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Getting it Done! 7 Dissertation Tips

Posted in Dissertation printing (and writing!) on 25 March 2015

The sun is (slowly) beginning to come out to play… but sadly many students won’t get to see the daylight this summer, because it’s that time of year – that’s right, dreaded dissertation time. It doesn’’t have to be all scary though, well not if you come prepared that is. With this in mind, and having already helped loads of students come out of the other side in one piece over the last few years, we decided to create a compendium of practical dissertation tips on how to survive the next few weeks, and get it done (that’s the part we love, and are quite good at in fact)!

1. Start Early

An obvious one, but it’s still important to emphasise we feel. Really try to get cracking on thinking about your dissertation topic as early as possible. The sooner you have a definite idea of what your subject is the sooner you can start taking productive steps instead of just being a stress head about it for longer than necessary. It will be worth it, we promise!

2. Choosing a Subject

This is (hopefully) pretty obvious, you can’t get off the starting blocks till you’ve nailed this. Forget about a title for now, that can come later. In fact, we think this is where many students go wrong; they ponder too much on what sounds like a super smart topic for a dissertation, rather than thinking about what really interests them.

Stick with what you know, we say. You’ve got to pick a topic you know you will be interested in researching and writing about, not the ‘invisible man’ otherwise it will be an utter yawn, and you’’ll find it 10 times harder to motivate yourself to excel. Your topic needs to be something you have an opinion on, so you can argue and really get your teeth into it. It’s always way better if you’’re passionate about your subject. It will help you go that extra mile.

3. Make The Most Of The Help Around You

Meet with your dissertation tutor as soon as possible to discuss your ideas. Also discuss your dissertation topic whenever possible with your uni mates, you may be able to gain a new perspective which you wouldn’t have considered previously. It never hurts to get your family to proof-read your work if you can either.

4. Make A Plan

Or at least have some sort of structure where you get up in the morning to make the most of your day. From researching at the library to help you keep in the ‘zone’ and as distraction-free as possible, to planning the framework of your dissertation, to the completion and finally handing it in. Don’t let those little last minute details let you down, as so often is the case.

5. 10% Rule

The 10% rule is when you are allowed to go under or over the word count by 10% either way. For example, if you have a 2,000 word essay, you have to write at least 1,800 words and can write up to 2,200 words.

It’s always worth checking with your tutors if you’re allowed to use the 10% rule in your dissertation, especially if you think you may go over the allocated word count. You do not – we repeat you do not – want to run the risk of getting penalised (remember: Plan or FAIL!).

6. Don’t ‘Go it Alone

Writing a dissertation can feel like you’re traveling a long lonely road with just your mouse for company sometimes… but hey, it doesn’’t mean you have to ride it totally solo. Once again, get your roomies or classmates involved – you’re all in the same boat aren’t you?

Human interaction is important! Still make time for your friends. If you’re relaxed and happy you’re more likely to be productive.


This is the most important thing when writing your dissertation. It’s one of the biggest things you will undertake while at uni, if not the biggest, so it’s really worth finding ways to enjoy it. It will always be a nerve-racking prospect when you have that first blank page in front of you, but once you get stuck in it will become easier, especially if you’ve picked the right subject for you.

To make things a little easier, this year we are offering you 15% off getting your dissertation printed with Doxdirect. All you ned to do is upload your finished masterpiece as a Word or PDF file, choose whether you’d like it printed as a smart paperback, luxury hardback or economical spiral bound book (get an instant quote on the Price Calculator), and you can even design a cover online with our free Cover Design Tool! Just use voucher code DISS15 at the checkout.