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How do you write a dissertation at night – looking for inspiration

You've watched other classmates sweating over their dissertation topics, reading page after page of literature, performing painstaking research, furiously writing and editing until their hands cramp. And now it's your turn to do the same. But how do you begin? Where you can find the guidance and the ideas you need to make a grand dissertation that your professors will remember for years?

Here are some guidelines that can help you find inspiration to write your dissertation:

  • Go to a professor or mentor and ask about possible topics. This sounds simple, but many students forget the basics.
  • Read what your professors and department has published to find a topic you're interested in. If a faculty member has written something you'd like to publish, consider asking them to point you in the direction of further research or judge your work as part of your dissertation committee.
  • Read other research papers to see if you can build something on someone else's initial findings.
  • Find papers you enjoyed writing and seek out a topic from one of them.
  • Ask people around you not involved with your research what they would like to know about in the world. You may get some surprisingly insightful topics.
  • Get plenty of rest and eat nourishing foods. Inspiration comes easier when you are able to think clearly and calmly.
  • If your topics are too wide, narrow your focus to a couple of specific ares that really interest you about them.
  • Find what you're passionate about. Don't be too emotional about the subject, as that may interfere with your clinical judgment, but try to be excited about what you're getting ready to do.
  • Take the time to think about what you want to write about. Don't rush to conclusions, make hasty decisions or get pressured into doing a topic you don't really care about. Dissertations can take as long as months, years and even decades to complete and present before a committee. Whatever you decide, you should go into it 100% willingly.
  • Dissertation is another word for “full-time job”. When deciding on a topic, organize a block of time each day for doing research on that topic—and nothing else. Make a calender schedule giving you “work days” and “off days” for eating, sleeping, paying bills and life in general. Successful Ph. D students devote a minimum of three to six months per dissertation.
  • Ask your professors and departments about funding for your work. Scholarships, grants and loans are all available from many sources to help you succeed in your goals.

A dissertation is not something to take lightly. It's a big commitment that takes time and energy. But if you choose to do it, inspiration for your topics can be found anywhere.

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