What Makes a Thesis or Dissertation Successful?

At Harvard University in 1803, Ward Nicholas Boylston began offering a prize to the best medical dissertation submitted at the university each year. The award was a gold medal valued at $33, a significant amount back then. Though the dissertations offered back then were different than the types of dissertations doctoral candidates produce today,  there is no doubt that the feeling of satisfaction a student receives upon finishing his or her dissertation or thesis is nonetheless just as strong as winning a gold medal.

Of course, most universities no longer hand out gold medals for great dissertations and theses. That doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t significant rewards for the successful completion of what is the most important writing project of your academic career.

First comes the feeling of pride that you accomplished a major life goal. Second is the recognition of your peers and professors. Then comes the awarding of your degree and the job opportunities that follow from that. And, if you are very lucky, you might have the opportunity to turn your dissertation into a book. Scholars around the world will look at your work, and you will be a part of an academic community building knowledge for the future.

So, what’s the formula for creating a successful thesis or dissertation?

The Writing Process

According to the University of Illinois, “it’s not really possible to write a dissertation in a single burst of creativity (although many have tried this approach). In contrast to previous work, a successful dissertation consists of numerous steps which are undertaken deliberately and sequentially.”

The most important of these steps involve establishing priorities and managing one’s time effectively. The long and short of it is that dissertation writing involves a lot of research and a great deal of writing. To make it work, you need to dedicate time to working on your thesis or dissertation on a set schedule, allowing you to treat it like a job rather than like a class project to be done in a weekend.

Successful candidates manage their time by establishing a period, say an hour a day, where they do nothing but work on their dissertation or thesis—no phone calls, no internet, no distractions of any kind—just work. But at the same time, when they aren’t in their work period, they are able to kick back, relax, and unwind with other interests.

“Relaxation is so important in our lives as it helps to keep our stress levels down, and consequently improves our health”. “So, it’s important everybody takes at least 10 minutes a day to wind down.”

The Content

A successful dissertation or thesis accomplishes a number of things. First, it answers an original research question in a unique way. This can occur through a variety of methods, including literature reviews, statistical analysis, field research, and more. However, the key is to be original. Even if your thesis involves replicating previous research, it needs to find a unique spin to show that you have command of your material and the ability to muster scholarly material to support original investigations.

A dissertation or thesis also needs to be clear and direct to be successful. While it may seem tempting to try to lard your document with academic terminology and jargon, the most successful theses and dissertation make judicious use of terminology, applying concepts only where appropriate, and writing in a way that is understandable and clear. It is often said that academics write as confusingly as possible so that it makes readers think that the article is deeper than it is. This process, though, will not fool a dissertation committee. Instead, you need to prove your depth of knowledge by presenting clear and detailed discussions of your work.

A thesis or dissertation, by the same token, must also show your research ability and your ability to synthesize material to support your hypothesis. A successful dissertation or thesis will present a careful review of the academic literature on your subject, including any past studies done on the same topic. It will also have appropriate supporting research documenting the justification for your methodology and analysis of your findings. It’s important that you show your thesis or dissertation committee that you have the chops to tease out hard-to-find sources and research—don’t rely entirely on the internet to do your research for you!


Lastly, you can buy dissertation online successful which will follow your university’s format for submission. This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many students come to the end of the writing process and decide that it isn’t worth the effort to format all of the references in perfect Chicago style, or organized their headings using the APA hierarchy. It’s important to impress the committee with your attention to detail by learning your university’s format (and any unique requirements they have) and applying it consistently throughout your document.

The good news is that dissertation or thesis writing can be exciting, adventuresome, and deeply rewarding. All you need to do to ensure that your dissertation or thesis is the best it can be is to follow these few simple rules and pay close attention to details. Doing so will help you build a strong document and put your best foot forward when it comes time for the committee to review your work.

Written by CelebMix