What even is a dissertation? – OurWarwick

What even is a dissertation?

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the)
I love reading and listening to music. I am also…
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Today, I thought I’d tell you a little bit about the fun final year project that is a dissertation! So, what a “dissertation” encompasses, varies between departments, for example, Engineers work on a project and write a report (I think), whilst those in Life Sciences can either do dry labs, which involve research online, or wet labs, which is research, in a lab, with a topic that they choose and are assigned from a list. Now, I’m a Liberal Arts Student, so my dissertation is slightly different.

Liberal Arts is one of the most interdisciplinary degrees on campus, which means your dissertation can be anything you like, so long as it’s interdisciplinary. With Liberal Arts, you can either write a Dissertation which is 8000-10,000 words, which is what I’m doing, or you can do a creative project and present that alongside 2000-2,500 words, so dependent on what your interests are, you can do either!

I chose to do the 8000-10,000 words because I enjoy writing and my topic is quite broad and hard to make creative, but it’s super interesting to me! You select your supervisor at the end of Term 3, Year 2 and then you start working on your Dissertation in Term 1. That doesn’t mean you’re expected to immediately start writing the words in Term 1, it’s more having some introductory meetings with your supervisor and discussing some topic ideas that you had in mind, then you start on a bit of research and tweak your title to make sure it’s not too broad but you can still get to the word count. You create a proposal and submit that, discuss it with your supervisor and also attend the dissertation lectures (I would highly recommend attending those). Then you really start getting into the nitty-gritty of it in Term 2!

A dissertation is a great way to show how your module choices and your interests and all your hard work have created this project that you are proud of. At the same time, you’re teaching your supervisor and tutor something new that they may not have thought of. A dissertation is a huge compilation of everything you’ve worked towards over the course of your university career and you do have to pass it

Top Tips!

  1. Make sure you go to the Dissertation Lectures! They’re super helpful and a great opportunity to ask questions and also hear questions from others that you may not have thought about.
  2. Have as many meetings as you can with your dissertation supervisor, they’re there to help and know what it’s like to write a dissertation so will understand if you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed. My supervisor has been excellent when I’ve spoken to him about being stressed and honestly, even if you just have a meeting with them to talk about being stressed to try and calm you down, it’s worth it.
  3. Don’t start it the week before it’s due, you’ll likely only get a third or maybe a low 2.2. A dissertation is meant to be done over a long period of time so it isn’t too much work when you’re coming up to the deadline!
  4. You don’t immediately need to know what you want to do your dissertation on when you come into Year 3. As long as you know what you’re interested in, the topic will come naturally the more you look into those interests.
  5. Lastly, I know writing a dissertation is a lot of work on top of other deadlines and exams you have, but they are meant to be fun. They’re meant to be something you’re interested in and it’s true what they say, once you start writing, the words will just flow out of you and the 8000 words won’t seem so scary!

Good Luck with deadlines, exams and dissertations!

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the)
I love reading and listening to music. I am also…
Find out more about me Contact Krishna

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