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How to Write a Doctoral Dissertation: Finding Reliable Sources


If you are writing your doctoral dissertation you are probably working on the most important document you have ever written up to this point in your life. It is the culmination of all your academic work and lays the foundation on which you will base your future professional career. There’s very little chance to start all over and the your work will be so heavily scrutinized that you want be sure you are handing in your absolute best.

This is why it’s important you find great, reliable sources throughout your research. Here’s how to do just that:

Stick with Academic Sources:


No matter what subject you are writing on, you want to make sure that your sources are backed up in some way by an academic institution. Universities and colleges fund research studies, publish journal articles and print books – but more importantly for you is that they offer their stamps of approval on every piece they push forward. Citing these sources gives you the added peace of mind in knowing that to the best of someone else’s professional opinion, your resources is valid.

Use Only Current Sources:


In addition to using academic sources, it’s important that you do your due diligence to make sure you are citing a resource that is still considered current and relevant. Especially in the sciences, new information, data, facts spring up every few years, making prior resources slightly less current. Our advice is that you stick to something written within the last five years: anything before that is best left outside of your dissertation or should be limited to the further readings portion.

Use Online Academic Databases, Not Blogs:


Nowadays anyone online can post anything about anything. And rather than spend hours trying to track down sources or verify evidence used within a source you found on a personal blog, you should stick to just searching for academic articles held in library, medical or government databases. They keep decades worth of info so you should double check to make sure that you are reading something that is most current on the subject you are researching.

Ask Your Advisor or Professor:


Sometimes the best place to look is right in front of you. Keeping your advisor or professor involved in your research and writing will often lead to valuable suggestions regarding what to read and where to find it. Recommended reading lists will point you in the direction that your dissertation committee members want you to take, thus giving you a better chance of having your dissertation be given high marks.

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