Put this in the “light bulb” category.
Two years ago I took a class that was probably the best one I’ve taken as far as finishing school goes. During the course of the class we repeatedly presented our research ideas to the class and refined them. We had to write a “five paragraph dissertation” during the class. The basic dissertation is five chapters long (with room for modification depending on what you need). So we wrote a paragraph for each chapter with the main points of that chapter.
The basic chapters are
- Literature review
- Conclusion and discussion.
Last week it dawned on me that this is not a new format. And then it seemed kind of obvious. I’ve been taught how to write a dissertation since elementary school.
After you learn how to write sentences you start putting them in paragraphs. The four sentence paragraph. The first sentence is your topic sentence and then you have three supporting sentences after it. That’s a good paragraph.
Once you have the basic paragraph down you learn how to write a, wait for it, five paragraph paper. In the first paragraph you introduce the idea, you tell people what you are going to tell them. Then you have three supporting paragraphs, such as background information and new information on the topic. And in the final paragraph you tell people what you told them, you summarize what it all means.
I’ve been writing five paragraph dissertations since elementary school! At this point each “paragraph” is multiple pages long, but it’s still the exact same format.
Suddenly it doesn’t seem like such a hard thing really to write a dissertation. I can do this thing!