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.
We care about your success! To help you write theses and dissertations that will pass review, we’ve developed many helpful student tools. So, before you start writing your paper, send an email at email@example.com, and we will make sure you get the latest and greatest information available!
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.
As per the thesis and dissertation handbooks, in order for your thesis or dissertation to pass review, it is a requirement that your approved statement of purpose appear in your Introduction exactly as it was approved by the Thesis or Dissertation Committee.
If during the writing process you wish to change your statement of purpose, you may do so; however, you must have your revised statement of purposed approved, and the revised statement must appear in the Introduction of your thesis or dissertation as approved.
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. However, you could, for example, write about healing from the prospective of using energy work to heal, and then write about healing by using affirmations and meditation to heal, because they would be related, but divergent; i.e. completely different topics even though they are both healing.
It is a very slippery slope to have your papers’ topics too close in nature. We have returned papers to students because their topics were too similar and they actually plagiarized some of their previous papers. Or, they quoted the same quotes for both papers, which is not permitted because it doesn’t show new research. Or, they quoted from mostly the same books so they wouldn’t have to read different ones. Or, their papers were just too similar in nature to their previous ones even though they assured us they would be different.
We just want to caution you to make your thesis and dissertation topics as different as you can to avoid having to rewrite your paper. Even students with the best intentions can accidentally slip, so why chance it. Besides, you learn a lot more that way, which brings you even closer to mastering metaphysics!
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.
For example, if you are writing about Transcendental Meditation, and you are quoting a source that says, “Fifty percent of people interviewed in the U.S. say they practice TM,” and not much more than that, you would not have to review that source. Or, if you are looking up the definition of TM on Wikipedia, for example, then you would not have to review the whole article on Wikipedia. However, you must always list any source you quote or paraphrase in the Works Cited no matter how little of their text you use.
Long story short, the amount of text you paraphrase or quote from a source and the significance of the information you glean from that source is a good barometer for knowing whether you should review the source or not.
For tips on telling the difference between the Review of Literature and the Discussion, email email@example.com.
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.
The Discussion is where you put together the authors’ ideas and testimonies in support of your statement of purpose. Here, you expand on and support your theories––mostly in your own words––telling readers how what your sources have written, said, or researched applies toward your theory, opinion, or deduction. The Discussion is where you analyze the material from the Review of Literature and show how your research supports your argument. You may include a minimal amount of personal experiences here.
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.
The use of a Methods chapter is optional and infrequently used. Only use Methods and Findings chapters (your chapters 3 and 4) if your subject requires the following:
The use of a questionnaire or other analytical tool from a number of participants, possibly with statistical analysis; or
An analysis of a project that you used as a counselor or you prepared specifically for your thesis.
The Methods chapter describes an experiment, treatment, survey, scientific study, questionnaire, or other information-gathering method used by you or another expert in the field to gather data as it pertains to your topic. It is usually a short chapter since it only describes the mechanics of the method you used to gather data.
If you are not writing that kind of thesis (like the majority of our students), skip this chapter and the next chapter (Findings) as well. Your chapter 3 instead will be titled Discussion. Also, see Appendix A3 to view which of the Table of Contents examples you will need to use.
Only use Findings if you use Methods. This chapter reviews and analyzes the data gathered by your methods or the results of your experiment or treatment. Here you explain what was found through your methodology and discuss why these findings are significant to your topic. Tell how your discovery contributes to the already existing field of knowledge on the subject you chose for your thesis.
You can also use the information to argue the question(s) or statement(s) expressed in the statement of purpose.
Note: If you have Methods and Findings, then you will want to discuss what you learned from Methods and Findings as well as what you learned from the Review of Literature in your Discussion chapter.
Periodically students contact us before they submit their papers because the word count, and page count is way too high. When papers are too long, it is usually for the following reasons:
- Too many unnecessary definitions are included. The only time you would need to include a definition is if it is for something really unusual that you don’t think the Thesis/Dissertation Committee would understand.
