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Planning & Sustaining Your Dissertation / Thesis: Home

Planning & sustaining your dissertation

Thesis content courtesy of the University of Louisville’s University Writing Center. Getting Started. Think about: What am I ultimately trying to accomplish as a scholar? What questions will I explore? In what ways will I engage in scholarly conversations in my field? Common Features. Research questions: major curiosities that drive your project. Data: texts and other sources that help address your questions. Methods: your approaches to gathering, interpreting, and using data to address your questions. Rhetorical Functions. Introduction: introduces your questions, makes claims, and provides a road map for your project. Literature Review: situates your work in ongoing scholarly conversations and provides necessary theoretical frameworks. Methods: explains how and why your methods were chosen, affordances and limitations of your methods, and any ethical considerations. Content chapters: discusses what happened in your research, why it happened, how it connects to scholarly content, and the conclusions you drew. Conclusion: explains big-picture conclusions, limitations, areas for future research, and implications for your field. Productive Writing Tips: Approach your project as smaller pieces (Intro, Lit Review, etc.). Write informally as you read or gather data to develop your thinking. You can write out of sequence—write in chunks and put it together later. Make writing a habit—keep a schedule. Get feedback from the University Writing Center. Things to Remember: Always think about how your data or quotes connect to your argument. Remind your readers how your project connects to an ongoing scholarly conversation. Think of yourself not as a student, but as a scholar making an argument to fellow scholars. Always contextualize quotes or data through analysis and connections to other scholarship. You can’t write a committee-proof draft—don’t fear getting feedback on a regular basis.

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