A dissertation or doctoral thesis is a scientific work with the aim of gaining real new insights. The personal goal of doctoral students is to obtain a doctorate in a specific scientific discipline. The process includes the writing of a text and a final defense.
A dissertation comprises the evaluation of existing studies on the topic, the development of a research design, the performance of data collection and analysis as well as the writing of a text. After submission and acceptance of the written text, a defence before an examination board takes place. Once the defence has been successfully passed, a doctoral certificate is awarded. The greatest challenge is the need to really gain completely new insights. But even the identification of a real research gap is a longer process. The handling of methods must also be mastered.
A dissertation is a project and must go through certain stages. However, it often takes too long to get started and does not lead to a clear focus. Therefore, an iterative process makes sense. A defined sequence of steps is completed for the preparation of an exposé or disposition. After each step, all previous results are checked again and revised if necessary.
Many dissertations are written alongside a job. This places special demands on the motivation and organisation of the project. If doctoral students have a scholarship, they can concentrate fully on their work.
A dissertation can also be cumulative. As a rule, three articles are written and published for scientific journals. This cumulative approach is becoming more and more important.