Tips for Writing a Dissertation for UK Students: Manage Your Data
Students usually get lost in the sea of information. After certain point, they stop gathering data or the collected data becomes a concern for them. So it is important to revise the techniques you are using to organize, store and keep track of your data as you collect it. By reading this article, you will be in a good position to manage your data in a proper manner.
Strategies for maintaining data
- Do not lose data
- Follow trends, patterns and themes more clearly
- Ensure your findings are based on robust and comprehensive results
- Demonstrate that you have conducted intriguing research for writing a dissertation .
How to manage your data
Step 1 Before collecting your data
If you want to be good at managing your data, you need to start collecting suitable data for your dissertation. When designing your data methods, look back at research questions and keep asking yourself: How will the information I plan to gather answer the dissertation question?
Step 2 During the data collection
- Keep your electronic files stored under the university network as it is a reliable back up.
- If you are storing your data in your laptop, make sure you have back files in separate hardware in case your device crashes. Store in an external hard drive or USB stick and save your data regularly.
- A cloud storage like Google drive, One drive, drop box could be used as automate backups and you could access it from anywhere in the world. It is suitable for sharing files, back up for any newly written files before those can be saved to more secure place.
- Store any personal data in proper secure location like encrypted online files, locked filling cabinet.
- Avoid sending personal data of your dissertation writing over unsecured networks like email or could storage services.
Step 3, Organizing your data
- Have a systematic or feasible way to date your files. You should able to tell what is in the file without opening it.
- Date your files like YYYY-MM-DD, so that you can arrange them in chronological order.
2014-08-21 – InterviewRecording_Classroom Assistant 1
2014-08-2 – InterviewRecording_ Teacher B
2014-07-3 - InterviewRecording_ Teacher A
Store your electronic files in logical manner, so that you can easily locate them in your needed moment, e.g. create folder depending on the activity, date and content type.
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Step 4 Documentation:
It is important to make good notes of books, journals and articles as you read. It is advisable to keep clear record of other parts your research process.
- Record your search strategy: Note down all those keywords that you have used in library database or other research to avoid any confusion and duplication.
- Maintain a lab book: Record all the activities in lab book when it is fresh in your mind.
- Level your equipment or any work: If you are maintaining share research space, make sure that people don’t throw away or dump your work mistakenly.
You can keep notes if you intend to continue similar research in your future study. If you are not, you can dump your notes only after you obtain the final grades.
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