files.
  • Create lists to help you manage your tasks.
  • Have ‘filler’ tasks to do when you feel burned out or in need of intellectual rest.
  • Keep a dissertation journal.
  • Pretend that you are working in a more structured work world.
  • Limit your usage of email and personal electronic devices.
  • Utilise and build on your past work when you write your dissertation.
  • Break large tasks into small manageable ones.
  • Seek advice from others, and do not be afraid to ask for help.

Dissertation Examples

Here are some samples of a dissertation to inspire you to write mind-blowing dissertations and to help bring all the above-mentioned guidelines home.

DE MONTFORT University Leicester – Examples of recent dissertations

Dissertation Research in Education: Dissertations (Examples)

How Long is a Dissertation?

The entire dissertation writing process is complicated and spans over a period of months to years, depending on whether you are an undergraduate, master’s, or PhD candidate. Marcus Beck, a PhD candidate, conducted fundamental research a few years ago, research that didn’t have much to do with his research but returned answers to some niggling questions every student has about the average length of a dissertation.

A software program specifically designed for this purpose helped Beck to access the university’s electronic database to uncover facts on dissertation length.

The above illustration shows how the results of his small study were a little unsurprising. Social sciences and humanities disciplines such as anthropology, politics, and literature had the longest dissertations, with some PhD dissertations comprising 150,000 words or more.Engineering and scientific disciplines, on the other hand, were considerably shorter. PhD-level dissertations generally don’t have a predefined length as they will vary with your research topic. Ask your school about this requirement if you are unsure about it from the start.

Focus more on the quality of content rather than the number of pages.

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Phrases to Avoid

No matter the style or structure you follow, it is best to keep your language simple. Avoid the use of buzzwords and jargon.

A Word on Stealing Content (Plagiarism)

Very straightforward advice to all students, DO NOT PLAGIARISE. Plagiarism is a serious offence. You will be penalised heavily if you are caught plagiarising. Don’t risk years of hard work, as many students in the past have lost their degrees for plagiarising. Here are some tips to help you make sure you don’t get caught.

  • Copying and pasting from an academic source is an unforgivable sin. Rephrasing text retrieved from another source also falls under plagiarism; it’s called paraphrasing. Summarising another’s idea(s) word-to-word, paraphrasing, and copy-pasting are the three primary forms plagiarism can take.
  • If you must directly copy full sentences from another source because they fill the bill, always enclose them inside quotation marks and acknowledge the writer’s work with in-text citations.

Are you struggling to find inspiration to get going? Still, trying to figure out where to begin? Is the deadline getting closer? Don’t be overwhelmed! ResearchProspect dissertation writing services have helped thousands of students achieve desired outcomes. Click here to get help from writers holding either a master's or PhD degree from a reputed UK university.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a dissertation include.

A dissertation has main chapters and parts that support them. The main parts are:

  • Introduction
  • Literature review
  • Research Methodology
  • Your conclusion

Other parts are the abstract, references, appendices etc. We can supply a full dissertation or specific parts of one.

What is the difference between research and a dissertation?

A research paper is a sort of academic writing that consists of the study, source assessment, critical thinking, organisation, and composition, as opposed to a thesis or dissertation, which is a lengthy academic document that often serves as the final project for a university degree.

Can I edit and proofread my dissertation myself?

Of course, you can do proofreading and editing of your dissertation. There are certain rules to follow that have been discussed above. However, finding mistakes in something that you have written yourself can be complicated for some people. It is advisable to take professional help in the matter.

What If I only have difficulty writing a specific chapter of the dissertation?

ResearchProspect ensures customer satisfaction by addressing all relevant issues. We provide dissertation chapter-writing services to students if they need help completing a specific chapter. It could be any chapter from the introduction, literature review, and methodology to the discussion and conclusion.

You May Also Like

Are you looking for intriguing and trending dissertation topics? Get inspired by our list of free dissertation topics on all subjects.

Looking for an easy guide to follow to write your essay? Here is our detailed essay guide explaining how to write an essay and examples and types of an essay.

Learn about the steps required to successfully complete their research project. Make sure to follow these steps in their respective order.

