Dissertation – Aka the D word.

The majority of my workload at the moment is my dissertation write up – the 10,000 word lab report I have to hand in later this month along with my log book (a physical presentation of all the effort I’ve put into my dissertation) and believe me it will be one huge relief when I finally get it handed in. But until I do I still have another 5000 or so words to write and I thought I’d give you some tips when it comes to writing and doing  your dissertation in third year.

1. Pick a topic that interests you – This goes without saying, I originally wanted to do something on obesity/eating behaviours but got a sports psychology dissertation topic instead, it has however challenged me and that can be a good thing from time to time.

2. Do plenty of research – This is another obvious one (at least it should be). Once you find out what your topic is or your topic of choice has been approved, research it in depth. That way you can get a feel for what has already been done on it and use the articles and books you find as references in your write up.

3. Make sure you’re organised – My organisation and time management skills had never been so tested until I started doing my dissertation. It’s a long process so make sure you plan your time and keep back ups of related electronic files in different places (laptop, external hard-drive, usb stick, university pc hard-drives).

4. Meet with your tutor – One thing that’s been a big part of the dissertation process for me is meeting with my supervisor on a regular basis as my course requires us to have 3 formal meetings per term and we’re are also allowed ad-hoc (additional informal ones) meetings along the way. Your tutor will offer advice on what needs doing and will answer questions you may have

5. Methods for recruiting participants– This applies for dissertations where you are conducting a study of some kind. Whilst you should never force people into taking part (which is unethical) do use things like posters, social media and emails to tell people about your study and invite them to take part. I even used word of mouth and eventually I got the data and participants I needed.

Anyway I hope this entry has been informative and I wish you ever success when you come to do your dissertations.

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