Writing a dissertation is a pretty common thing that people have to do at uni, and I’m sure everyone is aware that it’s a huge task. Maintaining interest in a subject for months on end, to produce 12,000 words is quite a mean feat and an incredible achievement. A lot of people have finished their dissertations and will be handing them in round about now… but not me. Unfortunately. My dissertation is for a master’s degree and therefore the hand in date is a lot later. It’s due on the 11th July; the date is literally engrained in my brain! It’s hard to be happy for people finishing when we’ve still got a whole 2 months to go! But, whilst writing my dissertation I’ve come up with a few tips along the way, and I’m sure I’ll find out more as I go along. So, here’s my top tips on writing your dissertation so far, hope they help!
- Be realistic
This is quite a common tip for writing tasks, but it is such an important thing to reiterate. Be realistic with how much you aim to get done in a day. We’re humans and therefore work best when we feel like we’ve achieved something, so it’s much better to be happy about writing 1 paragraph, rather than annoyed at yourself for not writing 10.
- Little and often doesn’t always work
When it comes to writing a dissertation, you essentially become an expert on the subject you’re writing about. The endless hours of reading you do around the subject area means you know all there is to know. So, as you can probably imagine it takes a while to get back into writing when you sit back down at your desk. For me personally, it takes me about an hour to reacclimatise to the diss and work out what I’m writing next. I think it’s unrealistic to say, “I’m going to do half an hour of my dissertation”, because it is unlikely you will achieve anything in that time. I would recommend setting aside at least 2 hours at a time if you want to be productive.
- Don’t be afraid to change the structure around, over, and over again
I’m quite a perfectionist so when it comes to changing things around it makes me feel a bit anxious. But don’t forget about the undo button! If you don’t like something, you can just click undo, it’s not permanent! I would also recommend making copies. Just make a copy of your current draft, change everything around, then if you don’t like it you can just go back to the original.
- A draft is just that, a draft
Another obvious point, but when you’ve produced a draft, it is just a draft, not the final product. So, don’t worry if it’s not exactly how you want it to look, or doesn’t have all the information in it that you want.
- Save, save, save
Pretty obvious again, but MAKE SURE YOU SAVE REGULARLY! It hasn’t happened to me personally, but people losing hours of dissertation work isn’t unheard of. So please save all the time. I would also recommend using ‘OneDrive’. It’s a cloud system which automatically saves your work and means you can access it from any device with internet access.
So, there’s 5 tips on dissertation writing that I’ve discovered so far. I’m sure I’ll be writing more posts about my diss over the next few weeks, so stay tuned to see how it goes!