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Dissertation Writers Resources

A list of resources for Dissertation Writers at all stages, based upon the workshops and materials from the Dissertation Writers Retreat.

Staying on Track

There are many steps to reaching the finish line with a completed dissertation. There are deadlines to meet, document formatting guidelines to follow, but the people of the Graduate School, University Libraries, and the Center for Writing and Communication are all here to help. The links and videos on this page will all help you to "Stay on Target" for graduation!

A great place to start is this talk from Dr. Jennifer Beech of the Graduate School, who will be the final person your dissertation will pass through before you are officially approved to walk across the stage.

Of Dates and Deadlines

However, before you get there, you will need to make sure that you know all of the dates and forms that you will need to fill in, and the Graduate School has a page devoted to answering these questions.

Check out these videos prepared by the graduate school that will help take you through a lot of these forms and submission procedures.

The Document: Editing

While the specific guidelines for your dissertation will vary from discipline to discipline, there are some basics that you will need to follow. Please reference this link to see what they are.

You can also get help with your document via the Center for Writing and Communication. If you have issues booking an appointment, see the video below for help. The consultants for the CWC are advanced graduate students from the English and Communications departments who have also had additional training in order to better advise you on issues relating to organization, argumentation, and citations. They, however, are NOT a copy editing service. They will not proofread your entire dissertation. However, they can advise you on style elements, perceived weaknesses, and repeated errors of which to be aware.

Editing your document can be exceptionally stressful. This presentation and discussion from the Winter 2022 DWR discusses how you might approach it more thoughtfully. (Note: due to operator error, the beginning of this Zoom presentation was not recorded. Please refer to the PDF below).

The Defense

The final push in your dissertation journey is the defense of your document. Often shrouded in some mystery, it should not be. As discussed in this panel discussion from the Winter 2022 DWR, it should be a collaborative effort between you and your advisor and feature open and honest communication from all parties.

Revisit Your "Why"?

At this point, you may be asking yourself again and again, "Why am I doing this? Why did I even start this process?" This is normal. Not only is there the stress, anxiety, and pressure to finish, but all the times you may have had to say "no" to friends and family, which takes a toll. This is why we have an entire page devoted to mental health resources.

Now would be a good time to remind yourself of why you are doing this. On the "Beginning" page, there were a few videos on this topic, which you may want to revisit. Even more important, share your "why" with your family and friends. Ask them to help you remember it when things get hard. You are never dissertating alone!

(There are no perfect videos about this, and many are from the perspective of a business, but the concept remains the same: you need to speak up so that those around you can help when you lose your way.)