Writing Dissertation In A Week
“Can I write my 10,000 word dissertation in four weeks?” asked TSR member emilyyou. Family upheaval meant Emily had struggled to crack on with her dissertation. But she was determined to nail it and get her 2:1, despite missing her final deadline for tutors to review any drafts or ideas.
One year on, Emily came back online to let members of TSR know how she’d got on. Despite giving herself just weeks to write her dissertation, she completed it and was awarded a mark of 75%. “Uni taught me I definitely work best under pressure,” she says.
If you’re writing your dissertation at the moment, you’ll know how overwhelming that 10,000 words can be. Whether you feel like you’re in a good place with it or in a similar situation to Emily, the following advice from TSR’s uni community will help you organise your schedule, keep calm and hit your deadline.
1. Break your dissertation down into chunks
“It helped me loads to think of my dissertation as actually being four 2,500 word essays” says Puddles the Monkey.
Rather than freezing with fear at the big 10,000, make it feel more manageable by setting yourself word limits and deadlines. Work on one chapter a week; that could mean as little as 500 words a day over five days. That sounds like a dream, especially when 500 words can take as little as an hour (and probably only 30 minutes when you’re feeling prepared with a structure and a list of key points beside you).
Member Original Name gave Emily some great advice on structuring her next four weeks to ensure enough time to get everything done.
|First week: Complete the literature review (2,500 words) and methodology (1000 words) |
Work on and complete the two chapters (2,500 words each)
Work on and complete the main discussion (2,000 words)
Amend and edit all of your content, double-checking all references and ensuring the bibliography is fully up-to-date.
2. Plan what you want to write
Planning your content before sitting down to write makes life so much easier. When the community asked Emily for advice on how she completed her dissertation so quickly, this is what she said:
|“Write a list of points you want to talk about for each section. I found it easier to simplify the entire dissertation into bullet points first, rather than completing a section and not knowing what I was going to write next.”|
Once you have a list of comments and points you want to make, it becomes easier to start weaving these into a compelling statement. Because you have all the information you need, you will feel more confident and your writing will flow.
3.Leave your introduction and conclusion to last
Heard this one before? It’s common advice, but that’s because it’s the truth. These sections of your dissertation will be written far more convincingly once you have crafted everything else. You’ll genuinely understand your argument and will be able to present it with authority.
4. Make sure you’ve referenced correctly
References are so important; getting them wrong is an easy way to drop marks. Confirm the style of referencing you should be using (eg Harvard or Oxford style). You’ll be able to find this in the project specification, but if you’re not sure, ask your dissertation tutor. Referencing feels simple but can become a bit of a time vampire so make sure you reference fully as you write each section.
5. Create your bibliography as you go
Writing up your bibliography can be a bit of a beast, depending on how many secondary resources you’ve had to use. Rather than leaving it all to the last minute, write up every article, book or piece of research you have referenced at the end of every study session (in alphabetical order). Doing it this way will save you hours of time.
Before your final submission, give your dissertation and full and thorough proofread. This can be really tricky when it feels like you’ve already read the thing a zillion times, so take a good break before attempting to proofread it.
Read it out loud rather than in your head – this way you won’t skim-read and miss errors. Share it with someone you trust, a member of your family or a friend, and ask them to read it. They don’t have to be an expert, they’ll still be able to spot any obvious clangers.
7. Stick to your routine
No matter how much time you have left, define a routine and stick to it. Accept that you’ll be eating, sleeping and breathing your project for the next few weeks. It’s all going to be worth it. ThisIZwar suggests going to sleep by 10.30pm and waking up at 7am and scheduling in a treat at the end of every day so that you don’t try to procrastinate and waste time when you should be writing.
You can reward yourself in different ways: maybe watching a bit of Netflix, going to the gym, cooking a meal with your friends or heading out to the cinema. Have at least one day off each week, where you relax and switch off from your dissertation. On that day, do something totally different; this will help you feel fresh for your next week of study.
8. Keep positive
OK, so you’ve read all that advice, but you still feel like you’ve left it too late. Time for some parting advice from Emily:
|“People work at completely different speeds, just because someone has been working on their dissertation for months, it doesn’t automatically mean that it will be better than one which was completed in a matter of weeks”.|
Article by TSR User on Thursday 15 February 2018
Writing 25,000 words in 8 days. Possible?
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posted about 9 years agoSo, I have to have 25000 words, which I'm guessing will be the size of this chapter, written by 3 June. I have all the research done, and I have the structure of the chapter, and I'm basically just going to 'search' on my computer when I get to each section and keying the subject/topic in and looking at all my research on that area and then writing it from that. I've just written a princely 154 words so far in 20minutes.:-)
It is more a creative exercise than a research one, about presenting my research well. I'm talking about writing 3000 words per day each day until next Wednesday night. Is it possible? How many words of PhD standard is the most you've written in a day or week?