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How to Write a Doctoral Dissertation in Two Months

can you write a dissertation in 4 months

Don’t navigate through a forest of challenges.

Instead of taking two years to write your doctoral dissertation, what if you could write it in two months? Think you can do it? Yes, it ’ s possible, but your success will depend upon dedicating yourself to the task and, if needed, requesting help of others who thrive at researching.

Avoid navigating through unknown territory alone

When you discipline yourself, you can create an outline, define the steps for acquiring your data, and write a draft in six weeks. However, you must set up deadlines for each phase, and it ’ s important to note that social invitations and other shiny objects that might tempt you to delay even one day in your deadline are not an option.

How to Begin your Writing

First, decide on start and stop dates for your researching and writing. Next, find a competent academic editor to review your first draft, which will allow you another week to fine-tune your final document before submitting it. If you can follow these rules, then you will finish writing your doctoral dissertation in two months.

Reassure your doubting brain that you can do this. Don ’ t share this information with family, friends, or anyone who is in your world. Why? Their opinions, thoughts, and suggestions don ’ t matter. You ’ re in this to complete your dissertation, not get feedback or approval from peers, family, friends, or strangers.

can you write a dissertation in 4 months

On a sheet of lined paper, write time slots down the left column. Next, fill in the blanks for each time slot with a task that you will accomplish that day. Think of it as a tiny check list. You do one thing from 9:00-10:00. Take a 15-minute break. Then from 10:15-11:00, complete the next task. If you can work six hours in one day, then fill in the details for what you WILL accomplish in each of those time slots.

Establish a start date for your two-month project. Write the date on your calendar, and put a huge note in a place you can’t miss to remind yourself of your start date. Know in your heart and mind that it’s an exciting date and you’re looking forward to it.

can you write a dissertation in 4 months

Arrange for sufficient time to select your topic. This is one of the most important steps in this process because it sets the goal for your research work. If you allow one week to brainstorm ideas and choose a topic that you ’ re passionate about, the rest of your work will go more smoothly and quickly. Note : Not completing this step in the time allotted could mean you won’t be able to complete your thesis, and you might wind up delaying your thesis indefinitely. Stay positive. Stay focused. Complete this step!

Create a working outline. Below are bullet points to get you started. Reject, accept or add more bullet points as needed.

can you write a dissertation in 4 months

  • Jot down the key points and ideas that you’ll include in your project
  • Define how you will arrange your arguments and supporting paragraphs
  • Establish a method for recording your research notes in such a way that the details almost write themselves
  • Use your smartphone to take a picture of your bibliography sources from printed materials. Don’t waste precious time writing this down. Let a photographic image be your resource tracker.
  • Make a short list of anything that you ‘must’ cover and that you don’t want to forget about later.
  • Make a quick list of your analytical findings that you’ll use in your final statements and resolutions.
  • Finally, as the thoughts and impressions cross your brain, write down and record the results that you interpret from all your data gathering sessions.

Once you have your outline with you, it is merely a 15-day task to write and proofread your thesis. If you have missed your earlier deadlines for some reason, you can utilize the remaining time by staying focused and active. You will have to dedicate all your time to writing in the last 15 days. Do not let yourself take leave under any circumstances. Write on a regular basis and dedicate at least half of your day to writing your thesis.

To complete your thesis writing project in less than two months, you must have your data and raw material assembled in a digital form that you can quickly look through to extract only the best information you will use during the writing process. Once you have researched your topic thoroughly and you know the results you want to present, the writing process becomes much easier.

Caution : It you begin the writing process with only bits of information, thinking that, if needed, you will stop and collect additional data and then start the writing process again, this could increase the amount of time you need to finish your dissertation. Be careful with this step. When you discipline yourself and proceed according to your deadline dates, you will write at an easier pace. Slow and steady wins the race, as they say.

About halfway through your project, you might want to take a two-to-three-hour break to walk in the woods, have a coffee with your friends, or get a little more rest to relax your eyes and hands—and your tense, deadline-driven brain. Reward yourself with a favorite food or beverage, knowing you ’ re half-way finished. That’s good!

can you write a dissertation in 4 months

Dedicate the last 15 days to writing and editing your thesis. Do not let anything or anyone interfere with this precious time that you ’ ve set aside to reach your goal. Write every day. Write and only write at the same dedicated time. No exceptions.

