Dissertation Advice

For doctoral students, the dissertation stage can be a significant point of uncertainty, confusion, and anxiety. This page offers a detailed guide to help you navigate my posts and get your dissertation done.

Getting Started

If you’re just getting started with your dissertation, check out my post: 7 Tips for Starting to Write The Dissertation. This post is packed with concrete advice and detailed information to help you get started. Trust me, this is not a fluffy list post.

7 Tips for Starting to Write the Dissertation

7 Tips for Starting to Write the Dissertation

This post offers 7 tips to help you start writing your dissertation. Getting started is tough, but important to overcome so you can write the dissertation.

Organized Yourself

The process of completing a dissertation requires managing a lot of moving parts. Getting organized makes the process more manageable.

If you’re figuring out how to manage yourself and your writing, my post on my top 3 dissertation management tools. could serve as a solid starting point.

Many dissertations involve delving deeply into various written sources. If that sounds like the dissertation you have to write, check out my post on organizing sources.

A huge part of my dissertation organizational strategy was measuring my progress. This really helped make the writing phase more manageable. I recommend reading my post the details measuring writing using words, pages, or hours.

My Top 3 Dissertation Management Tools

My Top 3 Dissertation Management Tools

This post details my top 3 dissertation management tools that I always used as I wrote my dissertation and how I used them.
Tips for Organizing Sources for Research Papers

Tips for Organizing Sources for Research Papers

You've narrowed down a topic for your paper, now what? In this post, I focus on organizing sources for end-of-term research papers.
Words, Pages, or Hours? How to Measure Writing Productivity

Words, Pages, or Hours? How to Measure Writing Productivity

This post offers considerations and insights for selecting among words, pages, or hours to measure writing productivity.

Dealing With Writing Slumps

Writing slumps will likely happen and that’s perfectly normal. It’s important to reflect on why you might be in a writing slump.

My post on 8 writing productivity methods to try out offers solutions based on specific kinds of writing challenges.

Dissertations are super challenging and an issue that we might face is that we might not know how to approach certain parts of it. My post on completing challenging tasks details the specific of an approach that could help you as face writing tasks that feel complex.

In addition to being challenging, dissertations can quickly turn chaotic. My post on dealing with chaotic writing drafts offers a fairly simple solution that helped me as I got a handle on unwieldy notes and writing in my chapters.

8 Writing Productivity Methods To Try Out

8 Writing Productivity Methods To Try Out

There are a lot of productivity methods and techniques out there. In this post, I suggest 8 writing productivity methods to try out. 
A Method for Completing Challenging Tasks

A Method for Completing Challenging Tasks

In this post, I will walk you through a method for tackling and completing challenging tasks along with my experiences applying this method.
A Method for Dealing with Chaotic Writing Drafts

A Method for Dealing with Chaotic Writing Drafts

This post will explain my method for dealing with chaotic writing drafts. It's simple, effective, and helped me to continue writing at a steady pace.

Helpful Hints

There is no magical hint that I know of to help you instantly complete your dissertation. Here are a few helpful hints to make parts of the process a bit easier:

5 Useful Shortcuts When Reading Adobe PDFs

5 Useful Shortcuts When Reading Adobe PDFs

If you want to navigate Adobe Reader PDFs more efficiently, this short post offers 5 useful shortcuts when reading such PDFs.
3 Handy Online Thesauruses

3 Handy Online Thesauruses

Sometimes when I am writing I struggle to find the right word. I regularly use online thesauruses and this short post offers my top 3 online thesauruses. 
6 Resources for Improving Grammar

6 Resources for Improving Grammar

When I started my doctoral studies, I didn't feel confident in my grammar skills. This post will walk you through my top 6 resources for improving grammar. 
6 Free and Easy Web-Based Tools To Help You Create Better Visuals

6 Free and Easy Web-Based Tools To Help You Create Better Visuals

This post offers 6 free and easy web-based tools to help you create better visuals (e.g., presentations, posters, infographics, etc.).

When Life Happens

Most of us don’t live in a bubble as we complete our dissertations. We all encounter moments when writing the dissertation can become even more challenging. While I don’t have the experience to comprehensively cover everything, I can offer some resources on situations I have personally encountered.

Illness – Getting sick sucks. Managing chronic illness issues while completing a dissertation can be particularly draining. I wrote a post about my story with chronic pain and productivity.

Money  – For many of us, money during the Ph.D. can be a major issue. While I was fortunate to have a multi-year fellowship, I was not guaranteed funds during the writing phase.  A combination of saving my money from teaching and winning grants helped me extend the life of my fellowship. Grant writing is something we should be doing throughout our graduate career and I would recommend my post on finding grants to help you locate possible sources of funding.

Eating – During my graduate career, I found that my friends and I engaged in unhealthy eating habits. Perhaps we would eat out too much out of convenience. This would negatively impact either our wallets or gut or both. Cooking at home can be both cost-effective and a form of self-care. If you don’t know where to start with cooking on a budget, check out my post that details a resource that can help you learn how to cook and eat well for free.

Travel – There is a lot of information on the internet about travel hacking and saving money on travel. I hope to write a comprehensive post on that soon. Travelling for work or pleasure can derail writing and I would recommend my post of tips for writing productivity when travelling.

Imposter Syndrome – Imposter syndrome is the worst. Most of us deal with at throughout our graduate career and beyond. I don’t have an instant solution, but I can offer one method that I used for dealing with imposter syndrome during my graduate career.

Chronic Pain and Productivity: My Story and 3 Suggestions

Chronic Pain and Productivity: My Story and 3 Suggestions

Chronic pain can make productivity difficult. This post offers my chronic pain story and 3 suggestions for dealing with chronic pain and productivity.
7 Tips for Finding Grants

7 Tips for Finding Grants

This post offers 7 tips for finding grants. While the examples and some advice are geared towards archaeologists, most tips can be applied broadly.
Learn How to Cook and Eat Well for Free

Learn How to Cook and Eat Well for Free

Many of us don't know how to cook or where to begin. Follow along to learn how to cook and eat well for free.
5 Tips for Writing Productivity When Travelling

5 Tips for Writing Productivity When Travelling

If you are travelling and need to write during this time, it can be challenging. This post offers my 5 tips for writing productivity when travelling.
A Method for Dealing With Imposter Syndrome

A Method for Dealing With Imposter Syndrome

This post details a method that I have used to help address my own imposter syndrome as a graduate student in a Ph.D. program.

I hope this guide is a helpful starting point for helping you navigate the completion of your dissertation. This page will be updated as I write posts pertinent to this topic.

If there are any topics you want dedicated posts about, let me know in the comments or send me a message.

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Smiti Nathan

I’m an archaeologist that travels around the world for both work and pleasure. I have a penchant for exploring ancient and modern places and the people, plants, and foods entangled in them. I write about archaeology, travel, and productivity.

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