When writing a PhD thesis, one key thing you need to consider is your voice. Here are a few tips on how to find and maintain an authoritative tone.

How to Be Authoritative When Writing a PhD Thesis

When you are writing a PhD thesis, one thing you need to consider is your voice. PhD writing requires not only the full knowledge of a topic, but also masterful wording that demonstrates your qualifications as an expert in your field of study. This involves piecing your research together as a detailed puzzle while making your arguments and conclusions very clear. You must write in your own voice using your own work as the backbone for your authority and expertise in your field.

Here are a few tips on how to find an authoritative tone when writing a PhD thesis:


Do Not Go Overboard with Your Evidence

Like many PhD students, you may feel as if bigger is better with regard to word count. You want to demonstrate your ability to conduct independent research and provide your own arguments based on what you have discovered, whilst also proving that you have read, understood and analysed all the literature in your field of expertise. It can be extremely enticing to want to add in an abundance of words to prove to the review committee that you know what you are talking about.

However, using an excessive number of words can become a crutch for some PhD students. Adding in every miniscule source of information in order to back up your claims can demonstrate that you are not entirely sure of yourself with regard to your own arguments. Your PhD thesis will begin to look more like a research paper rather than a work of your own authority.

When writing a PhD thesis, you should prove your position, point of view, and stance on your topic in your own voice, adding to those scholars with whom you hope to join ranks, rather than simply writing as much as possible.

Remain Confident in Your Position

When writing a PhD thesis, your goal should be to build on established knowledge by providing your own contributions. In many fields, you will need to collect statistical data and conduct experiments as a means of gathering relevant research. In other fields, data consists of positions and thought processes of other academics. In this instance, it can be difficult to distinguish between the thoughts of established scholars and your own.

Your thesis must contain references to sufficient evidence in order to avoid seeming unfounded. However, you need to be able to insert your own voice within that evidence to provide proof of your arguments. You need to muster the confidence to insert your voice amongst the scholarly research in order to reach academic independence that all PhD students should have.

Defending Your Claims at a Viva

Defending your thesis in front of the review committee is where your authoritative voice can and will shine. This is the moment in which you must find your inner expert in order to express your views with confidence. During your PhD viva, speak directly and be confident in the work you have submitted. Gaining the title ‘doctor of philosophy’ is a significant achievement that only few ascertain, but you will only accomplish this place in the academic community by being authoritative in both your writing as well as your speaking.