When beginning the monumental task of starting to write your dissertation, it is imperative that you have the right resources available. Yes, you have your chair, your peers, research, and content expert, but is that enough? If you are unsure whether or not you have enough, consider asking yourself the following questions:
Do I know how much literature is out there pertaining to my problem? Generally, you will need over 120 sources by the time the entire project is completed.
Is the literature current enough? Most of your references should be current within the last 3 years.
Is my committee the right fit? Your committee members essentially hold the fate of your PhD journey in their hands; be sure they are individuals with whom you can work, learn, and grow.
Do I have any idea of what my committee will be looking for when they read my dissertation? For this, ProQuest is your best friend. Look up past dissertations that have been approved by your chair and/or committee members – patterns such as style, flow, and length of each section can offer a great deal of insight regarding what they think is most important. Also, ask around; you may be able to glean insight from your peers as to how to best work with any of your committee members.
Do I have the right support in place? Having positive and helpful people around you during this process will contribute a great deal to your success. It will be stressful; you will work your tail off. Be sure that you have an outlet, whether that is a chat room through your program, a standing coffee date with your best friend, or a significant other who wades through piles of research with you—you will need these people.
Also, if you are stuck, struggling, or just unsure of how to do any of it, remember that an editor is just a phone call or e-mail away! Happy writing, future doctors!
We work with graduate students every day and know what it takes to get your research approved.