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Mar 2nd 2017

Dissertation Tips about Choosing Research Resources

Dissertation-Tips

One of the most time-consuming, toughest parts of crafting a dissertation is the researching process. Regardless of how good of a writer you are, the quality of your dissertation will be based on the resources chosen to defend your idea. Seeing that a dissertation is a type of a research paper, using the right resources and findings is one of the most important elements of the writing process.

But, how do you handle this complex part? Dissertations are very lengthy and require many resources. Your task as a student is to research to choose the topic, develop a research question, write the research proposal, and choose all sources to use in the paper.

To help you out, we have created a step by step guide on choosing your research resources:

Step 1: Choose the Topic

One of the first steps of your dissertation research process is picking the best topic. Without this step, you basically have nothing to research, which is why you must make sure that your topic is specific and you have access to the many sources you need to elaborate the idea fully.

There are several ways to choose your dissertation topic, such as:

  • Speak to your instructor and ask them to provide a list of good dissertation topics
  • Discuss your ideas with others to see if they spark an interest
  • Look into other writings in the field you have chosen
  • Look through dissertations of other students who studied in your department
  • Check if there is a related topic of your own interest that hasn't been covered in the subject's syllabus
  • Read about interesting topics online
  • Explore an area that is under-researched
  • Extend a previous study you find to be interesting

Before you start your search for a dissertation topic, make sure if your department has a preference in terms of research studies.

Step 2: Work on Your Research Question

Once you have your topic accepted by the department, it is time to pick your research question. Fortunately, you already have the basis for this step, and that is your dissertation topic. If you have chosen a focused topic, this will help you set the research question and guide the entire project.

One of the things students miss in this step is the fact that their research problem may not result to be what they originally thought when they set it. When you start researching, you may learn that there is a new piece of information that opposes your ideas completely. This can make you reconsider the entire basis of your research problem.

This is not detrimental to your dissertation, but in order to avoid the hassle, you should research a bit prior to developing the research question. Finding more about your topic will help you revise the research problem and discover if the data you need is available.

Step 3: Write a Research Proposal

Generally speaking, a research proposal is a description of the project in detail. When it comes to a dissertation, every department requires such proposal as a part of the dissertation assessment. Therefore, you must build this part on the research problem and the topic you have chosen.

Take your time to research a bit. Your research proposal should demonstrate that you are informed on the topic and did not choose it lightly. This is the first part of your dissertation the audience will see, which is why you must make sure it appears interesting and professional.

Step 4: Make a Research Plan

Once you are done with the minor research for the topic, proposal and research question, it is time to do the actual, thorough research for your dissertation. As you know already, a dissertation is a type of an extended project. For this reason, you need to manage your time wisely and look into a grand amount of resources.

Of course, this is the point where you make a research plan you will follow during your research. Here is what you can do:

  • Draw one or several chart with the following weeks during which you will do your research
  • Block out the dates when you are unable to research or have other commitments
  • Allocate all tasks to the remaining time in your chart

Your plan is very important, so be realistic about the task you are assigning to each day. Write down some resources you need for each of the stages and plan your time accordingly. Finally, don't forget about the resource of working hours or any equipment you need to get in advance.

Even if you plan everything perfectly, chances are you will find some gaps in research or get stuck with a resource. Therefore, do not forget to leave some extra time to rework the plan and fill the missing parts.

Step 5: Collecting Data

Collecting data is key to every research project. Now that you have defined a research problem, collecting data should not be so difficult.

To get some guidance, use the following system for data collection:

  • Record all data accurately as soon as you collect it
  • Analyze and compare all data you have collected
  • Create outputs for the dissertation, wherever appropriate

There are many ways to collect and retrieve data. These systems can range from cross-referenced books and card indexes, to electronic tools in the form of databases, spreadsheets and bibliographic software. Of course, these methods should be primarily discussed with your supervisor.

Step 6: Problems and Final Touches

Every student struggles with generating and collecting data, so chances are you will get stuck with the research project along the way. Do not be upset – this can happen with every dissertation and there are easy ways to fix it. After all, research is very unpredictable.

Take the time to think about your problem dealing. Analyze the specific situation and think of possible solutions. Perhaps you can go back a few steps? Or perhaps your dissertation needs some final touches that will fix everything? In most cases, small modifications can turn out to be the best solution.

Every research project has a difficulty on its own, especially when it comes to complex papers such as dissertations. This is why you must take your time with the research and writing and plan everything step by step. If you take this task seriously, you can create the best dissertation there is!



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