How to Write a Theoretical Dissertation: a Step-by-Step Guide

When you are going to write a dissertation, you should keep in mind that different scientific disciplines presuppose different methods of writing them, which may be of two main types: theoretical and practical. The papers of the first kind usually deal with social, religious, philosophical, cultural, and ethical issues. They are non-empirical as to the type of study, and the method used is mainly analysis. You should be ready to spend a lot of time getting acquainted with different theories concerning the subject, comparing and arguing them, suggesting your own points of view. All work will be done in your brain, and the essential challenge for you will be supporting the argumentation over the length of the entire paper.

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The steps that will allow you to write a successful theoretical dissertation are:

  1. Decide what the purpose of your investigation is. It may be aimed at a solution of a problem or you may search one or more variables to predict their development, behavior and in such a way put forward your own theory.
  2. Consider dependent and independent variables. Dependent variables are certain conditions that cannot be influenced or transformed, at least at the moment of writing. Independent ones are those that present the main field of investigation as they are liable to improve, get worse, pile up, i.e. to change in every possible way. Choose the key variable to provide the theoretical framework and show the perspective of research to the reader.
  3. Consider the theoretical framework to ensure the reader that your investigation is based on a solid and verified theory or theories and not only on your personal guesses or intuition. All aspects of your dissertation – formulating the problem statement and the research question, analyzing the data, drawing the conclusion – will depend on it. Your task will be to attach the theories to all components of your work. Read and think over thoroughly the literature on the subject, identify the scientists whose ideas seem most advanced to you. Mind that the works you are going to refer to should be published during the period of not more than seven years preceding your study. Study the alternative theories.
  4. Consult your professor or thesis advisor as for the theory you are going to write about. Demonstrate him/her the link between it and the case of study.
  5. Think over the structure of the paper. Notwithstanding that there is no obligatory format, the dissertation should include an introduction, description of research work, theoretical framework, methodology, argumentation of the results, and conclusion.

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