Welcome to the IMM Virtual Writing Assistant!
Write the best thesis or dissertation possible by consulting the IMM Virtual Writing Assistant.
This page offers answers to questions frequently asked by our students and tips on writing better papers.
Scroll down and read the tip of your choice. Remember to check back often, too, as we periodically add new tips to this list. If the answer to your question isn’t here, check the Master’s Thesis or Doctoral Dissertation Handbooks, or email the thesis/dissertation advisor at UOS@Metaphysics.com.
For even more tips, visit our Online Center.
Students are asked to paraphrase at least 80% of their sources’ original text or speech and use a limited number of brief, but important quotes for clarity and/or emphasis. Paraphrasing is an important learning tool, because the act of paraphrasing helps you better understand and retain the knowledge imparted by your sources. Plus, it tells the Thesis/Dissertation Committee that you thoroughly understand the material you’ve studied. This is how YOU become the expert!
Paraphrasing is RESTATING the author’s ideas and meaning represented by their text or audio, but in YOUR OWN WORDS AND VOICE. Paraphrasing is NOT swapping out some words for others or using the source’s words, but in a different order. When you paraphrase, you still must include in-text citations crediting the original source. Plus, any four words in a row left of the author’s original text must be treated as a quote with quotation marks and in-text citations.
Why it’s like a trial…and you’re the lawyer!
Some students have a difficult time understanding the difference between the Review of Literature and the Discussion. Many wonder why they need the Discussion if all the evidence for their statements of purpose was already presented in the Review. Some make the mistake of thinking the Discussion is a “continuation” of the Review. Others mistakenly think the purpose of the Discussion is to write freestyle about their own opinion on their topic and/or share personal experiences with little regard to the Review of Literature.
Note: Your opinion is certainly part of the Discussion; however, you need to show how it is backed by the Review. And, while we welcome your personal experiences in the Discussion, they should be a small part of it. Your experiences should be used to complement the source-based conversation about why your theory, or statement of purpose, is true.
Top 4 Tips for Passing Your Thesis/Dissertation:
Students must have their statements of purpose approved before writing their papers, but what exactly is a statement of purpose, and why do you need it?
- What: The statement is the cornerstone of your thesis. Your paper must pivot on it.
- Purpose: It tells readers specifically what you intend to “prove” about your topic through your writing and research. Everything you write should be toward that end goal. If it’s not, omit it.
- Construction: It usually begins with, “This thesis (or dissertation) will prove, claim, or show that…” followed by a few narrowly focused sentences about your theory on your topic and why it is significant to metaphysics and/or the benefit to mankind.
- Where: The statement of purpose must appear in the introduction as approved by your advisor. To have your statement of purpose approved, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
UOS and UOM Students frequently ask if their Thesis and Dissertation can relate to each other. This all depends on what the student means by “relate.” Here are some guidelines to prevent having to rewrite your paper.
For your thesis, you must choose a topic from Dr. Masters’ Bachelor’s or Master’s Courses that is different from what you plan to do for your dissertation. The dissertation cannot be an extension of the thesis.
Your thesis and dissertation topics can be “related” but they need to be diverse, or independent, from each other. For example, you cannot write about different aspects of dreams, even if they are targeting different metaphysical properties of dreams because both papers would cover too much of the same ground.
When reviewing the approved theses and dissertations in the Online Center, keep in mind that the Universities update handbooks periodically and review papers based on the standards and guidelines in place at the time of each student’s enrollment. Therefore you may see requirement and formatting variations that differ from the current handbooks and from one paper to the next.
For this reason, students are cautioned to follow the instructions in Thesis or Dissertation handbook first and foremost, rather than relying on what is posted online. The papers online serve best as content examples and to generate ideas.
UOM and UOS Students and Graduates can get so immersed in Dr. Masters’ life-changing lessons that they sometimes forget to make time for the free Bonus Materials available to them through the Study Materials Link sent to them upon registration. Visit the Study Materials page today, and check out the Meditation Dynamics Bonus Course, “The Art and Practice of Mystical Meditation” and “Self Hypnotic Meditation” – Workshop (in four videos), and the 21-minute “Mystical Meditation” (downloadable MP3). Remember, you can reference these in your theses and dissertations, too!
Students writing their theses or dissertations will be happy to learn there are websites that offer free and/or discounted books in e-book formats and/or downloadable PDF files you can save on your computer or borrow. Some are out-of-print books that are difficult to find. Here is the revised list:
Boston Public Library: https://archive.org/details/bostonpubliclibrary
Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/search/?query=spiritual
Truth Unity: https://www.truthunity.net/pubs/books
New Thought Archives: http://lessonsintruth.info/library/
Open Library: https://openlibrary.org/
Sacred Text Archives: http://www.sacred-texts.com/
Metaphysic Spirit: http://metaphysicspirit.com/
Note: Since some of these sites offer books for purchase, be careful to only download free versions if you do not wish to incur an expense. Other websites require you to register so you can borrow e-books or PDFs. While the Boston Public Library offers free PDF versions of some of their books, others on their website may require you to be a library member.
