Your Dissertation’s Title
Your dissertation title must be easily rephrased as a question. Unfortunately, there is no tradition in the international academic community to name dissertations in the form of questions but you must have an interrogative sentence in mind. You must clearly understand what you want to learn and share in your study.
It is the job of the doctoral student: him-/herself to select the topic, based on his/her personal preferences and the context in which he/she will be working on the dissertation. For the dedication page, all content should be centered horizontally and vertically. Only the dedication itself should be on the dedication page; no title should appear. Acknowledgements and Prefaces pages should have a title.
Structure of Your Dissertation
When you have a research hypothesis in place you will see how it should be subdivided into parts, which will form your chapters. The system of research questions will determine the structure of your paper. The entire structure of the dissertation must be in your mind from the very start of your learning program. You should not delay working on your structure until after you complete all the materials. As long as you do not have questions to ask, the topic is dead: when you ask no questions, you can get no answers. It is highly improbable that the dissertation plan remains unchanged after a while. Your research questions and the content of chapters will be clarified and changed. When you do not change anything in your original plan, you will find yourself trying to fit the materials in the program to your questions, and perhaps, answers, without thinking things over and studying them thoroughly. The original structure of the paper is always reconsidered but the structure always provides you with the general direction of your creative search. In some cases you might even encounter a dead-end situation. It is not a disaster at all. Remember that you may have a bad plan and still write your dissertation but you will never write your dissertation without a plan.
The earlier you come up with a structure, the better and smoother the writing process will be.
Selecting Your Dissertation Topic
Your dissertation topic must be relevant and commensurate with your abilities and resources. Do not try to bite off too large a piece. No topic is too small or narrow. You can write a paper on how cigarette sales are going at the nearby shop, but you will have to know everything there is to know about these sales. Too global task will lead you away from your topic. You will be better of expanding your topic later than trying to write on a larger topic you will have no time for. When you select your dissertation topic, use your personal experience. Your personal experience is always real, never falsified. There will always be an expert on any topic who knows more than you do; but when it comes to your own experience you will know the most.
Working with Your Tutor
You will not succeed in your partnership with your advisor unless you are very persistent. If you stop bugging your tutor with questions, he or she will not think high of you as a doctoral student. Do not be shy and shower your tutor with questions and reminders. Use your chance to work with the bright and interesting person who was selected by the Academy specifically for you. Use as much of this resource as possible.
In addition to the plan of your dissertation you must set precise milestones and deadlines. You may fall behind or work faster than originally scheduled but you will know where you are in the process and plan your work as is convenient for you.
Your dissertation must follow the “enfilade” principle: you must be able to see the entire paper from any point within it. When writing your dissertation, focus on how your writing relates to your main research hypothesis.
Introduction is obviously the main part of your dissertation. This is what your committee members will read first of all. Sometimes they do not even continue to read the rest of it. This is unfortunate but it is also a fact. Even when someone reads the entire dissertation, the impression of your work is formed by the introduction. The introduction usually comprises from 1/5 to 1/4 of your work, and it should never be shorter than 15% of the entire text. What must be included in the introduction? First, you must explain the importance and novelty of your topic. Why is this topic interesting and why it deserves attention? Your research hypotheses are presented here. Your goal is to explain why this topic is important. Next you discuss what had been done on this topic before. What answers had already been given? What other researchers had tried to answer the parts of the question you are asking? You must show the main points: which aspects of the topic had been covered by which authors. You do not need to retell their research in full detail. You will retell only the facts that refer to your research hypothesis without the need to retell the entire study. If some of the topics had been thoroughly studied, choose several sources. If the topic is not sufficiently covered, review all information that is available. Having done that, you will see the gaps in research that you can cover. The third obligatory part of your introduction explains the structure of your paper: what research questions within your research hypothesis you will ask. In the introduction you cover the importance of the problem, state your main hypothesis, describe and substantiate the structure of your study and list the results that you will defend.
Chapters and Dissertation Content
There is no standard requirement as to how many chapters should your dissertation include. We recommend that you write five chapters. Your first chapter will present your literature review and the problem statement. Your second and third chapters must substantiate the novelty of your research. Your fourth and fifth chapters, if required, shall include applied studies, fact verifications, results of applying your findings in practice, etc. End each chapter with a brief summary. Appendices are not required. However, it is advisable to include the copies of documents on applying dissertation results in practice at the end of your dissertation. No standard number of references or sources is required. Please remember that you must cite your sources in the text of your dissertation.
The second important element of your text is the conclusion. It is usually shorter than your introduction. You have two options here: either to summarize your research questions and the answers you received, or show the future of the topic: if you were to continue writing the dissertation, what would you have written about. Both options can be easily combined into one.
Your dissertation must follow an international standard. Each doctoral student can do it easily because it requires no research or analysis talent. To follow the standard, you will need some time, patience, precision and attention. You simply have to write a certain amount of text in a certain amount of time. Your passion, interest, talent and drive will be required after you complete your dissertation.
