8 Tips for Students: Surviving the Dissertation

By on March 20th, 2018

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Hit the ground running with these 8 top tips for surviving your dissertation…

1. Get the right support

Find out who your supervisor is as soon as possible. They will be able to provide you with guidance, support and assistance throughout your dissertation studies by helping you to define your topic, identify the relevant research literature and manage your progress.

2. Outline and plan

A great way to make sure you stay on track is to start by planning the structure of your dissertation first and foremost. This will help keep your essay focused and to the point. See here for an example of best practices.

3. Make it a priority

You might be tempted to procrastinate, but when the opportunity arises, resist going out with your friends when you know there is important work to be done. You can celebrate once you’ve finished and it’ll be worth it in the long run.

4. Don’t ask friends how much they’ve done

Focus on your own work and deadlines. Checking in with friends to see how many words they’ve written could leave you feeling either paranoid you’re falling behind or overconfident. Stick to your own deadlines and check in with your supervisor if you are concerned about the pace you are working at.

5. Ask for feedback early and often

Regular feedback from your supervisor will keep you on the right track and rectify any problems early on. Plan in 1 to 1 sessions whenever possible; your supervisor is there to support you and help you throughout this process, so make sure you are using the resources available!

6. Be mindful of the editing process

Don’t underestimate the editing stage and leave yourself plenty of time to ensure your work is well-structured, coherent and polished. A lot of the work you do won’t make it into your dissertation and you might find yourself over the word count limit, so be brutal with the editing and leave out the unnecessary material.

7. Spellcheck and proofread

It is very important to proofread your dissertation to make sure there are no grammatical or spelling errors. If English isn’t your first language or you have a known learning difficulty, you should seek additional support from your university before submitting your dissertation.

8. Be proud of what you have achieved

Finishing it will be one of the best feelings in the world. It’s worth the hard work knowing you’ve completed what’s likely to be your biggest, single most important piece of work – be proud of yourself!

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