January 27, 2017

Last week I handed in the piece of work that has been the topic of conversation for the past year – my dissertation. At the start it was titled “The Dreaded Dissertation”, as looking at the final goal, it seemed unimaginable that I would ever finish it.

However, I soon began to enjoy the outcome my dissertation provided, as it supported my practical studies. I decided to do a technical report for my dissertation, which allowed me to do a scientific analysis of glazing within ceramics. This meant I could use my results in my own practice and therefore all of this was working towards the same aim: to make work for my final degree show.

Now I’ve completed my dissertation, I can tell you it’s not always easy ,but if you follow my 5 top tips you’ll be on the right track:

1. Pick a topic you will enjoy writing about! This is the most important thing when doing your dissertation as you need write 6,000 to 10,000 words (depending on your choice of dissertation). If you pick something you have no interest in then you are going to have no motivation to write and research it.

2. Be organised. I felt on top of my dissertation throughout the final term because I planned when each section had to be completed. This allowed me to break it down with smaller goals, which made it seem more feasible and approachable.

3. Do your research in advance. In the School of Art and Design the dissertation proposal is handed in at the end of level 5 and the actual dissertation is handed in at the start of term 2 in level 6, so it’s best to be prepared over the summer and start researching. I began my research by taking out lots of books over the summer to read through. This gave me the technical understanding to begin the practical side when term began.

Working on my dissertation has helped me with my practical work too.

4. Be strict. It can be so easy to say “I’ll just do it tomorrow” or “it’s okay, we have a month left” but in reality this might be 40 credits of your degree, so it needs time spent on it. Make sure you don’t leave it to the last minute and be strict with yourself. If you’ve told yourself you want to get 300 words written today then make sure you find the time to do that. It’s much easier to work with smaller goals frequently than one large goal with a week deadline.

5. Make the most of it. By following the previous tips hopefully this one will come more naturally. A dissertation is an important part of your university course, and shows skills like organisation, research and critical understanding – so you need to make the most of what it gives you back. My dissertation supported the subject work I was doing alongside it and hopefully you will find something that’s useful to your studies as well.

Looking for more tips on Uni life? Check out what Abi puts in her bag every morning, or read Charlotte’s blog on saving money as a student.