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Strategies for alumni:

writing a dissertation

  1. Always follow the instructions that you have been given.
  2. Your school or college will give a set of instructions that apply to their establishment. You can find other generic instructions that can be helpful but make sure that you always refer back to the ones that your professor has given. Make a note of important details, such a submission dates, word count and referencing format.

  3. Look at Examples.
  4. If you want to write really well, then you need to read examples of other dissertations. You professor may be able to provide you with a few, but you can always look online at a few academic websites that will provide you with some free examples. Make a note of the quality of the work that you are reading and what makes a good dissertation.

  5. Learning Support.
  6. If you think that you may have some difficulty in organizing your work, or you have had difficulty in the past, it may be an idea to make an appointment to meet up with a Learning Support Tutor at your school. Their support will be invaluable, but make sure that you access support as soon as possible.

  7. Video Tutorials.
  8. Another good source of help is accessing an online video tutorial. They are usually produced by professors. The best thing about the video tutorial is that you can keep playing it back as you work on your dissertation. This is invaluable if you are a visual learner.

  9. Follow the Format.
  10. You will find that you work need to follow a specific format. You may find that you want to start with the Abstract and work your way through. Always write the Abstract last. You will need to start making notes on your Methodology as soon as you start the process of your dissertation (see below, point 8).

  11. Check in with your Professor.
  12. Make an appointment to meet with your professor, before your start your work, to discuss your focus and progression. Before your scheduled meeting, make a list of the points that you want to discuss, ideally email your professor with your agenda a few days before the meeting so they have the opportunity to think about the issues you have raised.

  13. Plan your time.
  14. This piece of work is going to be part of your life a time, it is not something that you can leave until a few says before the submission date and hope to produce a piece of work that is anywhere near worthy of a pass grade. Make sure that you put all relevant dates in your diary.

  15. Project Diary.
  16. As soon as you are given the details about the work start a project diary. Use this book or document to note down ideas, relevant papers and research schedules. This diary will save you time when you are citing your work and when writing your methodology as you will not be relying totally on your memory.

  17. Watching the Flow.
  18. When you start writing up your work, take the time to read through what you have written. Ideally you need to get in the habit of writing a section (or paragraph) and read through, paying attention to the way that your ideas flow, make sure that they follow a logical progression. Spell checkers are good but they sometimes do not always pick up on errors and likewise grammatical mistakes.

  19. Proofreading and Editing.
  20. Always make time to read though your work several times. You will find that if you leave your work for a few days you will come back to it and spot several errors. Ideally for such an important piece of work, consider paying a proofreader to do it for you (you will need a deep proofread). If you have followed all of these steps you should be able to confidently hand your work in.

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Jack Stone

Professional editor and blogger. He will help you build up your proofreading and editing skills.

Kim Thomson

PhD holder, specializing in English will help you develop your writing voice and write in a proper standard English.

Josh Reneger

His creative mind will help you generate endless number of ideas for your dissertation.

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