Dissertation Research Guide – Getting Started

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By the time students arrive at preparing their dissertation, it is assumed they have some idea of where to begin their research.

By the time students arrive at preparing their dissertation, it is assumed they have some idea of where to begin their research. This is not always true. Few students have had any real formal training on the practice of scholarly research, in part because few schools actually have a class dedicated to the skill though it is greatly needed. A few instructors attempt to address this flaw by providing handouts or, occasionally, dedicated web tutorials on the subject.


Analysis of the Assignment

Analyzing your assignment before you begin is crucial. As you begin, it is important to establish several parameters that will affect the quantity and quality of research required for the assignment, including the purpose of the assignment, the length required by your instructor, the scope of the assignment, and the point-of-view or position you are going to use in approaching the assignment. For larger, more in-depth assignments, more resources such as "pay to write paper" will probably be required, particularly when you reach the level of dissertation preparation.


Purpose of the Assignment

For dissertations, this is easy to understand. A dissertation is your final assignment before gaining your doctoral degree. It is supposed to demonstrate several things, including the ability to use appropriate research methods, effectively organize your research results and thoughts, and to communicate those results and thoughts in an effective manner to peers in your academic and professional discipline. This is not a hard-and-fast rule, since in many cases dissertation reviewers will be from outside your particular discipline.


Selecting a Topic

To say that choosing an appropriate topic is important is an understatement. Selecting too broad a topic may end up overwhelming you with information, taking far more time to gather than you have anticipated. Too narrow a topic and you will more than likely find it hard to locate enough information to write an effective paper.


Ideas can come from many sources – your textbook or class discussions, current news stories, even from surfing on the Internet. Many students find it helpful to start a writer’s notebook where ideas can be recorded as they occur. After a while, reviewing the contents of the notebook may reveal your topic.


Establishing the Scope

This is a major sticking point for many students. The scope is the depth of information and argument you wish to establish with your paper. A much deeper scope is expected of dissertations than for general essays or research papers. This fact will greatly affect the quantity and quality of research necessary for the paper. In gathering the resources for your paper, keep two things in mind:


More is better – collecting more information than anticipated prevents you from having to repeat the research process if you find you do not have enough information on a given aspect of your paper. This will not guarantee additional research will not be needed, but will greatly reduce the chance thereof.

Never dismiss a resource – even an article in a popular, non-scholarly magazine may have significant value. The article can give you a great place to start by providing background information, key terminology and even the names of one or more experts in the field for follow-up research. Many instructors ban the use of resources such as Wikipedia, but again these resources can be indirectly helpful for the same reasons.

Establishing the Point-of-View

The point of view for a dissertation is an important consideration when seeking appropriate research resources. Essentially, you must answer the question of whether the dissertation is an opinion-based topic approach or impartial topic approach. An opinion-based topic approach will benefit more from newspapers, magazines and grey-area Internet resources than will an impartial topic approach. An impartial topic approach will focus primarily on scholarly sources and authoritative Internet resources. It is possible to attempt a middle-road approach, though this can be hazardous territory when it comes time for evaluation of your dissertation. The strength of this approach is also its weakness: information overload and a greater possibility of conflicting evidence or argument.

Collecting Topic-Related Resources

Often times, students are at a loss when it comes to finding material that may be indirectly related to their main topic, but which is necessary to establish the desired scope of their dissertation. One technique to address this is using an internet search engine with a “suggested search” function. One of the best known for this is Ask.com, though Google.com has recently launched a similar feature on its homepage. The suggested search function acts as a digital version of the “free association” game many students learned when they were children or students who have undergone psychological evaluations. The game starts with someone throwing out a word, phrase or topic and participants try to throw out associated words, phrases or topics. It is often said that in free association there are no wrong answers.


The results of the suggested search function give you additional avenues to search for information related to your topic. Ask.com is perhaps the better resource for this as it gives search suggestions for both narrowing and broadening your topic.


A Word about Our Company

Our company employs hundreds of dedicated professionals who are highly skilled in the research, organization and compilation of information from a wide variety of sources. From idea generation to completed document, our company is ready and able to assist you in any academic assignment, including the much-feared doctoral dissertation. We have had thousands of satisfied clients, many of whom have been long-time clients with multiple assignments, who can attest to the quality of our work. Our paper help writers utilize state-of-the-art techniques for research and development of each assignment, frequently using cutting-edge software such and mind-mapping programs to gather, document and organize the source materials for the assignment. This allows them almost eliminate the chance of plagiarism and to complete each assignment more quickly and efficiently. Contact us today and let us assist you with the development and completion of your doctoral dissertation.

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