Hire a reputable academic editor to review your document, and then allow sufficient non-rushed time to make changes, revisions and finish your final draft.

can you write a dissertation in 4 months

Submit your dissertation. Breathe a sigh of relief. Pat yourself on the back, and go celebrate. You did it!

Things to keep in mind 

Following the above procedure and completing your thesis within two months is no mean task. Apart from the meticulous planning elaborated above, there are certain other things which you will need to concentrate on as well. The most important of these is maintaining a positive mindset.

can you write a dissertation in 4 months

Psychology plays a great role in our success, and it is extremely important when you are trying to complete a thesis in just two months. Practice meditation or spend some time for exercise on a daily basis. This helps to keep your body and mind in good shape and, hence, improve your productivity. Be aware of the situation when you are feeling stressed out and be sure to have a few emergency stress relief mechanisms planned out when needed.

can you write a dissertation in 4 months

Discipline is also necessary. Successful completion of all the above steps is predicated on your ability to be disciplined throughout the span of work. No compromises should be made on the deadlines that are set up for completing each of the subtasks.

can you write a dissertation in 4 months

Possessing a good working relationship with your editor also helps make the whole process more efficient. Make sure that you invest some time finding the right editor for you. Maintain a good line of communication and give your editor full cooperation.

While completing a thesis in two months is a tough task, it is definitely achievable. With proper planning, a conducive mindset and efficient execution, the goal can be achieved—even with a bit of time to spare.

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Candace Sinclair is passionate about turning an author’s words into professional books and web-based content that delivers favorable results. In addition to editing and creating SEO-based content, Candace has ghostwritten more than 300 books and 20 screenplays for individuals and business owners. She has also authored hundreds of her own eBooks, edited thousands of books for authors, and has been traditionally published for more than 25 years. Her passion for editing drives authors to come back to her every time they write a new book, or when they want her expertise. Formerly the VP of Publishing for a major company in the Pacific Northwest, and the owner of three publishing companies, Candace traded in her corporate day job for the opportunity of serving others as a freelance writer, editor, and professional photographer.

Are 3 Months Enough to Write a Dissertation? A-Z Plan for Dissertation Writing

Write a Dissertation

Table of Contents

A dissertation is a written document that presents an original research study in a particular field. It is usually required as a final project for students in advanced academic programs. A dissertation takes a lot of time and effort to complete. Many students wonder if they can complete a dissertation in just three months. In this article, we will explore whether three months is enough time to write a dissertation and provide an A-Z plan for dissertation writing .

Can You Write A Dissertation In Three Months?

Yes, it is possible to write a dissertation in three months. However, it depends on several factors;

  • Complexity of the research
  • Availability of resources
  • Student’s writing skills

It is essential to note that writing a dissertation is a marathon, not a sprint. It requires a lot of planning, research, and writing. Therefore, students should be realistic about what they can achieve in three months.

A-Z Plan for Dissertation Writing:

1) choose a topic.

The first step in dissertation writing is to choose a dissertation topic . This is a crucial decision, as it will determine the direction of your research. Make sure you choose an interesting, relevant, and feasible topic. It would help if you also considered your topic’s availability of resources, such as data and literature.

2) Develop A Research Question

Once you have chosen a topic, you must improve the research question. A research question is a statement that identifies the problem or issue you want to investigate. It should be specific, clear, and relevant to your chosen topic.

3) Conduct A Literature Review

A literature review is a crucial part of a dissertation. It involves a critical analysis of existing literature on your chosen topic. A literature review identifies gaps in the literature and provides a theoretical framework for your research. Use credible sources like academic journals and books for your literature review.

4) Develop A Research Methodology

Research methodology is the approach to collecting and analysing data for your research. You should choose an appropriate method for your research question. Common research methodologies are surveys, interviews, experiments, and case studies.

5) Collect And Analyse Data

In the next step, you should collect and analyse data . This step needs time, so it is essential to plan. Use reliable sources to collect enough data to support your research question.

