The rules: what the hell am I doing?

I still haven’t quite worked it out, but I’m getting there slowly. The post image is certainly representative of how I felt a few weeks ago when I started this process.

Dissertations rule?

It turns out there are lots of rules when it comes to dissertations, but if you’ve never done one before they are a little obscured by all the New Things you have to learn to get going. I found that I was being taken over by events and all the planning, planning, planning was making me forget what it was I was trying to do. Stripping back a little has helped this week. I’ve gone back to where I should have started and have made some progress; feedback from my supervisor indicates I need to rethink some bits of it but I now have a basis for moving forward, which I didn’t before.

No-one tells you how to start

I started my planning process earlier than the official start date; as a result I didn’t get a lot of guidance on how to plan and prepare, so I was very much making it up as I went a long.

It wasn’t until my Research Methods II course got to week five and the assessment details were released that I had something tangible in terms of planning. Given that the RMII assignment is basically ‘how to plan a dissertation’, this would have been useful!

So, the rules as I see them so far:

  • Define what you want to achieve – set a research question, or at least a statement of intent
  • Write out how you will seek to achieve it – a project description
  • When thinking about you survey instruments (if using), define why you are conducting them – what do you hope to see? What do you need to evidence? This will help guide your questions.

I hope to revise and build on this list as I move forward, but for now – it’s a start.

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