5 Tips to Survive Your Psychology Dissertation Process

Updated November 30, 2022 · 2 Min Read

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Every student enrolled in a psychology PhD program will go through the psychology dissertation process at one point or another. While similar to writing a thesis, writing a dissertation requires a larger commitment on your part because you will spend more time doing research, writing and editing. Use some basic tips to ensure that you can survive this process and write an effective dissertation.

Select an Engaging Topic

The psychology dissertation process starts when you select a topic. Make sure that you pick a topic that is both engaging and interesting but also one that works with your future career goals or plans. If you want to work with kids in a public high school, you might look at how standardized test scores relate to college success or how a college prep curriculum assists those going on to college. Keep in mind that you'll spend months working on your dissertation, which is why you should select a topic that interests you.

Write Frequently

The two biggest pieces of advice that students like you need is that you should write frequently and that you should write as often as possible. Even if you only have 30 to 60 minutes free during the day, take a seat and jot down some notes or do some simple research. The more work you do now, the less work you need to do later. Writing frequently also helps you stay on top of the psychology dissertation process. This ensures that you are ready for each stage in the process.

Skip Between Sections

A typical psychology dissertation features multiple sections, including an introduction, citation's page and methodology section. Many students think that they must start at the beginning, work on one section at a time and only move on to the next section after completing the previous section. As you work on some of those sections, especially the longer sections, you may find yourself suffering from writer's block, which will make it nearly impossible for you to keep writing. Feel free to skip between sections as you write. This helps keep the information fresh in your mind and lets you avoid writer's block.


Avoid Distractions

There are dozens of distractions that you might face as you write your dissertation. Those distractions can include the work that you do for the school or in an off-campus job, your family and friends and any other personal commitments or obligations that you might have. While you cannot avoid all those distractions during the psychology dissertation process, you can take steps to reduce those distractions. You might spend more time working in the campus library than at home, but you can also create a weekly schedule that shows you when you need to work on your paper every day.

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Set Clear Deadlines

Stephanie Hedge, who went through the dissertation process herself, recommends that you set clear deadlines for yourself during the psychology dissertation process. Before you write or type a single word, create multiple deadlines for yourself that will guide you through this process. Write down when you want to complete each section, the time you will spend doing research in the library, the editing work that you need to do and any appointments that you have with faculty members in your program. Those deadlines will help you stay on track as you research, write and edit.

Before you can earn your psychology PhD, you must write a dissertation. Though your college will give you the option of choosing your own topic, you need to know how to survive the psychology dissertation process, which may include writing frequently and setting clear deadlines.

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