Important Things To Note Before Embarking On A Dissertation Journey

Every student is assigned a dissertation supervisor before he/she embarks on a dissertation journey. The supervisor will guide you in the research process and in the writing of your dissertation. So, before selecting a research topic, make an appointment with your dissertation supervisor and understand his area(s) of expertise. If the area or field that you are in interested in is the same as your supervisor’s area of expertise, you can consider yourself lucky. If there is a mismatch between your field and your supervisor’s area of expertise, request for a change of supervisor immediately. Most universities make such swaps and changes; so, do not hesitate to put your request to higher authorities if there is a mismatch of interests.

Based on the deadline of your dissertation, come up with a detailed timeline on how you plan to complete your dissertation. A dissertation comprises many parts – literature review, primary research, your research paper’s value addition to the existing knowledge bank, and analysis and evaluation of sources. Since conducting research and writing a dissertation are lengthy processes, it is important to start early and consult your supervisor in case of doubts and questions.

Also, make it a point to have weekly discussions with your supervisor. This way, your supervisor will be able to keep track of your progress and advise you if you are going off-track in your dissertation. Many students do not consult their supervisors on a regular basis; they consult them just before their deadline. By then, it is too late to make any major amendments to the dissertation.

Even when you are stressed, create a balance between work and play. Every day, allocate some time for physical activities and some time for your research. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” So, by keeping your body and mind active through physical exercises, meditation and yoga, you will be able to concentrate better in your dissertation. Also, take some time to unwind every weekend so that you don’t get burnt out.

Apart from working hard, you should also do smart work. So, make the most of the tools available to you for research. Many students spend hours in the library, flipping through dusty books in search of relevant materials and information for their dissertations. In your dissertation, you should include information that is up to date, instead of focusing on outdated data. So, consult online databases and search for relevant and recent information quickly by using the search terms. This way, you will have more time for a thorough analysis and evaluation of various sources of information.

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