10 Effective Ways to Get Relevant Data for Writing an Excellent Dissertation

A mountain is standing right in front of you. You need to climb up and claim victory. But it is not going to be easy. After all, it is a dissertation. And the first hurdle you need to overcome is gather all the required data at one place. The amount of data a researcher has to collect is generally so huge that one could easily drown in that (not literally). But you need to survive till you reach that mountain peak. Don’t worry, we will reveal some secret ways to conduct an effective research and collect data from all possible resources. This will definitely save your time and keep you on course with the task.

Here’s what your approach should be while collecting data for your dissertation.

  1. Ask yourself - do you know what you want?

‘Of course, yes’- we know this will be your answer. But we would like to repeat the question - ‘do you really know what do you want? Because if you don’t, scouting through hundreds of books will not even fetch you the targeted research material. You need to be 100% sure of your thoughts and ideas. So, ask yourself the following questions -

  • What is the purpose of the research?
  • What aims and objectives govern your research study?
  • How you plan to project your views?

If you are not sure about the answer to these questions, please don’t start with the research.

  1. Understand. Conquer

One cannot do it all at once. It should be one step at a time.

  • First, draft a research question that needs to be answered
  • Second, decide which research method will answer your question
  • Third, design a plan for carrying out chosen research method.

You cannot skip one step and jump to the next step. You have to accept the fact that it cannot be done overnight. It requires a minimal time that you need to invest. Of course, you can quicken the process. But you have to be patient at the same time. Just stick to the plan and everything will come around.

  1. Use Internet as primary data collection resource

When your professor tells you, or maybe you are researching for an advanced level course, you do primary research before taking up secondary research. Many think primary research must be built on a first-hand account. But many researchers have used the internet as their primary data collection device in a number of ways.

  • First, the internet can be accessed as a source of archived reports.
  • Second, the internet can be accessed to monitor online communication that occurs in chat rooms, web logs, online dating services.
  • Third, the internet can be used if you may wish to design or publish your own data collection.

So there you have it; technology and its advantages.

  1. Prioritize what do you need and what you don’t

It is called prioritizing. Without it, you will be little confused. So it is better if you create a list of things that essentially needs to be done to conduct the research successfully. Invest time and efforts according to the rank on the list. You should give the most value to the task that ranks top on the list and go on until you accomplish it all. If you struggle to get any of the things done, don’t worry. It will come around; just adopt a new strategy. So no matter how busy you get, you should get the priority thing done to smoothen the process of researching. Yes, it may take some time but it will ultimately quicken the whole process of collecting data.

  1. Turn your notes into writing

You have been sincerely filling up thousands of pages while going through the reading list. But once you are done with the exercise, it gets impossible to locate anything useful on the notebook. You need to go through the whole in order to find a piece of information. It is not do-able. You cannot search through the whole notebook whenever you need something important. So you use Cornell Method. This is a revolutionary note-taking method that provides you spaces for notes, margins for reactions, connections and comments. It is interesting because when you have less space for writing, you get selective. But now you can choose quotes, paraphrases or details that you plan to include in the main paper. In addition, the templates give you bigger margin where you can put keywords, identify themes or recurrent patterns. And the most valuable feature is, it provides a blog space at the bottom to write sentences that summarizes the page. It is quick and liberating. In an hour, you can produce couple of pages.

  1. Go for easy readings

Readers are often drawn toward tables and figures because they are easy to read as compared to going through the verbose account of the same content. It is seen that these display items provide them information in shorter time span. At the reading stage, these resources provide the researchers with a quick overview of the study and findings. So you use it as one of the quick ways while reading because they reflect the brief of the study yet are sufficiently informative. While reading a research paper, first go through its tables and graphs. It should give you enough idea of whether this research paper is usable or not. If unfortunately you fail to get enough idea, there’s another trick you can use. Read the table of contents and ensure the keywords you are searching are there in the book.  

  1. Organize like you never did

You might live in a messy apartment or your organizing skills are a total mess. No matter what, you need to wake up your “organizer self” because you need it badly now. You have no idea what mess you are getting into and it gets messier if you don’t use your organizing skills properly. Save PDF files under the name of the topic that is related to and different files of different topics and different purpose. Not once, but save the research materials in two or three places as backups. If you use handbook or written materials, keep them in different files and name them according to the topics that are related to. If possible, arrange them alphabetically in your file cabinet. Yes, it can be little overwhelming, but when you need something from these files, you just need a few moment to locate it. It will save time for you, which is the main purpose of it.

  1. Be a team player

‘Alone we fail and together we stand’. This perfectly applies on the dissertation. If you go down weary all by yourself, it might seem impossible for you, but if you have shoulders to rely upon, you might complete the task without having a nervous breakdown. So grab as many hands you can. Start a support group and encourage your fellow researchers to join you. Set a day on which you are all supposed to meet at the decided venue and talk about the progress of the paper. You can share your reference list with them in order to have their opinions on them or ask them about where you can find more relevant resources. In such brainstorming sessions, you can come up with ideas that might take you on the better path.

  1. Always set a deadline for yourself

We know how sincerely you want this task to end perfectly. But wanting and executing are two different things. You know you have to submit the dissertation by a certain date, which is far from today. So you start getting relaxed and eventually procrastination gets to you. If you don’t want to fall into the traps of procrastination, you should set a deadline on your own. The best way is to use Pomodoro technique. While collecting data, you set a goal and a time limit such as collect all research papers related to ‘your topic or sub related topic’ in one hour. This certainly gets you on the feet. If fortunately, you achieve the goal within the decided time limit, you get confident to do further tasks. But don’t forget to take breaks in between the tasks. It is necessary to relax your senses.  

  1. Never give up

Sometimes, it might seem like, there’s nothing you can do about the research. You are done with it and leave it as it is. Yes, it feels good to leave that unbearable tasks and get on with life. But after sometimes, you will start feeling terrible, like a loser. You take on the task yet again, but you already have lost some valuable time, which cannot be compensated. This leads you to potential failure. So giving up is never an option. You must go on with the project, no matter how tormenting it feels. You will get this feeling now and then while conducting the research. The idea is to fight till you overcome them. That’s one of the effective ways to collecting data.

That is all we have got for now. We know this is enough for you to save your time on researching and make the process less hassling. Applying these tricks might take some time of yours and but ultimately will get you in a comfortable zone.

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