10 mistakes to avoid with dissertation writing
(Last updated: 12 May 2021)
Any extended piece of writing such as a dissertation naturally requires considerably more depth of analysis than undergraduate and Masters essays. Narrow, trivial or shallow research questions will not generate enough depth of discussion and will therefore limit the mark you can expect to achieve.
An uninteresting topic or set of themes will jeopardise your dissertation in two ways: your own lack of interest when researching and writing the piece will kill momentum and enthusiasm, and a boring final dissertation will fail to engage the reader.
Find the appropriate balance between different chapters in your dissertation in order to work most efficiently and fulfil all requirements. Marking criteria provide clues as to the appropriate relative weight to give your methodology, analysis, conclusion, and so on.
4. Beginning too late
Most dissertations require a word count of over 10,000 and should always go through several drafts to ensure quality. It is therefore impossible to hurry the dissertation writing stage and still expect to be awarded a high mark.
5. Beginning too early
This tip is linked to the first in this list, which is to say that beginning the writing stage of your dissertation too early will tend to mean that you have too little to write about. Research thoroughly and, perhaps just as important, recognise the value of a long, slow incubation of thoughts in finding fresh analytical insights.
Focus and relevance are two of the most important qualities that your work should exhibit. The length of a dissertation can potentially expose you to the danger of digressing into inessential matters and losing your grasp of the aims driving your piece. Contextual and background information is fine, but wild tangents are not.
Even focused and well thought-out material can be diminished by poor organisation and lack of structure. Employ subheadings and understand the purpose and scope of every chapter to ensure a logical and clear progression of ideas and meaningful relationships between passages of text.
8. Lack of professionalism
Systematic referencing, use of all proper ancillary devices such as appendices, acknowledgements and contents pages: take these aspects seriously to demonstrate your professional and diligent approach to your studies. A cavalier attitude to these aspects will erode your credibility as a scholar.
Even those who have long since left behind basic errors in language can encounter problems in properly expressing themselves through writing. Avoid ambiguous or uncertain statements, colloquial language and poor sentence structure.
Universities now use sophisticated anti-plagiarism software as a matter of course. Needless to say, you should never deliberately pass someone else’s work off as your own, but remember also that innocent errors in referencing and attribution of ideas amounts to the same thing. Consult the Oxbridge Essays dissertation writing service for further help and advice.