Sources for your work always present a problem in today’s world. The consequences of plagiarism are often quite dramatic, although some of your plagiarism may be unintentional. You may think that you are composing your own text when you are actually copying from someone else. Do not use more than 30% of the borrowed text in your work, and include a list of references and links to sources, including the links to the studies by your co-authors. Without any references to sources your work will be recognized as plagiarism, and you will be subject to strict punishment.
Please avoid long quotes. Long quotes are possible in two cases. Firstly, have a long quote if the author had said something much more eloquently than you ever would, and if you want to retain not only the content but also the spirit of the quote, or, to the contrary, when you disagree with an idea completely and would like to debate it. Then you must provide an exact quote to make sure that you present the idea exactly as it had been originally expressed. Unless you need a longer quote for either of the two cases, avoid them. It is best to paraphrase the idea by describing it in your own words so that you could think about it. The dissertation with an endless collage of quotes produces a painful impression. Try to avoid quotes from the sources you have nothing to say about; leave them for the bibliography.
When you write your dissertation, you will be using various sources and materials. They must be properly cited but please think first and foremost about presenting the sources correctly. If you have many sources, the best way is to list them in a table in the appendix. The sources you are citing must be distinctly separate from your own text. Readers must be able to label clearly every sentence of your dissertation as either your own words, or a citation or a paraphrase. You must always give a proper citation of any sources other than your own work. When you use your sources and find an important fact, make note of the full citation: the exact text of the quote, the source, and the date you viewed the source. Do not delay this important task for later.
Addressing Your Reader
Should you say “I” or “we”? “We” is the traditional form the writer of a research project uses to refer to him- or herself. This had earlier been required but then this form of address fell out of use, and authors started referring to themselves as “I.” Today you can use either of the two variants; we especially recommend using “we” if the paper is written by a project or a study team. The dissertation format allows that you appeal to your experience. Another option is to avoid personal pronouns altogether and instead use impersonal collocations.
Working at Night
Please avoid working on your dissertation at night. You can work at night only when you plan to complete your work by the next morning. People can usually make it through two sleepless nights; but after a third night without sleep you will not be able to control what you are writing. Your productivity may grow but your control over the content will decrease. The Academy will not be interested in dissertations like that.
When you write something, you may find your writing exemplary. However, when you reread it for the first time you may find the writing absolutely atrocious. Do not trust either of the two feelings. You may be critical of your work initially but do not erase what you have written after you do not like it initially. Respect your work, remain confident and calm.
Time management is the most important part of the dissertation project. Remember: writing a dissertation is not a very difficult or bulky task. Just follow the schedule of your project, and coordinate every stage with your advisor.
The procedure of dissertation defense has been fully described in the Statutes of the Academy’s Dissertation Council. Each member of the Dissertation Council must gain full understanding of the study’s essence and novelty so that he or she could confidently vote for or against the award of the doctoral degree. Therefore, it is very important for the doctoral student to present his or her work in an accurate and precise manner.
Structure and Volume of the Dissertation
The structure of the dissertation is as follows: The title page; the Contents page, Introduction; Chapters (main content); Conclusion; List of references and materials; Appendices.
The length of the dissertation paper is not an issue of importance. You must carry out your research project and describe it; there’s no need to stick to a certain number of pages. However, you must bear in mind that classical academic standard requirements prescribe that a dissertation must be at least 150-250 pages long, written in Arial size 12 font and the line interval of 1.15. The title page, the figures, the list of sources, the charts and diagrams are not included in the number of pages.
Additional Requirements for the Project Education Program Thesis
Dissertations are presented in the form of project reports by project group participants (at least two people) on the topic as agreed with the Tutor.
The dissertation must contain the grounded project implementation plan, supported by study results on the topic of the dissertation.
The dissertation must have a very precise structure: an introduction, a description of main problem areas, the set of objectives to be achieved in accordance with the problems (problem decomposition), methods and approaches to solving the problems, conclusions and recommendation, and the statement of the practical value of the research.
The dissertation synopsis is an inalienable part of the dissertation. This essay, at least 1000 words long in Russian and in English, provides a brief summary of the study. The synopsis is presented before the introduction to the dissertation and before the table of contents.
The document must be written in business-like and well-articulated style. The author must avoid long tangents and descriptions of topics that are unrelated to the dissertation.
All used sources must be properly cited; the reference to the source shall be presented in brackets with the ordinal number of the citation in the list of references presented after the main part of the dissertation. When you cite sources, please indicate the source, and define the quote precisely.
Use of color figures, diagrams and fonts must be relevant to and necessary for the presentation of the materials.
The pages of the dissertation must be numbered starting with the second page (the title page is not numbered). The numbering must be presented in Arabic numerals in the lower right-hand corner of the page.