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Everglow. Offline
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How to approach a dissertation - September 27th 2016, 05:10 PM

So I've just started my final year at university. I've got my study hat on and I've bought a diary and notebooks, I know all of my deadlines and I've made the first step towards my dissertation by arranging a one to one with my supervisor, and at some point, I'll be arranging to meet the rest of y group and get some plans sorted.

I'm not in panic mode yet but I know I'm a stress head, so before I get to that stage, does anybody have any advice on how best to approach/deal with a dissertation? Mine has to be between 7,000 and 10,000 words, which I'm ok with, but at the same time, it's only week 1!

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Re: How to approach a dissertation - September 28th 2016, 03:06 PM

Hey Hollie!

Firstly, it's great to hear that you are not in panic mode! What I regret most of all from my experiences, is worrying about it early on...I spent so much time worrying, I burnt myself out!

It's really good that you have all your deadlines planned and have notebooks too. Though the dissertation is often the biggest part, it's good to remember that you may have other assessments to get on with as well. For the dissertation in particular, you may want to create a 'gantt chart'. This can be done on Microsoft excel and is basically a chart that organises the different parts of your dissertation and how long you'll spend on each part, often covering weeks-months.

Definitely use your supervisor! I'm assuming you have some idea of what you want to research, and have come up with a 'proposal'. You'll then need to look at what research techniques (qualitative or quantitative) you'll use, create your research 'instruments', data collection, ethics, secondary sources (also for the literature review), results and analysis (though this depends on your dissertation as with some arts degrees, you'll be using secondary sources and may not need to go out and collect data). It's good to schedule regular meetings with your supervisor and to let them know how you are getting on/ask them to review your work. The best thing about final year is that dissertation students are prioritised over the other students so use your supervisor to your advantage! I'm also assuming that your dissertation supervisor will let you know how long each section should be. It's good to break it down into little chunks rather than worry about the dissertation as a whole.

Also, make sure you can reference things properly using whatever system your university uses, as you don't want to end up accidentally plagiarising someone else. Getting someone to proofread can be good for spelling, grammar and general understanding too (though I know this is some time away from you )

Lastly, make sure you have time to relax and do things that you enjoy too. I know I overuse that sentence a lot, but honestly, giving yourself time off, will help in the long run.

I did my dissertation a while ago, and my brother is starting his this year too, so feel free to PM me if I can be of any more help.

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Re: How to approach a dissertation - September 28th 2016, 09:26 PM

It might be different in the US.,but I did a (psych) thesis and I can seriously help you with your lit review if you want (I'll probably PM that to you since it's long), for now, focus on picking a topic, what about that topic you want to study,and what method/stats/type of data you'll need. Then start the lit review EARLY it takes FOREVER, once you get past that though, the data collection is the fun part. It also helps if you have an outline of all the general sections and the specific parts as you get to them so you know what will go where at the end. Mine was split over 2 semesters, the first one we learned both the content of the research methods and did our proposals and lit reviews. Then the second semester we did the data collection/analysis and finished the rest of the paper itself. I didn't work with a group, so that will be different too, but I'm available if I can help.

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