I just wanted to write a quick post about something I have been thinking about for a while that may help current library and information studies students.
When my cohorts and I were considering our dissertation topics a few people commented on how they wanted to pick something straight-forward and get it done ASAP…as long as they passed this was enough. I can totally see why they had this attitude after a 1-2 year slog with a heavy work load – particularly those with families, a full-time job and other commitments. I was lucky because although I had a full-time job I don’t have any dependants so I could spent my free time working on my research guilt free….and it was still hard going. Anyway, I just wanted to offer some advice to anyone about to embark on the dissertation adventure.
Pick something that fascinates you or it will seem a massive chore that you will be loath to spend time on. Your research project can offer up many opportunities if you let it. Off the back of my dissertation (and with a bit of luck!) I have been invited to present three talks, I appeared on the local BBC radio show talking about my research trip, had an article written about me in a local paper and co-authored an article for a peer-reviewed journal (pending). I am in the process of writing another one and who knows what else is in store but I still have lots of ideas and ambitions for it. My dissertation is my most proudest achievement to date. I got my marks in Feb 2010 and I am still reaping the rewards. I just wanted to say this as I don’t remember these potential opportunities being promoted to me whilst I was on the course…but there really is more to it than you think. I mean, there will be limited opportunities for many people to do research like this when in a professional post due to time restraints and other pressures, so make the most of this chance now. Find something you can get your teeth into and most of all enjoy! As my long-suffering friends and family know all too well, although it was a very rewarding experience, I put blood (well maybe not blood but I did pick up a tropical illness along the way!) sweat and tears into my research and I am now going to let it work for me! It can get you published, your first conference paper, and gives you something you are really passionate about to talk about knowledgeably in job interviews.
Best of luck all!
(disclaimer: I did warn you in my profile that I have a tendency to be overbearingly enthusiastic some times;)