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How to Write a Dissertation in Ten Days or Less

Published by at April 14th, 2022 , Revised On April 15, 2022

Can You Complete Your Dissertation in Ten Days?

Most students struggle at some point with deadlines, and we regularly get asked questions such as ‘Can you write a dissertation in a month?’ and ‘Can you write a dissertation in three days?’ We do not judge why you are in this situation, we’re here to help you get your dissertation done. The answer to the questions is yes. But of course, the less time you have, the more pressure you are under.

This article is aimed at people with a very short time to write their dissertations. We presume you were unable to get an extension to your deadline. As such, this advice includes shortcuts that our step-by-step dissertation guide does not suggest.

How Long Does it Take to Write a 10,000-word Dissertation?

This is a common question, as is “How long does it take to write a 7,000-word dissertation?” There is no figure in hours or days that answers this; it differs for everyone.  “Is it possible to write a 10,000-word dissertation in two days?” Well, yes. But you will only find out if you can do it when the two days are up. You need to get started immediately, follow our advice and use our dissertation guides. But we are not claiming it’s easy.

Can I Complete my Dissertation in 3 Days? How Fast do I Need to Write?

If you have to produce 10,000 words in ten days, you have to average 1,000 a day. If you have two days, then 5,000 per day and if you work on it for 12 hours each of those days, you need to turn out 417 words per hour. A tall order, but it can be done. Do not let panic or pressure overwhelm you; and remember, it is perfectly acceptable to ask for help. You can stop asking your friends ‘How quickly can you write a dissertation?’ You are going to show them how quickly.

Can I Really Produce 10,000 Words in a Week?

How long does it take to write a 10k word dissertation? To give you some perspective, most people speak this many words in a day with no effort. You probably have more than enough words in your notes. It will make a big difference if you have your research project results analysis done already. If this is the case, you ‘only’ need to write them up. If you already made a good start but you are having trouble progressing, maybe you just need to focus on writing up your findings or certain chapters or areas.

You might think your notes are messy and disorganised or that they lack the right academic sound. Regardless, do not think of this task as producing all 10,000 words, rather, it is laying out your notes, organising them, and giving them a more formal, academic tone.

Can You Write a Dissertation in a Day?

Can you write a dissertation in a day? This is surely the most demanding academic writing challenge. It means 100% focus and work: Type up your notes, ensuring they have an academic/formal tone to them. Keep going, section by section and as it grows, you will start to see your dissertation appear.

Preparing to Write Your Dissertation Fast

Prepare to Start work

You know your subject well, and you have probably written many essays on it by now. The main difference is that this assignment is longer. So, let’s get started. You need to prepare well; normal life can be suspended for the time you will spend working. The first preparations to make concern you and where you are going to work.

Distractions and Interruptions

Turn off your phone and avoid TV. If you are really serious, you will really do it. When you procrastinate or allow yourself to be distracted, what do you do? Gaming? Staring out of the window? Baking? Make these things difficult or impossible to do. Be aware of something called productive procrastination. This is when you do something productive but it’s not what you are meant to be doing. Do not mistake activity for productivity. When you find yourself vacuuming around your desk, snap out of it.

I’m Writing my Dissertation all Week. Quiet, Please

Some people can work with music playing, and some need silence. Listening to words, whether sung or spoken, can distract you when producing text. If there is something that will help you, such as instrumental music, use it. Make sure everyone knows what you are doing and ask them to leave you alone (except for bringing you food and drinks). Can someone else handle your duties and obligations for a while?

Create a Work Area

Set up a workplace and de-clutter it. Remove irrelevant books and anything you can fiddle with. Gather all your materials: this means textbooks, notes on paper and in digital form. Your research is likely over, but you will need everything to hand. Give all materials specific places and keep them there. As you use them, you will remember where they are. Putting them down in different places will mean time lost looking for them, which will add frustration to the work.

Do All of Your Legwork Before Starting

Getting up and walking away from the desk unnecessarily uses time you do not have. Do not let shopping trips interrupt your work. If you do not have enough food and supplies in before starting, get them first. Certain foods/snacks can help get you through, maybe you can suspend your usual health regime for a while. You need to feel comfortable in this. But do not overdo the caffeine or sugar.

Make a Work Schedule

Look ahead at your available time and make a schedule. If you work 21 hours on the first day, you might find yourself burnt out the next day. Sleep when you have to, work when you feel good. How long can you realistically work each day? Be careful not to create an unrealistic schedule, you will not keep up to it and will become demoralised. Remember that writing the dissertation is only 1% of your entire course; it is acceptable to get help at this late stage.

Where to Start

Start Here – Write an Outline

As well as a work schedule, you need a dissertation structure. You may be tempted to think that making an outline for your dissertation is extra work, that it would be quicker to just start writing. That would be like going on a driving tour to every European country with no plan. Without regular destinations, you will drift about aimlessly.

You can save time by focussing only on the main parts of the dissertation. If you run out of time, it will be better if the parts not completed are the less significant ones, although ideally nothing should be left unfinished. This is an exercise in prioritisation: Write the most valuable, points-scoring parts first.

Sacrifices May be Necessary

With a tight time limit, you might have to make sacrifices. People with the luxury of time will spend a day or more on just the table of contents or references section. You might not have this option. The focus has to be on the rapid production of text and its quality; things like detailed formatting and page layout will be secondary.

Prioritising Your Order of Work

In the detailed plan below, skip the greyed-out parts to start with. You can use this to create an outline by adding a note under each part of the different sections stating what you are going to include there. This is where the job starts to appear less daunting; 10,000 now becomes 2,000 for this section, 1,000 for that section… The mountain becomes a set of smaller hills. And the introduction section can be written after the body, it is easier and quicker that way.

