A dissertation is a very important part of your academic life. It helps you build a strong resume and helps you get the best job. Your dissertation is the culmination of several years of research and the capstone of your degree. Devoting sufficient time to planning and structuring your written work while at university is important, but when it comes to that all-encompassing dissertation, it’s essential that you prepare well. From settling on a topic and coming up with a title, to the moment you hand it in, the process is guaranteed to give you feelings of excitement, self-doubt, panic and euphoria. Irrespective of whether it’s your undergraduate, Master or PhD dissertation you’re gearing up for.
Let’s get to the details of how to write a dissertation:
Choose an appropriate topic:
It’s vital that your research topic is something you find engaging and interesting to write about. If you’re struggling for ideas, you can research course materials, academic journals, newspapers and other media, to identify current issues that relate to your field and to find some inspiration for your dissertation subject.
Have a clear structure:
Having a clear plan will help you remain focused without getting too overambitious with your research, which increases your chances of developing a strong and coherent argument. Knowing where your ideas are headed will ensure that you remain on track and only relevant points are made.
Writing a dissertation:
Now that you’ve planned out your writing, it’s time to get typing. It’s not going to get any easier the longer you wait! While you can undoubtedly come up with a million reasons to delay you until you begin to write. The best way to work on your argument is to actually work your argument out in writing.
Keep the introduction for the end:
It’s easy to get stuck on the introduction, so skip it. Write the body first and once you’re finished, you’ll know what you are actually introducing and will be able to gather your thoughts to put in words.
Get early feedback:
This tip is somewhat dependent on your supervisor and their preferences. If possible, share your work with them early and often. They can alert you to problems sooner and help you work through any difficult sections. Plus doing smaller revisions along the way will save you from rewriting an entire chapter closer to the due date.
Take breaks often:
Writing will be your full-time job while you’re working on your dissertation, but that doesn’t mean you have to be writing all the time. If you continually work beyond your regular hours you will burn yourself out. Take breaks when you need a rest.
Keep moving around:
If you find yourself stuck on a certain section in a chapter move on and come back to it later. As long as you have outlined your argument and approach for the chapter, you can easily skip a difficult part and use your time more efficiently to write a straightforward section.
The first draft is not the final draft:
When taking on a project of this magnitude it’s important to remember that your first draft is not your final draft. The sentences don’t have to be perfect or the argument airtight on the first try.
Don’t underestimate the editing stage:
A thorough editing process is vital to ensuring you produce a well-structured, coherent and polished piece of work. Leave yourself sufficient time to engage with your writing
Enjoy the achievement:
If you’ve used your time efficiently and adhered to a plan, even if things don’t go exactly how you imagined, there’s no need to panic. Remember, you’ve chosen your dissertation topic after careful consideration, so ignore any irrational thoughts about possibly starting again from scratch.
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