So I wrote a post back in October last year about how one of my first semester modules was helping me to prepare for researching for and writing my dissertation. What I have since found, is that nothing could have prepared me for the amount reading I am faced with!!!
I knew that I would have to begin the process of thinking about my dissertation early this year, which was in itself a little daunting, but I still felt pretty prepared for it. However, once I’d submitted my preferences and been allocated my tutor, it became a lot more real. I actually had to think of a solid, and not to mention plausible, question for my dissertation. I thought I’d be able to whip one up quite quickly, but it actually took quite a few weeks of reading and researching to find something that I think is going to be both interesting and realistic. So here it is:
Within my dissertation I want to analyse how organisational changes within the Soviet labour camp system, specifically changes between the regimes of Lenin and Stalin, effected the experiences of prisoners. What’s great about this topic is that in there are a wealth of oral histories and memoirs out there that I can use in order to understand the way that prisoners lived under the two different leaders.
Looking at the books that sit in front of me at this moment, as I write five thousand words about the historiography of my dissertation and the sources that I will use, I am feeling quite scared. The amount of reading and primary source research is like nothing I have taken on before in my life. But I am also incredibly excited, this is something I am really interested in and I can’t wait to be able to be handing in something I am (hopefully) immensely proud of in just over a years time!
So, if you can take away anything from this post it would be to prepare for an huge amount of work when undertaking your dissertation, but also make sure you enjoy – pick a topic that you’re passionate about.