Choose a Topic You Are Keen On
When the student is truly interested in the topic, it makes up 50% of success. If you’re at the level where you need to write a dissertation, you have definitely heard lectures on a myriad of subjects.
Think about what topic or subject attracted you the most. Remember what was the easiest for you to comprehend. Write down a list of your interests. Read every point and ask yourself: “Can it be connected to my area of study?”. Clean up the list and you will be left with a few options only.
Aim for at least three titles as later you may discard some of them. Still having difficulties with the topics? You can delegate this task to a professional researcher from Essay Writing Service and free up some of that precious time. After the list is ready, you can choose the title that suits your preferences the most.
Do Not Write Introduction First
Writing a dissertation is unpredictable. Beginning the whole research with writing Introduction equals to starting cooking with putting a pan on a stove, lighting a burner, and only after that getting to wash, peel or unfreeze the food. In the middle, you will smell burning oil and will have to start over again.
First, unfreeze and unwrap the products to see the full picture of the future manuscript. It also means that enough time is needed. As soon as your tutor approves the topic, plan the research step by step. This may also take time but the planning saves precious days and even weeks in the end.
Work With the Supervisor
The best way to avoid misunderstanding with a tutor is to collaborate with them. When you are assigned one, meet with them and discuss the whole project, draft its skeleton together. A rough draft for the meeting will save time for you both.
Ask as many questions as possible. Try repeating the recommendations by rephrasing, ask whether you got it right. When the tutor guides you in something, take notes. Dissertations are vast projects, and a student’s brain won’t hold onto the memories about the first meeting all this time.
Many supervisors have limits when it comes to the number of drafts, and at some point, they may refuse to read or comment on anything but the final version. So, you’re going to need all the necessary information before writing anything.
Start with Reading Literature
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Research starts with references. Read what is already known and discover what is not researched at all. Usually, if the student is really into the topic, they come with quite specific titles. The more specific the title, the more chances that there is not much literature on it, hence the gap in research and the motivation for the latter.
Be Careful With Suggested Methods
Before writing Methodology, get to know the basic terms at least. Know the difference between design, approach, and strategy. Most students struggle with those three. Stick to one classification of terms. For instance, Saunders and Creswell have different sets of those. ‘Research design’ for the first one is not the same as for the second one.
The main elements that need to be covered are as follows:
- Research Design
- Sample (if the research is primary) or Search Strategy (if secondary)
- Data Collection Tools
- Data Analysis
- Ethical Considerations
Mind that if the written Methodology chapter doesn’t create a clear picture of what Results will look like, a revision is needed. A useful tool for structuring Methodology would be the research onion. The outer layer should be covered first, and after that, the researcher ‘peels off’ the layers in a logical manner.
Do not suggest grounded theory or quasi-experimental research if you have no idea what those are about. Remember that each subject area has its preferred methods and designs. For instance, discourse analysis is suitable for linguistics, philology, and sociology. Yet, the same won’t be so good for analyzing why the banking sector failed in 2007.
Qualitative vs. Quantitative
This will also depend on the subject, and this is probably the main thing you need to discuss with the supervisor. If the target subject area is connected to financing, the calculations are inevitable. However, if those are not obligatory and you have never completed a quantitative paper, stick to qualitative.
Students must take into account that qualitative dissertations are not always easy to write. Nevertheless, basic analytical skills and information arranged in a smart way will be enough.
Just remember that qualitative research won’t help to test hypotheses or gather responses from 100 people. One won’t collect such data with a survey having only options for answers. Mixed data may result in fruitful research but will also take more time and take at least 30 pages to write.
One more thing students should know is the difference between primary and secondary sources. If Results is full of literature review and meta-analysis articles or random sources that showed up in Google, the professor will not accept the content.
So, before formulating the research questions, make sure you have enough primary sources to build up Results. Primary articles can be based on experimental studies, trials, surveys, or interviews. One can also use official reports, policies, case law, etc.
Put it off till the final draft. Of course, drafts may need to be submitted, and some supervisors may be quite picky. However, do not put too much effort into every detail as you may have to rework a lot later.
To avoid constant reworking of format, learn about automatic heading styles. They will help to format the document in several clicks instead of changing everything manually.
Turn on the tabulation characters (Paragraph section in Microsoft Word). You will see where all the tables and figures go and why they do. Hidden symbols often create more troubles. The images formatted by default flow anywhere the software wishes them to.
Put the Draft Away For Several Days
It is better not to look at the full draft for a week or two. It is a popular lifehack fiction writers make use of. If the planning was careful, you have this time. Anyway, even 2-3 days will do. Some rest from the text is necessary to have a fresh look later. You may see the need to restructure something or find many mistakes and awkward sentences you deemed perfect.