PHinisheD! 10 Dissertation Writing Tips
Dissertations - the dreaded word we hear during Uni, but push it to the back of our minds, convinced it’ll never happen: until third year rolls around and catches us off-guard. It’s probably the biggest piece of work you’ve ever faced in your education, but that doesn’t mean it has to be the hardest. Here are 10 tips to hopefully ease those dissertation blues.
1. The Rule of 8
This golden tip was given to me by friends of mine who have already graduated. To ensure you get enough work, sleep and other activities done in a 24 hour period, break your day down into 8 hour periods. Get 8 hours sleep, set aside 8 hours in your day to write and research, which means you can justify 8 hours of food shopping, socialising and procrastination.
Set yourself a plan for what you are going to write where in your dissertation; where each paragraph will come, and what the content of each paragraph will be. This means you can dip in and out of various subject matters if you get too bogged down.
3. PEE all over your work!
No, not literally. PEE stands for “Point, Evidence, Explain”. It’s a writing technique that was taught to me by my year 9 English teacher, and it changed my writing style forever. Whenever you make a POINT in your dissertation, make sure you back it up with EVIDENCE, and EXPLAIN why that point is relevant to your study.
4. Talk to your personal tutor
That’s their job - to help you! They can help refine your ideas, give you suggestions on which journals to cite, and even critically analyse any draft you have done.
5. Give it to someone outside the subject matter
I find giving essays I’ve written to my dad for proofreading works wonders! He doesn’t know anything about Marketing or Business Ethics - if HE can understand my essay, anyone can! Use your housemates to get an outside perspective that doesn’t end in “oh, well I wrote this…….”
6. Set small goals
Set yourself a mini deadline to help ease the load. “Today I’m going to write 1,000 words” or “I’m going to finish this paragraph before I can go to McDonald’s” should work. Incentive is your friend.
7. Don’t burn yourself out
The optimum time to write continuously and still produce high quality stuff is 45 minutes. At the end of this time, step away from the computer screen and make yourself a cup of tea. Your eyes and brain will thank you for it!
8. Do something dissertation-related every day
Your deadline may be months away, but that doesn’t mean you should put it off until the last minute. Whether it’s content writing, research, or even adapting your plan or structure, it will make the final panic process a little easier knowing you’ve done SOMETHING.
9. Don’t Panic!
Keep a level head and don’t lose it - that’s just what the dissertation wants! Show it what you’re made of and finish it!
Once you’ve written, finalised, bound and submitted your dissertation - let off all that steam! You’ve earned it!
Written by Julia Warnes
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