For all students who are starting to feel slightly panicked when thinking about their dissertations, we’re here to offer some helpful advice in the form of our top ten tips.
1. Make sure you have planned the structure of your dissertation clearly. Even if this changes as you begin to write, at least you’ve got an idea where you are heading.
2. Don’t get stuck on the introduction. Some students find it easier to write their opening paragraph once they have all their work in front of them, so if you’re struggling, come back to it.
3. Keep your word count in mind.
4. Try to avoid asking your friends and fellow students how much they have written so far. You’re at risk of either getting slightly complacent, or having a complete panic and getting thrown off course unnecessarily.
5. Read, read, read. Even if you’ve already compiled all of your research and are about to start, that odd chapter or few paragraphs along the way could push you into thinking with a new perspective or urge you to develop your own argument more fully.
6. Make sure you take regular breaks to do something else, preferably active since you will have been staring at a computer screen for a while. Eat well and monitor your caffeine intake.
7. Review in stages. By considering each paragraph or chapter as you go, you won’t have such a daunting task after you’ve finally finished.
8. Try not to freak out. There will come a point in the middle of the night where you start to doubt both yourself and your entire dissertation. Unless your dissertation supervisor has spotted a huge flaw then remain faithful that you’re on track.
9. Leave enough time to sort out your bibliography and references. This can often take longer than you first thought but need to be as thorough as possible.
10. Keep in mind the end goal. Although you might not be able to have much of a social life at the moment, your dissertation horror will soon be over. Keep your motivated and it will pay off in the end.