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Ph. D. Thesis


A Ph. D. thesis is the major writing project of one's academic career and in particular of one's Doctorate of Philosophy program. One writes a Ph. D. thesis in the area of academic study in which one plans to spend one's career.

In Ph. D. theses, doctoral candidates research a topic so thoroughly and think so critically about it that they become experts who can defend their thoughts against those of other experts in the field. Although Ph. D. theses involve extensive, detailed work in organization, writing, editing, and formatting, two tasks will define the trajectory of the project. If the candidate slacks on either of these two areas, the Ph. D. thesis will not recover.

The first task in writing a Ph. D. thesis is to develop a worthy idea. The doctoral candidate creates something new and unleashes it on that field of study, and the authorities of that field judge it based on its originality, creativity, and viability. The candidate must not waste time on an idea that does not contain all three of those elements, because the idea that lacks in any of those areas will only produce a mediocre thesis. The Ph. D. thesis shows the candidate's best possible academic work; therefore, the candidate who settles for a mediocre idea proves his or her propensity for merely mediocre work.

The candidate must pursue the second task, research, with extreme patience and thoroughness. While the candidate will minutely tune the writing of the Ph. D. thesis, the research process must have both broad elements and extremely focused elements. For example, the candidate who discusses a piece of music will research the most obscure details of that work, but he or she will also research in a survey fashion the music of the period. The candidate must know well the general area in which the topic lies in order to defend properly the thesis's position.

The Ph. D. candidate who devotes an appropriate amount of effort to these two tasks will lay the foundation for a solid, successful thesis.


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