Dissertations and how to plan them

“What is not started will never get finished.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Hey, all hope you are well in your corners of the world. Today, I would love to discuss university dissertations and to elaborate on a few tips I have had in planning my dissertation.  I personally as of early February 2020, have just completed my poster for my dissertation; I was very privileged to have had the praise I had, as I decided to draw mine rather than to print it off on the computer. ? But I digress slightly. Here are the wonderful tips I have for any of you who have the fortune (or misfortune, depending on how you look at it) of creating a dissertation poster for your chosen course.

1. Decide on a general idea

This one is quite self-explanatory, but in order for you to write a great dissertation, you first need to have a few ideas on what you would like to write it on. The keyword here is ‘like’; it will be SO much easier if you are very passionate about your chosen subject. It will motivate you to write a lot more and your future self will thank you so much for it.

2. Decide on a few of your main texts

Once you have decided on a thesis idea, try to branch out and find some appropriate main source texts that you may use throughout your dissertation. Note down any theories or viewpoints that you personally like, as well as any opposing arguments that you can use to cross-reference depending on the style of your essay. Once you have a rough foundation for what your argument is, you can then cultivate your methodologies for secondary sources and further texts.  This will also save you a bit of time and will give you an idea of whether the topic you’ve chosen is the right one for you. 

3. Look at sample dissertation layouts and structures

If you look at example dissertations and the way they are academically presented, this will save you so much time when you are planning the way you structure your dissertation. There are some sample dissertations online that you can download and, if you wanted to, you could copy and paste the layout to give you a nice template and then modify the structure to meet your dissertation plan accordingly. You can thank me later. The hardest part is getting started; once you have a clear structure in place, it will be so much easier to write it and to block each session for time-management. 

4. Make your own theory or observation

As you read through more of your texts and content, you could potentially form your own perspective, theory or opinion. This could merit even more marks, as you can then seriously evaluate and review. This will show at least an attempt in advance academic practice and is at least 2:1 Standard. 

5. Create a dissertation poster (and put effort into it)

Doing something creatively, like creating a poster for your dissertation, may also help you create when it comes to the more innovative ideas and structures. Don’t underestimate the creative process! Whether you are tech-savvy, a draw-er or you haven’t got a clue, it will surely spark some inspiration if you put all of your efforts into your poster. Besides, it is surely worth it – especially if your poster is part of your overall percentage to do a decent job.
I, for example, wanted to draw ‘4 pillars’ as it links to a ‘4 Pillars of Success Theory’ I have had. So in turn, it all links together.

Bonus points: start writing and time management

To give you some suggestions that really benefited me through this obstacle, I recommend you start self-reflecting – whether it be through…

– Time management (like my example: complete 1 pillar a month, or in your case maybe 2000 words per 2 weeks.)
– Ongoing reference list – keep this at the back of your dissertation (Word Document)
– Just write! Even if you don’t know what you are writing, the rough structure will allow you to get into a flow state if you keep concentrating.
– Proofread and ask others to proofread it for you.
– Use academic resources – library, lecturers, academic advisors etc.
– Treat yourself and enjoy the process!

I wish you all very good luck with your Dissertations, wherever you are in our amazing world. ? 

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