By the time you come to doing your MA dissertation, it is likely that you will have already done a dissertation at undergraduate level. This leaves many people feeling confident that they know what is required for their MA dissertation, however this is often not the case. This article will give you 5 tricks which will help combat the difference in level between BA and MA and hopefully make your life easier.
Remember, a MA dissertation is significantly harder than a BA dissertation!
It is important that for an MA dissertation that you are using the most up to date resources in the field. While you may have got away with this at Bachelors level, it just won’t cut it for a Master’s degree. A good way to make sure you are using current literature is obviously to check the books’ date of publication, but also to quickly Google the author and see what sort of reviews their literature is getting and importantly if they are still alive…
Wide range of resource types
It is essential that you are showing your tutor that you searched high and low to find all of the relevant information on your topic. A good idea is to sign up to a newspaper archive if you are doing archival work. Look for all appropriate journals, films, TV series, documentaries, books, newspaper articles etc. This will make sure that you not only have a wide range of different mediums to view the work from but you are also respecting that each type of resource displays information in a different fashion.
Ask the supervisor
Each supervisor is different. Each supervisor prefers certain styles of writing and certain formats of providing information. If you are not sure what constitutes the jump in level from BA to MA dissertation, then ask… The tutor will know exactly what they are expecting from you and if you listen to their advice and implement these points then it will put you in good stead for the work.
I know that this is an obvious one but sometimes people underestimate this point. The topic that you chose at undergraduate level might have been appropriate for a BA degree, but do not assume that something similar would be appropriate at Masters level. Students often attempt to undertake a similar styled project at MA as they did at BA and find themselves falling drastically short. A MA dissertation of 15,000 words is significantly longer than 10,000 words, so make sure that you plan for all that extra writing. Some MA dissertations can be up to 25,000 words.
At Undergraduate level there are a series of formatting errors or small punctuation and spelling mistakes that you can get away with. The tutors understand the pressure of the dissertation season and give you the benefit of the doubt. You will not be so lucky at Masters Level, the tutors will expect you to be calm and collected whilst writing this dissertation and therefore will highlight each error and penalise you accordingly. Make sure that you maintain a level of quality checking whilst doing the work and show the tutor how experienced you are at essay writing!
Good luck with your MA Dissertation!