Writing and Presenting Your
Thesis or Dissertation
S. Joseph Levine, Ph.D.
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan USA
Note #2 - How many pages in a dissertation/thesis?
I'm always surprised when a student asks me how long a dissertation/thesis should be - how many pages? The answer, of course, is there isn't a "correct" number of pages. (Sometimes I'm tempted to say, "Stop writing when you have nothing else to say," because I sometimes feel that the student keeps on writing even though there is nothing new to say!)
Once in a while I receive a dissertation/thesis that is huge (a couple of times they're bound in two volumes.) This usually happens when the student does not know how to decide what to include and what to omit from his/her writing. So…the student includes everything.
When you are writing your dissertation/thesis it is your responsibility to help the reader know what is (and isn't) important by doing a good job of deciding what to include and what to exclude. You need to be a good editor. If you include everything you haven't done your job. If you have sections for which you are undecided about whether or not they should be included - consider putting them in an appendix. By moving material to an appendix you can retain the material for someone who may want to see it. However, at the same time, you are not requiring every reader to view it.
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Writing and Presenting Your Thesis or Dissertation