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PhD writing tips


Where To Look For Free English Dissertations: Top 5 Suggestions


In order to understand exactly what is expected of you when writing your English dissertation, it is useful to have examples to read through. Often, examples will give you a sense of the sort of layout, style and sections that suit this level of writing. However, as students, money is not always freely available to pay for such examples. Listed here, therefore, are the top 5 suggestions for places to find free samples of English dissertations.

  1. Fellow pupils
  2. Other students, usually older ones, may already have completed their dissertations and may well be willing to showing you their examples for free. (Or maybe in return for a pint!) Always ask other students, especially because they will have had to write them in accordance with the same guidelines that apply to you. This is a great way of getting hold of samples also because they will always have been proofread, and sometimes you can even ask the students what mark they received for their work.

  3. Forums
  4. There are other pupils all over the world who have already gone through this, and who are often willing to help other students out by lending them samples of their older work. This isn’t quite as useful as getting examples from pupils from the same university or the same department because the guidelines might have been slightly different. However, it does give an idea of the sort of style you need to aim for nevertheless.

  5. Google Scholar
  6. Google scholar has more specifically academic writing examples available for reading, very often for nothing at all. Remember to include the keywords ‘free’ and ‘pdf’ in your search (adding ‘pdf’ often fetches results not from paid-for websites).

  7. Any search engine
  8. Although Google Scholar is better, any generic search engine is still pretty good, and can sometimes fetch results that cannot be found on the more restrictive Google scholar. Once again, remember to add the keywords ‘free’ and ‘pdf’ to your search terms.

  9. University sites
  10. Often, individual universities will provide examples of the sort of writing they expect to see in dissertations, and sometimes specific departments (in this case, the English department) will also provide samples. It is best, therefore, to ask your tutor where these may be available on the university site and/or intranet. If they do not know, then to do a generic search on the site. Sometimes, there won’t be any, but more often than not you will be successful in your search!

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