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Library Guides

Dissertations 1: Getting Started: Planning

A Guide

Planning Your Time

The dissertation is a large project, so it needs careful planning. To organise your time, you can try the following:  

  • Break down the dissertation into smaller stages to complete (e.g., literature search, read materials, data collection, write literature review section…). 

  • Create a schedule. Working backwards from your deadline, decide when you will complete each stage. 

  • Set aside time to regularly work on the dissertation. 

  • Consider what times of day you are most alert and what makes a suitable space to study. 

  • Identify a specific task to work on. 

  • If overwhelmed, try to identify one task that needs doing rather than focusing on the larger project. 

  • Leave time to redraft, proof-read, format, and complete the reference list. 

Gantt Charts

As the dissertation project involves certain processes to take place simultaneously, rather than in a sequence, you can use a Gantt chart to organise your time.  

A Gantt chart is a bar chart which shows the schedule for a project. The project is broken down into key tasks/elements to be completed. A start and finish date for each task/element of the project is given. Some tasks are scheduled at the same time or may overlap. Others will start when a task has been completed. 

To produce a Gantt chart, you can use Word, Excel (see example in the attachment) or an online planner.

  • Tom's Planner. There's an example for you to use to complete your plan. 
  • Excel: example of Gantt Chart in Excel. This is an example of a Gantt chart which can be used to generate a plan of work (timeline) for your dissertation. You can download and edit it as you please. The chart has been created by the University of Leicester. 

Gantt chart using Excel

Research Data Management

This video helps you to understand the importance of research data management and how you can plan, organise, store, preserve, and share your data.