- Too much history is included. History is really interesting, but rarely important to proving your thesis statement.
- Too much non-essential information is included. You only need to include that which proves/supports your statement of purpose. Anything else is extraneous information that is actually detracting from your paper.
If you think your paper is getting too long, we suggest you re-read it with these three points in your mind. With every paragraph that you read, ask yourself, “Is this absolutely necessary for proving my point? Can I take this out and still prove my point?” If you come across anything that isn’t absolutely necessary, then edit it out. It is sometimes difficult for authors to cut their own work, but it almost always makes for a much tighter, better paper. It’s like tough love, but it has to be done.
You might also consider having someone else read your paper, someone who won’t go easy on you, and ask that person what he or she thinks is detracting from the paper.
Let us know how this process works for you. It’s helped many of our students already.
Some students spend more time on their Works Cited chapter than needed by listing sources they did not quote or paraphrase in the body of their thesis or dissertation.
As part of the thesis or dissertation review process, we cross-reference your Works Cited to the text in the body of your paper. The only sources that need to appear in the Works Cited are those you either quoted from or paraphrased (with in-text citations). Anything else does not count toward your minimum number of required sources and should, therefore, be left out.
On the flip side, every single source you quote or paraphrase should be listed in the Works Cited section, and credit should be given to all quoted or paraphrased material via in-text citations as instructed in the thesis and dissertation handbooks.
We tell you to paraphrase more and quote less, but what does that mean?
Instead of stringing long quotes together to write your thesis or dissertation, we ask you to paraphrase the material, which means write the information your sources are conveying in your own words, with quotes sprinkled in for emphasis. Why? Because this tells us you fully understand what you read. AND, you will learn the information on a deeper level this way.
To receive a handy Paraphrasing Tips page that includes: an easy way to get paraphrasing right, how to do in-text citations for your paraphrased material, which voice you should use, and what the rules are for paraphrases that span more than one page, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We want to make your writing journey pleasant and rewarding!
We expect students to paraphrase (with in-text citations) about 75% of the information they acquire from the resources they consult to write their theses and dissertations. We also recommend against having quotes that are longer than 4 lines, although they may have a few that are longer.
Why?: The reason for this is that we need to know students fully understand the material they are reading and writing about before we can graduate them. By having students tell us what
they’ve read in their own words, we can be sure they have a working knowledge of their topic.
Paraphrasing is the best way for students to thoroughly grasp their subject, because it pushes the brain to learn better, remember longer, and apply the information they read. Through paraphrasing, the knowledge they attain becomes an “experience” that lasts a lifetime.
For paraphrasing tips, contact email@example.com
Students have expressed confusion lately as to how to do in-text citations for eBooks.
Indicate the location by using the chapter number in which you found the information you are paraphrasing or quoting. Most likely you will be citing the author in your introductory text for the citation (if not, put the author’s name in the in-text citation, too). Of course, the full citation of the work will be in your Works Cited entries, using eBook instead of print at the end.
Here is an example from Chapter 2 of Deepak Chopra’s book, Overcoming Addictions. Note: Facebook doesn’t let me use italics, so be sure to italicize the book titles!
Deepak Chopra, in his Kindle book Overcoming Addictions, helps us understand how the modern world has produced addictions beyond substances: “Addiction to work, to destructive relationships . . . to television” and, I would add, to the computer (Ch. 2).
Note: If a chapter number is not available, we will accept the title of the chapter instead. Example (Ch. “Nurturing the Spirit”)
Many students don’t understand how to quote someone who is quoting someone when they are writing their thesis or dissertation. Let’s see if this makes it easier to grasp. When you are using material in which your source author quotes another author’s remarks; i.e., when what you quote or paraphrase contains what is itself a quotation, type the abbreviation “qtd. in” (which means “quoted in”) before the indirect source you are citing in your in-text citation.
For example, if Deepak Chopra is quoting Carl Jung, your TEXT would attribute the quote to Jung, but your in-text CITATION would say (qtd. in Chopra). Make Sense?
