After several months in the lab it’s finally time to start writing up my research project. In the third year I was required to do a research project and this acted as great preparation for my fourth year project. The most valuable lesson I learnt was to treat my write-up as part of my research. Rather than leave my write-up until the end of my lab research, I should analyse and write up my research as I go along. This not only saves time but it allows you draw intermediate conclusions that help to direct the rest of your research. Furthermore, conceptual errors are identified a lot earlier using this method. At the time of this post most students will also be writing their research projects whereas other might have already finished. Obviously treating your write-up as part of the research process is not applicable to these students but to any second years that are about to undergo their research project in the next academic year I’d strongly urge you to consider it.
As well as using a different approach for my fourth year research project, I also used different software to assist me. For instance, the referencing software that I would recommend is “Mendeley”. It’s does require a quick download but I found it really useful for sorting my references and the built-in literature search engine also helped me to save a lot of time. The only thing I’d warn against is Mendeleys’ tendency to crash however it doesn’t seem to make you lose anything and it restarts easily.
To anyone writing their dissertation/project report I wish you good luck with it and remember to step away from the computer every now and then so that you can come back to it with fresh eyes. All the best!