6) Write The Dissertation

The next step is to write your dissertation. You should have a clear structure in mind for all the dissertation sections (Introduction, Literature review, Methodology, Results, Discussion, and Conclusion). Use clear and concise language to support your arguments with evidence.

7) Edit And Proofread

Now the next step is to edit and proofread your written dissertation. This involves checking grammar and spelling errors. Ensure that your writing is brief and concise. You should also check your formatting style and accurate citations.

How Much Time Do You Need To Write A High-Quality Dissertation?

The time required to write a dissertation can vary for each dissertation. However, it can take a minimum of a year to progress an effective dissertation (from the initial research and planning stages to the final editing and revisions). It is important to plan, set realistic goals and timelines, and stay organised to ensure the dissertation is completed on time and to a high standard.

Dissertation Levels And Word Counts That Can Be Covered In 3 Months;

Following are the word counts and levels for a dissertation that can be covered in 3 months:

1) Undergraduate Dissertation:

An undergraduate dissertation normally ranges from 5,000 to 10,000 words. Proper planning makes it possible to complete an undergraduate dissertation in three months.

2) Masters Dissertation:

A master’s dissertation usually ranges from 10,000 to 20,000 words. Completing a master’s dissertation in three months requires a lot of dedication, hard work, and efficient time management.

3) PhD Dissertation:

A PhD dissertation is a substantial research document ranging from 40,000 to 100,000 words. Completing a PhD dissertation in three months is a challenging task and requires a high level of commitment and focus.

What Do You Do If You’ve Left It Very Late For Your Dissertation?

If you’ve left it too late for your dissertation, here are some steps you can take:

1) Don’t Panic:

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you realise you’ve left it too late to start your dissertation. Creating this panic will only make things worse. Take a deep gasp and try to stay calm.

2) Assess The Situation:

Take some time to assess the situation and determine how much time you have left before your dissertation is due. This will help you to create a plan of action.

3) Prioritise:

Prioritise your tasks according to the importance and time limit. This will help you use most of the time for the dissertation from when you left.

4) Set A Realistic Goal:

Set a realistic goal for what you can achieve in a short time. This will help you to stay attentive and motivated.

5) Manage Your Time:

Manage your time for effective use for your dissertation. Work late at night and sacrifice some social activities, but it will be worth it.

6) Be Prepared To Make Sacrifices:

You may need to sacrifice social activities, hobbies, or other commitments to finish your dissertation on time.

7) Stay Focused:

Stay focused on your goal and keep reminding yourself why you started your dissertation in the first place.

8) Get Help:

Seek help from Dissertation experts or your academic supervisor. They can guide how to structure your dissertation, conduct research, and write it up.

Remember, it’s never too late to start working on your dissertation, but the earlier you start, the better.

Tips for Writing a Dissertation in Three Months:

1) plan ahead.

Planning is crucial when writing a dissertation in three months. Make sure you set realistic deadlines for each stage of the process. The stages include research, writing, and editing. You should also schedule time for breaks and relaxation, as it can help to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

2) Use A Writing Schedule

A writing schedule can help you stay on track and make progress every day. You should set aside specific times each day for writing and stick to them. You can also use tools like timers and productivity apps to help you stay focused.

3) Seek Feedback

Seeking feedback from Dissertation writing experts or academic peers can help you improve your writing and ensure that you are on the right track.

Dissertation Writing in Three Months – Pro Tip

It’s important to remember that writing a dissertation in three months is challenging. Therefore, seeking help from a best dissertation writing service like Affordable Dissertation UK can be beneficial. They will help break down your dissertation into smaller tasks and allocate specific deadlines. Affordable Dissertation UK ensures the final product represents your ideas and research.


Writing a dissertation in three months is possible but requires careful planning, hard work, and dedication. Following the A-Z plan for dissertation writing and implementing the tips provided can help students achieve their goal of completing a dissertation in three months. However, it is important to remember that every student’s situation is different, and some may need more or less time to complete their dissertation. Otherwise, it’s better to consult dissertation expert services if there is any difficulty.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Is it possible to write a high-quality dissertation in three months.

Yes, it is possible to write a high-quality dissertation in three months. However, it requires careful planning, dedication, and hard work.

