Updated: May 24
This may seem like an odd post to have up this early on in the year, No we have not lost our minds … yet. I want to post this blog piece now so that at no matter what stage of studying you are in, you can refer to this for tips and tricks.
My biggest advice (which you would have heard countless times before) is starting early! This -no lies- was the best piece of advice that I followed while writing up my MSc dissertation. I had my materials and methods chapter done by January and my Literature Review chapter done by June. As these were the two chapters that would take up some time to edit and write, there was no rush since they were in early.
For my results, I would write them up as and when they were completed. This helped as the statistical analysis for the results could be analysed and interpreted within the context of the completed literature review.
The discussion chapter was a little more of a challenge to write up early because the order of the results changed and things were included and excluded with each round of edits. Nevertheless, the linking of the results and the literature review is paramount in the discussion as this shows how your research fits within your field and what is currently known.
So here are my tips and advice:
Start early, even if it is just reading an article, future you will thank you for it!
Before sending a piece of writing to your supervisor for editing, ask a friend to read through it - it's amazing what a fresh set of eyes can do for your writing
Take breaks in between writing! Fresh ideas come from new environments
Write simply, yes this sounds odd for a scientific piece, but how many articles have you read where after three long paragraphs you find the authors could have used two sentences to say what they wanted to?
Do all the final formatting such as page numbers at the end!
When you are done and about to hand in the final copy, recheck all forms of numbering, tables, figures, sections, pages, etc. (Trust me, speaking from past experiences, some goblins like to change this, creating printing and referencing mess)
So start writing today!
PS: Thank you to Dog Ear Editing for editing my dissertation and to Stallion printing for printing and binding my dissertation with such professional services provided from both companies. Both of these resources have been linked under our resources page.