Do you have to write a dissertation as part of your undergraduate degree? Are you bricking it at the thought of writing all those words (so many words) on one single topic? We feel your pain, we really do!
That's why we've put together our top tips - from those who have written one - on how to write a winning dissertation...
Deciding on a Dissertation Title/Question
You may already have your title or question that your dissertation will be answering figured out already but if not then don’t worry. Obviously having an idea to guide you as you do your research is helpful but for some people it won’t be until they actually start writing that the question they are asking/analysing becomes more clear.
Speaking of the title or question of your dissertation, make sure that throughout, you make links back to it as this will help you to stay on track and not go off on a tangent, as well as keep your reader engaged.
Organise Your Research
When doing research for your dissertation, separate your notes and any readings you’ve done into different points or paragraphs. This will make it so much easier as it will help you to see what points you will be making, what theories you might be using and any other relevant quotes you want to include.
If you have a clearer plan from the start then it makes the writing process so much easier too as you can pretty much take the notes you already have and just unpack them in more detail.
Focus on Structure
Make sure your dissertation has a clear structure! It can be tempting to just lump all of your notes together and just leave it there but by picking out the main points and going into detail it will make your analysis a lot stronger.
When writing your introduction make sure you set out exactly what you’re going to be doing so that your reader has a clear idea of what is going to be discussed. Like any other essay you may have written, you should keep in the back of your mind whether or not someone in the same field of study would be able to understand the argument you are trying to get across and will ensure that what you write is clear and concise.
The earlier you start writing, the better you will feel! This is why it’s also important to make use of your dissertation supervisor or any other lecturers available to help as you can agree on deadlines to have a certain amount written and it makes the process a lot easier.
Remember you don’t necessarily have to start at the beginning either! By breaking your dissertation up and writing it one section at a time it can help you figure out how to make it flow nicely when you do eventually put it all together.
Instead of tackling it all in one go, work on each of your points separately as this will mean you have more time to tweak each section too and the earlier you start planning and writing, the more time you will have to change it before it’s due.
Your dissertation is one of the final hurdles as your time at University will nearly be coming to an end so take your time on it, this is your chance to show off everything you’ve learnt over the last couple of years in a unique and creative way so don’t let it be something you end up rushing or leaving until the last minute.
The library should become your best friend when writing your dissertation, and I know some days the motivation to go just isn’t there but it is worth it in the end!