Why are Dissertation Groups Helpful?

This question addresses the kind of dissertation groups that are held in one’s department, and not the dissertation coaching groups that I run as a dissertation coach.

Here are some of the reasons that a dissertation group helps.

  • It gives you a deadline that is more frequent and obvious than either self-imposed deadlines or the vague deadline that your advisor would like to see a chapter in the next few months.
  • It helps you imagine an audience who will be reading your dissertation.
  • It gives you practice in presenting, discussing and defending your ideas.
  • It gives you an idea of what kinds of questions will be raised by your advisor, what you have omitted, and what you need to explain better.
  • The interaction with others will spur new ideas.
  • It helps you with what I consider one of the most important parts of being a successful graduate student — communicating about your subject area, getting used to all kinds of feedback and feeling some excitement about the act of scholarly dialog.

So go out there and join a group. If there isn’t already a group in your department, see my FAQ “How Do I Start My Own Dissertation Group?”

Posted in: Grad School

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