11 Indispensable Dissertation Tips and Tools

Tips and tools for effective dissertation writing.

It doesn’t matter how confident you are in your research and writing skills, and how much effort you invest into your doctoral studies. The dissertation writing process will test you to your very limits. This is the longest, most complex project you have ever worked on. Don’t let the confusion distract you from the ultimate goal. There is always a way to boost your productiveness.

[If you are an adult returning to education, check out these study tips for you.]

Tips for Dissertation Writing

  • First of all, relax! You gain nothing from being stressed. It’s important to set goals, but make them progressive. Take small steps towards the final destination. If you say to yourself “Okay, I’ll be writing my dissertation today,” you’ll be too afraid to start. If, on the other hand, you tell yourself “I’ll go through some interesting resources and start writing as much as I can,” you won’t be intimidated by an impossible goal.
  • Keep track of all ideas. It’s easy to forget a cool concept if you don’t write it down. You’ll come across different resources during the research and writing stages, so develop a system that will enable you to track them easily.
  • Start with the chapters instead of the introduction. Since the introduction section is supposed to provide a short summary of the project, it would be best to leave it for the end.
  • Keep the main argument to mind. Don’t digress from it. This will be a long project, so it might be difficult to remain focused. The individual chapters are supposed to contain their own arguments, but the entire dissertation should be a logical whole.
  • Provide references as you write. If you leave this part for the end, you won’t know where each quote came from. Make sure to include a properly-formatted reference whenever you include an opinion from that’s not your own.

[For maximum flexibility in scheduling your education, explore online master’s degree programs.]

Tools that Make Dissertation Writing Easier

You will need to implement different tools into your practices as you progress throughout the different stages of dissertation writing.

Choosing a Topic

Before you come close to the writing process, you need to pick your topic. You’ll appreciate the following tools at this point.

  1. Mind42 – a mind mapping tool that enables you to collaborate with your mentor or colleagues online. You can easily create a visual map and share it with your supervisor.
  2. us is one of the most effective brainstorming tools out there. It helps you unleash your creativity and create compelling presentations.
  3. Evernote will help you keep your thoughts and resources organized. The free toolset enables you to save notes, photos, web pages, and screenshots on the go.

Research and Reading

  1. Google Scholar helps you identify reliable sources for your dissertation. Since you cannot rely on Wikipedia and first-page Google results for your dissertation, this search engine will be your favorite tool during this stage.
  2. PapersGear offers comprehensive assistance throughout all stages of dissertation writing. The resources at this website will help you locate proper materials and manage the bibliography successfully.
  3. BiblioExpress is a reference manager for Windows users. It formats the citations according to MLA, APA, and ACS styles.
  4. Zotero, a browser extension for Firefox, will sync your data with multiple devices. In addition, the tool enables you to collect, organize, cite, and share the sources you locate.

Time Management Tools

  1. Gadget – a free tool that enables you to create Gantt charts online. Since time management is a precondition for successful dissertation writing, you need to create these charts that will enable you to plan and manage your progress.
  2. Tom’s Planner is one of the most effective project planning tools you could possibly use. It enables you to store, share, and manage your Gantt charts. You can collaborate on these charts in a safe online environment.

Productivity Tools

  1. StayFocusd is a Google Chrome extension that will prevent you from getting distracted by social media, 9GAG, and other online destinations that would affect your productivity. LeechBlock is a similar productivity tool for Firefox. If you are a Mac user, then Freedom is the app you should install.
  2. TeuxDeux is an effective online planner that will enable you to plan your work on a weekly basis. Although it is a simple to-do app, it will change your overall approach towards dissertation writing.


Now that you have a basic idea on how to approach the completion of your doctoral project, the only thing that’s left is to find the needed motivation and start doing the work!

Tips and tools for more effective dissertation writing.Jessica Millis, is a freelance writer and a blog editor at Essaymama.com and writing professor assistant at James Madison University. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Tags: , ,