10 Things to Know Before Writing a Dissertation
The dissertation writing process is generally a process that most students dread. Although the specific guidelines for dissertations regarding word count, referencing style and topic choice are quite different, most university dissertations are governed by a general set of rules and are essential for most students to know when embarking on this writing process whether or not the university has made them explicit.
1. Choose Your Topic Wisely
Dissertations are generally quite expansive and depending on the university may be up to or exceeding fifteen thousand words. Since it is such a large expanse of writing it is advisable to choose a topic that one is interested in but is also researchable and can adequately showcase your research ability and academic writing ability.
2. Narrow Down the Topic
It is very tempting at the beginning of the topic selection process to choose a topic that interests you and that you intend to research as much as you can. This technique defeats the aim of writing a dissertation.
University supervisors advise students to select a topic that can be narrowed down to focus on just one aspect of a topic and that can be researched and --executed within the time limit which is usually a few months in the case of one-year master’s programme or one year in the case of a two-year master’s programme. The key is to identify your problem and what questions you need to ask to understand the problem at hand.
3. Develop Your Research Skills
Great dissertation writers actively try to develop their research skills before beginning the writing process. These skills can be honed during the assignment writing process and can be refined by students browsing through dissertations written by other students in their university. The best way to achieve this of course is to consult dissertation writing books and experts in the field.
4. Develop a Realistic Time Schedule
To plan to fail is to fail to plan. The best dissertation writers estimate the amount of time they intend to spend on their dissertation reading, writing and proof reading, how much time they intend to spend on each chapter of their dissertation and decide on a realistic timeline with your supervisor.
This timeline should also include dates to submit drafts to supervisors with adequate time to allow them to check and return the drafts to make amendments.
5. Be Active in Soliciting the Help of Your Supervisor
Most students tend to shy away from requesting the help of their supervisor and adequately utilising the supervisors’ expertise. University professors tend to be very busy people and it is generally on the student to ensure they reach out when they need help and not assume that the professors will contact them.
6. Listen to Supervisor Feedback
As with any piece of writing, the first drafts are generally not perfect and will almost always be returned with amendment suggestions from your supervisor.
University students should accept this as constructive criticism with the aim of helping students improve their dissertations. One of the best ways to ensure a person gets the best out of the writing process may also be by enlisting the help of paper writing services.
Services like these can help students avoid the common writing mistakes and ensure a smooth transition from reading to writing to eventual submission.
7. Understand and Avoid Plagiarism
Plagiarism is the act of using another person’s ideas, writings or conclusions in your dissertation without attributing it to the original writer or author.
Writing without referencing constitutes plagiarism in academic writing. Students are often oblivious to this fact, and it should take care to familiarise themselves with how to properly reference and cite their sources.
8 .Keep a Record of All Your References
Once you start the dissertation reading and writing process you will realise that you will be required to consult a vast number of journals, articles and books which will be a nightmare to keep track of if you do not have some kind of system in place to keep a record of them.
Depending on what you are comfortable using, you can use an excel spreadsheet or use referencing software which a tailor made for this purpose.
9. Just Start Writing
Beginning the writing process can be overwhelming because most students do not know where' to start.
Most university professors will tell you that the best way to begin your dissertation is to just start writing, you can always tweak it afterwards. Once you start, half the battle is won and will encourage your creativity to flow.
10. Solicit the Help of Friends and Family
Students tend to underestimate the advantage of having friends and family around to help in the dissertation process.
This could be in the form of proof-readers and spell checkers or in the process of acquiring participants to be involved in the selected study. Family and friends can also be the best at keeping students on track and motivated to continue and succeed.
Writing a dissertation is a stressful process and is better navigated when students take note of a few strategies that can make the task smooth and painless.
The tips above if followed can help you avoid the common mistakes made by students thus making the writing process more seamless and enjoyable and will help you produce a well structure dissertation that you will be proud to put your name on.