So recently I have been trying to work on my dissertation, which I have found much more difficult than I thought I would. In criminology, every student puts forward a research project they would like to do and it can be anything they want. Of course it has to be a realistic topic to research and it has to have ethical approval beforehand, but to be honest, all students should be able to find something they are interested in without having to do covert research with loan sharks or serial killers! After a student has found their topic a rough question needs to be decided on and a few ideas on exactly how the research will be carried out, which is a great way to make a start on the methodology part of the research. However, all students have two options in terms of what type of dissertation they write. Firstly, they can do an actual piece of research where questionnaires or interviews are carried out and the results are analysed and evaluated. Secondly, there is library based research, which is where a student reads a lot of literature on a subject and then evaluates the research in depth; kind of like a big literature review.
The word count of a criminology dissertation is 10,000 words and for anyone who is reading this I can imagine your jaw is now on the floor thinking there is no way you could ever write that much on one topic. However, I know many people who have so far only written their literature review and have ended up writing around 5,000 words (i.e. half of the whole dissertation). So yes, it does seem like a lot of words but many may end up struggling to fit it all in. Each student is also assigned a tutor, who usually is specialist in the research topic chosen by that student, so take full advantage of that, as most tutors want to help as much as they can!
My research is already to go, I need to do my pilot study first and then I can do the real research, which I am very nervous about purely because I’m worried no one will answer my questionnaire. I have so far done my literature review, my introduction and my methodology but I imagine I will change all three of these many times before the hand-in date in April. Also with the second semester now really getting underway, I am finding more pressure to get my dissertation moving along a bit quicker and even though I am ready to get back to doing some real work, unfortunately I am stuck in my home town because of the snow. On the other hand, the library during exam periods would probably not be the most ideal place for me to study efficiently. Anyway, as much as I am sure everyone is looking forward to the end of exams, I am looking forward to starting my new modules and making progress with my dissertation!