Level Up Your Skills - Dissertation Skills

Welcome to this interactive study skills page. With careful planning and organisation, writing your dissertation can be a rewarding and fascinating experience. On the other hand, knowing where to start with such a large project can be daunting. However you’re feeling, we can help. The resources below have been carefully curated to help you with every stage of the process.

The learning objectives of this resource are as follows:

  • Learn how to approach a dissertation in a blended or online learning environment.
  • Be able to structure your project with a good timetable, and adapt the schedule when required.
  • Develop skills in academic writing.
  • Learn how to undertake a Literature Review.
  • Brush up on any necessary skills in data handling and other areas of mathematics and statistics which may be required.

      

How to Use this Course

Resources are broken down into sections below. Each section contains a set of resources and activities relevant to the suggested stage of your course. Please use this course flexibly to dip in and out of the resources as appropriate, to help develop the skills you will need for your learning and assessments. Some resources will be useful as a refresher, while other areas may be new to you. If you wish to record your progress on the course, you can work towards the Academic Skills Certificate to gain recognition for your ongoing skills development.

Please explore each section of the course in the accordion tabs below, where you will find more information and links to our online resources.

LUYS Dissertation Skills - Planning Ahead Button LUYS Dissertation Skills - Making a Start Button

LUYS Dissertation Skills - Managing the Project Button

LUYS Dissertation Skills - Analysis and Presentation Button

Live Workshops

In addition to our digital dissertation resources, we run a package of live online workshops via Blackboard.

You can view our calendar of live workshops and book here

Blended or Online Learning

Learning online will allow you to access your course remotely and in a flexible way. However, it may also be a new and unfamiliar experience that requires new skills and study strategies. For specific information and guidance on the practicalities and challenges of online learning, please visit the following resources:

Learning Effectively Online

Academic Skills for Well-Being

Getting the Most out of Online Lectures

 

Planning Ahead

Just like any project, it is worthwhile checking that you have the tools you need to do the job. Are there skills that you need to brush up on in order to work effectively?
If you’re not sure, take the Skills Audit to help you identify areas to develop. There are also some suggestions below.

Planning is a vital stage that can help keep you on track once you start your project. Breaking the project up into smaller chunks will help with this. These chunks could include generating and developing your research idea, initial literature searching, planning your actual research, analysing and writing up. Our dissertation planning webpage and resources will help you through this process.

Resource Core/Recommended/Optional Description Time Commitment
LOGOonlineresource Dissertation Planning  Core Webpage including downloadable resources 15 mins
LOGOworkshoprecording Dissertation Writing Essentials Core Workshop Recording 30 mins
LOGOinteractiveresource Independent Study Recommended Interactive Digital Workshop 30 mins
LOGOonlineresource Reading Techniques Recommended Online Resource 15 mins
LOGOonlineresource Managing Your Time Optional Online Resource 15 mins
LOGOonlineresource Mind Mapping your Project Optional Online Resource 15 mins

Live Workshops

In addition to our digital dissertation resources, we also run a package of live online workshops via Blackboard.

You can view our calendar of live workshops and book here

Making a Start

Taking the first steps in a project can often be the hardest but we’ve compiled some great resources to help you make a start. Maybe you’ve been putting off getting started - so why not check out our resources on time management and beating procrastination, or maybe you’re wondering how to start your literature review? We’ve got information on this and links to resources in the Library.

It’s at this stage you need to be thinking about your data collection and planning your analysis - you need to make sure that you collect the right data to answer your research questions Take a look at some of the MASH resources to help you understand the process of statistical hypothesis setting and what methods or techniques you need to analyse your data. And don’t forget to write your analysis plan at this stage, as this will help you understand what you need to do for a successful outcome.

