The best place, hands down, for any kind of dissertation research, is the internet. These days there are more sources online that are online only, and you can’t find them in a library. Vice-versa, there are older books in libraries that were made before the time of the web and are not online yet, but you probably want the most recent works, right? There are still plenty of older books and magazine articles that could help you, especially if you’re doing your dissertation about something law-related that happened in the past. Most of the time though, you’re going to want things that are a little more up to date.
If you’re at the research stage, I’m going to assume you already have your chapters outlined. If you don’t, then go back and do that right now; I’ll wait. Are you done yet? Once you have your outline, it’s so much easier to do the rest of your research and writing, so that really needs to come first. Now onto finding resources: take the title or idea of your first chapter and search for it online. Make sure that whatever websites you end up using have references to other sources where they got their information from. Always trace back to the original study, experiment, court case, first-hand account, etc. of any event or fact. This way you’ll never risk being wrong about something you write in your dissertation, because of bad information.
You need to keep organized during this time. It’s a bad idea to simply find stuff and not document it. With every quote, source, or other information you find that you know you want to use, save a link to it in a master document on your computer. If you know right away which chapter you want to put this information into, then make sure you write that down while you’re thinking of it. if you wait to remember things like that later on, trust me, you won’t.
Any ideas that you get for new chapters, things to add, or inspiration you get should be written down, too. Don’t let anything slip away once it comes to you. This will save time because you never have to wonder where something went or what that idea you had was; it’s all there!
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