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A dissertation is probably the largest piece of writing you’ll ever have to write in your life! 12,000 – 15,000 words seems like such a mountain to climb, but it doesn’t have to be too stressful. In this post we’re going to look at some things you can do to help you manage the dissertation writing process successfully.

Firstly, it is important to get your title, aims and objectives clear so that you do not waste too much time reading around the subject area – try to focus your reading on your dissertation title not the general subject area. Then you need to think about how much time you are going to need to do the reading for the literature review, conduct your research, analyse your research findings and write everything up

Suggestion 1:Try writing out the contents page with chapters, headings and sub-heading so you know how much work you have to do.

Secondly, you should start writing as soon as possible. You can read and write and edit and rewrite continuously so don’t try to read all the books, websites and journal articles before writing, otherwise you will never get started. Remember that you can’t read forever so if you start writing early you will get into the habit of reading, writing and editing together.

Suggestion 2: At the beginning try working on your dissertation for a few hours every day and for every session of say 3 – 4 hours tell yourself you must write something as well as doing research/ reading.

Another key point  is not to write the dissertation in a linear way, one chapter after another. A dissertation is not like a large essay, it is a research project. Many students make the mistake of thinking that the literature review is the most important part of their dissertation. However, the research methodology, research and findings chapters are just as important.

Suggestion 3: Work on different sections of your dissertation and go back and edit/ amend/ change whenever you want.

Finally, make sure you understand the role of your supervisor. S/he is a guide and is there to help you through the dissertation journey but not to tell you what to do next. It is your research project and you are the boss!

Good luck and please add any helpful ideas you have to this post.

Fiona

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