Formatting your Dissertation. Well in advance of your ideal defense window, consult with all members of your committee to find a date or dates that are acceptable to everyone involved. He will then add your defense to the GPR internal calendar and confirm the scheduled location. Please have your advisor review your abstract and sign the approval form before returning it to the Coordinator. If you are planning on having guests accompany you to your defense, please keep in mind the following current GPR policies.
Non-student guests are not allowed to sit in on defenses. Student guests can only attend with the advance permission of your Defense Chair and are limited in number to five. Student guests are not allowed to sit in on the evaluation portion of the defense. The Chair of your dissertation committee will be provided with paperwork by the GRS to record the outcome of your defense and will be responsible for completing the forms and submitting them to the GPRProgram Coordinator.
Signatures must be originals.
Neither a proxy nor another faculty member may sign for a reader. A scanned version of the Dissertation Approval Page should be included with the dissertation itself.
One thing that helped me immensely in preparing my own dissertation was making a writing plan and sticking to it. By using this approach I was able to work on my dissertation a little bit each day and make consistent progress while maintaining my sanity. Know the expected format before you start : Before you even start to think about writing you need to know exactly what you are expected to write.
Many program offer seminars on writing up your dissertation; if you can, I highly recommend taking the time out of the lab to attend so that you are aware of the formatting expectations and requirements.
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Additionally, many programs post the style guide for dissertations on their website. Find yours and read it all the way through before starting to save yourself many headaches in the future.
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Another great resource are completed dissertations from your own program, so check out a few recent dissertations at the library or through the ProQuest database! Outline the major sections of your dissertation introduction, materials and methods, data chapters, discussion, etc.
Preparing & Filing Your Thesis or Dissertation
Establish your list of final figures and which chapters they will appear in. Embrace the ugly first draft of each section and move on to the next before coming back to edit individual chapters. Also, give yourself enough time at the end to correct formatting errors.
Something as seemingly simple as building a table of contents in Word can take a surprising amount of time.
Set these dates into whatever type of calendar works for you so that you have a concrete, visual outline of what you need to accomplish each week to submit your dissertation on time. In this way I was able to continuously write something new and edit previous chapters without getting stuck trying to write and edit the same section at the same time.
Once I had a map of which chapter was due to submit and which to edit each week, I wrote them down on a paper calendar that followed me everywhere for two months. Each week I could see my progress toward a complete document and knowing that I could meet these small, consistent goals prevented me from getting stressed about writing a giant dissertation all at once. Taking the time to set a formal outline for your writing progress may seem unnecessary to some, but the time and sanity saved in knowing what you need to accomplish can go a long way toward making the dissertation writing process something to enjoy rather than dread.
Have you used a formal writing outline to managed your dissertation writing? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below! Be the first to know.
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