What is writing a doctoral dissertation?

There are two types of dissertations: monographs and doctoral theses. The monograph corresponds to the scientific book. It is a clear entity with beginning, middle and end. The dissertation is responsible for the compilation. It has a short introduction and a number of publications bundled together.

When I did my dissertation, most instructors favor monographs. So I also have a monograph. Writing it was quite laborious and required patience from both me and my loved ones. The enthusiasm of the beginning, getting to know the material and collecting the material quickly changed into fatigue and frustration. I really missed the project a lot of times. Initially, the research questions seemed to be boring and, at least in my own opinion, trivial. My text was clumsy and my argument was irrelevant. I had many times lost my faith that my work would never be a joy to anyone.

I was really tired and tired, but then the projector hit a surprising coincidence. I made a complex transaction-based performance analysis and wanted to ease my workload. So I introduced generic performance analysis equations, made assumptions for the initial data, and guided the new formulas based on assumptions. That’s how I had relatively simple equations that allowed me to calculate my model’s performance and compare it to other models.

Well, my model wasn’t that strange. I was about to remove that entire part of my doctoral thesis until my supervisor said that the formulas you led were interesting. That’s how they were, and they eventually became the most important contribution to my entire dissertation.

(Dissertation requires promotion of science. Without a contribution there is no dissertation.)

I always remember when I gave the last version of my script to my director. He accepted it and sent it to the pre-inspectors. These require minor changes, but gave the release permission. Then I knew I would become a doctor. It is difficult to describe the feeling of bridges. Mostly, it seemed as if I was against all the odds of a terrible accident.

However, the best moment was when I was shouted in the pub (paper search) and walked down the auditorium corridor toward the pulpit. Only then did I accepted that I am a Doctor of Philosophy, and no one will take it away from me. A lot of things went wrong in an academic career, and eventually the university no longer craved for labor input, but I’m always FT.

In time, when I did my own research on postgraduate studies in mathematics and natural sciences, I interviewed dozens of postgraduate students and recent graduates. Almost all interviews showed that peer support is the most important prerequisite for a successful dissertation. Although peer-to-peer support can be used when writing a monograph, the bachelor’s thesis is overwhelming in this respect. Writing a bachelor’s thesis is a strong group work where peer support is a natural addition. A postgraduate student usually writes scientific articles related to the subject of the dissertation together with his supervisor or other researchers. Articles are assembled into a bundle with an introduction to about 20 pages.

Directing and compiling bachelor’s theses is more straightforward than monographs. They are completed faster, and often have more scientific merit than monographs. Especially in a good pilot research group, the bachelor’s thesis is much less painful than the monograph. If I had to re-graduate, I would definitely make a bachelor’s thesis.