Common Challenges Faced When Writing a Thesis and How to Overcome Them

Common Challenges Faced When Writing a Thesis and How to Overcome Them

Writing a thesis can be a challenging task for many students. It requires extensive research, critical analysis, and practical writing skills. However, even the most diligent students can need help during the process. This article will explore some common challenges faced when writing a thesis and provide tips on overcoming them.

Time Management

One of the students’ most significant challenges when writing a thesis is managing their time effectively. Writing a thesis is a lengthy process that requires a considerable amount of time and dedication. Balancing thesis writing with other academic and personal commitments can be challenging.

Solution: To overcome this challenge, it’s essential to create a realistic schedule that allows time for research, writing, editing, and proofreading. Break down the thesis into manageable tasks and assign deadlines for each job. Use calendars and time-tracking apps to stay organized and on track.

Writer’s Block

Another common challenge faced by students is writer’s block. It can be frustrating to write and not put your thoughts into words. This can result in procrastination and a lack of progress on the thesis.

Solution: To overcome writer’s block, try taking a break and engaging in other activities stimulating your creativity. This could be anything from walking to listening to music or reading a book. Additionally, try freewriting – writing without any specific structure or purpose – to get your thoughts flowing.

Research Overload

Another challenge students face getting overwhelmed by the amount of research required for the thesis. It can be challenging to sort through the vast amount of information and data available and determine what is relevant to your view.

Solution: To overcome this challenge, develop a straightforward research question or thesis statement. This will help you focus your research and identify relevant sources. Use tools such as citation managers to keep track of your sources and make it easier to organize and reference them later.


Many students struggle with perfectionism when writing their thesis. They may spend too much time obsessing over small details and striving for perfection, leading to procrastination and a lack of progress.

Solution: To overcome perfectionism, remind yourself that your thesis must not be perfect. It’s more important to complete the theory and meet the requirements of your academic program. Set realistic expectations and accept that your work will be challenging. Celebrate your progress and accomplishments along the way.

Lack of Motivation

Finally, students may need more motivation when writing their thesis. This can be due to various factors, including stress, burnout, and a lack of interest in the topic.

Solution: To overcome a lack of motivation, try breaking up the writing process into smaller, more manageable tasks. Set specific, achievable goals and reward yourself for meeting them. Additionally, try changing your environment or schedule to shake things up and reinvigorate your motivation.

Challenge: Choosing the Right Methodology

Once you’ve chosen a topic, you’ll need a methodology—a procedure for conducting your research—to move forward.

Dr. Linda Crawford, a faculty member in Walden’s Ph.D. program, has received the Bernard L. Turner award two times for chairing outstanding dissertation recipients. She offers several techniques for getting on the right path when choosing the appropriate methodology for your study.

“The best way to choose it is not to choose.”In other words, Crawford says, “the methodology that’s used comes from the research question, not from your personal preferences for one design or another.” She recommends refraining from choosing between a qualitative or quantitative methodology until you:

  • Complete the sentence: “The problem is ….”
    Complete the sentence: “The purpose of this study is ….”
    Formulate your research questions.
  • Let your answers guide you.
  • Determine what kind of design and methodology can best answer your research questions. If your questions include words such as “explore,” “understand,” and “generate,” it’s an indication that your study is qualitative. Whereas words such as “compare,” “relate,” or “correlate” indicate a quantitative study. The design comes out of the study rather than being imposed on the study.
  • Hone your study design. Once you determine whether you’re going in a quantitative or qualitative direction, you can begin to look in more detail at the methodology. This will be determined by figuring out “from whom you’re going to collect data, how you’re going to collect the data, and how you’re going to analyze it once you collect it,” says Crawford.
  • Be crystal clear. For a qualitative study, you might use focus groups and interviews, for example, to collect data, whereas a quantitative study may use test scores or survey results. Either way, the methodology should be so clear that any other trained researcher should be able to pick it up and do it exactly the same way.
  • Be honest about your abilities. “This is what the study demands—do I have the skills to do it?” says Crawford. If not, determine if you can develop the skills or bring together a research team.
  • Take your time with the planning process. “It’s worth consulting other researchers, doing a pilot study to test it, before you spend the time, money, and energy to do the big study,” Crawford says. “Because once you begin the study, you can’t stop.”

In conclusion, writing a thesis can be challenging, but with persistence and dedication, overcoming these challenges is possible. By managing your time effectively, overcoming writer’s block, organizing your research, letting go of perfectionism, and finding motivation, you can complete your thesis and achieve your academic goals. Remember to stay positive and celebrate your progress along the way.

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