How Can I Stay Motivated While Writing A Dissertation In Three Months?

Staying motivated while writing a dissertation can be challenging, but setting achievable goals and rewarding yourself for reaching them can help. It is also important to take breaks and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

What Should I Do If I Struggle To Write My Dissertation In Three Months?

If you struggle to write your dissertation in three months, seeking help from your Dissertation Writing Service or your academic tutor is much better. They can provide guidance and support and save you time and effort.

How Can I Ensure That My Dissertation Is Of High Quality?

To ensure that your dissertation is of high quality, follow these points;

  • Make sure you use credible sources
  • Follow a clear structure
  • Support your arguments with evidence from your research.

You should edit and proofread your dissertation to ensure it is error-free. Revising and editing can ensure a high-quality dissertation, and you can achieve a high academic goal.

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How to write a dissertation in three months

can you write a dissertation in 4 months

  • By: Ottawalife Contributor
  • Posted: August 13, 2019
  • Category: Uncategorized

A graduate student who understands how to write a dissertation in 3 months can achieve their goals quickly. Many graduate students work while studying. Some also have young families, and this means they must make the most of their precious time. This guide will help you to produce a dissertation that reflects your knowledge, skills, and understanding while you balance the responsibilities of work and home.

Ensure that You Gather Your Data Early

Many graduate students gather the data required for their dissertation over three years or more. This allows them to have all the information they need available when they are ready to start writing. When all the research is done as early as possible, you can relax and focus on writing a quality dissertation.

Many people decide to get a doctoral degree in order to improve their lives. Sometimes you will meet challenges along the way. Your data may not always line up with your hypotheses. Giving yourself adequate time for research allows you to recover quickly if things do not go as you plan, or make adjustments that allow you to quickly produce an exceptional dissertation.

Develop your Strategy

For some, writing a dissertation in three months is a choice. Some people must complete the dissertation at that time because their deadline is only three months away. It is important to develop deadlines for each phase and get help where you need it. For example, if you are a busy single parent, you may need to get a little help with your children from other qualified adults in your life. Every day matters and you may need to decline social invitations until your dissertation is complete.

  • You may need to make decisions about:
  • What section you should tackle first
  • How your data should be organized
  • The time of day when your writing would flow best, such as in the early morning

Define your Thesis

You will waste time if you do not define your thesis statement and start tackling that from the beginning. Your supervisor can play an important role in helping you to define your thesis clearly. Meet with them as early as possible and discuss your data. They will help you to develop your approach.

Develop Manageable Steps

Once your data is ready and you define your thesis, it will be easier to break your writing into different stages. The first stage involves collecting your ideas and allows you to brainstorm as many ideas as possible. Do not stop and edit yourself during this stage, since doing so takes up time and blocks your creative process. Write down all of the ideas that you can.

The second stage requires you to produce a clear structure for your manuscript. Your arguments at this stage should be more than ideas. They should flow logically and you should see where data can be used to support those arguments in a clear way. Have your supervisor review your manuscript at this stage, so they can offer additional suggestions.

The third stage involves cleaning up your manuscript, ensuring that your ideas are well-presented and make a powerful impact. Ensure that you follow all of the suggestions that are made by your supervisors. Do not leave out any critical recommendations, as these could have an effect on how your thesis is understood.

While supervisors do their best to give honest feedback, you should not rely solely on their assessment. Give your manuscript a critical review of your own every time you make changes, to ensure that it meets your own standards, reflecting your ideas in a cogent way. By the way, you can give it for a review to one of the professional dissertation writing services out the, if buying a dissertation is not a choice for you.

Write in the Way that Suits You

Some people are good at writing for long stretches at a time. If this is not your preferred way to write, do not compare yourself to them. Quickly figure out what writing style suits you best and use that to maximize your productivity.

Some people write best if they tackle their dissertation in short bursts. You can use a timer on your phone to help you do this. If you wish, give yourself a boost by rewarding yourself a the end of each productive session. This sends positive messages to your brain and encourages you to keep writing.

Ensure that you adapt to challenges. You must support your brain with proper nutrition during this time. Resting and eating as well as possible will help you to deal with stress, overcome any challenges you encounter, and complete your dissertation on time.

