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Book review

Rita S. Brause: Writing Your Doctoral Dissertation

Writing a doctoral dissertation may well be one of the biggest challenges in an academic career. It is vital to familiarise oneself with the complexity of this undertaking. For that purpose, Rita S. Brause’s little guide, “Writing Your Doctoral Dissertation”, is the perfect companion.

As the subtitle suggests, it covers “invisible rules for success”. That may well be true at start, and luckily, once you have read the book, most of them will no longer seem invisible. “Writing Your Doctoral Dissertation” consists of three parts, covering the process from beginning to end:

  • “Getting a Sense of the Terrain”, in which the author describes in what ways writing a doctoral dissertation may be similar to or different from other experiences that doctoral students have normally made in their academic career;
  • “Preparing for Your Study”, in which the author explains how to identify your research topic, how to form your dissertation committee and how to create a productive and professional setting for your work;
  • “Doing Your Study”, in which the author covers how a doctoral student should conduct his or her study, how to analyse data and to present the findings and conclusions, and how to finally defend the dissertation.

Not only focusing on the research work and dissertation itself, Brause explicitly covers the social components of the time as a PhD candidate – how you might feel overwhelmed or lost, how you should cope with workload and stress as a spouse or parent, and how you generally make sure to keep your sanity over a demanding period of 3 or 4 years.

All in all, it is an excellent book that demystifies the process and serves as a helpful resource for any doctoral student.

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Writing Your Doctoral Dissertation
Rita S. Brause
Routledge Falmer
ISBN: 978-0-750-70744-2 (0-750-70744-5)
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