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10 Things NOT to do when writing your dissertation

Follow these rules to make sure you produce the best dissertation possible.

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We have now reached that point of the year when most of us are either coming to end of our degrees or beginning one soon. This article is for those people who are in the final years of their study or required to submit their dissertations soon. Your dissertation is one of the biggest chunks of your degree’s final grade, so be careful with all the little details and make sure you get it right to get your desired grade.


So, here’s a list of lethal things you should never do when writing your dissertation:


1. Don't limit your research

When writing a dissertation you will only have from 10,000 to 20,000 words to write. This does sound a lot but you will find it to be a very limited number to work around when developing your research and argument. So it makes sense to stick to the relevant bits of information and develop your case on that. But this should not stop you from researching over and beyond, in areas that might be remotely linked to your topic. This will not only give you ideas about what to add or not but also allow you to view things in a broader perspective.


2. Don't form an incomplete argument

Do not at any point of the essay assume that the reader already knows what you are talking about. Define everything you talk of in your essay and build an argument from scratch.


3. Don't use several systems

There are many ways and methods for referencing, one of the most popular ones being Harvard referencing system. Ask your advisor which one you should base your essay’s bibliography on. The more important thing is to use only one system of referencing consistently throughout your dissertation.


4. Don't forget to mention information with citations

Never forget to mention whose work you use and take inspirations from in your essay to avoid being penalized for plagiarism.


5. Don't adopt a dramatic tone

Even though showing importance of your research is good idea, do not get carried away and over-emphasize ideas or information unnecessarily. This might leave the reader puzzled and unsure about the direction of your work.


6. Don't form opinions without evidence

It is a good idea to point out something new and original in your research. However, it is equally important to show that your point of view is logical and backed up with already existing research and facts.


7. Don't submit your initial drafts

Leaving enough time to revise your drafts is absolutely essential. You will be marked on punctuation, and grammar, along with all other aspects of your dissertation, which is why you need to pay attention to detail and review your drafts before coming up with the final one.


8. Don't use "catchy" fonts

Remember, your dissertation is an academic piece of work and should be formatted as per the standardized requirements. For most official documents you will be expected to adopt the Times New Roman or Arial font with size 11. You can find out about the correct font to use by consulting your supervisor.


9. Don't use words and phrases you are not familiar with 

Refrain from using too complicated words and phrases whose context and usage you are not familiar with. This will keep you from referring to things in an inappropriate or incorrect manner which will make you look stupid.


10. Don't leave things to the last minute

In all matters, it is better to be prepared than to not be prepared. Especially, in matters as important as your dissertation. Many people leave the referencing to last minute, assuming that it would not take that long. However referencing takes up a big chunk of your time leading to your submission being delayed. If you're working late, you may be tired and more likely to make mistakes which will hinder you completing your referencing. So, finish well in time and leave yourself plenty of time to accommodate any unexpected happenings. 



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First class business graduate aspiring to gain diverse range of work experience before eventually building a career in Business Development, Human Capital Development and Analytics while alongside pursuing interests in literature, writing, photography and coordination.