My dissertation experience so far

So you might ask why am I writing about my dissertation when I haven’t even made it halfway through? Well, I thought this gives me an opportunity to provide an honest reflection of my progress so far and the steps that I have had to undertake to get to where I am!

After an extremely long summer, I returned to University and we were informed to have our ideas picked within two weeks. This seemed crazy and completely impossible to narrow down an idea and have it all planned out in our heads. Luckily, over summer I had spent some time thinking about what interests me and believe me, I changed my idea numerous times. Once I was settled on a chosen topic (the nutritional adequacy of plant based diets), knowing how I was going to undertake my research project was the next mystery! With thanks to the staff at the University, they supported us with this and this really set in stone how I was going to collect my data. The options included either a systematic review or your own study. I decided after Level 5 Research Methods I would enjoy conducting my own study and knew how to analyse data based off diet diaries- therefore, this is what I decided on.

The initial document required to be filled out and submitted was the ethical approval form. This involved background to the area including why it is a novel subject and then providing an outline of how the study would be conducted. We also had to calculate how many participants would be required to ensure our study was adequately powered. In addition, we had to think about the statistical tests that would be carried out. This certainly took some time and pulling out the old level 5 notes.

Following gaining ethical approval, I was ready to recruit. However, the anxiety kicked in, awaiting eager participants to email me. The first evening, I only had a couple. However, within a week, the emails began to increase and I have now almost reached my pre-specified participant number. I have to be honest and say I’m nervous to analyse my data, making sure I do it correctly! But one day at a time⭐️ stay tuned for updates on my progress!

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