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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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