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JonB
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PostPosted: 16:32 - 27 Feb 2009    Post subject: Undergraduate Dissertation... Reply with quote

It's that time of year again, late nights, sleepless mainly, the thought of actually having to do work. Yep i'm talking about the dreaded "D" word.

I finally put "pen to paper" though obviously Microsoft word isn't great to scribble on. After weeks of reading and sifting I finally got over the momentus challenge of actually starting it.

Just wondered who else is currently in the middle of/nearly completed/already handed in their dissertation? Mine is 10,000 words and is on the Domino Theory and US Foreign Policy in the run up to the Vietnam War. It's due in on the 16th April. (Not long!) Done 300 words of draft so far. Crying or Very sad
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Annabella
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PostPosted: 16:36 - 27 Feb 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're doing far better than I did. Admittedly I had two dissertations to write and was well on my way to a final draft of the first. My second I was still researching at this time of the year... you're doing well Jon!

Good luck to everyone writing dissertations. Try not to panic or over exert yourself - it'll flow Thumbs Up Very Happy
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GhostRider
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PostPosted: 18:55 - 27 Feb 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a good idea to get a routine going i.e when you sit down to work on it you don't stop working until say you've done 500 words, that way if you work on it 3 times a week you're gonna get 1,500 done, meaning 6 weeks is do-able, becaus eyou;re not always going to stop at exactly 500 words, sometimes you'll be on a roll and it will just pour itself out onto paper.

I also make small notes of topics to come back to throughout my essays etc if I have ideas but don't want to detract from my main focus at that time, so that when I come to start on it the next time I'll go back over those notes, this way an idea or thought never escapes me and I know I've got all things covered.

I started mine in good time to be honest because, for me personally, if I rush things I will not go into as much detail as I would like to, or make stupid errors in an effort to produce quantity over quality.

One other thing I learned to do, was to cite all your sources as you go along, because it is one foul pain in the arse to get to the end of writing your paper and then spend a couple of hours writing out references and making sure they are in correct Harvard format, listed alphabetically and chronographically I assure you.

Good Luck.

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JonB
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PostPosted: 19:15 - 27 Feb 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cheers for that.

Well I've done 1,000 words today. I already had my notes and quotes jotted down in my "dissertation notebook" so have found it relatively easy to get stuff down on paper, however I know i'm going to have chop out 25% of it as I think I could do some more research.

Every Monday, myself and 3 colleagues travel the short journey to Warwick Uni as they have far bigger historical collection of books, so I get a lot of notes down them days.

Journals have been a bugger because the uni doesn't subscribe much to historical journals and to be honest not too much has been written on my chosen subject, so have been paying muchos money to the British Library to send me photocopied documents!

I kinda wanna have the first draft done by the end of March, so that I can tinker and play with it.

I've been writing my bibliography up as I go along, it is already a page long. Shocked
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phantomtek
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PostPosted: 19:16 - 27 Feb 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have one next year in my History class, no idea what to do it on. Have a few ideas, the one that stands most is 'The effect of the (Second) Red Scare on American culture/media in the 1950s' or something to do with the SAS/Royal Marines, World War or Mod/Skinhead culture in England back in the day. Can't think of any questions regarding the latter ones though so god knows! Any help is appreciated! Smile

Good luck with yours Jon, I know when I get a proper question decided the essay will write itself, you just gotta get into that frame of mind!

By the way, I have a Leeds Met Athens password etc. so if you find your Uni doesn't subscribe and mine does I will happily give you my details so you can access it! Thumbs Up
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JonB
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PostPosted: 19:19 - 27 Feb 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got an Athens password, it's just a lot of articles aren't available for some reason!

I kind of regretted choosing domino theory cause it is so light on literature!
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phantomtek
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PostPosted: 19:27 - 27 Feb 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jon B wrote:
I got an Athens password, it's just a lot of articles aren't available for some reason!

I kind of regretted choosing domino theory cause it is so light on literature!


