So you’re in your final year of university and you need to start working on your dissertation. Where do you even start? Writing a dissertation can feel like a huge project, so we’ve compiled a list of tips,
Deciding on your topic
Your dissertations need to be about something that really interests you; it’s going to be a lot of work, so if it is about something you have a passion/interest for then at least you’ll enjoy the research. If you’re stuck for topics, try creating a ‘mood board’ of articles, or even images that interest you, and then when you look back
Don’t listen to rumours
Your dissertation does not have to focus on an area you want to work on when you leave uni! You’ll only pile on more pressure to become an expert in a job you might only be vaguely interested in. Instead, spend time researching about something you’re truly passionate about.
Plan your time
Decide on how long you’re going to spend your research and note taking, maybe it’s the whole of the first term, then decide on how long it will take you to write the introduction, a chapter. This will really help in stopping you from tackling everything at one go and causing you stress and will be an indicator as to how on track or not you are.
Break it down
Instead of thinking about your dissertation as one huge block of words, approach it as though its a combination of separate essays. A 10,000-word dissertation can be broken down into a few separate 2,500-word essays. Not only will this help you see the project as more manageable but it will help keep you focused on the argument you’re presenting in each chapter, scoring those higher marks.
The earlier you start, the better. You still have other coursework to do alongside your dissertation, so you will want to give yourself a head start so that you’ll have some leeway when things inevitably ‘prop up’
Establish your support networks
Your support networks are going to be the ones who propel you through your dissertation. You will want to use your tutor as your biggest point of call for all things dissertation writing and support – and take advantage of that early. But you’ll also want to establish who the best people to keep you motivated, the best people to study with, and the best people to give you an honest review and constructive criticism of your work.