• "Best Dissertation Writing Tips"
  • "Master's Thesis Writing Advice;

Doctoral Dissertation Writing Can Be A Very Stressful Process

The reasoning behind the process of producing a Dissertation is to demonstrate your progression in research skills to professional level. No-one expects you to have all the skills in place prior to the Dissertation process, you need to be continually developing.

Developing and honing your research skills are stressful, but add to that, the time frame and the amount of work you need accomplish and cope with daily tasks (you probably will be working, looking after family etc). YOU are producing the longest (between 50,000 and 100.000 words) and most important piece of written work you have ever done, its not surprising that stress levels will be significantly raised.

Strategies to reduce Dissertation Stress

It’s a long document and complex document. You will need cross referencing and several edits as it is expected that the work would be publication ready on completion. Its hard to keep revisiting work that you thought was complete. The best advice on how to cope with this is ‘don’t take it personally’, it can be soul destroying and lead to procrastination and self-doubt.

  1. Slow your pace. This may sound like bad advice when intrinsically you feel that you need to speed up, but the more pressure you put yourself under, the more likely you are to fail. Take a break and don’t feel guilty about it. Do something that is unrelated to the work you are doing. Its surprising that once you take yourself out of the situation how much quicker your thought process will be when you go back to the task.
  2. Don’t try to work through the stress, no good even comes of it. Break the tasks you have to do into smaller, more achievable ones. Don’t try to write the Introduction all in one go, break it down into smaller sections. Set goals and set rewards.
  3. Be realistic about what you can achieve in a given time. Set aside time to look at the total picture, not just what you are doing for the dissertation but also what you need to be doing in your ‘other life’. Prioritize.
  4. Recruit help from friends or relatives, let them make you a meal or do some garden or house work for you.
  5. Make sleep and exercise a priority. If you are sleeping well it is amazing what you can cope with. Be firm - don’t get up in the middle of the night and carry on writing your thesis on the computer - if you wake and have an idea, jot it down in the notebook that you keep by the bed. Writing things down about the dissertation as they randomly appear in your thoughts can reduce stress.