The research question can be formulated as one main question with (a few) more specific sub-questions or in the form of a hypothesis that will be tested.
How do you know that you have drafted a research question? Most importantly, a research question is something that . If not, you have probably come up with a theme or field, not a question.
In a scholarly research article, the section dealing with method is very important. The same applies to an empirical thesis. For students, this can be a difficult section to write, especially since its purpose may not always be clear.
How much time and space should you devote to the theory chapter? This is a difficult question. Some theses dwell too long on theory and never get to the main point: the analysis and discussion. But it is also important to have read enough theory to know what to look for when collecting data. The nature of your research should decide: Some studies do not require much theory, but put more emphasis on the method, while other studies need a rich theory section to enable an interesting discussion.
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.
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.
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.
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.
One of the first tasks of a researcher is defining the scope of a study, i.e., its area (theme, field) and the amount of information to be included. Narrowing the scope of your thesis can be time-consuming. Paradoxically, the more you limit the scope, the more interesting it becomes. This is because a narrower scope lets you clarify the problem and study it at greater depth, whereas very broad research questions only allow a superficial treatment.
17. The major myth in writing a dissertation is that you start writingat Chapter One and then finish your writing at Chapter Five. This is seldomthe case. The most productive approach in writing the dissertation is tobegin writing those parts of the dissertation that you aremost comfortable with. Then move about in your writing by completing varioussections as you think of them. At some point you will be able to spreadout in front of you all of the sections that you have written. You willbe able to sequence them in the best order and then see what is missingand should be added to the dissertation. This way seems to make sense andbuilds on those aspects of your study that are of most interest to you at any particulartime. Go with what interests you, start your writing there, and then keep building!
27. If you are including a Conclusions/Implications section in yourdissertation make sure you really present conclusions and implications.Often the writer uses the conclusions/implications section to merely restatethe research findings. Don't waste my time. I've already read the findingsand now, at the Conclusion/Implication section, I want you to help me understandwhat it all means. This is a key section of the dissertation and is sometimesbest done after you've had a few days to step away from your research andallow yourself to put your research into perspective. If you do this youwill no doubt be able to draw a variety of insights that help link yourresearch to other areas. I usually think of conclusions/implications asthe "So what" statements. In other words, what are the key ideasthat we can draw from your study to apply to my areas of concern.
Now this is the part we've been waiting for. I must assume that youhave come up with a good idea for research, had your proposal approved,collected the data, conducted your analyses and now you're about to startwriting the dissertation. If you've done the first steps well this partshouldn't be too bad. In fact it might even be enjoyable!