Here are a few thoughts to consider. Your Chairperson will be looking very closely at your work and applying high dissertation writing standards in his or her review/critique.

In order to maintain a good working relationship with your Chair, I suggest you go over your manuscript very carefully before sending it.  Here are some simple things you can do that will make a positive difference:

1.  Reduce the length of your sentences. Long sentences contribute to confusion and become “run-on” ones. If you have reached the third line, it is probably too long. Yes, there are times when a long sentence is required to make sense of what you are writing. Unfortunately many students fill their dissertations with long convoluted sentences that can be difficult to understand.

2.  Make sure you start each paragraph with a topic sentence. Make it clear what the paragraph is about. Just doing this can go a long way towards improving your writing.

3.  Try to present only one study in each paragraph. This way it will almost always lead you to write a clear topic sentence, which can then be followed by two or more descriptive or explanatory sentences. You will want to explain the rationale for mentioning the study. Is it the method? Is it the subjects or participants? Or maybe the findings? Any one of these need to be connected to your dissertation in some manner.

4.  Take the time to plan every paragraph. It takes a little extra time, but it is worth it. Well organized paragraphs contribute to well organized sections. Paragraphs should have some logical sequence that helps to develop the intention on a section or chapter.

5.  Be careful with extra spaces and gaps in your manuscript. When your Chair sees these, it makes your writing look sloppy. It is then easy to get the perception that the content is not quite right.

6.  Only after you have proof read your writing very closely should you send it to your professor. Too often students are anxious to get their dissertation sent to their committee prematurely – before it’s ready. If you can take an extra day or two to review your manuscript for tone and style, you will no doubt find places you can correct and/or improve upon. You don’t want to send careless writing. It sends the wrong message.

7.  If you continually give less than you best work to your professor, he/she will usually become aggravated and impatient with you. This is not good.

8.  The quality of writing that was acceptable for your regular doctoral courses is not acceptable for the dissertation. The dissertation is the “superbowl” or “world series” of student academic writing.

9. Read your dissertation out loud to yourself. This is the best way to do self-editing. Read and re-read your work before you sent it to your Chairperson or other committee members.

Only when you submit your very best academic writing, can you expect to receive the attention from your Chairperson that you deserve.