Writing your dissertation? Part One

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As the end of term and Easter approaches, many of you will be working on your dissertations. With a deadline in sight, it can be stressful, whether it’s your first dissertation or second. Why not remove some of that stress by using the advice we’ve listed below? Find out how the library can help; see the resources we have and the training we can provide. Although we can’t promise you an outstanding dissertation, we can suggest ways to make the whole process a little easier.

1. Consult your course handbook

Your department should let you know what it expects from your dissertation. You should already have chosen a dissertation topic and have been allocated a supervisor. Check the course handbook to find the information that will help you write a successful dissertation. It should tell you the purpose of the dissertation, what skills you need to use and develop and what their preferred writing style is (font size and type, line spacing). Emphasis might also be placed on referencing – read this carefully. Know which citation style your department uses. Check submission dates and how to hand in your dissertation. Get all this right and you’re on the right track.

2. Contact your subject librarian and use subject guides

Subject librarians work with academic departments to support learning and teaching. Each department has a subject librarian. We create subject guides to highlight the resources the library has and how they can best help you with your studies. Use this as the first resource when starting research. It will tell you where to find books, journals, audiovisual materials, newspapers – pretty much any kind of resource that will be useful. You can contact your subject librarian for further help – contact details are at the top of the subject guides. We can help by email or you can ask for 1:1 training.

3. Use books on academic writing

The library has a number of books to help with academic writing. These are available at 029.6 (first floor) or 808.02 (second floor). These can give advice on how to write specifically for dissertations, how to reference and avoid plagiarism, and how to write according to certain styles. These will help turn your research into prose.

Writing Your Dissertation – Part 2

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