ROUTE #1: Getting Started
ROUTE #1: Chapter-by-Chapter


Give yourself more time than you think you'll need

The data collection process often takes longer than you expect. Whilst we recommend, as a general rule, that you give yourself more time than you think you'll need to collect data, delays are not always a problem. Unless you have given yourself a very short timeframe to collect data, a delay of a week or two is often manageable. However, there are a number of issues that can cause significant delays. If the time you require to collect data is towards the longer end of the scale (e.g., 3-4 months for an undergraduate or master's level dissertation), these issues can become more acute. Significant delays in the data collection process cause a lot of stress for students, especially because you can quickly find yourself running out of time to do a proper job when it comes to the Data Analysis and Writing Up stages, both of which take a good deal of time in their own right. To be prepared for these issues (or at least aware of them), you need to consider (a) the nature of your research strategy and (b) potential issues around access:

Giving yourself more time to complete the data collection phase is always a good rule-of-thumb, but if you recognize any of the potential challenges above in your dissertation, we would suggest that you start the data collection phase as early as possible.

If you end up with extra time, this can only be a good thing, especially because it will give you more time to work with your data, which can often be time consuming, especially if you (a) are not used to performing statistical analysis, or find this process challenging, or (b) are unfamiliar with using software to statistically analyse your data (e.g., SPSS), which are typically required. We discuss this further in Consideration #4.

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