If writing a dissertation was as easy as making a grilled-cheese sandwich, no one would write about it. But, search engines show thousands of entries focused on dissertation tools, tips, and guides. You’ll also find dissertation writing groups as well as psychologists who are willing to help you get that writer’s block removed from your head. The dissertation is the most important component of the doctoral process, including the proposal, the proposal defense, years of research and writing, and the dissertation defense. You can find sample papers online, including sample proposals, and we’ve included a link for the latter in this list. The blogs, articles, and tools listed here are the twenty best tip sites for helping you write your dissertation and what to expect from your PhD program.

Dissertation Blogs

  1. Dissertation ChapterDissertating: This blog is filled with great advice and some fun, too. Although entries haven’t been made recently, the blog is advertising a dissertation boot camp and workshop for this spring. The blog is maintained by students from Claremont Graduate University.
  2. Dissertation Diva: After a brief hiatus, the Diva is back again — helping students read the goal of PhD with real-world advice. Her archives go back to 2006, so you can find plenty of tips, advice, and ideas from this blog. You also can ask questions, and find information through the resources section and a section filled with Q&As from recent PhDs.
  3. Dissertation Proposal Writing: This site focuses on tips to writing a dissertation proposal and earning a doctoral degree. This is a fairly new blog (2011), but there are already 134 pages filled with tips. The site is part of a dissertation writing service, but you don’t need to order services to read the blog.
  4. Dissertation Research: This updated blog, offered by the Regents Center Library, University of Kansas Libraries, provides tips for research, resources, and online expertise to support their students in the fulfillment of their educational goals. But, anyone with a computer can gain access to their ideas and techniques. They also include links to slideshows and handouts.
  5. Fragment/Framework: Kathryn Trauth Taylor is a doctoral student in rhetoric and composition at Purdue University, where she teaches introductory composition and business writing. While she is focused on multi-modal, cultural, and digital literacy studies, the mission behind her blog is to explore approaches to teaching composition and to richly and interactively reflect on the ideas, theories, and practices that shape rhetoric and composition.
  6. Phd Tips and Dissertation Advice: A Biblical studies PhD student offers tips on writing dissertations and on making it through a doctoral program. This blog includes processes, organizational resources, software programs, software tips, links, and the like that this student found useful and beneficial in the research and writing phases of his dissertation. Blog entries include tips on finding dissertation topics, and how to focus when writing.
  7. ProfHacker: This blog, edited by two professors, can provide you with the best advice you’ll ever have as a PhD student. Learn about tips, tricks, and tools that can help you get through your degree and your dissertation.
  8. The Thesis Whisperer: Although this blog is about theses, the planning, research, and time barriers are the same as dissertations. The blog is edited by Dr. Inger Mewburn of RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia and has contributors from around the world.
  9. To Do: Dissertation: The author started this blog in spring of 2010, but has since completed her dissertation and started a full-time job in the Spring of 2011. Rather than leave the blog to languish, she chose to edit and publish the tips and suggestions that she created over time in ebook form. At the same time, she’s kept guest posts and reviews, blog carnival posts, and website recommendations on the site. She also still accepts guest posts. The writing tools are free to download from the site.

Articles and Other Tools

  1. DissertationThe Writing Center — Dissertations: This article approaches the topic of procrastination and ABD students (those who have completed All the requirements of their programs But the Dissertation). The article is good, and the links for tips and resources are even better. If you cannot bring yourself to write a dissertation, this article is for you.
  2. ABD Survival Guide: Now that you know about the ABD student, sign up for this newsletter. It’s free, and you can gain access to an archive filled with past issues, too. As a subscriber, you’ll receive once a month (or a little more often) a succinct article devoted to practical strategies for successfully completing your doctoral dissertation. The writers focus on ways to overcome the inevitable obstacles you’ll face along the dissertation marathon including the “twin devils” of all dissertations: writer’s block and procrastination.
  3. Dissertation Tips: This essay was written by the authors of the book, Surviving Your Dissertation. Although the focus is on writing a doctoral dissertation in the social sciences, the challenge is the same across the board.
  4. Dissertation Proposal Tips: This article, provided by the University of Massachusetts, provides some solid advice on how to write a dissertation proposal.
  5. Sample Dissertation Proposals: When your advisor says you’re ready to write a proposal for your dissertation, don’t get stumped. Take a look at a few of these dissertation proposals ranging from programs such as arts and humanities, social sciences, and science and engineering.
  6. Oxbridge Dissertation: Although this site originates from the UK, the advice is the same worldwide. This site tackles the dissertation outline, proposal, writing, and tools for helping you finish a stellar dissertation.
  7. Dissertation Writing: Tools and Work Habits: This article proposes several tools to help write the dissertation, including Googledocs, Dropbox, Zotero, and much more. This blog, the Alternative PhD, is interesting, too.
  8. Pages for Grad Students: This list includes articles with advice to PhD students, including an article that contains some great advice about how to defend a thesis or a dissertation.
  9. Defending Your Dissertation: This article, written by Sonja Foss and William Waters, provides some solid preparation advice for that dissertation defense. This article is part of the GradShare blog, a grad student community.
  10. Process & Parameters: Michael Watts, from the Institute of International Studies, University of California, Berkeley, offers a bit of advice about the dissertation proposal. Other links lead to ideas about the dissertation, style, examples, and resources.
  11. PhD2Published: This blog is filled with practical academic publishing advice for first-time academic writers. This is valuable advice for people who want to publish a thesis or dissertation, or for those who have graduated and who want to keep their resume fresh with published academic articles.