I. Front section
1 Title page
2 Acknowledgements
3 Abstract
4 Table of contents
5 Lists of figures and tables
6 List of abbreviations
7 Glossary
II. The Introduction
1 Brief description of the topic and main problem
2 The research questions
3 The aim and importance of the investigation
4 Theoretical framework
5 Organisation of the research
III. Literature Review
1 Introduction
2 Summarise & combine findings from your sources
3 Review & evaluation of sources used
4 Critical assessment of the literature
IV. Research Methodology
1 Research design
2 Philosophical approach
3 Data collection methods
4 Research limitations
5 Ethical considerations
6 Data analysis methods
V. Results of the Study
1 Statement and analysis of the results
2 Comparison of the obtained results and initial goals/questions
VI. Summary
1 Discussion about the research results
2 Comparison of the results with the findings of prior researchers
3 Suggestions regarding the use of the obtained findings for the further development of the topic and future investigation
VII. References Section
Build this as you go along.
VIII. Appendices
1 Statement of the IRB forms (for example, the forms of the informed consent)
2 Information regarding the instrumentation

Writing the Dissertation Body

When you have an outline, you need to put some meat on those bones and build a body. Working from start to finish may be best (skipping the introduction), but the order you work in is your choice. If your notes are not in order, a quick way to identify notes that apply to the different sections is to mark them with different coloured highlighters as in the table above. This will draw your eyes to the relevant notes quickly. You can do this on your computer screen by highlighting similarly.

After the main body, the introduction is next. This will be easier to write because all the information will be fresh in your mind. What next? The appendices or the parts at the front? This should be your decision based on remaining time.

Good Practices for Writing Your Dissertation

Ignore Spelling and Grammar

Do not pay attention to spelling, grammar, and language rules at this stage. Attending to spelling and grammatical details as you work will distract you and spoil your flow. Spelling and grammatical mistakes do not matter in a work in progress. You can turn checking functions off until you reach the editing and proofreading stage. Concentrate only on writing up your notes, do not switch between tasks.

Attend to One Part of the Dissertation at a Time

Constantly switching between research, writing, and tidying up the reference section is inefficient. Each time you switch, your mind needs time to catch up then settle into that activity. By focussing, we mean you should do all the analysis in one session until it is finished, all the writing of major sections in another, and sorting out the reference section can be done in one sitting. Less switching saves time and usually turns out a better job.

Take Regular Short Breaks

Even though you are pushed for time, don’t try to push yourself too hard. Occasionally you have to leave the desk, stretch your legs, breathe fresh air, and look out of a window at something far away. Staying in the same chair for long periods is not good for you. Use a timer to take timed breaks at regular intervals. Create a routine set of tasks for each time you leave the desk.

Save and Back up Routinely

When you leave the desk, click to save your work. Also do this after any burst of writing, and at regular intervals. Back up your work on another drive too. This is one of the most important things you will write. Treat it as the valuable document that it is.

For when you resume work, make sure you know where you left off, highlight it if that helps. When you come back to your work the next day, sometimes you can’t remember where you were; it can be difficult to resume the same line of thought. A habit of Ernest Hemingway was to leave an unfinished sentence to come back to so that he could…

Have a Strict but Simple Method of Noting Sources

Every time you quote or paraphrase something, note the source. Use a simple referencing technique while writing that does not demand much time. One such method is for the first in-text reference, just put (1) after the quote, use (2) for the second and so on. Start a list of sources that correspond to each number. You could highlight the numbers in a specific colour so you can attend to them later and not miss any. Missing just one reference, even accidentally, will still count as plagiarism. Before you start, be absolutely clear whether you are including a reference list or bibliography. Completing your list according to the required style (Harvard, Chicago, etc.) can be done in one session.

Get a Qualified Appraisal of Your Work

You will need someone to read your finished work. Having it read by someone unfamiliar with the subject and the structure of dissertations will be unproductive. Ideally it should be someone who understands the topic. And these days that person need not be physically present; you can email your draft to someone to get an opinion on changes & improvements.

Writing Your Dissertation in Days

We are not going to sugar-coat the task of producing a dissertation in days rather than months and weeks. It is not easy, and regardless of what caused you to have such a short time remaining, it puts all your work in jeopardy. When someone asks us “Can I complete my dissertation in three days?” we have to answer yes, you can, but… It depends on the individual, how much work you have done so far, your personal circumstances, your other obligations, how much of those three days can you dedicate to the task.

Frequently Asked Questions

The short answer is yes but there are several factors to consider that may help or hinder you. Few people have the support around them to allow them to drop all commitments and focus on just one task. Also, few people will have taken on such a large a task in such a short time before, and might become overwhelmed.

The dissertation is where your study course culminates; all the time, effort, and expense you have invested should come to fruition here. This might not be a good time for maybe I can do it. Maybe you can make it to the bank before it closes. No? Oh, well, you can go tomorrow. Maybe I can write 10,000 words in a week. If the answer is no, the consequences are more serious.

This guide and all the other dissertation guides on this site are here to help you with every aspect of dissertation writing. You can also contact us directly through the chat box or Whatsapp.

Start by getting organised. Gather all the materials you need, create a work area, get rid of distractions, and if possible, delegate any obligations or chores to someone else for the duration. Then read this guide from the start. If you need further help when you are deep into the writing, just ask us. We exist just for this purpose. Our team and expert writers have handled almost every kind of dissertation emergency.

The more time you have, the better. But carrying out the research and analysis in such a short time will be very demanding. It can be done though; our team can do this in under a week. You would need a great level of support around you and an impressive level of determination and focus. If you supply the determination, we can provide the support.

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