Writing a dissertation is a key theme of university, and it is a lot of work. However, it never hurts to start thinking about it and there are plenty of pros and cons to a dissertation. It is an important commitment. You cannot jump into it unprepared and without having done research. It is is not for everyone. There is no shame in not doing a dissertation. It is all about personal preference.
Here is a list of pros and cons to consider when thinking about a dissertation so you can make the right call.
Pro – Coursework and writing
Doing a dissertation, in whatever discipline, means writing a big piece of coursework. So if you enjoy coursework than this is definitely a pro. If you like writing academic work, then doing a dissertation is a great idea.
Plus, it will help develop your writing skills. This will come in very helpful for your future essays in other modules.
Con – Long term
Writing a dissertation is a long-term project. You will likely start in September, or earlier depending on your university. And you will probably spend the majority of the year working on it. Therefore you need to be able to commit to a long-term project.
In order to commit to a project of that length, you will need to be passionate about your research subject.
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Pro – Further study
Writing a dissertation is a great stepping stone towards writing a Master’s thesis, if that is your aim. If you want to undertake an MA then, chances are, you will have to complete a Master’s thesis. However, it can seem a bit daunting; especially if you haven’t written a BA dissertation.
That is something to consider if you want to move on to further study. Some universities might even ask you for an undergraduate dissertation when applying to MA programs.
Con – Individual work
A dissertation is a lot of individual work. It is not like a normal module with lectures, seminars and workshops. This is unlikely to be taught and will require you to work at your own pace by yourself. Yes, you will have a supervisor, but you will only meet with them once a week or every other week. This all depends on your university.
With a dissertation, you need to be aware of the deadlines. As you will not see a professor who will remind you every week, you need to be organised so that you are giving yourself plenty of time and are not rushing the process.
You need self discipline and time management in order to successfully write a dissertation.
Pro – Future job
A dissertation is great if you want to pursue further education like a Master’s Degree. But a dissertation is also good if you don’t plan on going into further study. Indeed, if you discuss it in an interview, it can show a potential employer that you are capable of independent work and are self motivated.
Furthermore, a dissertation is a significant piece of work. Completing in time shows you can persevere and work to deadlines without supervision.
Pro – Academic research skills
A dissertation will be great to help your academic research skills. You will need to source material by yourself in order to complete a dissertation. This will be very helpful in your other essays and other university work. Indeed, you have to complete your dissertation alongside other work but you can transfer many of the skills, which is great.
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