October 30, 2017

11 Mistakes That Professors/Readers Never Want to See in a Dissertation

We are adults now. We make decisions on our own, some change our lives, and some leave us with deep regret. And once the deed is done, it cannot be reversed. There’s the only scope for banging your head on the wall. So taking the right decision at the right time is necessary, especially when you are writing a dissertation. One mistake and you need to start again from zero. This blog is dedicated to all those dissertation students who want to be aware of the potential pitfalls before they start their journey. So here are 11 unforgivable mistakes that your readers never want to see in your dissertation.

  • Lengthy dissertation abstract

You are super excited to share your findings with the world. And abstract is the first thing that you get to write. Naturally, you start pouring your heart out in that section. And without your knowing, the chapter stretches too long. You might say, ‘what’s wrong with that? Readers ultimately want to know about my research’. Yes, they want to know. But dissertation abstract is not the place for it. According to experts, a dissertation abstract should not be more than one page long. So please try to sum up your emotions in one page and let other chapters do their work.

  • Silly mistakes and errors

Every programmer fears error message popping on their screen because it cost them efforts. Similarly, you don’t want errors in your dissertation. It will cost you marks. So, try to avoid silly spelling errors, misplace of words, usage of wrong words as all these are a big turn-off for examiners. If possible, put technology to good use like checking the paper under spelling checker or give the paper a good read or ask someone to read it for you. We know after writing that never-ending paper, it is a lot to ask for you, but you need to do it.

  • Keep the readers in dark about the actual purpose for long

Who does not want some drama? An impactful introduction of your dissertation would make your readers interested in your storytelling. Yes, it can be done. But you have to see how much waiting your readers can take before it frustrates them. If you stretch it too long, your readers might just abandon your piece and go somewhere else. So don’t keep your readers in the dark for too long. It might just ruin their interest in the paper. Yes, trying to build up a sense of mystery can be nice until your readers are interested to unravel the mystery.

  • Write incoherent sentences

“You are my best friend. I study Maths. Eh?”

When you read these lines, you might not make any sense out of it because there’s actually none. When we write something, we mean something. But putting random sentences into a paragraph does not convey any meaning. That’s where coherence comes into picture which most of the dissertation students fail to maintain in their writing. This is one of the potential reasons why most of the students face failure in dissertation writing. You will not if you understand the purpose and scope of every chapter in order to ensure a logical progression of ideas and meaningful relationships between passage and text.

  • Not showing enough proof/evidence to support your claims

Readers are like Sherlock Holmes; investigating everything, ensuring everything written is correct, checking every claim. So in order to satisfy their curiosity, you need to put up enough evidence against your ideas, claims, and thoughts. Citing is the only way to make sure there’s existing proof against your claims. But it has to be done properly. Otherwise, you might just end up in another kind of disaster. In this case, you surely want to check with your supervisor or head of the department about the formatting rules that you must follow throughout the paper. It is better you read the formatting rules thoroughly before you start working on the paper.

  • Mismatch in the tables and explained data

What will be your reaction when you see two different data about the same thing in the same paper? Anger might be. You want to ask the writer, ‘what were you thinking?’ The same emotions rule the examiner. They cannot stand the fact that one writer can be so irresponsible to put two different data in the same paper. Believe or not, some students do it, not intentionally, of course. But it happens. Items mentioned in the tables, charts, and graphs are not same as the data explained below the tables and charts. So check while writing them. You should be super careful about writing any data. If you are repeating it, ensure you are writing the same as mentioned before.


  • No clear view of methodology

That is really upsetting if a dissertation does not clearly speak about its methodology. Students think dissertation is about the result that researchers come up with. No, it is about the research, not about results. And in research, the method of conducting the study plays a vital part. This is why dissertation readers want to know about the methodology: how the research has been conducted. And not putting enough information about the methodology would definitely upset the readers. So present a clear view of methodology, tell them how you managed to get the results through these methods.

  • Contrasting views in different sections

Readers want to see how researchers prove their claims. A researcher starts with an introduction, explaining his ideas. But by the time it gets to the results, ideas change. It is not the same as it is mentioned in the previous section. There starts the confusion. And readers get to the conclusion that the writer is not careful enough to maintain one point of view. It suddenly ruins the impression altogether. To save yourself from the awkward moment, you can try reading the paper at once to detect any mismatch of views in the content. If there’s, you need to revise it immediately.

  • No explanation of terminology

Most of the students think only those who have in-depth knowledge of the subject take an interest in reading their dissertation. But it is not. People with zero interest would be interested in reading the paper too. But checking dictionary every time they read some alien terminology or subject-based words would just throw them off-foot. No one wants to do such amount of hard work while reading a paper. So they quit. Ultimately, your purpose of writing the paper goes unfulfilled. So it is advisable that students explain all terminologies in either endnote or footnote section.

  • Mismatch in page number and its corresponding entries in the table of content

Your readers click on an entry in the hope of getting redirected to the corresponding chapter, but they land on some other chapter. It is embarrassing. It can be frustrating for the readers. So spare them the confusion and be careful while numbering the pages. There are clear rules about numbering the pages like pages before the introduction should have Roman numbers and starting from the introduction, pages should be numbered in italics numerical. If it is possible, ask someone to take an overview of the paper to make sure the numbering of the paper is right.


  • Not compiling the chapters properly

Sometimes, you lose track of what you have written and what not. Believe us, it is quite normal. After all, it is a dissertation. It is that never-ending task that you want to finish as soon as you can. So in a hurry, many students make mistakes leaving out chapters behind. As a result, they submit the incomplete dissertation to the examiner. We don’t have to tell you what will be the result of submitting an incomplete dissertation. So before you submit that paper, make sure you add a title page, acknowledgement, table of contents, list of the tables, list of graphs in the proper order. Then ensure you have all pages of main chapters. Write them somewhere you can see them, don’t just leave them like this. It is matter of your entire academic year.

We sincerely hope that after reading this blog now you will never commit these “treasons” while writing your dissertation!

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