How To Write A Masters Dissertation

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that I’ve spent the past twelve months studying for my Masters, and I’m finally – FINALLY at the end. My Masters dissertation was handed in just under a week ago, and that concludes this chapter in my life, not only the end of university, but the end of my education. Whether you have a dissertation looming yourself, or any assignment for that matter, here’s my top tips on completing it efficiently.

Pick a topic you’re passionate about

I chose to write my dissertation on fashion influencers and consumer behaviour; which since I take an interest in blogging and write my own it was something I definitely had an interest in. Whatever your field of study is, there’s bound to be something in particular you enjoy about it – so it definitely helps to take advantage of having that interest, it makes the process of researching and reading not only more enjoyable, but easier to find your sources of information and motivation to write.

Get ahead and start reading

Once I had made my plan it was onto the hunt for all the relevant reading. I did the bulk of my reading at the time I was constructing my dissertation proposal, so that by the time it came to writing my actual literature review I had all my sources ready at the go, and knew what I was going to include and where. Having the reading done prior made the writing process so much smoother, and reduced a lot of potential stress, since I already had in mind and the resources for what I needed to be writing about.

Set yourself realistic goals

Breaking up the workload and setting yourself regular goals will not only help keep your motivation flowing, but also make the workload seem a lot more bearable. Each chapter I divided up into various subsections, and working on these one at a time made the work load seem a lot more achievable, and provided me with structure. Plus, setting mini-goals provided me with a sense of achievement, ticking things off bit by bit, which eventually resulted in the finished product.

Reference as you go along

As much as you need to be on the ball with your reading, the same goes for referencing. Referencing can be something easily put off, as something you’ll ‘sort out at the end’, but trust me, it is so much more time efficient, and less stressful if you get your references in as you go along. There’s nothing worse than struggling to go back and find the exact journal article, or chapter of a book you’ve cited because you didn’t record the full reference at the time of reading it. I’ve used this habit of getting my referencing done as I go along throughout my degree, and it’s meant that referencing is much less of a hassle.

Take advantage of all the help you can get

Your supervisor is there to support you, so make the most of it. Whether it’s dropping them an email with a quick query, having a more in-depth meeting, or just getting them to take a look at a plan, they are their to support you through the process. I recommend going to each meeting with a plan, or at least a rough idea of what you wish to discuss, to ensure your time with them is used efficiently.

Also, it’s not just your supervisor who’s there to help you. Make the most of your peers too – bounce ideas off each other, and ask them to read your work. After all, they are in the same boat as you.


Do you have any tips for surviving a dissertation?

Shelley x


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