A new book has appeared on dissertation writing – Peg Boyle Single, Demystifying Dissertation Writing: A Streamlined Process from Choice of Topic to Final Text (Stylus, 2009). I have not read it, but here is the product description:
Research shows that five strategies correlate with the successful completion of a dissertation:
· Establishing a consistent writing routine
· Working with a support group
· Consulting your advisor
· Understanding your committee’s expectations
· Setting a realistic and timely schedule
Building on these insights, this book is for anyone who needs help in preparing for, organizing, planning, scheduling, and writing the longest sustained writing project they have encountered, particularly if he or she is not receiving sufficient guidance about the process, but also for anyone looking to boost his or her writing productivity.
The author uncovers much tacit knowledge, provides advice on working with dissertation advisors and committee members, presents proven techniques for the prewriting and writing stages of the dissertation, sets out a system for keeping on schedule, and advocates enlisting peer support.
As Peg Boyle Single states, “my goal is quite simple and straightforward: for you to experience greater efficiency and enjoyment while writing. If you experience anxiety, blocking, impatience, perfectionism or procrastination when you write, then this system is for you. I want you to be able to complete your writing so that you can move on with the rest of your life.”
Few scholars, let alone graduate students, have been taught habits of writing fluency and productivity. The writing skills imparted by this book will not only help the reader through the dissertation writing process, but will serve her or him in whatever career she or he embarks on, given the paramount importance of written communication, especially in the academy.
This book presents a system of straightforward and proven techniques that are used by productive writers, and applies them to the dissertation process. In particular, it promotes the concept of writing networks – whether writing partners or groups – to ensure that writing does not become an isolated and tortured process, while not hiding the need for persistence and sustained effort.
This book is intended for graduate students and their advisers in the social sciences, the humanities, and professional fields. It can further serve as a textbook for either informal writing groups led by students or for formal writing seminars offered by departments or graduate colleges. The techniques described will help new faculty advice their students more effectively and even achieve greater fluency in their own writing.