29 Mar 2012

university: dissertation

This is an addition to the 'university' series - on how to plan your dissertation. I've used my Flex by Filofax notebook for this but you could also use normal Filofax notepaper too.

Stage 1: Planning the course of action.

I first looked at how many weeks I had left before it was due in and wrote those weeks down. I then figured out what needed to be done and then spread the work out in manageable weeks. Of course, I may end up doing things ahead of schedule but this is the rough plan:

Stage 2: Planning the dissertation structure (preliminary - things may change!)

This is me planning the structure of my project:

On the left is the rough plan and requirements of the project and dissertation. And on the left, is a rough structure for it. This may change and the number of chapters may also change.

Stage 3: The reading and researching

And then the actual researching. On the top of the page, I have written the reference of the paper or article or a general title such as below ('Basic stuff'). Then I will take note of the important points read in that particular file or article.

Stage 4: Writing the actual thing

Then, the home straight - writing the actual thing! This will require countless cups of coffee and green tea for me but with perseverance, if we get as far as this, the end is in sight and that should be motivation enough!

Although I've not written mine yet, I am currently at the researching stage. Any other tips? Send them my way through a comment or email - I will be grateful for anything that may help too!


  1. Great post, I love your blog so much! Do you think someday you could do a post about London and what tourist should see and where you go in your free time (fave restaurants and stuff like that).
    LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! And good luck on your dissertation!

    1. Thank you :-)

      And of course I can do that. Any specific requests about what to write about? If not, I'll just do a section on things to see, places to eat, places to shop, etc? I can do things specific for tourists, students and people who have been living in London for a while too? x

    2. Just saw your new post on things to see in London, really great! Thanks a bunch :)

  2. Thanks Angela - this was quick. Due to lack of time, I have just downloaded my reference materials and textbooks. Not much time to do a lot of reading I am afraid and am heading off straight to writing the project. How do you manage to be so organized all the time?

    1. I guess the secret is to know what's coming up in advance, say in 6 months time or something. I knew what I was in for this academic year so started planning in September, even before my term started in October. Knowing this, it means I can focus any spare time on the things coming up. I know that doesn't always work as things pop up spontaneously but because everything else is already planned and organised, this spontaneity doesn't become a huge problem - a little niggle at most!

      Good luck for your dissertation too - I fully sympthasise with the work you have to do and stuff now that I've started on mine! x

  3. I have to write a dissertation of sorts myself this year, except my university calls it a 'research essay'. Research essays have to be 10,000 words long, and I plan to investigate the linguistic differences between French French and Quebecois French at the levels of phonology (sound systems), morphology (word-formation), syntax (sentence structure), and grammar. Wish me luck!