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Black History Month: What is it and why is it important?

Black History Month - A visitor at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.

Black History Month is an opportunity to understand Black histories. Image:  Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

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can you write a dissertation in 4 months

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Stay up to date:, economic progress.

This article was originally published in February 2021 and has been updated .

  • A continued engagement with history is vital as it helps give context for the present.
  • Black History Month is an opportunity to understand Black histories, going beyond stories of racism and slavery to spotlight Black achievement.
  • This year's theme is African Americans and the Arts.

February is Black History Month. This month-long observance in the US and Canada is a chance to celebrate Black achievement and provide a fresh reminder to take stock of where systemic racism persists and give visibility to the people and organizations creating change. Here's what to know about Black History Month and how to celebrate it this year:

Have you read?

Black history month: key events in a decade of black lives matter, here are 4 ways businesses can celebrate black history month, how did black history month begin.

Black History Month's first iteration was Negro History Week, created in February 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, known as the "father of Black history." This historian helped establish the field of African American studies and his organization, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History , aimed to encourage " people of all ethnic and social backgrounds to discuss the Black experience ".

“Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history.” ― Carter G. Woodson

His organization was later renamed the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) and is currently the oldest historical society established for the promotion of African American history.

Why is Black History Month in February?

February was chosen by Woodson for the week-long observance as it coincides with the birthdates of both former US President Abraham Lincoln and social reformer Frederick Douglass. Both men played a significant role in helping to end slavery. Woodson also understood that members of the Black community already celebrated the births of Douglass and Lincoln and sought to build on existing traditions. "He was asking the public to extend their study of Black history, not to create a new tradition", as the ASALH explained on its website.

How did Black History Month become a national month of celebration?

By the late 1960s, thanks in part to the civil-rights movement and a growing awareness of Black identity, Negro History Week was celebrated by mayors in cities across the country. Eventually, the event evolved into Black History Month on many college campuses. In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History month. In his speech, President Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history”.

Since his administration, every American president has recognized Black History Month and its mission. But it wasn't until Congress passed "National Black History Month" into law in 1986 that many in the country began to observe it formally. The law aimed to make all Americans "aware of this struggle for freedom and equal opportunity".

Why is Black History Month celebrated?

Initially, Black History Month was a way of teaching students and young people about Black and African-Americans' contributions. Such stories had been largely forgotten and were a neglected part of the national narrative.

Now, it's seen as a celebration of those who've impacted not just the country but the world with their activism and achievements. In the US, the month-long spotlight during February is an opportunity for people to engage with Black histories, go beyond discussions of racism and slavery, and highlight Black leaders and accomplishments.

What is this year's Black History Month theme?

Every year, a theme is chosen by the ASALH, the group originally founded by Woodson. This year's theme, African Americans and the Arts .

"In the fields of visual and performing arts, literature, fashion, folklore, language, film, music, architecture, culinary and other forms of cultural expression, the African American influence has been paramount," the website says.

Is Black History Month celebrated anywhere else?

In Canada, they celebrate it in February. In countries like the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Ireland, they celebrate it in October. In Canada, African-Canadian parliament member Jean Augustine motioned for Black History Month in 1995 to bring awareness to Black Canadians' work.

When the UK started celebrating Black History Month in 1987, it focused on Black American history. Over time there has been more attention on Black British history. Now it is dedicated to honouring African people's contributions to the country. Its UK mission statement is: "Dig deeper, look closer, think bigger".

Why is Black History Month important?

For many modern Black millennials, the month-long celebration for Black History Month offers an opportunity to reimagine what possibilities lie ahead. But for many, the forces that drove Woodson nearly a century ago are more relevant than ever. As Lonnie G. Bunch III, Director of the Smithsonian Institution said at the opening of the Washington D.C.'s National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2016: “There is no more powerful force than a people steeped in their history. And there is no higher cause than honouring our struggle and ancestors by remembering".

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Map out a timeline for your commercial real estate book.

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A man's arm reaches for a paperback book from a shelf of leaning books for sale during Baltimore ... [+] Book Festival, Baltimore, Maryland. Courtesy Eric Chen. (Photo by JHU Sheridan Libraries/Gado/Getty Images).

