My final year dissertation
Updated: Jun 5
I am sat writing this having submitted my final year dissertation only a few hours ago, so I thought I would take some time to reflect on the mammoth journey that is a dissertation.
Completing my dissertation was no easy task, especially when a pandemic was thrown into the mix shortly before my deadline. However, in light of the fact that I have made it through the dissertation process I thought I would share a bit about my experience.
The thing I want to talk about in terms of writing a dissertation is the importance of picking the right subject matter for you. It is so vital, and I am grateful that I found something that I genuinely enjoyed researching and writing about. It really makes all the difference. Of course, the whole experience was still incredibly stressful, but the fact it was based on something I had a genuine interest in helped me a lot.
You are going to be spending hours and hours researching your chosen topic as well as surrounding topics. This will be followed by weeks of writing and reading and re-reading over and over. It is a long process, so make sure you won’t be sick of it after a week. This is why I say the topic is key. A subject area you are passionate about, will make for a far less tedious process.
To start, think of a few areas of interest and do some brief research into each. Hopefully after this there will be one stand out area to narrow it down to. Don’t let your existing understanding sway you, focus on your interest levels as opposed to your knowledge. You may already know a bit about your chosen topic or absolutely nothing at all but it doesn’t matter either way because you will be doing thorough research anyway. The idea of picking a subject you have no existing knowledge in sounds daunting, but the way I see it is that if you are intrigued by it and want to learn more, the research will come more naturally. With this in mind it may end up being the best choice for you.
Once you have your broader area it will be time to create a specific research question. Try and make it as original as possible. Don’t just write your own version of what someone else has done, think of something new and ‘outside the box’. I know this is so much easier said than done and these kinds of ideas aren’t just going to just come to you. You will have to do some further research into your broader area of interest and then see where it leads you. Not only will this make your dissertation more interesting to write but also to read. This will put you in a better light for marking, as originality is admired and rewarded.
The words ‘interest’ and ‘research’ or synonyms for either of these have occurred a lot in this post, and that is very telling. That is what a dissertation is all about, lots of research and making it interesting, not only for your reader but for yourself.