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24 May 2021

Managing your master's dissertation

We’ve rounded up support and expertise from across King’s to help you complete your dissertation

A stack of coloured books in a library

Dissertations can be daunting at the best of times. In these changed circumstances, it can feel more challenging without our usual routines and support structures.

We’ve rounded up support and expertise from across King’s to help you plan your time, develop your skills and complete your dissertation with confidence.

Get the basics right

It may sound obvious but keeping well can help you manage pressurised situations.

By working late into the night, skipping meals or reaching for quick snacks, it may seem like you are putting your studies first. But these habits are not sustainable in the long run and can affect your concentration.

Prioritising good sleep, drinking enough water and eating nourishing meals will give you the foundations to flourish. Check out this guide to living well on Student Services Online.

Be prepared

Avoid surprises by making sure you understand your department’s requirements and deadlines for dissertations.

Organise your reading list and familiarise yourself with the sources you will use, whether that’s from King’s Libraries & Collections, external archives or participants in your research.

Keep in contact with your supervisor to let them know how you are getting on. Don’t be afraid to ask them if you feel unsure.

Students walking

Walk and talk

Walking, especially in nature, is thought to kick-start creativity.

This summer, as part of the King’s Edge programme, you can get advice and support from an experienced researcher from King’s Academy, all while taking a walk around London’s green spaces. As you stroll, they will help you to talk through your ideas and articulate your thoughts before you commit them to paper. This change of scene could help you get a fresh perspective on your project or work out the best approach to your dissertation.

Find out more and book your Creative Dissertation Walk.

Skill up

There are plenty of resources available to help you develop the skills you need to research, write and edit your dissertation.

King’s Libraries Learning and Skills Service (KLaSS) offers guides and tips for all subjects, helping you navigate academic sources and reference them correctly.

King’s Academy runs online workshops and one-to-one sessions on study skills for master’s students. From narrowing down your research area through to writing and proofreading, they can support you during every step of the dissertation process.

Putting pen to paper can feel intimidating, especially if you have been researching for a long time. You could try writing alongside others at a Just Write, an online retreat for master’s students who want to work on their dissertation in a collaborative environment. You will be encouraged to set goals for the workshop, holding you accountable to get things done.

Photo by @aaronburden on Unsplash
Photo by @aaronburden on Unsplash

Plan your time

A clear plan of action can help you feel in control.

King’s Academic Skills for Learning on KEATS has tips to for studying smarter and managing your time. You can also book one-to-one online sessions with Academic Skills Tutors.

Research shows that we can only concentrate for 30 – 45 minutes at a time. Form a plan that is achievable, splitting your research into manageable chunks. Make sure to include breaks and down time away from your desk.

Keeping moving is a great way to clear your head. Boxing, basketball and ballet barre are just some of the free online and in-person outdoor classes available with King’s Sport. Why not try something new when you need a break?

Remember that routines should be flexible enough to live with. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t stick strictly to your plan. Writing a dissertation is a long process and you can start afresh tomorrow.

Get the support you need

Support is always available at King’s.

We are committed to ensuring that students are not academically disadvantaged due to the circumstances of this year. You can find out more about how we are ensuring fair assessment in 2021 on Student Services Online.

You can also borrow equipment if you are worried about your internet connection or laptop.

If you are struggling with mental health or stress, there are a range of wellbeing services available.

It can be tempting to bottle things up. But talking about how you are feeling with friends and loved ones, the Chaplaincy or your personal tutor, can really help.

All students can use Togetherall, a safe space online to get things off your chest and learn how to manage your mental health and wellbeing.

Positive Peers are student partners of KCLSU Wellbeing who promote positive mental health and wellbeing for all students at King’s. Take a look at how they can support you.

King’s offers free mental health support including counselling appointments throughout the week and at evenings and weekends. Visit Student Services Online to find out your options.