Karen Fleet, our librarian in PPLS, has sent through a list of books on how to write dissertations that are available (at least temporarily) through DiscoverEd. To access this list, go to our Learning Resources site, select “DiscoverEd lists” from the menu at the top, and click on “Dissertation guides”. For a more general guide to academic writing, check out Booth et al.’s The Craft of Research (see “The fundamentals” for a description and a link).
Writing a dissertation is easier if you have an idea of what you should be aiming for. To see some well-received PPLS dissertations from previous years, head over to our Writing Examples page. We’ll add to this collection again.
The PPLS Writing Centre is holding its annual workshop series for MSc dissertation writers. These workshops are aimed at students who are doing quantitative research and are not sure how to write it up or visualise it effectively.
These workshops have both been held in two prior years, but have been newly adapted to online delivery by their creators, Fang Jackson-Yang and Andres Karjus. Because the “live” sections of these workshops are preceded by asynchronous online activities, you must sign up well in advance, so please pay careful attention to the dates. In past years, these workshops have filled up quickly, so sign up now if you’re interested by clicking on the date/time you want to book. Even if a workshop is full, sign up anyways: doing so will put you on a waiting list and will also let us gauge interest in a third round of workshops.
Writing in Quantitative Research (Fang Jackson-Yang)
This series of workshops is designed to show you how to write longer psychology essays with introduction, methods, results and discussion sections. This workshop was developed with the guidance of psychology teaching staff and tutors, and will include activities throughout. Each round is preceded by videos and a forum activity.
Make sure to sign up for all THREE sessions in the round you choose unless you specifically want to attend fewer.
Round 1 (sign-up deadline: June 30)
Survey link to be sent on Jul 1 for completion by Jul 3. Videos to be sent on Jul 6.
Round 2 (sign-up deadline:
July 14 July 19)
Survey link to be sent on Jul 15 for completion by Jul 17. Videos to be sent on Jul 20.
Explore and visualise your data in R (Andres Karjus)
In this workshop, you will learn how to use R to produce informative, beautiful, and reproducible graphs from your data. No prior knowledge is assumed, all the software is free, and installation instructions will be provided. The introduction, online video, and exercises will start two days before each Q&A session.
The Philosophy department runs regular PhilSkills workshops to help students improve the skills they need to succeed in their studies. Videos of the reading and writing workshops have been made available on SharePoint (see “PhilSkills” under “Philosophy”).
This post is to make sure you’re aware of the resources for MSc students writing dissertations. Of course, writing a dissertation is never a stress-free experience, but we would like to make sure that you’re adequately supported. Accordingly, we’ve extended our offerings and will be organising a series of events to help you finish up.
1) One-on-one appointments
First, I’d like to remind you that PPLS Writing Centre one-on-one appointments are available in the summer months as well. You’ve each been given three hours per month to talk with PhD tutors about your work. You’d be welcome to bring in sections of your dissertation. Make sure not to let your June hours expire. Don’t forget to reserve your July/August spots as early as possible to avoid disappointment.
As always, the booking form is available in the “Appointments” tab (https://writingcentre.ppls.ed.ac.uk/appointments/). Note that these sessions are not for proofreading – the reason we’re here is to make sure that you communicate your ideas in a way that matches expectations in your subject area.
2) Help with statistics
Students tackling quantitative work for the first time can run into all sorts of problems when analysing and interpreting data. While you should always consult your supervisor first about questions of *what* to do (analysis planning), we can help you figure out *how* to do what you want to do (implementation).
If you need that sort of help, click on the “Request help (stats, etc.)” tab (https://writingcentre.ppls.ed.ac.uk/more-help/), choose “PGT DISSERTATIONS” under “Statistics help for student researchers, and tell us about your project. Once you’ve submitted your answers, they will be passed along to our PhD tutors and, in some cases, the Teaching Fellows for statistics.
Please be aware that it will take some time for your query to reach the right person. The turnaround time could be as high as 2 weeks in some cases. Make sure to request help well in advance of when you need it.
3) Writing and statistics workshops
In late June and early July, we will be running a series of workshops on writing quantitative reports and visualising data. These workshops were developed by senior tutors working for the centre, and will, of course, be held online. Exact dates will be announced within a week.
If you’re using jsPsych to collect data online, you can ask a PhD tutor for help with your code. These appointments are booked using the same interface as the writing appointments (https://writingcentre.ppls.ed.ac.uk/appointments/). Make sure to select “Programming – jsPsych” as the appointment type.
5) Learning resources
Don’t forget about our new Learning Resources site (https://uoe.sharepoint.com/sites/PPLSLearningResources). We’ve gathered links to online resources that include past dissertations, skills training, and help with online data collection. We’ll be adding new resources later this month – expect an announcement in a week or two.
As always, write me if you have any questions.