One of the most common questions I receive about my book, “The Insider’s Edge to Real Estate Investing,” is, “How long did it take?” If you’re interested in publishing a book on commercial real estate, you may already be aware that producing a book takes a substantial commitment. There are many steps to cover, ranging from choosing a topic to finding a way to publish it and marketing the book . The actual writing can be lengthy too.

To get an idea of how long the process will take, it can be helpful to look at an estimated timeline. As you read through the following, remember that the exact number of hours you’ll need will vary. It may depend on your writing experience, who you’re working with, and what dates your publisher would like to use. If you go with a traditional publisher, the timeline could be much longer than if you self-publish.

In the following sections, I’ll share the timeline for my book, which may help you get a sense of what to expect for your own work.

1. The Idea Phase

Before you begin writing, you’ll want to understand your book’s purpose. Think about what topics it will cover, the themes it will portray, and how it will help readers. This stage could take as little as an afternoon, or it could last much longer. In my case, for years I had others asking for book recommendations and resources to help them learn about investing in commercial real estate. I couldn’t find any that fit what I had in mind, so I decided to put together my own.

2. Planning and Outlining

Writing down some of your thoughts and brainstorming what your book will cover might take several hours, or it could require days or even weeks. I found that during the pandemic, my routine changed, and I had some extra hours to commit toward a different project. I started a podcast, and that led to the beginnings of a book. I gathered initial material and a rough outline of what the chapters would discuss.

As The Ukrainians Fling 50,000 Drones A Month, The Russians Can’t Get Their Drone-Jammers To Work

Google reveals much needed google photos upgrade but there s a catch, taylor swift fans reportedly forced travis kelce to move out of his brand new house, 3. pitching the book.

Putting together a book proposal and query letter, and then sending them to agents and publishers, might take months. It could take several weeks to get responses too. For my book, I connected with an agency in the summer of 2021, which put me in touch with a writing partner and editor to help with the book proposal and query letter. During the fall of that year, we connected with a publisher and several months later formed a publishing agreement.

If you self-publish, you may skip this step, as you’ll be in control of the publishing agreement. That said, you might want to pitch the book to others in your circles and build an audience. Those who are interested might want to buy it later when it comes out.

4. Drafting the Manuscript

If you’re familiar with a topic and have time to write every day, you could create a manuscript in less than a year. In some instances, the research required could prolong this step, and it’s not uncommon for books to take more than a year to develop. For my book, the initial draft was created in six months. My writing partner Rachel Hartman interviewed me on my podcast to gather material, which allowed listeners to gain insight and learn about the book before it was published.

5. The Editing Phase

A manuscript typically undergoes several rounds of edits, and this stage can take a couple of months or longer, depending on the number of revisions needed. You may hear of a developmental edit, which focuses on the overall organization and structure of the book. There are also line editing tasks to improve flow and clarity. Copyediting and proofreading help remove spelling mistakes and punctuation errors. For my book, the editing rounds took nearly five months. For self-publishing, you’ll want to hire an editor, which can take a couple of months.

6. Publication Date and Beyond

Often when you work with a publisher, a day will be set for the book to be published. The process of writing and editing are managed to align with the publication date. Due to the time needed for the printing to take place, and for books to be distributed, publishers often work with dates that are far ahead. You might sign a contract for your book, and then see your first copy a year or more later. In my case, the book was released about three months after the editing rounds finished. Again in self-publishing, this step could be faster, and you might have copies within just a few week.

7. Marketing the Book

While you may start this step at any point in the process, you’ll likely continue it after the book is published. You can take your book to conferences where you speak, or hand it to clients at networking events. It could become part of your overall brand, especially if it covers a topic that is helpful to those who connect with you.

As you can see, the timeline of a book can be anywhere from less than a year to two years or longer. From the initial proposal to the actual publication date of my book, the process took about 18 months. You may find you need more time, based on the research you want to carry out or other commitments you have. In most cases, the key is to keep moving forward, as each step will bring you closer to getting your book onto the shelves of retailers and into the hands of readers.

James Nelson

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