The process of Writing your Dissertation SIMPLIFIED! (A guide by a Masters Student): Phase 1 | Yasaswini Edupuganti | Skillshare

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The process of Writing your Dissertation SIMPLIFIED! (A guide by a Masters Student): Phase 1

teacher avatar Yasaswini Edupuganti

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Lessons in This Class

6 Lessons (14m)
    • 1. Introducing the class!!

      1:19
    • 2. Step 1: Picking your Research Topic.

      3:45
    • 3. Step 2: Planning your Research.

      3:27
    • 4. Step 3: Organizing the Structure of your Report.

      2:16
    • 5. Step 4: Finding your Research Gap.

      2:15
    • 6. Project, don't worry, its simple!

      0:34
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About This Class

A class made simply to give you some tips and tricks to make the process of technical writing and the dissertation process much easier! I am a recent graduate too, so I will give you guidance and tips to make the process easier! Let's get learning! :) 

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Transcripts

1. Introducing the class!!: Hello everyone. My name is yes. Yes, Bernie and I am a recent graduate from the University of Manchester in the UK with a master's degree in aerospace engineering. During my time at University of come across a report writing, technical writing, research methods, and the process of writing a dissertation. If you have any of these modules that require this discourse, I believe will be very useful to you simply because I myself am a recent graduate, so I understand the problems that you might be facing. I understand what areas might be difficult and overwhelming and I will go through them step-by-step. I simply walked towards breaking down the process and try to make it a little bit easier for you to start off. When you start off with can be overwhelming. However, if you remain focused and you stay organized, I am sure that I would make all the difference. I will be uploading my videos on a weekly basis and going through each phase. So let's get started. This course will consist of the first phase that is Getting Started. The following, as you can see, is the agenda for today's session. The topics include picking your research topic, planning your research, organizing the structure of your report, and most importantly, finding your research gap. I will go through each of these topics in depth and give you checklists, tips, and guidance along the way. Things that I've learned from my journey. 2. Step 1: Picking your Research Topic.: The first step in this process, if you are writing a dissertation, is picking your research topic. Now if this is given to you by your University directly, you can skip this step or listening in on to expand your knowledge. Many people don't even know that this is a step for me at a master's level, I was given about 40 topics from which I had to choose ten of them and rank them according to my interest, the university tried to give each of us our first choice. However, this is not practically possible because of the number of students that they have on hand. We also have the option of giving in a proposal based on our topic of interest. We had faqih topics and picking ten of them was not something that I could do just by reading the title. So I decided to make a checklist in order to decide which topics I was most interested in. The first step is breaking down your title. As simple as this may sound, each and every word in your title makes a difference. So make sure that you read each of them, research on each of them, and understand where it means at its very core. Exploring the work done in this area. Make sure before you give it the style that there's enough work, that there is data that surrounds this work so that your research in the future would be made a little bit easier. Understanding the challenges you may face lack of experimental data. This is one of the biggest challenges that many of the topics face, because not everything can be done as an experiment because of the challenges that it has, because of money and many other reasons. So it is important to understand if you have enough data in terms of experiments, if you have enough data in terms of numerical simulations or whatever it may be, as boy, your topic, trying to formulate the research gap in your mind. I know that most of you might think this is early and I will explain what a research gap is very soon. However, trying to understand what it is you are trying to solve that has not been done before, is very important when you're picking your topic from the very beginning, because you don't want to be stuck in this phase after you've given a topic and you're not really interested in it afterwards and you don't know what you're doing. Understanding you have a limitation of time. It is very easy to get carried away. It is very easy to look at a topic and say, wow, that sounds fantastic. But at the end of the day, you need to understand that this is a project and you have a deadline to deliver your project. So make sure that you keep your timeline in mind and how much work you can get done in a practical manner in that time. Evaluating your interest level and knowledge on the subject. You can see a topic that sounds interesting, that is fascinating to you. However, if you do not have as much interest in the topic that you in the future as you do right now, it could be a real problem. You need to know and you need to be able to evaluate how much you already know about the subject. And if you are willing to put in the work to understand more about it and predicting your capability. I cannot stress this enough, but stick to your strengths when it comes to your dissertation, this is not always the case, however, you cannot start from scratch. So as my previous point, make sure that you already have some background knowledge on this and you're building because you need to bring in something. You need to bring in value to the project that you do. It's not just the accumulation of things from the internet, however, it is something that you're bringing in that's new. So you need to have a solid idea, basic foundations that are strong enough for you to go ahead with the project. Now that you follow the checklist, I believe that you should be able to have a topic in hand that you are happy with. Just to let you know this checklist has different components. It looks into the work that's been done before. It looks into your capabilities. It looks into the time that you have. So it's real, it's practical and it's something that you can work with. 3. Step 2: Planning your Research.: Now let's say you've completed step one. You've picked your research topic and it's been approved by a supervisor or professor, and you are ready to move on to step two. Step two is planning your research now going online and reading a bunch of research papers that already exist on your topic might not be the most productive way to do it. So for you to be able to plan your research and how you would be reaching towards that end goal of your dissertation is in my suggestion through using a Gantt chart. And I will talk more about it by giving you a stepwise description. Some of the things that you can do in order to make your Gantt chart as simple as possible, but at the same time, make it as useful as possible for you are by following the following tips that I have for you, identifying phases, identified the various phases that you may encounter during the process. By this, I mean, right from your research and the very beginning till the very end where you have to write your report. If you can break your research and your report writing down, you would be able to come up with different phases that you may go through during this process. Attention to