Asteya Percaya, an MSc International Development student at the University of Bath, is in the final stages of submitting her masters dissertation. Asteya has put together her top 5 tips for writing a masters dissertation.
Tip 1: Choose a topic you’re interested in
For my masters dissatation I chose the topic of Chinese engagement with Africa, because I believe that China is an emerging actor in the international development scene and it would be interesting to see the development prospects related to Chinese engagement with Africa. Choosing a dissertation topic that you are interested in will surely affect your motivation to write it. Researching and writing something you are interested in will be much more enjoyable.
Tip 2: Manage your time (plan ahead)
Here at Bath we had approximately three months to complete our dissertation. Initially this may seem like a long time, but it isn’t as long as it seems. It was helpful for me create a work schedule and set deadlines for myself so that I wouldn’t have everything left to the last minute. So for example, during the first month (June), my target was to simply read as much as I could about my topic, and then start my literature review in July.
Tip 3: Take notes on everything you read
You will read a lot of texts for your dissertation, so it is very helpful to take notes on all the articles, journals and books you read. This will make it easier for you to search for certain information that you have read already.
Tip 4: Make the most of your supervisor meetings
Attend meetings with your supervisor prepared with questions and issues to discuss. If possible (depending on your supervisor), send some of your writing in advance so there will be something concrete to discuss during your meeting. Going prepared to your meeting will definitely enhance the quality of discussion with your supervisor.
Tip 5: Don’t forget to take a break
Dissertation writing takes a lot of energy and time so it is important to take a break once in a while. Don’t take a break for too long though, just enough to make you feel refreshed enough to come back to dissertation writing. During the break, do something that relaxes you and do not think about your dissertation. For me, I worked during weekdays, and during weekends I took a break. On the Monday I felt refreshed enough to continue my work.
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