Dissertation tips

6 Tips to Ace Your Dissertation Paper: An expert step-by-step guide

Om Prakash Dwivedi
Om Prakash Dwivedi
Posted on 16 Nov 2022
18:30 PM


Dissertations are vital not just for the creation and dissemination of new knowledge but also to keep oneself updated about the chosen field of study
One must have a purpose behind writing a dissertation. A lack of purpose will make it increasingly difficult to identify a topic, find materials, and establish facts

In an increasingly globalised world, shaped and controlled by rampant digital technology and market forces, abundant misinformation over data and confusion about what to choose for ourselves has become very prominent. The present education system is in search of ways to inculcate analytical skills in our learners. The ability to look at things from different positions and perspectives will be a much sought-after skill in the future. Writing is always an act of harnessing more clarity, and as such, writing a dissertation paper can be one such way to prepare our learners for the future.

Importance of dissertation writing

Dissertations are vital not just for the creation and dissemination of new knowledge but also to keep oneself updated about the chosen field of study. It is a double-edged tool in the sense that it provides an in-depth awareness of a particular topic and enables researchers to find problems, while also enabling them to problematise the present context and look at something from different perspectives. For example, Sir Isaac Newton’s famous dictum, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”, points to the insights he gathered from the existing knowledge system.


Dissertations are useful to analyse the present situation and offer a better framework or tool to understand the challenges faced by society, nation(s), or international establishments. Let’s take a look at six essential tips to ace your dissertations:

1. Start with a Question

I always say that questions are seeds of life. They are vital to our understanding of the phenomena around us. A good question leads to creative activity, frameworks for generations to follow, providing impetus to society and nation, even the global world. A perfect example could be the discovery of gravitational law. It was always there but no one knew of it until Thomas Newton discovered it for the world by questioning the fall of the apple. Questions must precede any human activity, and dissertations as well. They need to connect with the dissertation analysis in mind for new possibilities and findings.

2. Identifying a topic

One must have a purpose behind writing a dissertation. A lack of purpose will make it increasingly difficult to identify a topic, find materials, and establish facts, not to mention the challenge faced in framing a working hypothesis for the dissertation. One must never go for a broad dissertation topic; it must be precise and new. It always works better if the dissertation topic matches the researcher’s interests to avoid the push-and-pull play during the writing work. Identification of a topic leads to analysing reviews of available research work on that topic, visualising the pathway that one has tread, thus helping any researcher to arrive at a hypothesis and proceed with the journey of dissertation writing. The best way to identify a topic is to problematise the available findings.

3. Introduction and Hypothesis

Treat the introduction part of the dissertation as a window that offers your audience an opportunity to see what the work has to offer. Hence, it must clearly mention aims, objectives, and research questions, leading to the establishment of a hypothesis towards the end.

A hypothesis is a research statement, also known as visaya (statement) in the Indian knowledge system. In simple words, a statement must qualify to serve as a hypothesis to be tested through research in the dissertation. The caveat is not to draw too many hypotheses in any dissertation, which then runs the risk of formulating unconvincing and opposite arguments to the established hypothesis. The analysis of the research work must remain singularly focussed on the hypothesis, thus establishing the provenance of the data used. Hence, it is advisable to keep a check on validating/invaliding outcomes.

Also, it is advisable to specify the relevance of the hypothesis–in what ways it differs from the existing scholarship, and its contributions to societal context, if any. Good dissertations must make an appeal to the audience with convincing arguments. It is always more welcoming if the dissertation is done keeping others’ needs in mind, and not as an individual exercise.

4. Literature Review

This is the most crucial part of any dissertation work. The literature review is an exhaustive exercise and may lead to a sense of complacency. While it is important to research old works on the chosen topic, it is equally important to keep a track of the latest available research work. Many dissertations seem to suffer from this problem and end up offering arguments which have already been advanced, may be beaten to death, and thus end up as unoriginal dissertations. The literature review helps us to identify unresolved questions, establishing the newness of our work, and hence it is like a canvas on which the dissertation could offer innovative insights. Make use of it. Therefore, this section must demonstrate convincing arguments in a balanced way. A neutral voice is vital to avoid any display of prejudices and preconceived notions.

5. Methodology

The methodology is a concise explanation of frameworks and pathways that the dissertation will work on and follow to establish the provenance of the hypothesis. The term methodology has its genesis in the Greek word, methodos, a compound of meta-hodos, which means “journey after”. Hence, the methodology section in the dissertation must focus on using available data, resources, and theories to build new ones. The basic idea of methodology is to help one get across. The methodology must always remain in conversation with the dissertation hypothesis, while also pointing out the relevance of the chosen methodology.

6. Conclusion

Dissertations need to have a conclusion to establish the results of the findings. The conclusion section must be short, precise and to the point, not resulting in several findings. It must establish the provenance of the research question/hypothesis. The section must follow with a Bibliography, and all the citations should go here to avoid any charges of plagiarism.

About the author: Om Prakash Dwivedi is presently a Visiting Researcher at Linnaeus University, Sweden. He teaches at the Bennett University, Greater Noida, India.

Last updated on 17 Nov 2022
14:03 PM
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