Moving Forward with Your Dissertation

Academic News & Updates

“Dissertations are a marathon, not a race.” “Where there’s a will there’s a way.” “Without sacrifice, there will be no victory.” “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

At some point during your dissertation journey, you’ve either heard some of these clichés or even said them internally while trying to find your dissertation motivation. The dissertation process is a lonely and lengthy journey and it’s normal to find yourself procrastinating. If you’re an ABD (all-but-dissertation) student, the dissertation is the last hurdle left between you and graduation, and now is the time to sprint, jump, and reach the finish line! This month we’re sharing a few tips to keep you motivated and moving forward.

Potential Dissertation Roadblocks

Some things are not in your control and some faculty and chairs will want you to go through the same scholarly writing paces they went through, which means you may be addressing a lot of feedback or rewriting a lot of your work. Make sure you understand their feedback so you’re not caught in a loop of revisions. Some students are very comfortable writing the literature reviews but others struggle with the results, these can be good places to reach out for help. Get ahead of the curve by looking at a dissertation that closely relates to yours or even ask your committee members for dissertations they’ve accepted in the past.

Let’s Talk Responsibility

Everything good and everything bad in your life has one common attribute – You. We are not victims of the dissertation process or of uncooperative chairs. In the spirit of reaching the finish line, let’s throw all pretenses and excuses out the window! Let’s be responsible for setting our dissertation goals and making sure we accomplish them. Check in with your chair periodically if they’re taking too long to review your chapter, hire a statistician if you’re uncomfortable with statistics, or reach out to your peers (they’re going through the same process!).

Research Takes Time

There is no “quick-fix” for research. Research takes time, editing takes time, and committees can drag their feet. We often speak with students who need something edited and returned in 2 days or they need to graduate in a few months. It’s these students that bear the financial burden when they don’t graduate on time. Keep things moving forward by making short and long-term personal deadlines that keep you on track. For example, if your committee member provides feedback that seems massive, give yourself a longer deadline for extensive feedback and give yourself a shorter deadline for easy feedback. Remember, never stop making progress!

Remember – most likely, this is your first and will be your only dissertation, so know your strengths and reach out for help when you need it.

Yours in Dissertation Success,

The Statistics Solutions Team

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