Your dissertation could well be the longest and most important piece of writing you will complete in your lifetime, and certainly during your time as an undergraduate. The thought of sitting down for hours at a time and writing it is daunting to most of us, but starting out with a thorough and detailed plan will help you to focus your research, manage your time, and keep tasks from becoming unmanageable. These point all hail from Oxbridge Essays, check out their Facebook page for more information and advice.
- Select a Field of Study that Genuinely Interests You
You’re going to be spending hours and hours on this piece of writing, so if it’s not on a topic you find interesting, most of the time you’re going to miserable and bored, and that rarely equals quality work. Think back on your time at university and think of the topic whose lectures you enjoyed the most, and work out an area that you would genuinely enjoy working on. Depending on your University, dissertation tutors can be assigned to students covering certain areas, so try to drop an email to your favourite lecturer asking them if you write about topic X, which also happens to be something they’re knowledgeable about, would they be the one to coach you. When I was at University, I’m certain that I would have been totally lost and confused without the help of my tutor.
- Choose a Point of Focus and an Engaging Title
Depending on your course or just your own personal preference, you may choose to extend a study that has already been carried out, analyse a certain area, apply a theory to something, or set out to do a completely original study. Be careful doing original research, however, as this often leads to a lack of supporting data that you can reference.
Your title is something that should be run by your dissertation tutor, who can give advice on whether it is clear enough, pointing in the right direction, and/or where to emphasis. It could be a good idea to show your tutor a handful of titles, all with slight differences to see which they think is most promising.
- Make a Plan of your Section Titles, Subtitles and Areas of Research
Most essay plans would go something like this. In order: introduction, main body, conclusion. Your introduction will probably only be a few hundred words, but it needs to outline what you’re going to say and how you plan to go about it. The main body could be around 80% of your total word count, and is where you’ll say what you have found out and draw conclusions from your research. Your conclusion will be a summary of your findings that were laid out in the main body, as well as asking questions like is there a solution, does anything remain unsolved, and what does the future hold for the issue?