3 tips for getting your dissertation published

From award-winning author, Dr. Christian Ghanem

Dr. Christian Ghanem was recently awarded the ESWRA Annual Award for an outstanding publication in European social work research based on a dissertation (read his award-winning article, ‘How do social work novices and experts solve professional problems? A micro-analysis of epistemic activities and the use of evidence’ in European Journal of Social Work). 

Getting your PhD thesis published as an article is something we get asked a lot about when we talk to researchers, so we asked Christian for his three top tips for doing this.

From Dr. Christian Ghanem

One of the big challenges many PhD students are confronted with is the requirement to get a paper published. Even though I still feel like a freshman, I want to share some key experiences related to successfully publishing a journal paper based on dissertation work.

Retreat from daily life

After conducting a study, making sense of messy data and so forth, you have to write it all up. In my experience, the most effective way to do that is to create space for long concentration periods. Some universities even provide writing retreats that are excellent opportunities for writing up your study. If your university does not provide such retreats, you can also make your own one (or together with a peer). For instance, I wrote the first draft of my first paper during a trip to the United States. The absence of daily life distractions determined a creative and effective writing process.

Reduce complexity

More and more literature, analysis and theoretical perspectives might make it difficult to write in an understandable and precise way. Since many authors face this issue, I want to suggest to check each sentence for possibilities to reduce complexity. In some cases, complexity is necessary to capture the full meaning of the arguments put forward, but often explanations can be simplified, allowing a wider general audience to read, understand and use your work.

Proofreading by a non-expert and a professional proofreading service

In my experience, the best support to improve the clarity of your paper is feedback from a non-expert. Of course, this does not substitute a professional proofreading service which can dramatically improve your writing. Editor’s note: at Taylor & Francis we offer language editing services to make the process of preparing and submitting a manuscript easier – find out more

All this advice goes along with one main principle which fundamentally determines the success of keeping track during your PhD: don’t forget to have (non-PhD related) fun!

Want to receive a reward for your latest research achievement? Browse prizes & awards offered by Taylor & Francis journals.


Christian Ghanem is a Professor for Theories and Methods in Social Work at the Catholic University of Applied Sciences Munich (Katholische Stiftungsfachhochschule München, Abteilung Benediktbeuern) and holds a PhD in Learning Sciences from the University of Munich (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München). Trained as a social worker (M.A.), he had worked in the probation service, which is also the field in which he has conducted most of his research. His research mainly focuses on offender rehabilitation, problem solving of social workers, professional expertise, evidence-based practice and social network analysis. His recent article was awarded by the ESWRA (European Social Work Research Association) Annual Award for an Outstanding Publication in European Social Work Research based on a doctoral thesis.