Writing your dissertation is a huge part of any student’s third year, but there are lots of steps you can take to make the process that little bit easier. Here are some steps to help you survive your dissertation!
Have a clear goal in mind
While writing your dissertation, it’s so easy to lose sight of what you want the end product to be. Keep a clear goal in mind for the final piece as well as the structure. Dissertations are a lot of words so this will make sure you don’t go off on a tangent at any point.
Stick to a schedule of smaller deadlines
Rather than just keeping to your final dissertation deadline, it’s much easier to make a few small deadlines to ensure you’re keeping on track. Be sure to keep your deadlines realistic, but also slightly flexible.
Make use of online resources
There are lots of online resources to help you with your dissertation. Here are just a few of them (resources without a link can be found on Moodle):
- Sage Project Planner Tool (If you are logging in off campus, please see our Guide to logging in off-campus to Sage Research Methods (including the Project Planner Tool).
- Start to Finish Dissertations
- How to write a Literature Review
- A to Z of Literature Reviews
- Dissertation Workshop Slides
- Literature Review Workshop
- Components of a Dissertation Handout
- Writing your Dissertation Guide
- Checklist for Writing a Literature Review
- Starting your Research workshop slides
- Google Scholar workshop slides
- Journal Articles – find them, read them, cite them workshop slides
- News & Websites: find them, read them, cite them
- Research methods workshop slides
- Open access resources workshop slides
- Image searching workshop slides
- What’s the difference – journal articles, trade publications, magazines
Studiosity is an online writing feedback service which is available 24/7. The service allows you to submit a piece of written work up to 5,500 long words and then you get feedback within 24 hours. For your dissertation, you can split your document into two lots of 5,500 words, making up two of your ten Studiosity interactions for the year. Find out more about Studiosity on the Learning Skills Hub.
Work in new locations
Working from the same location every time can make you less productive as you begin to associate that space with work, making you want to be there less. It’s good to change up your location of work every so often. Why not sit somewhere new on campus, head to a local café or come along to our new 3rd years only quiet Study Space in room 1.29 of the Library.
Access on-campus support
The Academic Achievement Team run various face-to-face events to support you throughout your dissertation. 20 minute 1-2-1 drop-ins take place in the Library Café each weekday and there is no need to book, simply turn up with your question. They also run workshops on various topics including:
- Starting Your Research
- Introduction to RefWorks
- Critical Thinking and Writing
- Dissertation Planning/Writing
- Managing Long Documents
- Referencing and Academic Integrity
- Statistical Package for the Social Sciences Q&A Sessions
To find about about dates, times and locations for all of the above events, head to the Learning Skills Hub.
Get others to read over your work
It’s always a good idea to get someone else to read over your work with a fresh pair of eyes. As the person who has done the writing, it is so easy to look past small mistakes without even noticing. Get someone to read sections of your work as you go along and then one final time at the end.
Look after your wellbeing
Finally, remember that it is so important to look after yourself throughout the process of writing your dissertation. Eat properly, keep hydrated and give yourself regular breaks. Celebrate small achievements as you go along and remember – you can do it!