08 Nov Six Tips for Getting Through the Dissertation
To suggest that the dissertation is not always an easy trip is an understatement. Numerous people before you, including my friends and myself, have endured endless all-nighters and the stress of nearly missed deadlines. We’ve forgotten things we shouldn’t have forgotten, made mistakes we shouldn’t have made, and messed up things we shouldn’t have messed up.
The primary advantage of not going first is that you can learn from our mistakes and maybe manage your time more efficiently than we did. As someone who has been there and done that, here are my top recommendations for avoiding last-minute panic and “I’m never going to finish that thing” moments.
1. Do not overlook the training associated with your study method.
Depending on your experience, certain approaches may need you to learn new formulas, adapt to programmes you have never used, or comprehend tools you were unaware existed.
While this type of training is excellent for skill development, it must also be included into time management. I know from experience that watching YouTube lessons on how to utilise Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) to extract data from your survey at 02:00, ten days before the deadline, is not enjoyable.
Before you begin reading your literature, speak with your supervisor about what you will need to know about your approach and data analysis, and budget time for learning and training as necessary.
2. Develop a step-by-step procedure for assembling your materials.
What if you’ve prepared everything for your interviews and then discover that no one is accessible to speak with you?
The answer is that it is not desirable.
Even before you begin your literature review, make a list of all the steps necessary to gather your materials, estimate the time required for each stage, and account for any potential barriers.
For instance, interviews will need you to contact each participant individually and offer them a time slot, which they may or may not accept. Re-scheduling is not an issue if you contact them far in advance; however, it becomes a different storey when the deadline is perilously close.
Establish a plan early on and consult your supervisor – they have considerable experience with material collection.
3. Eliminate any references
Let us be honest: reference is inconvenient, and you’d rather be doing the dishes than attempting to decipher it. However, the sooner you organise your references, the less likely you are to spend hours later chasing out articles.
I established a second document in which I meticulously recorded, in the proper format and alphabetical order, the references to all the articles I was reading immediately as they were finished. It’s inconvenient in the short run, but well worth it in the long run. Additionally, it’s beneficial to gain an overview of the various sources you’re utilising.
4. Keep in mind that writing a dissertation is not a 24-hour job.
During the dissertation phase (what day is it again?) it’s easy to lose touch with the outer world.
, but it is critical to approach the dissertation like you would any other job.
For some, viewing the dissertation as a 9 to 5 job and unwinding during the evenings and weekends may work well. Others may choose to work on it daily, but for only half the day. Whichever method you like, make a point of scheduling time to get some fresh air and unwind; it may even help to arrange it on your calendar.
The dissertation is not a sprint; it is a marathon.
5. Pay attention to your pattern of productivity.
You know that feeling when you’ve been reading the same article on your laptop for three hours and have no idea what it’s about because you’ve been browsing through Instagram gazing at adorable pups the entire time?
It happens to the best of us, and it can happen fairly frequently over the course of the dissertation. It is implausible to believe that you would be able to keep the same degree of concentrate throughout the day, every day, for three months.
Take the time to analyse your peak productivity periods (for example, by keeping a productivity log for a few days) and organise your chores accordingly.
Avoid attempting to read an article at the end of the day if you are aware that your focus is at its lowest at that time. Instead, focus on organising your notes.
Additionally, you can conduct study on tools and practises that can aid with concentration, such as Pomodoro or Forest, and solicit advice from your colleagues.
6. Avoid the comparison trap
Some of your classmates may work more quickly, appear more organised, and finish two or three weeks ahead of you. The converse is also possible: you could be miles ahead of them and feel as though you’re missing something or skipping steps.
However, keep in mind that your study is distinct from theirs, as is your working pace/method. Some may wish to go deeply into a theoretical framework, necessitating additional time spent on the literature review, while others may choose to try something entirely new, necessitating additional time spent on data collection and analysis.
Some people prefer to work quickly on a first draught and then spend time editing everything, while others prefer to work slowly and have few revisions at the end.
Making a choice
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