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Do's And Don'ts Of Writing A Physics Dissertation

When approaching your dissertation, it is easy to become overwhelmed when you consider that this piece of work is the culmination of all of your studies and hard work.  However, writing your thesis, like with most projects, can be simplified by following a certain strategy.

  • Familiarize yourself with other research
  • While you will obviously need to read extensively on the physics topic you choose, it is important to gain a broad understanding of what research has been done in the physics field.  Do not just read published work; instead, read other dissertations, particularly from students at your own school, so you can understand what has already been done.  Though it is important to pick a topic with relevance, it is also important to avoid selecting topics or research strategies that have already been completed by students many times before.  

  • Choose your topic wisely
  • Topic is perhaps the most important area of consideration when preparing for your physics dissertation.  As with many scientific areas of study, topics in the realm of physics are extremely complex.  When choosing a topic for your thesis, it is vital that you select an area in which you are familiar but not overly familiar.  You need to pick an area of research in which you know some things or are interested, but if you have already done extensive research on the area, you could become bored after spending three months (or longer) on your project.  Writing a thesis can be boiled down to the very simple process of learning about an area of your choice and communicating what you have learned to others.  Choose a topic about which you are excited to learn because that will be the topic you most effectively communicate to your audience.  

  • Don’t forget to write
  • For many thesis students focusing on scientific areas, including physics, there is a temptation to spend the bulk of your time repeatedly conducting experiments.  While this is, of course, extremely necessary to your work, it is also important to remember that any significant research findings must be presented in the body of your dissertation.  You must take the time to actually write your thesis.  Avoiding writing the paper because you find it tedious compared to your research will only make the process more stressful, and by waiting to write until the last minute, you will almost guarantee sloppy work that doesn’t present your exceptional research in the best way possible.