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Dissertations: Managing Expectations

Working with supervisors and managing your expectations

You should set realistic expectations, create a clear roadmap, and effectively manage your dissertation. It is important to remember that managing expectations is an ongoing process, and you should be open to adjusting your plans as they progress through your research.

Working with your dissertation supervisor is an important part of the dissertation writing process. You can build a strong working relationship with your supervisor and increase your chances of success.

The supervisor is more than just a mentor; they can also be a valuable source of support. Build a relationship with your supervisor.

Steps and Tips

Setting and managing expectations for dissertations is crucial for you to have a clear understanding of the scope, timeline, and requirements of your projects.

Here are some steps that can help you set and manage their expectations for your dissertations:

  1. Talk to your supervisor to understand the requirements for the dissertation, and for advice on how to stay on track.
  2. Read the dissertation guidelines carefully to understand the requirements for the dissertation before starting to write.
  3. Set realistic goals for the dissertation and adjusting these goals or expectations to align with the available time, resources, and support.
  4. Establish a Routine: Establishing a routine can help you manage your time
  5. Break down the project into smaller tasks will make the project seem less daunting, and it will help you to make progress.
  6. Set deadlines for yourself will help you to stay on track and avoid procrastination.
  7. It's important to take breaks when working on the dissertation - a few minutes to relax and clear the head.


Here are some additional tips that can help you set and manage your expectations for your dissertation:

  • Be prepared for setbacks. Things don't always go according to plan when writing a dissertation. Be prepared for setbacks, and don't let them discourage you.
  • Don't be afraid to make changes. In the process of writing our dissertation, we may find that we need to make changes to our original plan. Don't be afraid to make changes, as long as they're still in line with your goals.
  • Don't give up. Writing a dissertation is a long and challenging process, but it's important to stay focused and motivated.


Here are some activities that can help you work with your dissertation supervisor:

  • Setting up regular meetings is essential for keeping the dissertation on track. At these meetings, you can discuss your progress, get feedback on your work, and ask for help with any problems you are facing.
  • Prepare for your meetings will help you to make the most of your time with your supervisor. Before each meeting, you could prepare an agenda outlining the topics you wish to discuss. This will help you stay focused and cover all the important points.
  • Make notes during and after each supervisory meeting will help you to keep track of what was discussed and to review the discussions and your progress.
  • Be open to feedback. The supervisor is there to help you improve your work.
  • Ask for help. If you are struggling with something, you should not be afraid to ask your supervisor for help. They are there to support you and help you succeed.
  • Respect your supervisor's time. They will have many other students to support and other workload so be aware of how to best use their time.
  • Build a relationship with your supervisor so that you can feel comfortable asking for help when you need it.


Here are some additional tips that can help you work with your dissertation supervisor:

  • Be proactive. Don't wait for your supervisor to arrange a supervisory meeting. Take the initiative to send them the work for review and ask for their input.
  • Be organised. Keep track of meetings with your supervisor, and make sure all relevant notes and materials are ready for each meeting.
  • Be communicative. Keep your supervisor updated on your progress and let them know if you are having any problems.
  • Be flexible. Things don't always go according to plan, so be prepared to be flexible and make changes as needed.

Journal of Suffolk Student Research

The Journal of Suffolk Student Research is an online academic journal, dedicated to the publication of high-quality undergraduate and postgraduate student research undertaken by University of Suffolk students. The journal will showcase the most outstanding student research undertaken at the University of Suffolk. It aims to promote and recognise this outstanding student research by offering valuable early experience of academic publishing and the peer review process. 

Find out more here