Dissertation tip #72 – if you get bored, get creative…

tip 72This is the third of a series of posts in which I’m giving you a peek at some of the tips in my book 101 tips for planning, writing and surviving your dissertation.

You can see the first post here and the second tip here.

This is officially the naughtiest tip in the book, but I’m aware from my own experience and that of others that, sometimes, a bit of light relief can make all the difference…


“I’m a little sheepish about sharing this one, but I promised myself that I would share all my best tips and secrets in this book, so here goes! Since I was an undergraduate student (when a housemate and I came up with this idea, although I’m sure many other people have thought of it too) I have nipped boredom in the bud by occasionally inviting friends and family to come up with a handful of words that I need to insert somewhere into my essay or dissertation. About five words is a good number for me, and it helps to tell your friends at the outset that, while the idea is to challenge you to find a way to get in words that you might not normally use, you can’t realistically insert colloquial or very technical terms or swear words into most dissertations*.

(*Unless you’re interviewing holistic midwives and asking them what the think about the obstetric construct of post-term pregnancy. That’s what I did, and I managed to get about six different swear words in my PhD thesis by directly quoting the text of the interviews, but I didn’t feel the need to add that into the book 😉 )


No friends handy? Then here are five from me:

paradigm, fabular, apex, nonevent, optimistic


In the book, I suggest some other variations on this, explain why it can work to help some people stay on track and let you know what to do if you really can’t fit a reference to the Foo Fighters into your theoretical physics thesis…

If you try this and get them all in, please share your achievement with the world in the comments below!


Happy reading and writing!

You can read lots more about the book on this page.

It’s available from Amazon UK, Amazon.com, Amazon France, Germany, Canada, India, Italy, Mexico, Spain and the Kindle store.


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