The Ultimate Dissertation Survival Guide

Completing a dissertation is one of the greatest challenges for many learners, which is why thousands of students fail to complete their dissertation projects every year. In most of these cases, the reason for this is not the inability to defend a finished draft but the decision to quit the project right in the middle of writing it. To reduce the risks of these outcomes, we have asked our expert dissertation advisors to produce a list of five most important tips on surviving your dissertation.

Work with the Right Supervisor

A good supervisor can really determine your long-term success or failure. Make sure that you select the right person with a sincere interest in your field of study and sufficient free time to provide support whenever necessary. While your supervisor may not tell you how to write your work, they can inform you about many hidden hindrances as well as best practices in terms of structuring both your work and your time.

dissertation survival guide

Make a Plan

When you coordinate your initial dissertation writing activities with your supervisor, the next step is to schedule your work within the following several months. A Gantt chart scheme can be helpful for developing a general overview of your closest deadlines. Always have a contingency plan since your dissertation is a long-term project that can be disrupted by personal issues, health issues, unexpected family obligations, and other unpredictable factors.

Do Not Panic and Focus on the Bigger Perspective

If (when) problems emerge, try to avoid panic and look for possible Plan B options in your contingency plan. You can always coordinate submission delays with your supervisor and university to get your life back on track even in the worst-case scenario. Try to focus on the bigger perspective. A two-week delay is a minuscule hindrance against many months of hard work you put into a quality dissertation.

Take Breaks

Let us face it, dissertation writing is very similar to heavy weightlifting. You do not expect to build an athlete body overnight. Getting to the other side requires long periods of hard work. However, many students tend to forget that strong muscles actually grow during periods of rest. If you do not give your body sufficient time to recuperate from stress, you will only get excess fatigue and burnout. The same is true for your brain. Giving yourself sufficient time to process new ideas is highly beneficial for both your mental health and your creativity.

Monitor Your Progress

To avoid panic and unnecessary self-criticism, develop a system of performance indicators for continuously tracking your progress. In dissertation writing, one of the most frustrating things is the lack of linearity in your progression. Frequently, you may have to work for weeks to acquire new knowledge and ideas without producing a single line of text for your draft. During periods of self-doubt, this may force you to question whether you are actually making any progress at all. To avoid these feelings, try to track hours spent on your work as well as your outputs. This may also assist you in optimising your dissertation writing strategies over time as you find out what types of activities produce the best results.

The main thing you need to succeed in the completion of your dissertation is to keep going no matter what. Reward yourself for making progress and seek the support of your family, fellow students, friends, and your supervisor in moments of self-doubt. Completing a dissertation is an extremely challenging goal that will involve both pleasant moments of scientific revelations and terrible periods of low productivity and frustration. Use every shortcut you can to save time and other resources and maximise your chances of success.