Writing an end of year project (dissertation) can be rather challenging. However, with social distancing measures in place it can create obstacles for students. A dissertation is usually 10,000 words, and this can be rather overwhelming for some, so here are some suggestions that students can consider to help when writing an effective dissertation whilst in a socially distanced university.
- Start early
All students are advised to start their dissertation early as there is a lot of information to include. As a dissertation is usually around 10,000 words, you want to find a topic that you are passionate about that also links to your degree and never want to leave it till the last minute. To remain organised, students should add space into their academic timetable to work on their dissertation. I would recommend breaking up chapters and working to a deadline per month. Additionally, students will be less stressed when the deadline comes near as they would have completed a sufficient amount.
- Know how you will conduct your research
In most research projects, data collection is vital. It is important to know what type of data you are going to collect and how you intend on doing this. For instance, when collecting quantitative data, you would not be impacted by social distancing in relation to qualitative data. Qualitative data methods (interviews, observations, focus groups etc) are usually conducted in person so this may change accordingly to follow social distancing measures. Students can use sites such Zoom and Skype to conduct the research and prepare digital copies of consent forms.
- Request library books early
As a result of the pandemic, libraries may not be opening as normal so it is important that students organise themselves accordingly. By requesting library books early you can ensure that you will have the required literature. Additionally, students can use Google Scholar and university databases to get extra information. Furthermore, do not forget to sanitise your hands and keep books clean for the next student to use.
- Contact your supervisor
Book regular meetings with your supervisor to get extra advice and help on your dissertation. Although some meetings may not be face-to-face, book meetings online via Skype or Zoom. Aim to come prepared so you can get the most out of your meetings, this will help with tracking your progress so your supervisor can guide you in the right path.
Furthermore, don’t forget you can always get help and additional support from personal tutors, seminar leaders, friends and mentors so don’t be a stranger.
Overall, writing a dissertation can be rather challenging but don’t be discouraged as you have a large support system around you. Many students can struggle with motivation so try to remain positive. Break up your work and take it one day at a time, and before you know it, you would have completed 10,000 words.
Good Luck on your final project but most importantly enjoy what you are writing as this correlates with your motivation to produce your final project.