Being a student can seem like being on a roller coaster; it is extremely exciting but there are times when you would desperately like to get off. One of those times is often when you realise that you have to write a dissertation. The horrifying realisation that you have to provide in between 10,000 and 15,000 words depending upon your course and university can make your stomach feel like its had a bowl of concrete poured onto it. Subsequently, when you learn that on top of that you also have to provide original research, it can just seem like too much and can drive you in one of two directions. This usually falls into the two P modes, panic or procrastination.
This article will show you how to avoid both those situations whilst demonstrating how to write a dissertation.
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When you choose your topic, you must ensure that your choice fits the following:
At this point, you will have worked your way down your list and may be left with one or two choices which fit the criteria of the above list. Let’s imagine, that you are left with novels that depict the 19th century asylum. The next stage is finding a suitable research question to base your dissertation on. To do this you will need to discover:
When you read as much of the above material as you can in a critical and analytical manner, you will notice that you start noticing patterns and connections in what you read. This should lead to you asking questions. It is imperative at this stage that you make notes about the patterns, connections and questions. It is also useful during this period to keep a reflective journal as you read. The reason for this is that writing down ideas about what you have read makes you organise your thoughts and make sense of them.
Let’s imagine that after all this background reading that you want to discover “do novels depicting the 19th century asylum reflect the reality of them?”
What could be used for research?
Notice, how the novels to be used are a mixture of texts that were actually written during the 19th century and also contemporary novels. This is done for a reason. It means that you can critically analyse whether texts written during the period that the question refers to are nearer to reality than texts written over a hundred years later. In fact, it is an interesting situation because you would have to point out that although the texts are analysed as primary sources, they are actually a mixture of primary and secondary sources because of when they were written.
Other primary sources that could be used for your research are:
Secondary sources that could be used for the asylum question would be:
The Literature Review may, at first, seem like something that you feel you can write without any problems, especially when you are doing all your background reading and you have reams and reams of information. However, that is what the problem can be when you come to write the Literature Review – the reams and reams of information. It is tempting when you’ve done all that work to want to showcase everything you know about the subject. This is a mistake.
There are two reasons for this. The most obvious is that if you have done the amount of background reading that you truly need for a dissertation, you will exceed your word count by two or three times if you write it all down. Many examiners will penalise you for this or even refuse to read it all. The main reason that you should not throw everything in is that it will appear to the reader that you cannot establish what is relevant to your research question. This is why, you have to be ruthless when you are deciding what to put in and what to leave out. If it isn’t relevant, discard it.
However, if you are really clear about what is relevant to your literature review and you still have more material than is possible to put in it, you may wish to look at your research question again. The reason for this is that there is a strong possibility that the subject is too wide. There is also the danger that it is a subject that has been popular in the past and this means that most of the research on it will have been covered. In essence, the likelihood of you finding anything original to write is exceedingly slim. In that case, you may have to rethink your topic. This is why it is important to start your dissertation as early as possible and also to take time carefully choosing a subject.
Remember that the aim is to produce a dissertation that is coherent, logical and structured. However, with this in mind, don’t be afraid to write drafts. Remember that during the course of your research, you may change your mind about how you answer your question. In essence, this is why you are doing your research to find something out. Therefore, it really helps to be open minded enough to be ready and willing to change anything and everything as you travel along your dissertation journey.
For some reason, writing the methodology section often turns stomachs. It really does not need to. Basically, you need to:
Writing your dissertation
For some, finding the topic is the worst part of the dissertation, for others it is working out which methodology to use but for most the writing of it is indeed the hardest part. The reason seems to be the size of it. Adopting certain techniques help to make writing your dissertation less painful.
Writing a dissertation can be an inspiring experience, however, if you still are not clear how to write a dissertation or you are stressed and need help, you do not need to look any further. We provide a whole range of writing services that include dissertations, research, essay writing, letter writing, editing and proof reading. If you need help and it is making you feel overwhelmed, get in touch with us now and find out what we can do for you.
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