Most students that are accepted into a Ph.D. program have well-developed writing skills. Still, they face a challenge when it comes to dissertation writing or thesis writing.
Ironically, it is the journalists that struggle most with the conventional thesis writing style. And the reason is that they are used to writing for the ‘lay’ audience or general audience. Their expertise lies in the fact that they can pick up a complex piece of information and explain it to people who know little or nothing about it.
Writing a dissertation is different. When you are writing a thesis or research paper, you are writing for experts. You are informing them about something new or want to persuade them about something. As you well understand, experts are notoriously difficult to please.
Here are some tips from Transtutors experts on how to make your Ph.D. thesis writing more impressive:
- Most supervisors are fairly relaxed about grammatical rules. You need to focus more on ‘socially correct’ dissertations that conform to the expectations of your target audience.
- While writing a research paper, you are indulging in expert-to-expert communication. You can assume that your reader has some knowledge about your topic and a general understanding of the research methods used in your field. But you also need to assume that you know ‘more’ than your target audience and write to offer something ‘new’ to their information pool.
- It’s impossible to know what your expert readers already know. They might have read about the research method but not used it, or they might have used it for 30 years! They might have just a bit about your topic based on hearsay or may have researched on it for decades. But you still need to write a thesis as a pedagogical tool designed to ‘inform’ and ‘instruct’ other experts. Keeping this in mind will help you decide what to include and what to leave out in your thesis writing.
- While including background information is essential to help your readers accept and understand your findings and interpretations, make sure that it is designed as an interesting and instructive text instead of a boring and preachy piece of prose.
- Sometimes, you may want to give some background of an uncommon research technique or methodology you have used, or include information that’s not well-known. In such cases, writing the background section or methods section may become too stretched out lengthy. In such cases, our experts advise students to include enough information for readers who want to know more about these concepts – and trust them to do study it in detail if they like. They may:
- Mention sources where they can study them in References or Footnotes.
- Include an Appendix that explains these technical terms or concepts well. Usually, appendices are not counted in the word count of a thesis.
While most readers won’t study these concepts, making an effort to provide them with a way to do so will create confidence in them that you know your stuff well.
- Generic writing guidelines often ask you to use jargon sparingly. Journalists often leave it out. However, when you are writing dissertations for experts, you must use jargon. Experts look for the ‘right’ terms and acronyms. They love the ‘insider language’ of their field and regard it as an indicator that you know what you are talking about.
- You may want to include a glossary for this jargon or include explanations of lesser-known terminology in footnotes. These can be helpful to newbies who would like an explanation for them – without interrupting the flow of your paper.
- Using words like ‘Obviously,…’, ‘As we might expect,…’, ‘As we already know,…’ show that you trust your expert readers to know what’s common for the field. It’s a subtle writing move to win over experts by showing respect for their knowledge on the topic. Our research paper writers say that using such words showcases that you consider experts as a part of your academic tribe…and by association showcase yourself as an ‘expert’ and not a ‘student’.
For more sophisticated dissertation writing strategies and expert-to-expert communication tips, call our experts at +1-559-702-8922 or +61-255-071-203.