The Complete Guide To Writing A Dissertation From Scratch

  1. Before you even start looking at the instructions for completing your dissertation arm yourself with two things. First you need to make sure that you have a diary, it does not matter whether you are using a book or the calendar/diary on your laptop, but you need one. Second, you need a note book, you are going to need this close to you at all times, as this is where you are going to put down the odd bits of information that apply to your work; keep of record of your references and also write down your ideas on the project as you progress. Don’t rely on writing things down on pieces of paper they get lost.
  2. Look at the instructions. Make a note (in your diary) of the cut-off date; when your professor needs to see your proposal; referencing scheme you need to use; headings; number of references and the word count needed.
  3. Do you already have a focus for your work? Do you have a title? If you answer 'no' to both of these then spend a bit of time looking online for some ideas. When you have come up with a list of possible topics/titles, choose 3 or and brain storm each one (about 10mins each), you will find at the end of this exercise which one you have the most interest in – that will be your topic.
  4. Now you have your focus, start working out what out information you are going to need. What research do you need to do? At this point you may need to go back to your professor just to get a few ideas from them, or you could talk to your college Librarian and they may direct you to some useful academic papers that may support your work. When you read the papers or journal articles make sure that you take a few notes, so when you cite work you reference it correctly. Make sure you are up to date with your knowledge on plagiarism.
  5. Always leave the abstract until last. And be prepared to go back to it several times to make sure that you use the correct number of words and that you have included all relevant information.
  6. Start writing your Literature review, when you have completed the draft arrange to meet with your professor. Make any changes that you professor suggests. You may need to redraft at least twice. The most important advice is to make sure that you follow the remit, read and re-read your work making changes as you go along, make sure it reads in a logical progression and you have correctly cited other peoples work.