Keeping Your Dissertation Focus


Posted August 3, 2020

Now that the school year is starting back up, what are your dissertation goals for fall semester 2020? What habits will you engage to ensure a successful term? The main distractions that hold doctoral students back are lack of focus or motivation, uncooperative chairs or committee members, and lack of technical knowledge. This month, we are going to go over how to combat each of these setbacks.

Lack of Focus/Motivation

Combating a lack of progress due to losing motivation during the dissertation process can be easily done with a few simple habits. The first habit to adopt is identifying your most productive time of day for writing. When are you most creative? Once you have identified the most effective time of day to write, make it a point to free write at least 15-minutes each day. Before you know it, writing will be second nature and you will have a draft to submit.

Uncooperative Committee Members

Every now and then, you will come across a chair or committee member that is not as engaged as you would like. Too often, we hear from clients that they are unable to make speedy progress due to the gaps in communication between them and their committee members. Another week or month waiting for feedback could cost you a whole semester of time and another tuition bill. To fight these external delays, keep an open and consistent stream of communication with your advisors, even when on summer and winter breaks and do not be afraid to reach out via email and phone. Your progress is important, make sure all of your team members are working hard for your success.

Lack of Technical Knowledge

The literature review, methodology chapter, and results chapters are often the most difficult chapters and greatly hinder dissertation progress.  If you have spent more than two weeks on the same chapter or trying to address the same feedback, without making progress, look for resources. Your university most likely has a heap of resources that you already pay for in your tuition. The writing center, librarians, and the university’s journal subscriptions are some that you should begin using right away. If you feel more comfortable with one-on-one guidance through these demanding chapters, dissertation consulting is available privately.

Make this fall semester your absolute best (and hopefully LAST) one yet!


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