detail, make the toughest of each phase as detailed as possible. By this, I mean, when you break down each of your phases, if you can give 11 statements that will tell you, such as right, and it should review, write ten pages of literature review on this particular day, or proofread this section of the particular report. And this would just give you a more brief idea on what you're looking at and what you're supposed to do each day. Give yourself a break here. You don't have to feel guilty. You don't have to work every single day of three months. All you need to understand is that you need to sit down for productive sessions where you can actually get some work done if you feel like you're not doing anything and just sitting in front of your desk, then make sure that you go outside and do something. Maybe go for a walk, maybe just and listen to some music, whatever it is that you feel to get back into the zone, be real with yourself. And by this, I mean, when you're putting into it and things in your Gantt chart, make sure that they are real. If you have an entire month dedicated to writing a report, Think about it. Do you really need an entire month to write down a report? Because along the way as you're doing your research, you should be able to do some report writing as well. So an entire month for this might not be the most useful thing to do. However, if you have a report that is focused on literature review, if you had a review based paper that you're writing, then it's something that makes sense. So make sure what kind of report you're doing. And if you have your Gantt chart aligned with that to get the maximum productivity out of it. Now this is a gantt chart that I had made for my dissertation. It's a fairly simple one. It's based on a monthly basis. And as you can see, you can see the four phases that I'm talking about. Phase one was just the initial research and to brush up on my B6. Phase two was getting the literature review done. Phase three was doing some designing and some simulation on CFD. And phase four was wrapping up the report, finishing up the writing, proofreading, getting feedback from my supervisor and all that stuff. So you can also do your Gantt chart on a daily basis. You can do it on a weekly basis. It really depends on what works for you. I heard it on a monthly basis. However, every single day I would have goals set so that I could reach the goals that I had set on the Gantt chart on a monthly basis. 4. Step 3: Organizing the Structure of your Report.: Organizing the structure of your report. Now, a lot of people might think that this is a step that's way too early. However, in my opinion, if you want to put together all of these thoughts that you have and all of that initial research that you're doing. It is very good to have a table of contents together. Now this includes your typical abstract nomenclature. Let's review whatever it is that you have. And it just helps you bring together all the parts that you have. For example, if you look at a paper and you think, oh wow, this could really fit in when I write my results. Probably this description makes sense. So you can just have that aligned in your Results and Discussion section with the reference so that you can go back to it later and look into it. It also had to really organize your thoughts and any ideas that you have along the way. In order to organize the report structure, ask yourself the question. How? So? The first thing is you need to find out if your university has certain guidelines are selecting format that they want you to follow. If this is the case, then you have to stick to that format. However, if that is not the case and you are free to explore, come up with whatever format that you want. There are a few basics that always remain in the report. So you look for inspiration from previous work that's been done by any students at your university perhaps, or other universities. A lot of dissertations are available online. Make sure you look at credible once. You can also look at other technical papers, research papers that have been published to understand what kind of subheadings or headings that they typically have for the area that you're looking into. And why the step. Now, we've already discussed this, but you need to get it that this is something that gives you organization that gives you a better idea how to put in your thoughts. And remember you have to be patient because this is an iterative process. Just because you come up with a table of contents and you have the structure of your report, doesn't mean that it's done. You will constantly keep changing this depending on how good topic evolves over time. Because three months is not three months is for a dissertation. However, whatever your timeline is, is not a short periods. So you have new ideas, you have new objectives, perhaps you have new goals. You have things you want to remove from your topic. So you need to understand and be patient about this to get the best results out of this entire process. 5. Step 4: Finding your Research Gap.: One of the main things that we focused on university during our research methods module was finding your research gap. I cannot emphasize the importance of this because your research gaps are ultimately what your entire report or your project is about. Finding a research gap is simply understanding what are you doing in your project that has not been done before. How are you adding value? How are you bringing something new to the table, are contributing your field. Before I give you a couple of tips on how to find your research gap, I would like to talk about what is a research gap with the help of an example. So ask for my project. I worked on understanding the impact of particles that cause fouling and gas turbine engines. A lot of work has been done before based on the shape of these particles and size of these particles. So what I did was I worked towards understanding how the composition of these particles impacted the falling process. However, this work has been done before, but what I did was I introduce new elements and I added value by bringing in the results from an entirely a new set of data. So this is what you can do as well based on if you are in a bachelors degree or if you're doing your master's or if you're doing your PhD, the intensity of your research gap will vary and you need to consult further about your research gap makes sense with your supervisor. Now for just a couple of tips to help you find your research gap. The first thing I would say is research, researching research, read as many papers as you can to be able to understand what work has been done in this area and what you can do to add value, get creative. Nobody's expecting you to invent something new. Nobody wants an entire new formula theory from you. You just need to get creative about what more you can exploring the area and what you can do to understand the subject better oriented research gap with your objectives. The base of your report is your objectives the entire time you will be seeing if you are solving your objectives throughout your report. So aligning your research gap with the objectives will help you to understand what is it that you are trying to solve. 6. Project, don't worry, its simple!: And for your topic, find your research gap. If you are a current student, if you are someone who's looking forward to your dissertation, if you're doing this just for your knowledge, get any topic that you can find and go ahead and try to formulate your research gap. This will give you the practice for when you actually need it. Now, the next phases that is in the coming weeks, I will talk about how to go about your research resources. You can find things you may face along the way, little steps and some guidance. I hope this video was useful and thank you very much.