It’s that easy: Writing your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day!

Once in a while students ask me for my advice prior to starting their master thesis. Questions usually comprise issues on formal requirements, writing style, research methodologies or time planning.

While there is a broad range of literature on the market I would like to present my top 3 list of books addressing the issues mentioned above. Throughout the years they’ve all helped my with my own academic writing as well. So here it goes:

  • Joan Bolker: Writing your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day:

“Dissertation writers need strong, practical advice, as well as someone to assure them that their struggles aren’t unique. Joan Bolker, midwife to more than one hundred dissertations and co-founder of the Harvard Writing Center, offers invaluable suggestions for the graduate-student writer. Using positive reinforcement, she begins by reminding thesis writers that being able to devote themselves to a project that truly interests them can be a pleasurable adventure. She encourages them to pay close attention to their writing method in order to discover their individual work strategies that promote productivity; to stop feeling fearful that they may disappoint their advisors or family members; and to tailor their theses to their own writing style and personality needs. Using field-tested strategies she assists the student through the entire thesis-writing process, offering advice on choosing a topic and an advisor, on disciplining one’s self to work at least fifteen minutes each day; setting short-term deadlines, on revising and defing the thesis, and on life and publication after the dissertation. Bolker makes writing the dissertation an enjoyable challenge.” (Book description with credits to

  • Robert Yin: Case Study Research: Design and Methods:

“Robert Yin’s comprehensive presentation covers all aspects of the case study method–from problem definition, design, and data collection, to data analysis and composition and reporting. Yin also traces the uses and importance of case studies to a wide range of disciplines, from sociology, psychology and history to management, planning, social work, and education.” (Book description with credits to

  • Wolf Schneider: Deutsch fürs Leben:

“Für Journalisten ist professionelles Schreiben so wichtig wie der Schraubenschlüssel für den Schlosser. Was ihr oberster Sprachlehrer Wolf Schneider sagt, kann jeder nutzen, der professionell schreiben will — und das funktioniert offenbar: Seine Lehrbücher sind Bestseller.” … “Kampfschrift wider den Sprachschluder ist auch Deutsch fürs Leben, das abschreckende Beispiele, vornehmlich von renommierten Publikationen, vortrefflich vorführt. Ein lebendiges, nützliches und — das darf man erwarten — sprachlich brillantes Buch, um das niemand herumkommt, der professionell schreiben will. –Frank Rosenbauer” (credits go to

If you have any suggestions for other books which have helped you and which you might find useful please or leave a comment for this posting by clicking on “comments” below this posting.

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