As this is my final year at university, my workload has increased exponentially from the last two years. The main reason for this, at the moment, is the literature review that I am writing. In my degree (psychology), we have to choose a topic and then research and write a 4000 word essay about said topic. That doesn’t sound too hard, but it is.
Even choosing the topic is difficult – the question must be broad but not too broad – it has to be quite specific as well. And it has to be something you are interested enough in to spend over ten weeks working on. When I started, I had a rough idea of what I wanted to look at, but I had to make sure I knew why I wanted to as the question (‘It’s interesting’ is not good enough), and then provide evidence as to why it is important and what implications it could have.
Research was also difficult, particularly balancing it with my other coursework. With each article, I needed to provide a summary of the method and results of the experiment, as well as making notes on what else they had to say. Really, I enjoyed this. I like reading and I like finding out new things, but after a while of reading a number of similar papers, it did get tiring.
Then came the writing. I enjoy writing, and I like to think I’m good at it, so really, this part should have been easy. I had a plan, and I had time. But there is always a catch. With 4000 words to write, I had to be concise yet informative with my words. I had to write about each study in relation to the question and make it cohesive and easy to read, but all the while maintaining an intelligent writing style. Admittedly, I did enjoy writing it. The hard part was working out how to transcribe the thoughts in my head onto paper (or in this case, a word document).
But now that the words have been finished, I can take a step back away from it. I have a week to spare before the deadline, and after a break to refresh my brain, I can now throw myself into the editing process, and feel far more relaxed about it too. Needless to say, it will be a relief when the literature review has been handed in.