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Subject guides

Dissertation Survival Guide: Writing up

Guidance on how to complete your Dissertation/Final Year Project and make the most of Library and IT Services and Resources

Writing up your work

You’ve done your research – now you have to present it! Different disciplines have different expectations for this, so make sure you read your module handbook - this will give you the rules to follow. Your lecturers and Academic Skills tutors can also give you guidance on what is expected. Academic Skills tutors can also help you improve your academic writing style, structure your dissertation appropriate and help you construct arguments. Remember though they are busy people so book an appointment with them in advance.

If you would like to see examples of previous dissertations, your tutors may have made some available to you on Brightspace, or could be able to provide some on request. We do not keep previous dissertations in the library.

Resources for academic reading and writing

Here are a few online resources that can help you improve your academic writing.

Proofreading

Before you submit your work, make sure you proof read it and remove any typos etc.

Read&Write is software that will enable the computer to read anything on your computer screen aloud. You may find this useful in proof-reading your own dissertation. It is available via UniDesktop and on Library computers.

To really take your dissertation/final year project to the next level, why not ask a “critical friend” to read it first? This should preferably be someone not on your course who can point out mistakes and sections that are unclear before you submit.

If you want to pay a professional proofreader, that is your choice. However, beware of any service that says they will write part or all of it for you! Services that offer to write or rewrite your work for a fee are classed as academic misconduct.

Legitimate proofreading services will only provide guidance on spelling, grammar, and errors in formatting. If you are going to use a proofreader, you must consult the the University's proofreading policy first.

Tips for writing up

Getting through your dissertation: Nine tips for getting it done. Tips presented in infographic form on a blue background. For a text version, please see link under the image.

Nine tips for getting through your dissertation. For a text version, please see Alison Phipps' website.

Presenting your work using Microsoft Word

You’ve written everything you think you need to include, but the page numbers don’t want to co-operate! Your headings look wonky and how on earth do you create a table of contents at the front? Never fear, the Digital Skills team is here - they’ve loads of help on using software like Word to format your dissertation:

  • Assign and modify styles in a document.
  • Use the navigation pane to move through a document.
  • Implement page and section breaks in a document.
  • Insert and manage page numbering.
  • Insert a table of contents.
  • Practice useful shortcuts.

There are many courses and videos on LinkedIn Learning on using Word to full its full potential for writing up your dissertation. You could also contact Digital Skills for one-to-one help.

Software to use off-campus

Studying remotely? Lots of University software is available to use off-campus, either remotely through UniDesktop, or by downloading to your own computer.

See the video below for more details about what software is available to all students. There may be specialist software available to students on your own course as well, so contact your tutors if there is something else you need to use.

Don't forget to back-up your work!

Make sure you save your work regularly and back it up! There are few things worse in the academic world than losing a USB stick with your entire dissertation on the week before it is due in.

Save your work in multiple places. As well as using a USB stick, you could also save work to your K drive which is backed up by Computing Services on a daily basis. You can access your K drive from off-campus using MyHud.

You also have 1 TB of storage space available on OneDrive so you can access your files safely and securely. As part of your OneDrive you can upload or create new documents using online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote and save them to your OneDrive storage. See the video below for more information about using OneDrive.