Writing a dissertation is a huge step. For many, it is the dissertation that will sum up years and years of education. The grade you achieve in your dissertation will likely shape your future. It is nigh on impossible for us to tell you everything that you need to know about producing a dissertation here. What we can do, however, is give you five rules that you absolutely must remember when producing your dissertation. It will make the process a whole lot easier, and perhaps give you a greater chance of securing the grade you want.
Rule 1: Don’t write until you have researched…a lot
This is, of course, going to be dependent on the subject that you are writing the dissertation on. However, in most cases, you will need to be putting in a lot of research. Your dissertation is a big deal, so it is likely you will be spending hours and hours trawling over books and websites.
The reason why you want to be putting a lot of research at the start is that you need to know the full scope of what you are writing about. It will make your writing job a whole lot easier. Through research, you will likely discover points of view you never considered. You may be able to find evidence that disproves a point that you once held dear. You will be able to link up your points a lot better.
Remember: dissertations work because the information flows together. If you start writing without knowing what you are writing about, it is likely that your ideas will be rather disjointed. This will be jarring for the reader. This can result in a lower grade.
Rule 2: Collect your citations and build your bibliography
It is easier to collect your citations and build your bibliography at the start. Whenever you collect a piece of research, you need to highlight exactly where you got the information from. Even if you do not plan on using that piece of research, it is a lot easier to know the information now rather than trawl back later on if you decide that it is useful.
Remember, citations can help protect you against accusations of plagiarism. It also shows your reader that you have put the effort into doing your research. It shows that you have a solid understanding of the subject matter.
Rule 3: Plan your dissertation
There are a lot of guides out there that will tell you to just dive into writing your dissertation.
This is not something we believe in. It is important that you plan your dissertation. Get a
good overview of what you want to write about. It will provide you with a whole lot more focus, and when you are focused, your ideas will come together with a lot cleaner.
We suggest you plan your dissertation or at least start, a few days before you are planning on beginning the writing process. This way you will be able to check wherever you have done all the research that you need. If there are any missing concepts, then you will be able to do your research again.
Rule 4: Write the introduction last
Most people write the introduction first. Don’t do that. It is hard. The point of the introduction is to introduce people to what you are going to discuss in your dissertation. The introduction should be the last thing you write. If you don’t make it last, then it is likely the introduction won’t make sense. This means that you will need to write it again anyway.
Rule 5: Your first draft isn’t your final draft
Yes. Your dissertation is likely to be a long project. However, remember; your first draft will not be the final draft. You will be editing it. In fact, it is vital that you edit it. Anything you churn out at first will not be very good. Not just in terms of grammar and spelling, but in terms of how the ideas will flow together.
As you edit your dissertation (preferably after a few days break), you will notice errors. There is not a single person who has written a dissertation who can claim that their first draft was anything close to perfect.