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Five steps to surviving your dissertation

Having finished (and survived) my final year, I thought it the perfect opportunity to offer some words of advice for those approaching their dissertation. If you have typed dissertation into Google then you have begun the journey of your final undergraduate year.

Hopefully these steps will provide you with guidance and reassurance:

  1. Decide your topic: research a wide variety of topics/subjects that interest you. You will be spending a year on this, so make it count to you!
  2. Once you have chosen an area, narrow down to a more specific area or a couple of questions. Usually lecturers use the comparison to a funnel, heading for the detail and depth that a dissertation is aimed to produce.
  3. Set a timetable for the year (or however long your timescale is). Plan an approximate guide of when you want to have completed certain sections and as you progress through your dissertation these can be changed and/or altered accordingly. This helps you stick to deadlines and manage your other units alongside your final piece.
  4. Make sure you make time for yourself. Do not get too bogged down by your workload. Dedicate time for doing things that make you happy, whether it is going to a concert, cinema or night out every week; this is the best way to get good results.
  5. Have fun with it! As a Communication and Media student I decided to do something of interest and a discursive dissertation; religion within horror films. It certainly makes a good talking point for interviews and although the process was ‘horrific’, it was an enjoyable topic to investigate and analyse. Whether it is a social science, discursive or creative piece, make sure it appeals to you! As it is you, and not your supervisor whom will be working on it for months.

If these don’t help, then perhaps The Guardian can…

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  1. emmaeagle
    May 21, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    Thanks for your advice and best of luck with your dissertation result.

  2. kimberley379
    April 15, 2014 at 9:35 PM

    do you know any good books to read pre final year? I am a Media and Communications student and I have chosen to look at horror films for my dissertation. But are there any books you would recommend to read/look at in the summer before I start my final year? I hope you were happy with your result?

    • June 8, 2014 at 11:59 AM

      Hi Kim

      Thanks for your comment, I looked at a lot of books before starting my horror dissertation so can probably recommend a couple.
      Is it a particular sub-genre you are looking at?

      • kimberley379
        June 8, 2014 at 1:31 PM

        Slashers I think, like Friday 13th, nightmare, Halloween etc. but I’m still in early stages so not got very far with research yet.

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