I am going to search and find something really meaty with alot to support it, I am glad they are giving us this workshop so early so alot of time to plan. I prefer to have too many words and to have to trim to too little and have to pad out!
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mistergixer
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PostPosted: 19:49 - 27 Feb 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

phantomtek wrote:
Skinhead culture in England back in the day. Can't think of any questions regarding the latter ones though so god knows! Any help is appreciated! Smile



Could possibly look at how it went from its Jamaican rude boy origins to its current far right/neo-nazi connotations.
Just a thought, it's something i'd quite like to know myself.
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Andy C
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PostPosted: 20:48 - 27 Feb 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Chemical Engineering we did a research project (equivalent) 60 pages with results etc.

Mine is on PVA-PLGA Hollow Fibre as Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering and for the most part investigating surface effects with addition of PVA making the membrane more hydrophilic.

Doing the lab bit is fine, but the literature review im really struggling with, just cant get into it! last semester we had to produce a 30 page "Technical Review" (a smaller version without an experimental parts) and seem to find that easier to do Confused

Jon B wrote:
I kind of regretted choosing domino theory cause it is so light on literature!


I know what you mean, i find it so hard to find journal articles on this area and when i do they the Author is usually the Lecturer supervising me Sad
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ajb
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PostPosted: 23:25 - 27 Feb 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

did mine couple years ago, hard part was starting, in hindsight, got easier as it went along.

If you feel a dry moment, just do loads of bullet points, easy to convert into text Thumbs Up
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Itchy
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PostPosted: 23:36 - 27 Feb 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jon B wrote:


I kind of regretted choosing domino theory cause it is so light on literature!


Heh thats why you do your dissertation backwards.

ie look up the number of articles on infotrack and athens first and see how meaty they are , THEN decide what your dissertation should be.
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phantomtek
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PostPosted: 02:15 - 28 Feb 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

mistergixer wrote:
phantomtek wrote:
Skinhead culture in England back in the day. Can't think of any questions regarding the latter ones though so god knows! Any help is appreciated! Smile



Could possibly look at how it went from its Jamaican rude boy origins to its current far right/neo-nazi connotations.
Just a thought, it's something i'd quite like to know myself.


That's a very good idea, and well worded too, as they are sometimes just connotations as there is a skinheads against racism group about. If I were to do my dissertation on that (There is a very good chance I will) would you read it? 10,000 words? Razz
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mistergixer
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PostPosted: 13:56 - 28 Feb 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

No probs mate, be interested to read it.
When i was a lad the non-'NF' skinheads were SHARP (Skin Heads Against Racial Prejudice), think it's still going strong - although it was always more of an attitude rather than an organisation.
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Gmanxiii
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PostPosted: 16:42 - 28 Feb 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dunno what you students all worry about, I did mine on "Colour Space and Theory" few years back. Took me one month, I was stoned whenever I wrote it, handed it in without all this first draft malarky and got a 2:1 for it Dance!
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phantomtek
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PostPosted: 17:52 - 28 Feb 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's the ones, if you don't count the ones that aren't politcally motivated or who are racially indifferent. Gonna pitch the idea to my tutor and look into it, cheers!
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Wafer_Thin_Ham
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PostPosted: 20:54 - 28 Feb 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm doing mine at the moment, halfway through my report on the program I've written. 19 pages done out of a 40 page limit. I'm deadline is 1 May I think, but I'm going to try and submit to my supervisor by the 14th of March so I can get feedback on it. Thumbs Up
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JonB
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PostPosted: 08:05 - 02 Apr 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thought i'd check how everyone is doing.

Mine is due in 2 weeks today, but I want to have it bound ASAP as the queues at the shop are usually enormous.

I've done 7,000 words of mine so far and I am suffering a little of lack of direction, a bit like writers block I suppose. Going to spend some time today by myself trying to sort my head out a bit.
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Wafer_Thin_Ham
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PostPosted: 12:15 - 02 Apr 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got mine back from my supervisor, going to make some changes this week then send it back. Then I just need to do a few bits to my program and the job's a good 'un.

Deadline's 5 May or something IIRC. It's not going too badly.
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TheDonUK
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PostPosted: 13:24 - 02 Apr 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am seriously stressed over this, Mine is due on the 27th of this month and i havent written a word yet...

