What should you look out for before embarking on a dissertation journey?

A dissertation is every student’s nightmare. However, this nightmare can turn into a dream if you plan your dissertation well. Before embarking on a dissertation journey, schedule a meeting with your dissertation supervisor. Every student is assigned a dissertation supervisor at the beginning of his/her academic career and you should take advantage of this priceless resource. A supervisor would have given guidance to hundreds of students before; so, he will be in a position to advise you on your research topic and how you can proceed with it.

Apart from taking suggestions from your dissertation supervisor, be clear about the deadlines and your university’s expectations. Once you have chosen your research topic, identify all the tasks that you need to complete over a period of time and incorporate them into a detailed timeline. Many students come up with detailed timelines but fail to follow them religiously; as such, they lose track of time and start panicking a few weeks before the submission of their dissertations.

A dissertation comprises many parts – literature review, primary research, the value addition of your dissertation to the current knowledge bank, and thorough analysis and evaluation of sources. So, you should be clear about every step and have a good understanding of the approach at every step. For example, primary research includes conducting interviews, surveys, and polls. However, not all may be applicable to your field of study or research topic. So, think carefully and focus your efforts on research methodologies that are relevant to your field of study.

In addition, identify literature that is relevant to your field of study before analysing it. In order to score high on credibility, review literature published by renowned scholars. This will enhance the value of your dissertation too. Before you start writing your dissertation, look through some of the theses and dissertations of high quality. This way, you will be able to appreciate good writing styles, and at the same time, you will be able to incorporate them into your own dissertation.

It is important to have regular meetings with your dissertation supervisor so that you can discuss some of the challenges that you may be facing. Also, increase the social network in your university by interacting with seniors who have completed their dissertations. They will be able to assist you in your dissertation and provide invaluable tips to ace your dissertation. So, instead of taking a leap into your dissertation blindfolded, scan the waters around you and seek expert help, and you will be able to survive the rough seas ahead of you.

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