14 easy steps to complete your dissertation

By Priya Chetty on June 20, 2010

The dissertation research and writing process indicate your extensive understanding of the subject matter. Following are a few simple steps for the dissertation research process that may ease your in-depth research work largely. Lack of knowledge on dissertation research & writing often results in going wrong and losing a degree.

14 simple steps will help you identify the do’s and don’ts

  1. Give consideration to what others expect from your work, but not be influenced by it: It is essential that the topic selected by you is out of your personal interest. It will be helpful in your career path.
  2. Be articulate and comprehensive in your approach to dissertation-writing: Do not discard ideas too soon. Your dissertation is a construct of different ideas; you need to analyse what else can be added. Remain open to ideas at this stage and implement the right ones in your dissertation
  3. Write and collect your ideas for future reference: Maintaining a collection of all your ideas will help you in modifying/changing an idea for the dissertation
  4. Do not expect unrealistic consequences: Set realistic goals. Do not expect that your dissertation will garner international attention. Ensure that your expectations are built on:
    1. Serving an academic purpose & fulfilling it.
    2. The dissertation writing is more crucial than the outcomes of the study and
    3. The research conducted was a valuable learning process
  5. Time Management is important: Create a time frame for different steps in your dissertation. Ideally, you should fragment the dissertation into 6 different parts and set a “Start” and “End” time for each. Regular updating is required for reallocation of time.
  6. Study a sample dissertation research proposal: Going through the sample will help you understand:
    1. What the end result looks like
    2. What are the common headings used
    3. The organisation of the proposal
    4. Clarity of the proposal
    5. Knowledge of the subject area by the writer
    6. Can my research proposal be moulded similarly?
  7. Presence of a comprehensive Literature Review: Make sure you have this. The rationale behind this is in accordance with an argument for the analysis:
    1. There is a need for the research and
    2. The chosen methodology is best suited for the questions put forth.
  8. An ideal proposal is the work of the initial three chapters of the dissertation: The following chapters are essential:
    1. Chapter 1: Introduction
    2. Chapter 2: Review of Literature
    3. Chapter 3:Research Methodology with Conclusion.
  9. You should make use of future tense in writing the research proposal. As you write the first three chapters, the tense changes from past to future.
  10. Special emphasis on the dissertation research: While writing the proposal, be sure to define the problem statement narrowly and specifically. Remember that your dissertation is not the answer to all problems in the world. Frame a set of questions to act as guidance for the dissertation research. The only rule here is that your dissertation should establish the relationship between the field of study, previous research conducted and your dissertation.
  11. Definition of the research methodology in the dissertation proposal and the actual dissertation. Expand the scope of your thesis by empowering ideas put forth by those participating in the dissertation. Make a wise decision while choosing qualitative or quantitative methods for the research.
  12. The Title, Format, Font and Styles in writing are not merely decorations. The dissertation should be unclear and ambiguous. In order to ensure this, you should enlist the keywords in your dissertation and also make sure that too frequent highlighting does not annoy the reader.
  13. The Table of Contents enhances the Dissertation Title Manuscript. The right table of contents is more effective than you think.
  14. The conclusions/ recommendations should serve the purpose: Often, students make the mistake of merely summarizing the findings in place of stating the conclusions of the dissertation. Make sure that you don’t repeat the same things. Rather, you should state the outcome of an incident. In other words, what are the key ideas drawn from the dissertation?

It is important to conduct thorough, extensive research on the topic before commencing the dissertation. Investing a small amount of time and effort will bear fruit in the future.


Priya is the co-founder and Managing Partner of Project Guru, a research and analytics firm based in Gurgaon. She is responsible for the human resource planning and operations functions. Her expertise in analytics has been used in a number of service-based industries like education and financial services.

Her foundational educational is from St. Xaviers High School (Mumbai). She also holds MBA degree in Marketing and Finance from the Indian Institute of Planning and Management, Delhi (2008).

Some of the notable projects she has worked on include:

  • Using systems thinking to improve sustainability in operations: A study carried out in Malaysia in partnership with Universiti Kuala Lumpur.
  • Assessing customer satisfaction with in-house doctors of Jiva Ayurveda (a project executed for the company)
  • Predicting the potential impact of green hydrogen microgirds (A project executed for the Government of South Africa)

She is a key contributor to the in-house research platform Knowledge Tank.

She currently holds over 300 citations from her contributions to the platform.

She has also been a guest speaker at various institutes such as JIMS (Delhi), BPIT (Delhi), and SVU (Tirupati).



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