MORE HELP WITH QUOTATION MARKS… Are you working on your thesis or dissertation and don’t know how to handle quotation marks when you have quotes within quotes?
Whenever you have a quote contained within a quote, the inside quotation marks should be single quotation marks (‘ ’) while the outside quotation marks at the beginning and end of the quote should be double quotation marks (“ ”). This does mean that at times you may have three quotation marks that look like this (’”) at the end of a sentence or three (‘“) at the beginning.
Example: Everything in the universe exists in the, “Mind of The All in which we ‘live and move and have our being’” (The Kybalion 15-16).
Once in a while, a student asks how to handle quoting from books that are written by an author, but they are actually writing what has been channeled by a spirit entity.
When this is the case, the Works Cited lists the book under the Author’s last name, but you should also have the name of the entity the author is channeling, too, if identified. The author’s name would also need to be in the text or the in-text citation, and when you first introduce the book, you would need to tell us that the author channeled the information from “whomever.” However, if both the author of the book and the entity are contributing information to the same book, then you must make it clear who is doing the speaking in the text you quote.
This makes more sense when you actually see it, so here are two good examples of this.
The Works Cited Listing (Abraham is the entity that Ester and Jerry Hicks channel):
Hicks, Ester and Jerry (with Abraham). The Vortex: Where the Law of Attraction Assembles All Cooperative Relationships. Carlsbad, California: Hay House, 2009. Print.
From the Body of the Thesis:
We offer this definition from Ester and Jerry Hicks’ book, The Vortex, which came to them via a group of Beings calling themselves Abraham. “The Law of Attraction is the Universal manager of all Vibration which expands to everything that exists through the Universe. And so, at the same time that the Law of Attraction is responding to the Vibrational content of your physical thoughts, it is also responding to the Vibrational content of your Inner Being” (19-20).
If you didn’t mention the Hicks in the text, the in-text citation would be (Hicks 19-20).
You only have to give us the Entity’s name the first time you mention the channeled book when the whole book is channeled.
However, in a case such as the Seth books by Jane Roberts, in which it is actually Seth, and her partner, Robert E. Butts, are talking in the book because Roberts is in a trance state. Then things can get complicated. Here’s how this would be treated:
The Works Cited Listing:
Roberts, Jane (with Robert F. Butts and Seth). Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul. Novato, CA: New World Library. Reprint edition 1994. Kindle e-book.
From the Body of the Dissertation:
In Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul, Robert Butts recalls Roberts unexpectedly entering a trance state, which at the time they didn’t realize was such. He says they learned she was in a writer’s group, “Who called themselves ‘The Five.’ Long and involved letters were exchanged among the members of The Five by a round-robin technique” (Roberts CH 3).
One night, Seth began to discuss The Five: “Now, in my work as a teacher, I travel into many dimensions of existence, even as a traveling professor might give lectures in various states or countries” (Roberts CH 3).
He went on to say that prior to working with the group, he sets up, “Preliminary psychological structures and learn[s] to know [his] pupils before teaching can even begin” (Seth qtd. in Roberts CH 3).
Now you see how this particular book is more complicated, because the book is written by Roberts, but both Butts and Seth are writing or speaking in it. Therefore, we must always make it clear who is speaking when, and that the source is Roberts, who is listed on the book cover as author––even though Butts’ transcriptions are contained in the book. If this confuses you, please re-read it until you understand.
Also notice that this second book was a Kindle book, so the in-text citation contains the chapter instead of the page number.
We rarely have a student submit a paper using (ibid) when writing in-text citations, but it does occasionally happen. Please note our University does not condone using (ibid). For those of you who don’t know what (ibid) means, let me explain. Let’s say you have three paragraphs in which you are quoting or paraphrasing Dr. Masters. Some schools will allow you to give the proper in-text citation for the first quote/paraphrase, and use (ibid) for the second and third ones. However, our university instructs you to write the in-text citation for each quote or paraphrase from the same source. So in this case, you would be writing it three times. The reason for this is that too many students misuse (ibid) for one, and two, it saves time when grading your paper not to have (ibid), which means that we can pass students sooner!
