A dissertation is an extended piece of writing that utilises original research material and is used to assess a student’s performance at degree level. The word limit depends on whether you’re studying for a bachelor’s or master’s degree or a PhD. At the lower end you could find yourself with 10,000 words to play with, whereas at the next level you may have 20,000, whilst at the highest level 100,000 words may be the limit. It usually depends on the institution and the subject. Whatever the word limit, though, you have to be organised and avoid distractions if you are to have any hope of completing it on time.
You need to know what area you intend to focus on so that you can get on with looking through books and source material that is relevant, rather than wasting your time searching for ideas on the Internet. The Internet can be a useful tool when it comes to research, as everything is right there in front of you. You can see what books have been written on the subject and where the materials are available from. However, the Internet can prove to be a distraction if you’re not careful. You can find yourself trawling through pages that have no relevance whatsoever because you are hoping to stumble across something useful.
It therefore helps to have a plan of action so that you know precisely what you need to do and when you need to have done it by. This should help you stay on track, as you don’t want to find yourself falling behind schedule. If you know that you need to write 5000 words by the weekend you are less likely to mess around playing games and listening to music, as you have no other option than to focus on the work in hand.
If this is not enough to keep you focused you need to remove all potential distractions, of which there are many when you work at home. You may find that it is useful to use the university computers that are available in the library, as you are in a quiet area surrounded by books and other conscientious students. You obviously can’t watch television or listen to your mp3 player and playing games online is generally discouraged when there are other students waiting to use the computers.
It can take a significant amount of time to complete a dissertation and so it is extremely easy to procrastinate, but this only puts more pressure on you later down the line to complete it, which is why you have to find a way to avoid distractions and just get on with reading, planning and writing it.