Dissertation Planning Tips

As students we all use the library.

Like most I like to think that being half way through my second year, I’m pretty confident in finding the what I need.

Last week however out tutor arranged a specialist session with Chris out librarian. I went asking myself “is this really needed?”

The simple answer is yes! He explained that research is not just about knowing where to look for information, its about the way you think about  what you look for.

Lateral thinking is key, along with organising what you find.

After the class session I booked for a one and one meeting. I came out not only feeling positive about going forward, but excited.

Here are some tips on starting the planning and organisation process.

One Note: I love one note! It’s a one spot shop for keeping notes on everything

It allows you to keep your research organised. You can easily copy links of articles that interest you or quickly note a thought.

Apps are available for all devices and online which sync up so no matter where you are, you can access what you need.

 

Key Words

Make a note of key words to search for.

This list should expand as your research grows.

If there are words which keep coming up make a note of it.

References

When using e-resources in the Uni library there will be the official Harvard citation available.

If you find something of interest dont just note the article note the citation as well. It will save time later

Keep an open mind

At this early stage don’t dismiss anything. We are told time and time again that our initial idea and final piece of work will probably be quite different.

Think Laterally 

The key will be to think laterally not literally. In reality there may not be exactly what you need, so break it down into sections then try and join the dots. It will also help with analysis.

Give Yourself Plenty of Time

After seeing how much time my other half has given  to his research, and speaking to my tutors start the research as soon as you can. There’s not way it can be done with only weeks to spare.

Its Time To Think Dissertation

As a student in the second year of my degree one of the scariest pieces of work we were told about at the start of the year was our dissertation statement of intent.

The word ‘dissertation’ is enough to scare the daylights out of most people and quite rightly so, its the single biggest piece of work that any of us will do.

When I started thinking about it, it was a pure rabbit in the headlights moment.

The first thing I did was go online and using everyone’s best friend Google I entered in Journalism Dissertation Topics. A list of sites appeared and feeling quite optimistic I began looking through the list.

The first that came up was Dissertation Monster  it offered a list of 20 varied suggestions which include:

  • Will journalism a largely freelance industry in the near future
  • What is the future of newspapers
  • Is the nightly news relevant
  • Is the internet more important in terms of mass communication that the invention of the printing press

Though all the questions listed have importance and relevance, non really shouted at me. One thing which stuck in my head was that it needs to be something that interests me enough to keep me ploughing through the hours of research that will be needed to do a decent job.

The answer for me actually came on the back of another piece of work.

We had been set a research assignment which was to be hand after the Christmas holidays.

We were given a list of seven questions, told to pick on and answer it.

The questions covered things like:

  • freedom of information requests,
  • the relationship between the press and emergency services,
  • or do we really have a free press
  • English and Welsh Court systems.

The decision was easy,. Court reporting has always interested me . There was lots to learn between the two court systems. Criminal Court is quite easy to understand but Civil Court, that’s a beast on its own.

I realised this was a subject which I not only found fascinating, but I enjoyed spending the time doing the research.

After a few tweaks I’ve finally come up with a working title:

The Decline of Court Reporting in England and Wales: ‘Justice Must Be Seen To Be Done’ But is it? and if not why?

Let the research begin.