Order and Components - Thesis and Dissertation Guide …

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Main Difference Between A Dissertation And Thesis

31. Find opportunities to discuss your research with your friends andcolleagues. Listen carefully to their questions. See if you are able topresent your research in a clear and coherent manner. Are there aspectsof your research that are particularly confusing and need further explanation?Are there things that you forgot to say? Could you change the order ofthe information presented and have it become more understandable?

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30. The most obvious suggestion is the one seldom followed. Try to attendone or more defenses prior to yours. Find out which other studentsare defending their research and sit in on their defense. In many departmentsthis is expected of all graduate students. If this is not the case foryou, check with your adviser to see that you can get an invitationto attend some defenses.

32. I hope you don't try circulating chapters of your dissertationto your committee members as you are writing them. I find this practiceto be most annoying and one that creates considerable problems for thestudent. You must work closely with your dissertation director. He/sheis the person you want to please. Develop a strategy with the dissertationdirector regarding how and when your writing should be shared. Only afteryour dissertation director approves of what you have done should you attemptto share it with the rest of the committee. And by then it's time for thedefense. If you prematurely share sections of your writing with committeemembers you will probably find yourself in a situation where one committeemember tells you to do one thing and another member says to do somethingelse. What should you do? The best answer is not to get yourself into sucha predicament. The committee meeting (the defense) allows the concernsof committee members to surface in a dialogical atmosphere where opposingviews can be discussed and resolved.


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22. Dissertation-style writing is not designed to be entertaining. Dissertationwriting should be clear and unambiguous. To do this well you should preparea list of key words that are important to your research and then your writingshould use this set of key words throughout. There is nothing so frustratingto a reader as a manuscript that keeps using alternate words to mean thesame thing. If you've decided that a key phrase for your research is "educationalworkshop", then do not try substituting other phrases like "in-serviceprogram", "learning workshop", "educational institute",or "educational program." Always stay with the same phrase -"educational workshop." It will be very clear to the reader exactlywhat you are referring to.

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21. The one area where I would caution you about using a word processoris in the initial creation of elaborate graphs or tables. I've seen too many studentsspend too many hours in trying to use their word processor to create an elaborate graph that could have been done by hand in 15 minutes. So, the simple ruleis to use hand drawing for elaborate tables and graphs for the early draft ofyour dissertation. Make sure your data are presented accurately so your advisor can clearly understand yourgraph/table, but don't waste the time trying to make it look word processor perfect at this time. Once you and your advisor agree upon how the data should be graphically represented it is time to prepare "perfect" lookinggraphs and tables.

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If you are a student graduating with a thesis or dissertation requirement, we strongly encourage you to watch the below information session. You may jump to specific sections of the presentation by referencing the time markers below. You may also download the slides for reference, in addition to a set of slides provided by the UW Libraries for content on copyright, publishing, open access and access restrictions.

Writing and Publishing: Thesis/Dissertation

19. I must assume you're using some form of word processing on a computerto write your dissertation. (if you aren't, you've missed a major partof your doctoral preparation!) If your study has specific names of people,institutions and places that must be changed to provide anonymity don'tdo it too soon. Go ahead and write your dissertation using the real names.Then at the end of the writing stage you can easily have the computer makeall of the appropriate name substitutions. If you make these substitutionstoo early it can really confuse your writing.