Because taking notes is one thing, but turning them into a very long academic paper is another thing entirely. Before you sink further into feeling overwhelmed and wanting to give up already, just remember that you can do this, and you will. With these 5 steps, you can take your pages of notes and turn them into the dissertation of your dreams:
1.Check the Requirements
The most important thing you can do before you even begin is to check the dissertation requirements of your programme. You must know these requirements in and out if you want to have any chance of successfully writing and defending your dissertation. It would be an utter shame to organize all of your notes in a logical way only to find out that you missed a requirement and have to start all over again.
2.Decide on the Structure
Next, you want to decide on the exact structure of your dissertation. This will help you determine where you’ll include the information from each note or even if there are certain notes that you no longer wish to use. In many cases, your dissertation will have the following structure: introduction, review of literature, methodology, presentation of research, and conclusion.
Once you’ve decided on the structure of your dissertation, and verified that it meets all of the requirements, it’s time to get organized. The way you choose to do this will be as unique as you are. However, many graduate students find it helpful to colour-code their notes, use sticky notes, or create an outline and assign each note to a certain section of the outline. What matters most is that you get organized in a way that makes the most sense to you.
4.Ask for Help
When all else fails, ask for help. Your dissertation advisor is there to help you in any way that you need. Even if you’re struggling to figure out which notes to use and where to use them, a simple conversation with your advisor can make the entire process seem a lot less confusing than it once did. So, don’t be afraid to check in with your advisor often. They have insights that you may not be able to see right now.
Once you’ve decided how to use your notes, for the most part, it’s time to start writing. Writing a dissertation is never as simple as writing one perfect draft and then you’re done. You will write a rough draft, but then you will go through many revisions before you’re done. So, just start writing and make changes as needed