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The Mindset Change Behind A Successful Dissertation

Jan 22, 2008
People struggle with theses and dissertations for psychological reasons more than writing reasons. The psychological challenge behind writing a dissertation is that you must claim that you are now an expert.

To do this, you must go beyond your self-identity as a student. To write a dissertation, you must see yourself as an expert, who is ready to claim your rightful place among the other experts and authorities in your field.

To make this claim, you have to make a psychological adjustment that your previous educational experience has not prepared you to take. If you think about your life as a student, when were you ever considered an expert on anything?

In fact, our educational process taught us just the opposite. We were taught to learn the "right answers." The experts defined the right answers, and judged our exams, essays, and papers, to determine if we had learned the "right" answers.

It is entirely possible that you can reach the point of writing a dissertation without ever writing an original word about anything in your field of study. Teachers tend not to shower good grades upon original thinkers. Good grades are most often given to those who supply the predetermined "right" answers.

Throughout this whole typical educational process, based on learning the right answers, we learned to write essays and term papers. Most of us were never taught how to write a thesis. If your education was typical, you learned how to demonstrate that you had learned your lessons. You learned how to write essays and term papers. You didn't learn to how to declare an original thesis.

Consider the typical term paper. In most secondary schools and universities, the term paper is not based on your own original research. Instead, you gather information on your topic from experts. The purpose of the term papers is to gather, organize, and summarize the material, not to contribute anything original.

Essay topics provide an opportunity for you to present your opinions, but an essay expressing your opinion is not the same as an argument to make your case.

What most people find so difficult about writing a thesis is that the writer must make an original contribution to the field. After going through high school and colleges, writing term papers and essays, it is an entirely new experience to write a thesis, arguing for an original point of view. But this is exactly what you must to do write a thesis.

When you reach the point of writing a dissertation, you are suddenly the one who is supposed to ask new questions and provide new answers. You must become one of the experts in your field, not simply a student. This is a whole new life experience.

Your success in writing the dissertation is no longer determined by your ability to learn the right answers. The thesis requires you to ask new questions and provide new answers to those questions. Your success requires you to become the expert who provides the answers. This is the mindset change behind a successful dissertation.

If you don't make your claim that you are an expert in your field, by offering a new perspective, you are not writing a thesis. It doesn't matter if your thesis is simply a tiny step or a giant leap forward in your field. To write a thesis, you must offer an original perspective and new answers, as an expert.

Whatever your topic, whatever your field, when you write a dissertation, you are claiming to the world that you are no longer simply a student. You are now an expert. This is the psychological secret behind a successful dissertation.
About the Author
Kalinda Rose Stevenson, Ph.D Http://www.WriteToPersuade.com. If you need clarity about your thesis, here's a writing a dissertation resource for you. My ebook, What's Your Point? gives clear methods to get to your point.
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