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Prep For The Win: A Quick Guide to Writing Your Dissertation

Laura Cunningham 15/05/18

The dissertation is the most dreaded assignment of a student’s life. You have to dedicate countless hours to this one project, as well as giving your other assignments and/or exams 100%. Getting that magical first may seem impossible, however, with the proper planning and a winning dissertation plan you will be celebrating your first at the end of the year.

The Perfect Proposal

Every dissertation requires a proposal. This is where you research the area you are interested in, find gaps in research and really sink your teeth into a subject you enjoy. The main ingredient in the perfect dissertation recipe is passion. Find something you have an active interest in, it will make spending hours reading journals and literary works so much more bearable.

Getting Started – Your Study Dissertation Timetable

Failing to plan is planning to fail, so the saying goes. And it’s definitely no different when it comes to your dissertation. Talk to your supervisor and start from your final submission date, working back to decide on checkpoints for different parts of your dissertation.

Taking a large task and cutting it into smaller more manageable tasks is a life skill that will see you right in almost any situation in the future!

The Literature Review

You could be forgiven for thinking that you should write your introduction first. However, your introduction will make references to various different parts of your dissertation, such as your literature review, methodology and findings.

Your literature review sets the tone of your dissertation. It is designed to help both you and the reader build a view of your topic and to identify any gaps in research that your dissertation aims to fill.

Use study tools such as MindGenius to take notes, brainstorm ideas and keep images, links and documents in one place. Websites such as Cite This For Me and Neil’s Tool Book are great for generating accurate references too.

Methodology & Research

What are you going to do and why? This is the basic principle of your methodology. While this particular section of your dissertation is relatively short, it’s significance is quite great.

When writing your methodology it is important to justify why you are using this particular method to generate findings. The right methodology leads to much more credible results.

In comparison to your methodology, your research findings sections are going to be the longest parts of the whole dissertation. This is where you see the fruits of your labour and there is no better feeling than analysing the findings of research you have conducted yourself. Remember to take pride in this section, your dissertation will be published online for all to see. So, make your research count! If you encounter a different result to what you thought, find out why. Conduct another focus group or get back in the lab.

Make sure to separate your findings into 3 sections:

1. Findings

2. Discussion of Findings

3. Summary of Findings

Pulling it All Together

Some people write the different elements of their dissertation in separate word documents, other’s write it in one. Whatever you do, make sure you read through each section individually and then all together. This allows you to see if it all flows together and doesn’t sound like different bits were written by different people.

Discuss the reference and appendix requirements with your supervisor, as well as the formatting guidelines. Most universities have a dissertation handbook that outlines all this information for you, however, your dissertation supervisor is there to help you so take advantage of it!

Why not try out MindGenius Education when your prepping for your dissertation? You can use it to take notes, create your study timetables, build presentations or even just have it as somewhere to keep references, images, attachments and links.

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