I'm sort of buzzing now as I look at all my info and the only problem is what to leave out. But having a deadline will definitely help me, I think.
I'll keep a little daily diary here if I think of it!
edited about 24 seconds later
posted about 9 years ago======= Date Modified 27 May 2009 08:53:36 =======
Hmm....that's a tall order and whether it is possible depends on how quickly you can assimilate your research notes. I tend to research and write together so I can't really say if it's possible to just write-up 3000 words a day, but I'm pretty sure it is. I do remember writing my Master's thesis (obviously not PhD quality) in 2/3 days from rough research notes. You'll simply have to glue your bum to your desk chair, and switch off all distractions.
You'll probably make lots of mistakes, so set an hour aside each day to re-read what you've written.
I'm actually attempting a similar feat of 15,000 words in two weeks, but with a lot of research unfinished.
Edit: just to add, why does it have to be 25,000 words?
edited about 17 seconds later
posted about 9 years agoThat is a lot, although I once did 2500 words in a day which isn't far off 3000 - don't know if I could do that for eight days straight though! I think if you even had the bones of your chapter done in the 8 days that would be great, is there some reason you have to hit the full count by June 2nd? If not then just focus on getting the chapter done you can try to add more words later!
posted about 9 years agoThat does sound like a lot. I have managed about 1500 a day before, but I was clear about what I was going to say. It can probably be done, working very concentrated and long hours.. but that kind of regime for eight days? No, not impossible, but it sounds extremely hard!!
edited about 12 seconds later
posted about 9 years agoPersonally, I can't do more than about 1000 words per day of PhD quality.Â I know others that can do a lot more, so I suppose it could be possible depending on the individual. I always find that other things get in the way, like supervisor meetings and Cash In The Attic/Homes Under The Hammer, etc.Â Best wishes though!
edited about 8 seconds later
posted about 9 years ago2000 a day for a couple of weeks I'd say is perfectly achievable, if exhausting, if you're just writing up notes. To push it up to 3000 I think you need to separate your working day (which is obviously going to a pretty long one for the next 8 days!) into three sections of 1000 words, making sure you take proper breaks and get as much sleep as possible each night. Good luck - I don't envy you!!
posted about 9 years agoWow, that is quite some feat! If I'm on a roll I can normally manage around 2-3K a day, having said that, I wrote 1.5K yesterday and was worn out and everything I tried to write after that was utter rubbish - so I'd agree, you'd have to split it up and make sure you get good breaks in. I tend to splurge it all out then spend another week going back over it to edit and turn it in to English lol. I wrote the whole first draft for my MA dissertation in 8 days and that was 20K words so it is possible, but its exhausting. Hope you get it done ok :-) I thought I was hard done by having to get my board paper written and submitted by the 15th at around 10K words lol
edited about 11 seconds later
posted about 9 years agoAodhÃ¡n - from your other posting it looks like you have to do this for your thesis resubmission. Of course you can do it! You have very clear goals set out. Write exactly to those goals and don't change anything else!!!
edited about 12 seconds later
posted about 9 years agoOh! and cancel EVERYTHING for 8 days. literally. Then, on the 3rd of June, hand it in and go to the nearest pub/cafe/shop and get a massive glass of wine/disgustingly chocolatey cake/crazy beautiful thing you don't need (or preferably all). Then go home and sleep for a couple of days. After that, the next phase of your life starts!
posted about 9 years agonice advice from A116!!! Sometimes I do approximately 2,000 words per day but again it depends on what I'm writing about.
Sometimes I become depressed and dont write anything for days.
Then miraculously I come out of this no-writing-no-working phase and then get back to it.
You'll be ok.
edited about 28 seconds later
posted about 7 years agoDid you manage to reach your daily goal? I'm interested because I'm trying to finish a Master's diss with a fairly close deadline 8-) - I also have done the research.
edited about 6 seconds later
posted about 7 years agoI remember reading this book (wish I could remember what the title was and the author... it was a book on PhD writing or research writing anyway) and the author was saying how she once reneted a log cabin and basically got everything written in 10 days cos she was just in the log cabin with no distractions whatsoever. Now that's great if you could afford to go off and rent a log cabin and you weren't worried about Jason or Leatherface coming after you but I think you can borrow her logic in the sense that try and find a setting in which you won't have distractions and tell your friends and family you've got to get this done so no distractions for 5-7 days and just sit there and get it done. Still sounds like a huge amount to try and get done and esp. if you're stressed but definitely a quiet environment, adopting a 9-5 approach and just sitting there and saying 'this has to be done' helps!
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