Key Issues When Writing A Dissertation In Psychology

Once they are done with their coursework, many graduate students in psychology make the mistake of thinking that they are on the verge of completing their program. However, it is key not to underestimate the challenges involved in the dissertation writing process. The last semester of your study requires you to successfully write and defend a dissertation that puts forth new arguments in a way that expands the existing literature and contributes to human knowledge as a whole.

A major aspect that differs from the rest of your program is the complete autonomy with which you are expected to choose a topic, create a plan for its completion and defend your research. Along with the topic, you must have a solid understanding of the concepts that form the basis of your study, e.g. self-esteem, stereotyping or gender bias. If these variables are defined in a way that is not consistent with existing literature, there should be sufficient reasoning to support such a deviation.

Choosing dissertation topics in psychology

Remember that the topic of your dissertation will dictate the initial years of your research focus, beyond the scope of the doctoral program. You are typically encouraged to choose an area of psychology that is of genuine interest, and is not simply your advisor’s area of specialisation. That faculty member may move on to another subject area and then you could miss all your hard work.

The best kind of topic should motivate you constantly and encourage you to ask pressing questions to further your research. If you are seeking dissertation topics in psychology of education, you can choose from appealing ones such as how instructional setting influences computer-based education, the impact of computer-mediated education on personality types or the effect of moral dilemma on open-ended learning environments. In case you are working on a dissertation in clinical psychology, topics such as social anxiety and public speaking performance, the role of mindfulness on problematic sexual behaviour, etc. may be useful to keep in mind.

Browsing sample dissertation in psychology

From dissertation abstracts in psychology to a dissertation in positive psychology, you can explore a wide range of resources not just on the online library database, but also in the departmental archives. A great starting point is observing the language, structure and sources utilized by other students when composing their own dissertation. It will give you a better idea of the requirements and provide food for thought when contemplating your own research. Reading sample dissertations are particularly helpful for inspiration when you have a writers’ block or are struggling to articulate an idea.

Working on your dissertation can be extremely isolating and stressful. Besides referring to psychology dissertation samples, you may also approach online forums or your fellow students to develop the dissertation writing process further and plan the logic of your research questions in advance. When in doubt, do not be afraid to share your writing plan with faculty members who have years of expertise guiding others like yourself.