Dissertation Diva to the Rescue

Liena Vayzman is the Ann Landers of ABDs. On her new blog “Ask the Dissertation Diva”, Vayzman dispenses supportive and constructive advice to dissertation writers of all stages. While at first glance some advice seems obvious (i.e. don’t procrastinate writing till the week before your dissertation is due), Vayzman backs it up with helpful tips like “dissertate outside the home,” make a writing schedule, and maximize “short intense bursts of writing” rather than “long unproductive days.” The Dissertation Diva also advocates a holistic approach to the dissertation process, and recommends making exercise and socializing part of your writing schedule.

Vayzman holds a PhD in History of Art from Yale University (2002), and when she’s not dispensing advice via blog she’s a dissertation coach and academic writing consultant. While the blog is still new, she’s already posted some great tips and answered a number of dissertation related questions, including how to reconnect with a former mentor, deal with your dissertation during emotional times, and combat writer’s block. Contact her with your dissertation questions at dissertationdiva@hotmail.com.

Also, make sure to look for her upcoming article, “Practical Advice for Writing Your Dissertation, Book, or Article,” in the December issue of Perspectives.

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  1. steve jones

    Before you begin to think about possible topics for Dissertation investigation, make sure you are clear in your own mind about what a Dissertation is. You will be familiar with the principles of essay writing, the most common form of academic writing, but it is worth reviewing briefly what an essay is really designed to do, and looking at how a dissertation may echo but also differ from a standard Essay

    Different subject disciplines may emphasise different features, but, broadly speaking, an essay is a continuous piece of writing, arranged in clearly demarcated paragraphs, in which an argument (a clear line of thought) is developed, in response to a central question or proposition (thesis). The line of argument is supported by evidence you have acquired through research, which you are required to analyse, and which supports or contradicts the various perspectives explored in the course of that argument. The essay then reaches a conclusion in the final section, which pulls together the threads of your argument, supporting, qualifying or rejecting the original Dissertation.

    It is worth bearing in mind that an academic essay is not a piece of writing designed to reproduce information available elsewhere, but something new and expressive of your individual abilities to analyse and synthesise.

    In addition, the process of academic writing will, of itself, help you to learn, by enabling you to work with concepts and information relevant to your subject, and thereby developing your intellectual skills.