If you are going to be writing your dissertation next year, and want to get ahead of the game this summer, why not begin planning out your dissertation project now? Finding that you are disorganised halfway through is really unhelpful, but it can take valuable time to make a plan of attack; all the more reason to get this done before you start the next year!
A to-do list should be:
1) A source of encouragement- you can see how far you are progressing as you tick items off
2) A way of organising your time efficiently
3) A rewards system- you can use it to plan time off, or to give yourself a much needed treat!
4) An overview of your work: it will allow you to take a ‘bird’s eye view’ of the writing process.
Your to-do list will have to be structured to reflect your individual process but, as a starting point, here is a suggestion for the entire project:
- Choose a question. Try to make this as specific as possible.
- Do some research. Find out if your question has already been sufficiently covered, or if there is a niche for your study.
- Write a dissertation proposal and contact a professor to see if they are willing to work with you as a supervisor.
- Meet with your supervisor to discuss your question. Make careful notes about the avenues they suggest for research.
- Consider your research methodologies and ask for your supervisor’s advice.
- Work out how your notes will be organised. For example, will you use certain colours to indicate useful quotes that you may wish to cite later?
- Do as much research as possible. Use books, published essays, unpublished theses. You could even attend conferences and seminars in order to run through your ideas with other people researching the same subject.
- Plan out the structure of your dissertation.
- Start writing up your literature review and methodology.
- Meet with your supervisor to check your draft.
- Check you are ready and have all you need for any empirical work you need to carry out.
- Start working on a draft of your argument.
- Carry out your empirical work, (if applicable) collate your results and meet with your supervisor to check how best to interpret and present the results.
- If your work is non-empirical, continue meeting with your supervisor to develop your ideas.
- Write up any results and create the necessary diagrams and charts.
- Collate all the sections written so far to create your first full draft.
- Write up your final draft.
- Send your chapters for proofreading as you go. This will avoid stress later on as you can check chapters and finalise them before the final deadline.
- Re-read your dissertation guidelines, check the deadline and write a to-do list and timeline of your final couple of weeks.
- Read through your proofread copy and make any necessary final changes. Make sure you leave 1-2 days for this.
- Submit your dissertation.
If you would like a professional proofreader to look over your dissertation, submit it today at Proofread My Document. You can also submit a free 500 word sample so that you can try before you buy. In this way, you can decide on a proofreading company several months in advance so that you do not have to rush towards the end of your schedule!