Top Tips For Writing Your Postgraduate Dissertation
Your postgraduate dissertation might be seeming a bit daunting right now. Maybe you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you and you don’t know how to handle it? Or maybe you’re just looking for ways to improve it? You might even be getting flashbacks to your time as an undergraduate – although this time, it’s even harder! Either way, if you’re struggling with your dissertation for your masters degree then we have some top tips to make sure you find it as easy as possible!
Break down your dissertation into sections
A plan is an important part of any project and if you’ve got a lot of work to battle then it might be better to section off each part with subheadings. You can do this during your plan and keep referring back to it throughout the project. Start by sectioning the most important parts and then break it down even further to give yourself manageable amounts. Each section could be only a few hundred words, but in the end, it will all add up. By doing this, it will make your dissertation far less stressful as you can tackle it bit by bit. Before you know it you’ll have a full set of work ready to go.
Create a routine
The perfect way to ensure you keep up with your postgraduate dissertation is to create yourself a steady routine to make sure you fit in all of your work. If you have split your work into sections, you could try to tackle one section a week and get into a routine of completing it in the evenings. This will make sure that you’re adding to it continuously and at a steady pace. The sooner you start your dissertation routine the sooner you’ll get used to it!
Just keep reading
Even though you will likely end up with more references than you intended, throughout your dissertation, you should keep reading to find some important points. You might think you have enough to reference already but as your project progress, you could find that certain quotes are less relevant or find that your new ones suit your hypothesis much better. Chances are you won’t use everything you read, (most postgraduate dissertations only need about 20-30 references) but it’s much better to have plenty of options than not enough when it comes towards the end. As mentioned, making notes will help with this and throughout your project, you can be selective with which references work the best. It’s always good to be prepared.
Link your work back to your headings
This might sound fairly obvious but it’s important throughout your dissertation that you stay on track. By consistently referring back to your headings you’ll know you haven’t gone off-topic or started to babble. Your headings are there as a main point of conversation so keep them in mind and always check back if you feel like you’ve lost your way. It might help to include key-words from your selected heading so you know exactly what you’re referring to.
Always use your supervisor
Your supervisor is there to help you throughout your postgraduate dissertation so make the most of it! Many students come across issues within their projects such as having a lack of survey participants or even a bad plan. It’s likely they’ve helped many students and answered many questions before so they might have the perfect answer that you’re looking for. There’s no point suffering in silence if you don’t need to! Your project is more likely to run smoother and quicker if you get help with any problems you find yourself faced with. If you’re stuck, drop them an email and you’ll be back to writing before you know it.
Don’t panic if your findings aren’t what you expected
Once you start your research you may find that the outcome is different from what you planned. If this happens, don’t panic! It’s still something to write about and it doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong. Research can often end up with a range of different outcomes so even if it isn’t exactly what you wanted it’s important to include and accept the results. It shows development if you can understand the results of your research regardless of what you’d previously predicted. It could even end up making your dissertation more interesting.
Look after yourself
Last but not least, put yourself first. You definitely won’t be the first person who puts their project as their main focus but that doesn’t mean you can’t take some time to care for yourself. If you’re finding it difficult take a step away for an hour or two and relax. Chances are you’ve got plenty of time and your health is more important. The project can wait and it’s likely you’ll work a lot better if you give yourself a second and get back to it with a clearer mind.
Hopefully these tips will help you with your postgraduate dissertation and will ensure it runs as smoothly as possible! We know this can be a stressful time for many students, so good luck and don’t forget, we are here to help you in any way possible!