Dissertation Deadline Doom!
Started writing your dissertation yet? Or are you frantically piecing together research, literature reviews and data? Let’s admit it, last December you were adamant you had plenty of time – “pah! It’s next year!”, you said. Next year happened and here we are in February and the weeks are ticking down – fast.
Right, so before your start panicking, calm down and keep reading, then decide whether it’s worth the heart-palpitations. This time last year I was writing my dissertation – pah! I wished – correction, this time last year I hadn’t started writing my dissertation. In fact, I was either sat in a classroom full of 40 screaming three year olds trying to record twelve children on a one-on-one basis, or failing that, sat alone in my bedroom transcribing twelve half-hour recordings of each child (with the 39 other screaming children in the background may I add). Actually writing my dissertation didn’t happen until the end of February (my deadline being the 22nd of March 2013).
There are two reasons I’m writing this article, first and foremost because I loved writing my dissertation and secondly because I am constantly bringing it up during interviews and it catches the interviewer’s attention very well. So, I thought I’d compile a few tips for those of you feeling a bit bogged down by the mountain of words you have ahead of you.
A good dissertation is a well planned dissertation. A good dissertation is a well researched dissertation. Combine the two and you have a fantastic dissertation. If you have done enough of both, writing it up will be easy as the majority of it is already there, it just needs to be coherent and in the same document.
You wouldn’t eat a whole cake in one sitting, so don’t try and write your dissertation all in one go; write it in logical stages. I’d suggest starting where you have the most to write and then conclude. Then go back and write your introduction and literature review. Otherwise you will be constantly rewriting your intro and adding masses to your lit review as new pieces of research are found. You also run the risk of it not flowing well.
Time keeping. Obvious? Read Tip Four.
Have your dissertation written about a week before it’s due in. Why?!? I’m not trying to make life more difficult, but being so involved in a piece of writing for so long means you will make mistakes and you will miss those mistakes if you redraft straight after you finish writing. You need a few days away from it to read it with fresh eyes. Plus having it almost complete a week before gives you chance to snare someone into reading through it for you. Preferably ask someone with none of your subject knowledge, that way they are reading it carefully, trying to understand what you are explaining and will notice spelling errors, typos, grammatical errors and those sentences that just do not make sense.
ENJOY! Your dissertation is your grand finale! The master piece you have been working towards since your first hung-over, post-freshers lecture. Pour your heart and soul into it as a fantastic dissertation is something employers will be keen to learn more about.