Hey Aspect, is there anything I need to do to prepare for my dissertation?
Hope: All dissertations are different, some are essay-based and some have to have research included. If your dissertation is essay-based then try and read a lot of literature beforehand. Your are going to need a bucket full of references and quotes within your dissertation, it shows that you have looked into the topic and are dedicated to your dissertation. Keep a document open and write down all the quotes that you think will be useful within your dissertation, get ahead of the game by analysing the quote so you’re making life easier for your future self. Do not forget to write down the citation of the reference, it’s going to be hell if you don’t and have to scour through a book or the Internet to try and find that one quote. If your dissertation is research-based then you need to look into your chosen topic and what has not been researched yet. Your dissertation has to add value to similar research that has already been done. By doing the research early, it will help you narrow down on your research question and, like most things in this edition, it will make life easier for your future self.
Sam: Research is the best way to prepare as you need to see what has been already been academically covered before you are able to contribute to the field. This avoids plagiarism as well as helping you find a premise for your title. I would also greatly recommend just talking to people about your dissertation as vocalising your ideas out loud can help you process what it is your going to do and how you’re going to do it. Plus, it gives you a chance to gather other opinions on the matter. Getting a head start on the research makes it easier further down the line as day by day you’ll be narrowing down your ideas and coming up with more coherent and clear research. Just don’t forget to note down any books, articles or journals you find helpful because the last thing you want to do is forget where you found your sources as this is a crucial element in your dissertation writing. Overall, the best thing is to just make sure you pace yourself and start earlier so you’re not overwhelmed as the deadline nears.
Dear Aspect, how can I spread out my time for writing a dissertation?
Hope: It depends on how long your dissertation is, I will use mine as an example. My dissertation has to be 8,000 words long and I have decided to write 200 words every week day, this will give me a break on weekends for other university assignments. If I keep this up for eight weeks then I have the whole dissertation written. Limiting myself to 200 words a day means I will not being over-working myself, putting pressure on myself to complete too much, and it gives me time for other things in the evening. If you want to write thousands of words in an evening then go for it! However, with other assignments and responsibilities, it can be quite hard and unrealistic to try and complete a dissertation in a month or less.
Sam: Depending your course, the word count for a dissertation can vary. Sometimes, they’ll be more specific with less adjustable room or you might been given a more flexible frame. My dissertation is between 10,000 – 15,000, which gives me quite a bit of leg room. I personally, have not figured out a specific structure as I’m still in the process of my proposal, however, I tend to get a few hundreds word every other day down on paper. It does not matter if the points are good or bad, it’s just about getting all my ideas down on paper early on in the game so I have time to organise my thoughts. Though, I would recommend once you’ve figured out your word count, divide it up evenly between the months till it’s due. It’s good to get a head start so you have enough time to evaluate and proof read way before your deadline. As stated previously, just pace yourself and submit your dissertation before the deadline day.
Aspect, I’m so close to giving up and I’ve not even started writing it yet! Why is writing a dissertation so important?
Hope: As stated earlier, your work is going to fill in the gaps of any research done before and it’s crazy to think you are contributing to academic research. First of all, a dissertation is worth a lot of credits, you will want to do well so you pass and graduate with a good mark. Second, you can publish your findings with a lecturer. It might not sound too exciting but wouldn’t it be amazing if your research actually contributed to a part of history; filling a void in today’s research?
Sam: There a different viewpoints surrounding the dissertation, some students may look at this thesis as their basis for getting future professional opportunities, which is a good perk to this piece of work. If there’s a particular field or company you want to work with and you’ve written about a topic that they can take onboard as well as learn from, you’ve already increased your chances of getting the job. However, I believe that you should look at this as an opportunity to learn how to conduct research and compile your findings. It’s a great learning opportunity! Also, a well done dissertation is a brilliant benefit to society as your setting the premise for better and new knowledge.