I always leave things late but this is stupid, im going to read some more now...
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s44678
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PostPosted: 13:58 - 02 Apr 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

mistergixer wrote:
phantomtek wrote:
Skinhead culture in England back in the day. Can't think of any questions regarding the latter ones though so god knows! Any help is appreciated! Smile



Could possibly look at how it went from its Jamaican rude boy origins to its current far right/neo-nazi connotations.
Just a thought, it's something i'd quite like to know myself.


Definately watch "This is England" directed by Shane Meadows as part of your research. Even if there is nothing in there you can use, still a bloody good film and will get you in the mood of the times Thumbs Up

Edit> As far as a question goes, could be something like "In what way did the Conservative government policies of the 1980's influence the adoption of skinhead culture in the UK?". Or some other bollocks like that linking it to politics. Everyones likes a bit of politics in a dissertation.
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Wafer_Thin_Ham
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PostPosted: 14:04 - 02 Apr 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

TheDonUK wrote:
I am seriously stressed over this, Mine is due on the 27th of this month and i havent written a word yet...

I always leave things late but this is stupid, im going to read some more now...


Parp.

I've done 40 pages, but it's missing a couple of appendices, 7969 words.
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JonB
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PostPosted: 14:12 - 02 Apr 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

TheDonUK wrote:
I am seriously stressed over this, Mine is due on the 27th of this month and i havent written a word yet...

I always leave things late but this is stupid, im going to read some more now...

OK, don't worry, you still have plenty of time.

Get yourself to you uni library every day, force yourself to do 8 hours a day, you'd be surprised how much research you can do in a day. The important thing is to creat a space where you can work. I struggle to focus at home. A great example is today, I just need to type up a 1,000 words to complete my second chapter, however I started at 11.30 and I have done only 500. Mainly procrastinating.

Don't worry about typing it up. Get all your notes together in a notebook and when it comes to typing you'll find you'll easily be able to do 2,000-3,000 words a day...

Make your bibliography as you go along, so far I am on my 3rd page of A4 with references, I would dread to have to sort them all out at the end.

Set yourself deadlines. Mine is due in 2 weeks today, but I want it to be binded in a weeks time, so want my first draft done by Sunday night, so I can edit and fine tune it on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday...

Just try and do somework, having something down on paper can instantly make you feel so much better about the whole experience. Some of my worst times were when I started worrying about it. I was starting to lose sleep, now I am fine.
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Andy C
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PostPosted: 15:51 - 02 Apr 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

Its taken up my life Crying or Very sad

Got 2 1/2 weeks and if i finish soon can have a week off (havnt had a week without lecture/work since october) but the closer i get the less push i have.

Today i reached 72 pages and almost 17000 words (including appendix).

Have to finish this weekend....
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TheDonUK
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PostPosted: 16:16 - 02 Apr 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your words jon.

Speaking to friends in uni and listining to stories here make me feel unbelieveably bad for having left it so long.

I have given myself a deadline of exactly 3 weeks from today which if i did 500 words a day, every day would get me to my 10k with a few days spare for editing/binding.

I have been known to do 3000 word essays in 6 hours, so im sure once i actually decide upon a question (Cuban Missile Crisis) there will be days when i bang out 1000+ words to take up the slack.

This is probably the biggest test of my character yet, if i fuck this up and fail (dont get a 2:1) i fear it will haunt me and i will have got all this debt for nothing...

Whats even more horrible is they just published my exam timetable:

Disso deadline 27th April
First exam 5th May, two on the 7th and then one of the 13th.

Its strange for me im usually overrelaxed about everything but i am too loosing sleep tossing and turning at night over this, beating myself up ever more at my lack of progress.

Make or break time Don, (Joe from family guy: LETS DO THIS YEAHHHHHHHHH!!!!)
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Andy C
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PostPosted: 16:47 - 02 Apr 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good luck Don, it amazing what you can if under pressure.

Looking back, I dont quite understand how it took me 9 weeks. Confused
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