So it’s been two weeks since I handed in my dissertation. Although I was reasonably happy with my finished document, I’ve been thinking the over the whole process and I’ve been left with lots of nagging questions. What could I have done differently? How could I have made it better? Should I have spent more time on it? Did I really put enough effort it? As a result, I thought I would just list a couple of things I have learnt or I would have done differently which I now know after completing the process…
- 10,000 words is not actually a lot, but it is very daunting for an UG student. It seemed like a lot because my average essay before then was 2,000 words, but by the time you’ve gone into enough detail you’ll probably be looking to cut out words! It is by no means unattainable.
- On a related note, start writing it up as soon as you can! Of course you need to do enough reading to know your topic, but time spent writing is never wasted. If anything, it allows you to focus on what is actually important, which then allows you to go and find better articles to cite.
- If you are collecting your own data, start this process early. I again, found this really daunting as I’d never done anything as ‘professional’ as this on my course before but the more time you give yourself, the better it will turn out. Having the time to draft, re-draft, trial, re-re-draft a survey and then a decent amount of time to collect the information will ensure better results than rushing near the deadline.
- Finally, the whole process is not that difficult. I’d recommend that every UG student picks up a research methods textbook at some point before starting their dissertation. It explains the whole process in a straight forward manner, and some will have example dissertations for reference too! It is the perfect starting point, making the task seem a lot less daunting and is excellent motivation to get you writing!
So that’s my advice. However, thinking back through to my dissertation lectures at the start of the year, there is nothing here that the lecturer didn’t recommend! Make sure you listen to your lecturers in future and as I said… hindsight is a beautiful thing!