Things to Avoid in a PhD Dissertation

A PhD degree is considered one of the most valuable degrees for an aspiring academician. PhD is a doctoral degree with an academic focus. PhD research usually helps the academician to improve his abilities to understand and solve problems, increase confidence, become a better communicator and acquire skill sets that lead to a better job. PhD is in fact, a foundation that usually leads one to publish the papers.

Usually, a PhD program takes 3 to 6 years, depending on the country and the university. Aspiring academicians need to possess a master’s degree to be able to start a PhD program, although there are exceptions as well. Also, one can pursue a PhD program in any stream. In a PhD course academician needs to select a topic or a subject, then an in-depth research on the chosen topic is done by the candidate.

What is a PhD dissertation?

Dissertation, also known as thesis, is a document submitted in support of candidature for a PhD degree or professional qualification, which presents the author’s research and findings.

It is crucial that one does enough research for writing a great PhD dissertation. Your dissertation or thesis really plays an important role in achieving a Ph.D. degree. If your work is not satisfactory, then chances are that a PhD course that usually takes 3-5 years to complete will take more time than that.

Here is a list of things that one should avoid in a PhD Dissertation

check-markNot selecting a relevant topic

People tend to select a topic that is vast or not completely related to their field of study. It is crucial that the topic you choose should be relevant and specific so that the readers are provided with the unique and meaningful information.

check-markFinalizing some boring topic

By finalizing a boring topic not only you will lose your readers, but also you will lose interest in the topic gradually. Therefore, it is crucial that you choose a topic that is interesting. Choosing an interesting topic helps you investigate with enthusiasm and fun in the process.

check-markNot doing enough research

Your PhD degree is nothing but a lot of research and gathering deep understanding about the topic so that readers get proper knowledge and information about it. And if you write your thesis without sufficient research, you may end up re-writing it. So, it is crucial that you start your project only after doing enough research about the topic.

check-markNot having balanced contents

Having a balanced content is a key to a successful PhD dissertation. For instance, you have five chapters in your thesis. Out of five, you wrote detailed description for the first three and you left the two remaining chapters shallow. It’s not a great idea for that matter.

check-markNot following the structured approach

Whenever somebody writes a report or dissertation, it is important that the candidate follows the structured approach, which includes number of pages, the number of chapters, having an abstract and acknowledgement page, giving reference links, etc. It is important to write your dissertation like a professional. Your thesis should contain, systematic references, appendices, acknowledgements, and other ancillary sections so that it looks professional and structured.


Procrastination is the biggest problem that one can go through while writing a PhD dissertation. People tend to get bored very easily. And the moment boredom starts to occur, we lose interest and start postponing the work for another day. So, the best way to write a thesis is to have a timetable and dedicate a fixed time to your project and write in that timeframe religiously. Also, before you think of doing a PhD, bear in mind that it is a time taking process.


Plagiarized dissertations are good for nothing. You cannot simply copy somebody else’s work in your report and claim the credit. You really need to work hard for that. And whenever you take passages from other’s work, you need to cite the original source as well.

check-markWriting without focus

PhD dissertation is not about a topic, the number of chapters, and number of pages. It is, in fact, beyond all these. Having a clear focus and understanding about the topic is a MUST. Make sure your thesis is reader-friendly and is able to convey your information in a clear manner.

(Also read “Do not squeeze your PhD dissertation into a research paper“)

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By David Adewusi

David is a blog writer who likes writing about literature, English grammar, and editing methods. He has also worked as a copy editor and proofreader. He has written excellent blog posts for Scientific Editing.

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