neat pile of paper

Skills pathways - dissertations and projects

This page contains links to guides and media to help you plan, conduct research for, write and compile your dissertation.

neat pile of paper

Starting a dissertation or project is an exciting time. You get to follow your interests and set the agenda for the research process. It can, for all these reasons, also be a daunting prospect. These pages will give you tips and tools to help streamline the process.

Doing a literature search In pursuing your own interests, you very often have to generate your own reading list in order to conduct and carry out research. This page gives you pointers for how to start and refine that process.
Keeping up to date If you are conducting your research over many months, you don't want your literature search to go out of date. Look at this page to see how to set up email alerts to find out about the latest publications.
Managing References

With a dissertation it is much easier to lose track of what you have read. This makes it a very time-consuming process to find a quotation or page reference when you are writing up.

It is also essential that you keep a record so that you can give proper accreditation to any sources you use to build your written argument. If you don't cite an idea or direct quotation, you could be accused of plagiarism. 

Note making  To help you retrieve the most useful points from your reading, you need to take structured and efficient notes.
Speed reading In many disciplines, students have to read a large quality of text in a relatively short time. Speed reading is a number of techniques that can help you increase the speed with which you get through books and articles. This is not necessarily reading quickly but in a structured way that helps you identify what you need to read and focus your energy there.
Academic writing If a dissertation or project is the first time you have written an extended essay, it may be useful to look at this page, which gives tips on how to structure an argument and the document as a whole.
Critical evaluation In academic terms, being critical is not about finding fault. Instead, it is the process of weighing up evidence and arguments to make a judgment. Taking a critical approach to your studies involves constantly asking questions and keeping an open mind. It is an approach to reading and writing. This page shows you how to evaluate sources and tailor your reading accordingly.
Research Data Management All research produces data regardless of academic discipline through collection, observation or creation. Learn how to organise, store, and share it during the research process and beyond.
Finishing off a long document  Creating long documents such as a dissertation, require additional word processing skills which you may not have needed before. This page shows you how to add page numbers to multiple sections, create a table of contents and figures, as well as suggesting where to get it bound when you've finished.

We have lots of other information about the skills you need to successfully complete your dissertation on the Wolfson College LibGuide.