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:
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.
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:
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?
|Dissertation Planning||Core||Webpage including downloadable resources||15 mins|
|Dissertation Writing Essentials||Core||Workshop Recording||30 mins|
|Independent Study||Recommended||Interactive Digital Workshop||30 mins|
|Reading Techniques||Recommended||Online Resource||15 mins|
|Managing Your Time||Optional||Online Resource||15 mins|
|Mind Mapping your Project||Optional||Online Resource||15 mins|
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.
|Literature review writing||Core||Workshop Recording||30 mins|
|Paraphrasing and Using Academic Sources||Recommended||Workshop Recording||45 mins|
|Discovering Information||Recommended||University of Sheffield Library Tutorials and Webinars||15 mins|
|Producing a Literature review||Recommended||University of Sheffield Library Tutorial||15 mins|
|Preventing Plagiarism and Reference Management||Recommended||University of Sheffield Library Resources||15mins|
|Statistical Methods||Optional||15 mins|
|Time Management||Optional||Online Resource||30 mins|
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!
|Creativity and Problem Solving in Academic Work||Recommended||Workshop Recording||15 mins|
|Critical Thinking||Optional||Online resources||N/A|
|Maths and Statistics Online Resources||Optional||Online resource||N/A|
|Time Management||Recommended||Online resources||30 mins|
|Student Wellbeing Service||Recommended||Other Service||N/A|
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.
|Academic Writing Overview||Core||Workshop Recording||1 hour|
|Proofreading your Work||Recommended||Online resources||15 mins|
|Statistical Analysis Packages||Optional||Online resources||N/A|
|Displaying Data||Optional||Online resources||15 mins|
|Presentation Skills||Optional||Online resources||15 mins|
|Poster Presentations||Optional||Online resources||15 mins|
In addition to our digital dissertation resources, we also run a package of live online workshops via Blackboard.
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.
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.)