If you know of any additional reputable places to obtain free books, please help us add to this list by emailing the information to UOS@Metaphysics.com, and we will share it with students.
Having a favorite author is natural, but including too many books by the same writer can harm your paper. Why? Because, it can cause your paper to be redundant and impede your ability to sufficiently support your statement of purpose.
One of the criteria of your paper’s review by the Thesis and Dissertation Committees is whether you sufficiently supported your theory; i.e., statement of purpose. If those books by the same author aren’t saying something different with each publication, then you are trying to prove a point with one voice. To sufficiently support your theory, you need the opinions of many experts to agree with your statement. Besides, you will learn much more by featuring a variety of authors, and isn’t that what it’s all about? Don’t miss this opportunity to grow!
When students ask if they may use their own books or other works to write their thesis or dissertation, we tell them they can. However, since they are working on a research paper (researching other experts’ opinions and writing about it), the student’s book or works cannot count toward the total number of sources required to write the paper.
Also, the student’s work must be treated like any other author’s work, meaning if quoted, it must be within quotation marks with in-text citations. If paraphrased, it must also contain in-text citations. As with other authors’ works, students should not use too many overly long quotes, so this means students may end up paraphrasing their own material if they want to use already-published works they, themselves, have written.
Based on the overwhelming feedback from our students professing that “writing their papers has profoundly changed their lives for the positive,” I have come to the conclusion that writing your thesis or dissertation is an act of deep meditation and trust in Source/Universal Presence Within.
Think about it … you are setting your intention to immerse yourself in a metaphysical subject that will surely enlighten you. By this act, you will be Divinely guided to each source you require. Then, as you quietly read and absorb information, your mind opens to receiving what is meant for your greater good, just as it is in meditation. Later, as you write your paper, you are “listening” to Higher Self as it interprets, applies, and pieces together what you learned into something meaningful for yourself and those who read your paper.
Based on what students share with me, as well as my own personal experience, this intimate act of receiving and re-communicating a Metaphysical Truth on behalf of Divine Mind is another way to connect with Source/Universal Presence Within. How could it not change your life?
Do you have personal stories, journeys, dreams, or experiences related to your topic that you would like to include in your thesis or dissertation? That’s just fine, as long as you don’t include too many of them, you keep them brief, and you put them in the right place.
The Introduction and Discussion are the best places for your personal information. However, make sure the Discussion is based more on what you studied, with a few of your personal experiences distributed amongst your text.
The Review of Literature is NOT the place for personal information, as that chapter is more of a synopsis of the other experts’ opinions as they pertain to your topic.
The Review of Literature is an overview of each source as it pertains to your statement of purpose. It must contain a brief synopsis of the bulk of the sources listed in your Works Cited, but doesn’t have to contain all of them. Additionally, you do not need to cover the portions of a source’s work that don’t pertain to your paper’s topic or help you prove your theory.
Your sources help you prove your point; therefore, most of them should be contributing something important to your paper. This means you will review most of your sources in the Review of Literature. However, if you are quoting or paraphrasing a source that is only contributing a fact here or there, or a single statement that simply adds emphasis to your paper, then you don’t need to review that source.
Some students are unclear about the difference between the Discussion and Review of Literature. In a nutshell, the Review of Literature is JUST what the experts say about your topic, without any analysis or commentary from you. You save the analysis and commentary for the Discussion as you put the pieces together to argue your point and support your statement of purpose.
The purpose of the Review of Literature is to give us a synopsis for each source you studied, as it pertains to your subject. You will need to write one to four paragraphs in order to tell readers each expert’s opinion/research on your topic. This is where you showcase what your authors have to say about your topic with minimal commentary, which lays the groundwork for your Discussion––a bit like dropping clues in a mystery book. This is not the place, however, for your personal experiences.
Our thesis and dissertation handbooks say it is fine to include your personal experiences in the Discussion, but the caveat is that you pull your sources into it. The Discussion is a “meaningful” conversation about your topic and how what you have read is supporting your statement of purpose.
What this means is you are telling readers what your sources have to say about a point you are making, and then you may corroborate it with your own experiences; or visa-versa, telling readers your own experiences, and then comparing it to what your sources said in the Review of literature. When using your own personal experiences and beliefs in the Discussion, it should be a melding of both your experiences and opinions with that of the sources who are backing you up point-by-point.
To access helpful thesis/dissertation writing tips, log into the Online Center, scroll down until you see the Thesis/Dissertation Tip Page image, and click on it to open the tip center!
Quite often students misunderstand when they would need Methods and Findings chapters and what should go in these two sections. You would only use Methods and Findings chapters because your subject depends upon one of the following studies:
1. Your subject requires the use of your own designed questionnaire or other tool from a number of participants (not including yourself);
2. Your subject includes your own review of a project that you used as a counselor or a project you are designing for this thesis; or,
3. Your subject includes a demonstration about the specific method(s) you used in the technique you chose to examine as your topic.