Need help selecting the doctoral degree that will best meet your goals, needs, and dreams? Then watch the Selecting Your Right-Fit Metaphysical Degree webinar. This incredibly, informative session takes you through an eight-step process for choosing your ideal degree. Detailed descriptions are given for each degree offered by the University to help you make your choice. As an added bonus, you will learn how you can use your degree and see how University graduates are using theirs. Here is the Link: https://vimeo.com/254350404
Current students can change their Doctoral degree specialty, through our Online Center, or by sending a request to the Thesis and Dissertation Review committee firstname.lastname@example.org
Current students and graduates also have the opportunity to enroll and earn a second or third Doctoral degree with affordable scholarship tuition which allows them to acquire further knowledge, expand their training, and provide more opportunities for their career fulfillment.
The requirements for earning an additional Doctoral Degree are:
- Submitting an additional dissertation in alignment with the new degree and different from previously completed dissertations
- IMM affiliation status is current
- Additional Degree tuition paid in full.
Check out our Doctoral Degree Specialities by clicking on the school of choice below:
- UOS Doctoral Degree Specialties: https://universityofmetaphysics.com/doctoral-degrees-uos/
- UOM Doctoral Degree Specialties: https://universityofmetaphysics.com/doctoral-degrees-uom/
There is a lot of excitement surrounding our new Ph.D. in Conscious Business Ethics, and students are inquiring about guidelines for the dissertation for this degree.
The dissertation for the Ph.D. in Conscious Business Ethics is like any other of our regular doctoral degrees in that you write a metaphysically inclined dissertation toward this degree. There are no other course materials for it.
The Conscious Business Ethics degree is all about teaching business owners, managers, and employees (or yourself) the benefits of using metaphysical principles for making business decisions; i.e., making them from the heart or Higher Mind, rather than “what’s in it for them.” When decisions are made in consultation with the Higher Mind, they will naturally be ethical and the best decisions for the whole. Decisions will be compassionate and empathetic, yet strong businesswise because they will be guided by the Higher Mind which leads to abundance on all levels.
When you write your dissertation, you should write it from the standpoint described above. Therefore, many of the books on our recommended reading list will apply to your dissertation. However, you are not required to take your material from this list, and you may choose other books that will help you support your dissertation statement of purpose.
Only if you write from your head instead of grounding your paper in research and giving credit to the source.
Most students have a favorite author, one whose material they’ve read extensively. For this reason, we want to caution you on an easy-to-make mistake made by some students, who are very familiar with certain metaphysical experts or writers.
Since theses and dissertations are research papers, you must back up everything you write about these well-studied individuals’ theories, work, and lives with cited quotes and paraphrases. Some students accidentally write too much uncited commentary that comes from their own knowledge base, which is really easy to do when you’ve thoroughly read someone and followed their works.
Even though what you know by memory factually comes from a certain writer or expert, you still must connect it to a tangible source, such as a book or report, and cite the location the information can be found.
While your Review of Literature should be the longest chapter of your paper, it shouldn’t be to the detriment of your Discussion.
If you find your Discussion to be too short, which would be anything less than four to six pages for the average paper (but ideally longer), you likely included too much of your own analysis and discussion in the Review of Literature. This is a common mistake students make.
The Review of Literature shouldn’t include too much of your opinion of what you read as much as simply reporting in your own words what the authors are conveying. The Review lays the groundwork of your Discussion. Then in the Discussion, you analyze what they wrote, and put the pieces together, giving us your opinion on how their information proves your statement of purpose. This is what we mean by “meaningful conversation.” The Discussion uses the points made by your sources in the Review to argue your statement of purpose in the Discussion.
If you think this is the case with your paper, we suggest you relocate some of that Review text (discussion and your own opinion) into your Discussion.