Start thinking early on about what you would like to write about. Consult as soon as possible with your supervisor for advice on the expected scope of your dissertation. Remember that you will not simply be writing about “IT in Primary Education”, but instead will be focussing on specific aspects, perhaps trying to solve a problem, querying currently held beliefs, or arguing a particular case or “thesis”. Your final title may instead be something like:
A computer for every pupil?
A critical analysis of the over-reliance on Information Technology in current UK primary education.
This title will therefore probably need to be refined over the weeks before you agree the final version with your supervisor.
Planning and research
Your dissertation is a major commitment and will be a long way to deciding your final award. It is obviously very important, therefore, to plan meticulously.
Work out a timetable and stick to it. You really have no excuse to leave things to the last minute. There will always be problems: difficulties in obtaining books or materials; delays in receiving replies to letters or questionnaires; temperamental printers and floppy disks; mysterious dissertation-eating dogs. You must allow for these, however: none is an excuse for not handing in your work on time.
In consultation with your supervisor, draw up an initial reading list, making sure that this is wide-ranging, relevant and as up-to-date as possible. Approach this reading with specific questions in mind; if not, you will waste a lot of valuable time reading irrelevant information.
If you’re going to include some sort of survey or questionnaire, make this as wide as possible, but remember that companies and organisations are swamped with this sort of thing and the response rate will probably be very disappointing.
Most of your writing will probably need redrafting several times, and you must carefully proofread everything you write, or perhaps get someone else to do this for you. Any revisions needed will of course take time, as will the binding of your finished dissertation, if this is necessary.