You control your progress through your dissertation. To ensure maximum progress, choose a topic that you enjoy; choose a topic that is interesting to you. You will become an expert in this area, and it will professionally define who you are and what your interests are.
Some pointers to help this progress:
- Keep orderly records. This includes keeping full citations of every article that you review; you may want to use it later.
- Backup daily and have two backups. Computers ALWAYS break down under pressure.
- Have weekly consultations with your major advisor, and semester meetings with your committee. These are to update everyone on your progress and any questions you may have. Send everyone one or two pages that define the agenda, and be sure to think of questions to ask.
- Seek help from others. You may pay for the performance of certain mechanical tasks, or to use the service of a statistical consultant. However, you must conduct the basic research, analysis and writing of your dissertation.
- Do not ask your chair, your committee or the Dissertation Coordinator to copyedit your writing. Spell check and grammar check any writing you give to your chair, committee or dissertation coordinator. If English is your second language, it may be good to ask an English speaker to read through it as well.
Create a budget
Be realistic. Plan a budget that will cover any editing services you might need, printing of dissertation-drafts, travel, or software, i.e. for bibliographic software, analysis software.