My dissertation deadline is fast approaching and I’m not sure when an appropriate time to start panicking is.
We’ve all heard the rumours of people claiming they wrote their dissertation in one week and still got a first. While this is a) most likely not true and b) definitely not a good idea, you might be thinking does it really take a whole year to write 10,000 words?
Well not entirely, but it does take some planning. Here is the timeline of my Management dissertation:
The first semester of final year begins with obligatory dissertation lectures preparing you for what you’ll be doing. After a few weeks, you have to submit a form with an initial idea for what you want to do your dissertation on. Before this point, I had no idea what I wanted to do mine on so I spent a while thinking about it and doing some research. I then decided I wanted to do it on the general topic of maternity/paternity leave as I’m interested in how having a child affects women and men differently in terms of their career.
After filling in the form, you are assigned a supervisor and encouraged to make contact. You also need to fill in another form, this time with a bit more detail on it about the kind of research you want to do. I emailed my supervisor and we arranged a meeting. The meeting went well and my supervisor was friendly and helpful, making me aware of the support he could offer and giving me some ideas of directions I could take.
Towards the end of the first semester, I was more concentrating on other assignments and the dissertation took a backseat.
At the beginning of the second semester I wrote my literature review which is basically an essay outlining previous research around your topic.
After a few more meetings with my supervisor, I finally decided on the exact research I was going to do and what my research question was. I was going to do a study of how childbirth and motherhood affects the career intentions of women.
The next step was writing the methodology. This details what kind of research you will do and how you’ll go about analysing it.
Then, the daunting part – going out and doing the research. Fortunately, the easter holidays had begun so I had the perfect time to do it. I conducted six interviews with women who have children, asking them a range of questions about their career intentions and how having children has impacted that.
And that takes us up to now, when I’m just finishing off analysing my data. The next stages will be to write my conclusion, introduction, abstract, and to format the whole thing and make it into something presentable!
So far, I have found the process of writing my dissertation fairly interesting and not too stressful. Especially doing the interviews and hearing what people have to say and how that does or doesn’t go hand-in-hand with what you’ve previously discovered. I think maybe the concept of a dissertation seems so scary because it’s hyped up a lot and you do have a whole year so there’s pressure for it to be of a high standard. But really, when you break it down into each section it’s definitely manageable and as you can see, you don’t have to be constantly working on it every day from the start of the first semester.
This is just my experience so far – of course everyone’s will be different particularly for different subjects. I hope you found this interesting!