Now this is the part we've been waiting for. I must assume that youhave come up with a good idea for research, had your proposal approved,collected the data, conducted your analyses and now you're about to startwriting the dissertation. If you've done the first steps well this partshouldn't be too bad. In fact it might even be enjoyable!
10. With the ready availability of photocopy machines you should beable to bypass many of the hardships that previous dissertation researchershad to deal with in developing their literature review. When you read somethingthat is important to your study, photocopy the relevant articleor section. Keep your photocopies organized according to categories andsections. And, most importantly, photocopy the bibliographic citation sothat you can easily reference the material in your bibliography. Then, whenyou decide to sit down and actually write the literature review, bring out yourphotocopied sections, put them into logical and sequential order, and thenbegin your writing.
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29. Now it's time to write the last chapter. But what chapter is thelast one? My perception is that the last chapter should be the first chapter.I don't really mean this in the literal sense. Certainly youwrote Chapter One at the beginning of this whole process. Now, at the end,it's time to "rewrite" Chapter One. After you've had a chanceto write your dissertation all the way to the end, the last thing you shoulddo is turn back to Chapter One. Reread Chapter One carefully with the insightyou now have from having completed Chapter Five. Does Chapter One clearlyhelp the reader move in the direction of Chapter Five? Are important conceptsthat will be necessary for understanding Chapter Five presented in ChapterOne?
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11. What is a proposal anyway? A good proposal should consist of thefirst three chapters of the dissertation. It should begin with a statementof the problem/background information (typically Chapter I of the dissertation),then move on to a review of the literature (Chapter 2), and conclude witha defining of the research methodology (Chapter 3). Of course, it shouldbe written in a future tense since it is a proposal. To turn a good proposalinto the first three chapters of the dissertation consists of changingthe tense from future tense to past tense (from "This is what I wouldlike to do" to "This is what I did") and making any changesbased on the way you actually carried out the research when compared tohow you proposed to do it. Often the intentions we state in our proposalturn out different in reality and we then have to make appropriate editorialchanges to move it from proposal to dissertation.
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12. Focus your research very specifically. Don't try to haveyour research cover too broad an area. Now you may think that this willdistort what you want to do. This may be the case, but you will be ableto do the project if it is narrowly defined. Usually a broadly definedproject is not do-able. By defining too broadly it may sound better toyou, but there is a great chance that it will be unmanageable as a researchproject. When you complete your research project it is important that youhave something specific and definitive to say. This can be accommodatedand enhanced by narrowly defining your project. Otherwise you may haveonly broadly based things to say about large areas that really providelittle guidance to others that may follow you. Often the researcher findsthat what he/she originally thought to be a good research project turnsout to really be a of research projects. Do one project for yourdissertation and save the other projects for later in your career. Don'ttry to solve all of the problems in this one research project.