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How to Write a Dissertation? (The Ultimate Guide)

Students usually write a dissertation before they obtain their doctoral degrees. This academic writing aims to demonstrate the ability to conduct research, analyze and synthesize information, and present their findings as original writing contributing to the field of study. Students must obtain their doctoral degree, so knowing how to write a dissertation perfectly is also important.

How Long Does It Usually Take to Write a Dissertation?

Unlike any other academic writing, a dissertation is limited to only a few pages. Usually, it is written on 100 to 400 pages, which means much research work and data analysis. Hence it is not written in one go. Instead, a dissertation is written in multiple stages, each taking much time. Those stages include:

  • Research
  • Data analyzation
  • Data organization
  • Writing
  • Reviewing

For writing something as long as 400 pages, each stage of the process can take a lot of time, so most students invest their time consistently to write the dissertation within the deadline. Even with that, if a student spends many hours a day working only on the dissertation, it can take anywhere from a few months to a few years.

It is because the total time taken by the student depends on different factors, including the requirements of the program and institution, the abilities and habits of the students, data availability, and other circumstances. That’s why setting realistic deadlines and getting support from advisors whenever needed is essential.

How to Write My Dissertation?

The process of writing a dissertation may vary for every student. It is because of the varying institutional requirements, abilities, circumstances, and research opportunities. However, we have designed a set of questions you can answer according to your scenario, and you will get guidance on writing your dissertation. The best part is that this guide will be solely according to your situation.

Q1. How to Choose a Dissertation Topic?

Choosing a topic may sound simple, but it is not as simple. Choosing the right topic can be vital for a successfully written dissertation. So, when selecting a topic, you can consult your advisor, and they will recommend you a topic, or you can develop a new topic. The right way to choose the topic for your dissertation is to check the recent work don’t within your field. It tells you which areas have some room for improvement with unanswered questions. Once you have enough options, you can discuss them with the advisor and narrow them down to one topic.

Q2. What Are Dissertation Writing Requirements?

Before starting research, you need to understand your requirements. These can vary between institutions and even programs. These requirements give you a protocol to follow so that you do not make any mistakes in your dissertation that can cost you success. The basic requirements include

  • Word count limits.
  • Writing format.
  • Style.
  • What is academic writing like in your field?
  • Referencing and structure of the dissertation.
  • How can you use the sources?

You may have several questions about the dissertation, and it is always a better choice to consult them with the advisor in light of the requirements before beginning.

Q3. How to Do Research Effectively for the Topic?

Research is one of the most important stages in the whole dissertation. If done correctly, it can lead you toward the right writing material. Otherwise, you may not find enough content to include in your dissertation. The right way to do research effectively is first to develop the research question and sub-questions that will guide your research process.

Next, you need to get enough sources for conducting research that may include:

  • Books.
  • Previous research papers.
  • Experiments.
  • Surveys.
  • Interviews.
  • Literature reviews, etc.

When going through these sources and materials, you must find the dissertation guidelines to collect and organize data for the whole dissertation. Since it will be a huge document, you need to take notes to help you through the writing process, and UPDF makes the best choice for researching your dissertation. It is a PDF editor that allows you to take notes right in the PDF files with the following benefits:

Take notes using UPDF to write dissertation

Using it as an offline note-taking app also ensures that you never lose track of an online source since you are downloading them. Hence, all your notes stay in one centralized place, which can be helpful during data analysis, organizing, and writing. Here are the steps you can follow for taking notes with UPDF.

  • Open the PDF file in UPDF and go to the comment option. You can use all the commenting options (text, pencil, underline, etc.) to take your notes on the research material.
Comment PDF to take notes using UPDF
  • Once you are done taking notes, click save and save your PDF file with all the notes on it.
Save PDF with notes

Now when you are writing, you can open each source, get the relevant information from your notes and comments, and you will be much more productive this way.

Q4. How to Write a Dissertation Outline?

As you are doing your research, you must plan how different parts of the dissertation will include your findings from that research. Doing all the research first and then writing the whole thing is inefficient. Instead, you need to keep making your outline as you are doing the research. Now the outline depends on the required structure of your program, but the main sections of the dissertation include the following:

  • Introduction
  • Research problem overview
  • Research questions
  • Abstract
  • Methodology
  • Significance of your study
  • Literature review
  • Theoretical framework
  • Concluding body
  • References

Check which of these are required for your dissertation and create an outline with points to point out where you will take the data from.

Q5. How to Write an Abstract for a Dissertation

The abstract gives the reader a quick overview of the whole dissertation. It is usually up to 300 words long, but this small part of this huge document holds significant importance. When writing the abstract for your dissertation, you must focus on the following:

  • The main topic
  • Research aims
  • Research methods
  • Summary of your main results
  • Abstract conclusion

Since it contains the overview of the whole dissertation, you can either write it at the end or review and edit it after it is complete. That way, you don’t miss out on anything important that must be a part of the dissertation.

Q6. How to Write a Dissertation Introduction

The introduction of your dissertation gives the reader a basic idea of everything that they can expect in the dissertation. It usually gives an idea about the topic and purpose of the dissertation. When writing the introduction of your dissertation, you need to establish the research topic by giving background information and the need for the study.

Secondly, define the scope of research and relevance to a problem and share some research questions. Lastly, you need to outline the objectives and the workflow to meet those objectives. Writing the introduction at the end will ensure you don’t miss out on anything important.

Q7. How to Write a Dissertation Body?

In the research and outline parts, you will have already designed the structure of the dissertation body. Now you just need to know how to write the material in this body. You start by organizing your work into different chapters according to the required structure. For every chapter, you need to write about your research work to build the argument and then give relevant sources to support the argument.

The body must give a detailed overview of how you did your research, analyzed the data, and how solved the objective questions and relevant problems using them.

Q8. How to Write a Dissertation Conclusion?

The conclusion of a dissertation must give a concise answer to the main research question. The goal here is to give the reader a clear understanding of your findings through research and argument. Also, add what this research contributes to your field.

The conclusion section can be closed with the final reflection of your findings on the current problem and future perspectives with recommendations for conducting future research work. Ensure that the conclusion makes it clear to the reader why your research is important for the field.


A dissertation is a significant milestone for a student, so writing it correctly is essential. Without a dissertation written perfectly, you may not get your doctoral degree. With all the guiding material in this article, we hope you know how to write a dissertation. Remember that apart from the varying options, some things are the same for all students, and the most important among them are the tools.

You can increase or decrease your productivity and performance depending on your tools. So, ensure always to select the right set of tools. For the research, data organization, and collaborating part, UPDF will be the best tool that one can use. Start using it today and make the whole process easier for yourself.