The Economics Network

Improving economics teaching and learning for over 20 years

5. Summary

A well-organised dissertation can be the most rewarding part of the student experience. However, this may require careful thought and planning if it is not to turn into a nightmare. Here are some key points to remember as the dissertation life-cycle unfolds:

  • Think about how research training will be provided
  • Ensure that students are guided towards a feasible topic
  • Be aware of the legislative context
  • Give early rules on word length
  • Manage student and supervisor expectations of the supervisory process
  • Look for a coherent way of allocating students to supervisors
  • Set intermediate targets to prevent students leaving too much to the last minute
  • Be aware of data issues
  • Provide guidance in terms of how to structure a dissertation
  • Offer clear guidelines for the assessment process, so that students know what is expected of them
  • Be unambiguous in setting deadlines and the rules for extensions
  • Explain academic integrity and monitor adherence

Students can benefit greatly from undertaking a dissertation. The process can capture their interest and give them confidence to engage in independent work. The finished product can be used to sell their abilities to potential employers, by showcasing their skills. Supervisors can add to the experience by making sure that students are aware of these benefits. Furthermore, students often enjoy their dissertation work.