Dissertation Diaries #1 – The Start and It’s Going Wrong Already

I have just started my third and final year of my degree. To put everything into context I am an Undergraduate BA Criminology Student at the University of York and a huge part of my final year like most students is my dissertation.

Whilst I’m writing this, I am in my fourth week of the autumn term. In week 1, we had a week of dissertation workshops including lectures like ‘how to start a dissertation’, ‘how to supervise your supervisor’, and ‘how to produce a dazzling literature review’. Also in that week, you were advised to meet your dissertation supervisor. I’d already met mine before we broke up for summer, so this was my second meeting. Here, I discussed a potential topic, that be restorative justice, and paths I could go down with this. We ended the meeting by booking in the next meeting, and she left with me with a list of things to complete and think about in preparation for it. I find this so helpful because as much as I like to think I work hard and I am a perfectionist, I’m also a HUGE procrastinator, so setting deadlines like this keeps me prompt and organised.

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Well, this is where it went a little ‘wrong’.

A few days before my next meeting, I realised that restorative justice was NOT the topic I wanted to do. As much as I find this career pathway very interest, I was finding the initial wider reading a little boring and I just couldn’t get engaged with the topic. Alongside this, I was struggling to narrow down the area for a dissertation aim, and I realised this was not a topic I was going to be able to focus on all year, nor write 10,000 words on.

My supervisor is AMAZING, and was so accepting of my honesty around my issues, I think especially as I brought it to her attention early on, rather than leaving it to late. We went back to the drawing board, and I discussed topics I have enjoyed and found interesting over my last two years of study. My supervisor guided discussion around finding a research question and area which allowed me to pull in the different aspects of all these favoured topics, and finally we are left with a very focused research area, which involves the media and sex-offending.

So here we are, in the library writing this post when in reality I should probably be working towards my dissertation! Over the next few weeks I’ll be starting to again do wider reading around my new topic area, whilst narrowing down my focus. The first ethics submission deadline is tomorrow, and thankfully I submitted mine last night, so that’s one thing out-of-the-way!

I am excited yet very stressed about the process and studying ahead, but we shall see how it goes! Wish me luck!

Nat

Have you read my last post?: What I got for my 21st birthday

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