Dissertation – one word that strikes fear into the hearts of all students (unless you’re lucky enough to do a course that doesn’t require one). Yet the process of writing your dissertation does not need to be arduous, it can actually be a fun and rewarding experience if proper planning is utilised. Here are my top tips on how to properly prepare to write your dissertation:
- Make sure to pick a topic that you’re interested in and will be able to stick with over an extended period of time. This does not have to be a previous topic that you’ve covered in extensive detail but could be an area you are interested in that you haven’t studied fully. Regardless, make sure that you will be able to remain focused on the subject matter.
- Once you’ve decided on a subject, the next step is to create the research question. There is a fine art to the creation of this question, as it must be narrow enough so that you can stick to the word limit but wide enough in scope so that you have enough material to cover the topic in enough depth. My advice would be to create a “work in progress” research question that you can base your research around but leave enough leeway for potential tweaks at some down the line.
- Make full use of your supervisor. Your supervisor is a wealth of information and can help steer and guide you towards successful completion. Make a point of maintaining contact with your supervisor via email and try and arrange face to face meetings at least every few weeks or when necessary.
- Make sure to leave plenty of time to actually write the piece. Whilst the research may be the most time consuming part of the process, the writing portion should not be underestimated either. The worst thing you could do would be to leave the entire writing process to the week before your deadline.
- Related to the above point, it’s a good idea to finish your dissertation as soon as possible so that you can edit your dissertation with a set of fresh eyes. The editing process is one of the most important aspects of writing your dissertation and it’s vital that you leave at least two weeks between finishing writing and starting to edit. It’s also a good idea to ask other people to read your dissertation so that you can get feedback on your work.
The biggest key to your success will be to try and enjoy the process as much as possible. Writing a dissertation should feel rewarding as it is the culmination of your progress throughout university and represents the pinnacle of your achievement.