5 Hardest Things about Psychology Dissertation

I’ve discussed my dissertation quite a lot in my previous posts, from gathering resources to tips for writing a perfect psychology paper. Now that I’ve finally submitted it, I thought it would be useful to discuss things I’ve struggled with. Here’s my list.

5. Referencing

Referencing is one od those things that you know you don’t want to do, but are absolutely necessary. Once I learnt how to do it it was pretty straightforward, but it still took a lot of time. Luckily, I was referencing as I was writing my dissertation, which saved me a lot of time. Websites that helped me with this: Cite This For MeGoogle Scholar

4. Editing

Similarly to referencing, there’s a specific set of rules for how to edit your dissertations. We had to follow APA 6th ed. referencing guide, which can be quite complicated if you’re doing it for the first time. In my case, I knew what I was doing, but I still struggled with it, as I had to go through the dissertation at least 15 times making sure paragraphs, titles, and text are edited as paragraphs, titles, and text should be edited. In addition, being a non-native speaker, I had to check my grammar (and punctuations) more often as I normally would. Websites that helped me with this: Purdue Owl APA Guide, Grammarly

3. Word limit

Word limit’s never been a problem for me before, but the design of my dissertation was more complex than previous coursework and I had to cover everything within the limit of 6.000 words. For example, my study had three independent variables (anchoring, cognitive load, and cognitive abilities) and two dependent variables (price estimation and willingness to pay). I’ve discussed sections of my dissertations in a previous post, but in short, my introduction (where I described my theory and past research) could only be 2.000 words long. This means that I only had 2.000 words to explain and discuss 5 different concepts.

2. Getting participants

Something I predicted would be difficult before I started with my project was getting participants. In order to get statistically significant results, my sample needed to be quite large. Also, based on the type of the study, if my sample my sample would not be large enough, this could negatively affect my grade. In the end, I managed to get 114 participants, which was more than enough, but I had to arrange a time, book a room and explain the procedure to every participant.

1. Interpreting results

I thought getting participants would be the hardest thing about my dissertations, turns out interpreting non-significant results is even harder. I managed to confirm, interpret and discuss results for one of my four hypotheses. Results for the other three hypotheses were non-significant, which meant that I could neither accept nor reject them. I still had to interpret and discuss results, and explain how and why this might have happened.

I haven’t received my results at this time, but I have to say that overall I was satisfied with the dissertation I have handed in. And what is more, I’m glad that it’s finally over.

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