Dissertation writing is a challenge on its own. But when your mentor asks you to adjust the style, it becomes even more overwhelming. Lately, the trend of expressive dissertation writing has taken over niches like history, sociology, and psychology. What does it mean?
According to the most common definition, expressive writing is emotional and personal writing, which “comes from our core.” When we introduce it into an academic project, we should be mindful of all technical aspects, such as verb agreement, punctuation, spelling, sentence structure, and more. This type of writing pays more attention to feelings. Isn’t this in contradiction with the concept of dissertation writing? A research project has to be based on facts.
What Does an Expressive Dissertation Mean?
Academic writing requirements evolve over time. Universities are slowly, but surely surpassing the stage of dry, incomprehensive writing. Specific 2020 guidelines may require you to introduce more personality into your expression. That doesn’t mean that you should follow the psychological concept of expressive writing, which requires no attention to form and logic. It only means that you should express yourself with a more personal style, which will become recognizable in the academic community as you keep publishing other projects.
Psychologists often recommend expressive writing therapy as a coping mechanism for people going through cancer, HIV, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine headaches, asthma, and other conditions. At the start, this approach may upset them. But with practice, it helps them relax.
Although you’re maintaining the proper form when writing a dissertation, the requirement to make it expressive may be overwhelming at first. Most candidates start appreciating the approach as they keep writing. It’s easier to write as you feel. We’ve been criticizing dissertations for a long time, since the requirements called for a dry, unreadable, and lifeless style. Now that universities are finally surpassing that stage, we should be happy about it.
What Makes a Dissertation Expressive?
1. Creative Writing Style
Before you start working on the dissertation, think about this: it has the potential to be published as a book. Will someone beyond the academic community be interested to read that book? Academics are used to a boring, lifeless writing style. But for a project to achieve major success, it has to be more creative. Many dissertations are developed in the form of a screenplay, dramatic monologue, or prose fiction. The candidates keep pushing boundaries, and they do it in a pretty successful way. They still conduct in-depth research and expose strong arguments. But they move away from dryness.
Recently, a dissertation published in the form of a comic book attracted a great deal of attention. But what if creativity is not your thing? You can’t force it; it has to come naturally if you want to complete a successful PhD project. In this case, a platform that provides you quality dissertation can help a lot. You’ll hire a writer to help you go through the planning, writing, and editing process. Through a collaborative effort with someone who has extreme writing talent, you’ll efficiently express your research and thoughts in a more unique way.
Researchers from Stellenbosch and North-West University found that expressive writing improves one’s academic writing skills. Their study focused on academic literacy, which doesn’t come naturally to most PhD candidates. They instructed the participants to engage in expressive writing (without an imposed form) before they start working on their dissertations. Each participant wrote about their personal and daily living experiences. The study’s findings were clear: this practice helped them compose better dissertations, since they were able to analyze their ideas in a more readable manner.
Before you start working on your dissertation, engage in an expressive writing practice of the type that psychologists recommend. Don’t think about the format, needed chapters, or thesis elaboration. Just express your thoughts! Then, you can use that foundation to develop a creative PhD paper.
Keep Working with Your Mentor
When you’re ready with the outline, show it to your mentor. Tell them about your ideas on the appearance of the final project. You need encouragement, but advice as well. This is someone who has guided dozens of students through the same process. They know what the PhD committee members want to see in the final project. They will also give you tips on how to defend dissertation and publish it in its final form.
Most of all, keep it real. Yes; that comic book dissertation worked! But it was because the writer knew what he was doing. His creative expression wasn’t forced; it came as a result of years invested in research and writing practice.
If you prefer the traditional dissertation format, there’s nothing wrong with it. Just try to introduce more spirit into it. No one is into reading boring text nowadays.
BIO: Judy Nelson loves writing! Even essays and dissertations can be fun projects when you know how to approach them. With a bit of practice, everyone can become a better writer. Judy’s goal is to motivate people to fall in love with writing, and she does it through her blog posts.