Practical Approach to Writing a Dissertation

Authoring a thesis or dissertation need not be stressful but rather an avenue for learning. In this article, we will offer practical suggestions to students pursuing nursing studies.


The majority of the nursing students feel overwhelmed with the tasks of writing a dissertation. They get confused about how to start and doubt if they will ever finish on time. Just a handful is confident in highlighting the basics of the topic, managing the relationship with supervisors, and ultimately writing the dissertation. However, the process of writing a thesis is a learning one that should not stress students, but they should come out polished and ready to apply what they learn. It is only possible with good planning.

A dissertation is a report from an educational process or extended essay writing on a particular study topic. On the other hand, a thesis is more complex and introduces new knowledge in the field of study or even critique accepted standards in a bit to bring change to the established experience.

Writing a dissertation is similar to a systemic inquiry or developing understanding instead of new evidence. It is the objective of my Ph.D. thesis. The dissertation’s key purpose is to empower students to understand the selected topic, insights of research, and organizational skills. However, there are similarities between a thesis and a dissertation.

Purpose of dissertations

Students write dissertations to demonstrate the ability to focus on the topic and examine the issue via methodical investigation and identification of appropriate theories. Students need to confirm that they can present their work academically, clearly understand the topic, and be orderly. Besides, students need to develop several critical insight levels based on the level of research. In general, a dissertation should demonstrate the following.  

  • Abilities for critical thinking
  • The capability to work methodically, organize, plan, and focus on a subject
  • The sophistication of argument, clarity of thought, and clarity of purpose
  • An understanding of the subject under study
  • The capability to present your work academically and in an orderly manner
  • The ability to investigate a matter via a systematic inquiry

Getting started

Ordinarily, a dissertation is a considerable task that requires adherence to rules of completion, conceptual understanding, critical thinking, good time management, and careful planning. The majority of the students consider refining and identifying the dissertation’s research topic as the problematic element in the process. In general, once the topic gets defined, the rest of the flows naturally so long as the student follows basic rules such as:

  • Following the formatting requirements of the institution
  • Producing informed and lively discussion
  • Justifying the choices instead of stating
  • Putting effort and due diligence into all stages of the writing process
  • Writing as the initial person if necessary
  • Using the right resources correctly
  • Selecting the relevant questions that will yield exciting answers
  • Refining the topic and spending quality time with the supervisor at all stages.

As you write the dissertation, it is essential that the student put in the effort and avoid chaos at all writing stages.

The elements and the format of a dissertation

You start once you get a general view of how your dissertation will look like. The components of a dissertation and the format vary from institution to institution. The supervisor will be in a position to provide guidance and assistance on this subject. In general, there are common elements that need to appear in almost all dissertation papers, and they include the following:

  • Introduction: Though the introduction is the first, it is common to write it last, once all the other sections are complete.
  • Background: This section gives your readers the reason that made you choose your topic for research. 
  • Aims and objectives: Right from the start, you need to come clean on your research aims and objectives. It is preferable to have the main aim and other sub subsidiary objectives of about four in number. Your goals should be relevant to the purposes. Both the aims and objectives need explanation.
  • Literature review: The literature in support of the study must be relevant and current.
  • Design: This is research methods or methodology
  • Reference: This section documents the sources of information that the study relied on. 
  • Findings: It describes the current events from the subject matter.
  • Discussion: This is the section where the student needs to shine. It is relatively long to capture the researcher’s observation.
  • Conclusion: It captures the recommendations clearly and concisely.


The dissertation is a vehicle where a student can demonstrate his or her ability to systematically conduct an inquiry and in critical analysis of the findings.