Scholarly Writing: Organization

To write at the doctoral level, you must meet high standards of communication. Both the content of your writing (i.e., your ideas per se) and the formatting of your document (i.e., how you present your ideas) are equally important in doctoral writing. The areas that you must pay special attention to when you write are:







In this article, we examine issues related to the organization of your doctoral papers. 


Doctoral students get so involved in their research and writing and learn so much about the areas they study, that they often make the mistake of providing a great deal of information in a very condensed form without making the overall structure of their documents clear to an intelligent, but uninformed reader, and without providing clear transitions between parts of their work. This is not a good idea.


Instead, think of your readers as visitors to a National Park where you, the writer, work as a park ranger. The visitors, eager to explore the wonders of the park, do not expect you to accompany them on their journey, but they do expect you to provide them with a clearly marked trail map to help them navigate for themselves. So make sure that you have introductions and conclusions to each major section of your document and that you write smooth transitions in the middle that enable the reader to follow your train of thought easily. Also, provide headings (i.e., trail markers) to keep your readers from getting lost.


We are talking English 101 stuff here, nothing new or fancy.


To learn more about the secrets to doctoral study success, read Student to Scholar and Dissertation Research.