Resource Core/Recommended/Optional Description Time Commitment
LOGOworkshoprecording Literature review writing Core Workshop Recording 30 mins
LOGOworkshoprecording Paraphrasing and Using Academic Sources Recommended Workshop Recording 45 mins
LOGOsignpost Discovering Information Recommended University of Sheffield Library Tutorials and Webinars 15 mins
LOGOsignpost Producing a Literature review Recommended University of Sheffield Library Tutorial 15 mins
LOGOsignpost Preventing Plagiarism and Reference Management Recommended University of Sheffield Library Resources 15mins
LOGOonlineresource Statistical Methods Optional

Statistics Online Resources

15 mins
LOGOonlineresource Time Management Optional Online Resource 30 mins

Live Workshops

In addition to our digital dissertation resources, we also run a package of live online workshops via Blackboard.

You can view our calendar of live workshops and book here

Managing the Project

You’ve got your plan set out and you’re well into the swing of working on your project. Staying on top of your plan should now be the priority for ensuring that you’re ready for any possible hiccups along the way. Effectively managing your work now will make analyses and write-up later down the line much easier to grapple.

It’s easy to procrastinate under the knowledge that the write-up is a long way off. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t allow yourself adequate time for breaks along the way. Learning how to chunk your tasks and break your timetable into bite-size pieces will reduce the opportunities to procrastinate. At each stage of this process, the overarching plan should be checked and amended, so that any expected timescales can be more accurately adhered to.

This is a good time to embed some of the techniques you make need further down the line. For example, you might be required to use statistics to perform analyses on data you’ve obtained. Or you might want to increase your comprehensive reading skills so that you can extract information from journal papers quickly. The table below gives areas to consider - note that you might not need all of them!

Resource Core/Recommended/Optional Description Time Commitment
LOGOworkshoprecording Creativity and Problem Solving in Academic Work Recommended Workshop Recording 15 mins
LOGOonlineresource Critical Thinking Optional Online resources N/A
LOGOonlineresource Maths and Statistics Online Resources Optional Online resource N/A
LOGOonlineresource LinkedIn Learning Optional

Online resources 

N/A
LOGOonlineresource Time Management Recommended Online resources 30 mins
LOGOsignpost Student Wellbeing Service Recommended Other Service N/A

Live Workshops

In addition to our digital dissertation resources, we also run a package of live online workshops via Blackboard.

You can view our calendar of live workshops and book here

Analysis and Presentation

Writing your dissertation project up does not need to be left to the very end. In fact, writing up as you go along can be a helpful way to shape your project and spread the writing load. The final stages of your dissertation are about analysing your findings, developing your conclusions and communicating your ideas.

This is the point at which the project really comes together. You will have attained a level of expertise and insight in the area you are researching that will allow you to develop your own original conclusions. It is also the point to be considering what the wider implications or take-away messages from the project are.

Once the project is at a final draft stage, it is important to leave adequate time to review and proofread your work to ensure that it is accurate and coherent as a whole.

Resource Core/Recommended/Optional Description Time Commitment
LOGOworkshoprecording Academic Writing Overview Core Workshop Recording 1 hour
LOGOonlineresource Proofreading your Work Recommended Online resources 15 mins
LOGOonlineresource Statistical Analysis Packages Optional Online resources N/A
LOGOonlineresource Displaying Data Optional Online resources 15 mins
LOGOonlineresource Presentation Skills Optional Online resources 15 mins
LOGOonlineresource Poster Presentations Optional Online resources 15 mins

Live Workshops

In addition to our digital dissertation resources, we also run a package of live online workshops via Blackboard.

You can view our calendar of live workshops and book here

Academic Skills Certificate Logo

Recognition for your skills development

The 301 Academic Skills Certificate provides an opportunity for you to gain recognition for developing your skills and reflecting on this experience. Through this reflection you will be able to identify changes and improvements to your academic skills that will lead to long-term benefits to your studies. The 301 Academic Skills Certificate acknowledges your commitment to enhancing your academic and employability skills and personal development. You can find more information on the 301 Academic Skills Certificate here.

Evaluation Survey

This marks the end of this programme. We hope you have found it useful and we would very much value any comments you may have. Please complete our evaluation survey to share your experiences of this resource with us, helping us to develop the programme for the future.

(Please note: your responses will be anonymous.)

 

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