Step 8a: Complete a Draft of Entire Dissertation


  • To finish writing a draft of your dissertation


  • Update your literature review to include any new research or findings relatated to your topic that have occurred since you wrote your literature review during the CES 700 course.
  • Make every effort to finish writing your dissertation (and defending it) within the 12-credit hour minimum requirement, to avoid having to enroll in one credit hour of CES 795 continuously each term until you successfully defend the dissertation.
  • Write the 15-20 page, APA-formatted abridgement of your dissertation, for submission to an appropriate peer-reviewed journal; this abridged manuscript must be included in your dissertation document as an appendix and must be submitted as a separate document immediately after the oral defense.


Due Dates:

  • You must finish the dissertatin process within 12 credit hours or enroll in CES 795 (one credit hour) each term until you successfully defend your dissertation.

John's Experience:

John takes time to write his abridgement of his dissertation and checks it over for APA formatting. He also continues to work on the remaining chapters of his dissertation. During this process, he often IM's with other doctoral students to exchange progress and encouragement.

Pitfalls to Avoid:

  • Avoid losing your momentum; reach out to others, such as those in your cohort, for encouragement and support.
  • Don't rush through writing about important constructs just to finish your dissertation; be thorough and methodical and work to glorify God.
  • Don't overlook correct APA format, especially those aspects that go beyond standard formatting (e.g., using precise language, avoiding bias in language); paying attention to APA format will save you time and money when the dissertation goes to the copy editor.
  • Don't fail to rerun and recheck your data and statistics, especially if they're entered in SPSS; early, small errors in data entry or methodology can result in later delays in finalizing the dissertation.
  • Avoid writing from a biased viewpoint (e.g., expecting a particular outcome from a research study and writing from that perspective).
  • Don't overlook the 15-20 page abridgment that will be due immediately after your dissertation defense; bear in mind as you write all the chapters of your dissertation, that you must write a shorter paper; work with your committee chair on formulating the publishing paper; shorten each dissertation chapter into an abridgment as you go along, so you'll have something to work with for your final publishing document.
  • Break the dissertation-writing process into subgoals that are achievable, rather than seeing it as a huge, insurmountable project.