Get yourself well organised for the write-up

Get yourself well organised for the write-up

The guidance below is designed to help you to write up the dissertation as it needs to be presented to the examiners.

Save yourself some time and anxiety, by reading the following.

No-one, including you and your Examiners, is impressed by sloppy, hurried presentation of work ... but the writing and presentation of work always takes longer than you anticipate. If something can go wrong, it will ...

By following these tips you will save yourself hours of tedious work putting in references, checking and editing, and a last minute dash to get the work submitted on time.

  • Always back up your computer-based work, preferably on the University system. Students have had stolen - or lost - laptops, memory sticks etc etc. These are often not accepted by the University as reasons for late submission.
  • Find time and space in which to work: you will need protracted writing sessions.
Set up a template in which to format your work:
  • A4 paper, and set to print single sided
  • clear 12 font style
  • double spaced text, although references and tables should be single spaced
  • in black and white only for photocopying ease, unless there is a very specific reason for colour and you can provide the copies needed
  • 1 inch margins
  • Make a writing guide so that your writing is consistent. The writing guide should contain information on: which words are capitalised; how certain words will be spelled and which acronyms you will use; how bullet points will be laid out and what punctuation marks you will use; where and how you will label tables and figures. As you continue to write you will find yourself adding more and more information to this guide.
  • Decide on the tense in which you will write. Generally it is easier to adopt the past tense (unlike the Protocol which is written in the future tense).
  • Avoid the informal use of "I" and use the formal "the researcher" or "the writer".
  • Use a computerised referencing package, such as Endnote which you will have been taught.
  • Use “Table of Contents”, for which there is recommended self-directed learning, based on the information about how to present your dissertation. Do this before you begin to write and use it for every piece of writing connected with your dissertation.
  • Keep a record of any literature searches.
  • Short sentences are generally better than long ones - avoid starting sentences with words such as "Despite ... although ... because ... whilst ... " as they lead to more complex sentence structures.
  • Remember that "data" are plural, not singular.
  • Pay attention to grammar. For example, don't start sentences with conjunctions such as "But" and "And".

Avoid rhetoric.

If you know that your written English is weak then you should seek help early in the course from the Study Support Centre, CELE or though personal study using information in the Pathways Study Skills section of WebCT. You may require more time now to ensure that you give yourself adequate time for writing, editing and proof reading.