Punctuation in citations

“Should I put punctuation after quotation marks? The answer is sometimes yes and sometimes no. Three rules are described below. If you are using the APA style, make sure you always follow rule 2.

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Definite and indefinite articles (the/a/an)

English has two types of articles: definite (the) and indefinite (a/an). You can improve the articles that appear in your dissertation by:

  • not using unnecessary articles with plural nouns,
  • not using “a” or “an” with uncountable nouns,
  • using articles with singular countable nouns,
  • correctly choosing “a” or “an” in front of an acronym,
  • correctly deciding if an acronym for an entity needs “the,” and
  • and correctly identifying if a country name needs “the.”

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Taboo words in academic writing

When you are writing a dissertation, thesis or research paper, many words and phrases that are acceptable in conversations or informal writing are considered inappropriate.

You should try to avoid expressions that are too informal, unsophisticated, vague, exaggerated, or subjective, as well as those that are generally unnecessary or incorrect.

Bear in mind, however, that these guidelines do not apply to text you are directly quoting from your sources (including interviews).

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Hyphens (-)

Hyphens have many functions, but their main role is to link words (or parts of words). They most commonly appear with compound adjectives, phrasal verbs being used as nouns, and after some prefixes.

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Write shorter sentences to clarify your dissertation

Writing that is concise presents ideas and information clearly and does not use more words than are truly necessary. Conciseness is an important characteristic of academic writing, especially given how complex the subject matter frequently is.

Two of the biggest enemies of concise writing are inflated phrases and redundancies. It’s easy to think that using more complicated-sounding phrases will give your text a more academic feel, but mostly it just makes it harder to follow.

Using the below strategies will make your writing not only tighter, but also more effective.

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Tips for writing an overview of your dissertation

During your writing, you will sometimes encounter passages where you end up repeating yourself quite frequently. Presenting a lot of information in the same way is often the result of not being armed with synonyms or alternative ways to phrase things.

This frequently happens in the introduction section, where you are expected to present the structure (or outline) of your dissertation. Indeed, there are not that many different ways to state what is included in Chapter 2, or are there?

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Sample theoretical framework of a dissertation

The theoretical framework defines the key concepts in your research, proposes relations between them, and discusses relevant theories and models based on a literature review.

A strong theoretical framework gives your research a sound scientific basis, demonstrates your understanding of existing knowledge on the topic, and allows the reader to evaluate your guiding assumptions. It gives your research direction, allowing you to convincingly interpret, explain and generalize from your findings.

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