As we get back into the swing of studying in 2023, there will be many people heading firmly into dissertation territory. It’s a nerve wracking time for any student, a culmination of your studies, your experiences, and the things you’ve learnt during your time at university. And there are plenty of dissertation tips flying around the internet but these are, in our opinion, ones which will really help.
Reference as you go
It doesn’t matter which referencing style you’re using, they all take their toll. When you’re writing a lengthy essay such as your dissertation, it can be easy to just keep going and going and going. But then you have to go right back to the start and create your bibliography or reference list once the whole thing is written – and many people, at this stage, are feeling a little bit sick of their chosen topic. This is why a lot of bibliographies end up poorly put together! If you do it all as you go, you’re keeping a steady pace with your writing AND ensuring you don’t miss any references out…
Take regular breaks
We know, we know, you’ve heard this one before. But it can’t be repeated too many times! It’s so important to take time out, keep up with your hobbies, spend time with friends and get plenty of sleep even while you’re right in the depths of your dissertation. You can’t pour from an empty cup, and this applies to your work too: if you’re worn out, burnt out, and stressed to the max then it results in sloppy writing, half-baked ideas and faulty research. And nobody wants that!
Get somebody to proofread it for you
It may seem like a big ask, because dissertations tend to be long. But if you ask a fellow student, you can always proofread theirs in return. Fresh eyes on your ideas, your writing and your layout will help immensely – even if it’s just about picking up some niggly spelling mistakes or pointing out where you need to split your paragraphs up. Leave yourself plenty of time to implement their edits if need be.
Be aware of your limits
This refers to a variety of things: your word count, the amount of research you can do, the data you can access, the sources you can realistically get hold of. And, of course, it refers again to taking time out when you need it. You and your work both have limits, and you need to be aware of these AND stick to them. You can’t do it all – but what you can do, you can do well.
Your dissertation will likely be the biggest piece of work you do during your university career, and the most important. It’s one of your final chances to show what you’re made of, and make use of all the information you’ve learnt throughout your studies. Work hard, take your time, and try not to panic. You’ll do absolutely fine!