Writing up a dissertation is a rather challenging experience where you are expected to employ your experience gathered from your time spent at university to compose an academic piece of literature. Sounds difficult but it does not have to be!
Speaking with friends from different courses and faculties for advice I managed to get a widespread view on the important points students here at Surrey consider to be gold information on dissertation writing. I have summarized 4 pieces of advice in this post.
- Time Management
This is the most frequent advice I get “make sure you manage your time correctly and efficiently”. Throughout the process of writing your dissertation you will face plenty of obstacles and issues, more often than not, having a bit of extra time will help you mitigate any of those issues, or at least reduce the impact on your final write up. Have a planned schedule, it goes without saying. It is easy to get overwhelmed with piling coursework, lectures and submissions. Having a set schedule that you set for yourself at the beginning of the academic year will massively help you manage your time.
- Stick to the Plan
There is no point of making a schedule if there is no willingness to commit to it. Many kick-off their year following a well-planned schedule but gradually stop following the schedule. A well throughout schedule is essential to ensure that it is compatible for yourself. Make sure you have a well-balanced schedule that would not make every task feel like a burden while aiming to organize the tasks such that deadlines are met comfortably. Flexibility is a plus, being able to add/remove slots according to how busy your workload can be a benefit.
- Pace Yourself
This goes hand in hand with planning. Make sure to write down periodic summaries every two weeks (can be more or less depending on your project). You can even take the next step and have your supervisor take a look at it. Having a progress report document to submit to your supervisor can be helpful in the long term. In addition to preventing the pile up of work in the future, you make sure that your supervisor is up to date with your progress and thoroughly familiar with your progress and understanding of the topic in hand. Your supervisor will be able to give you consistent feedback according to your progress.
- Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help
This may seem straightforward, but this is relevant to dissertation write up as well as your everyday life. Finding yourself overwhelmed with loads of unfinished business is not a strange feeling for most final-year students. Do not hesitate to visit the university’s available resources such as center for wellbeing. Moreover, SPLASH is a great source for learning development, they offer a wide range or support services in the form of drop-in sessions, one-on-one sessions and workshops. SPLASH offers help to develop plenty of academic skills such as essay writing, referencing, preparing a presentation and much more. Furthermore, there are workshops dedicated to dissertation writing and improving research skills for literature review. Finally, do not hesitate to ask for help from friends and coursemates. Sometimes your friends can offer a great piece of advice because they are at the same level as you are and would understand what you are going through.
This is by no means a guide on how to write your dissertation however there are some useful pieces of advice that can help make things slightly easier.