Summer dissertations … here we go (thoughts supervising at LSE)

Dissertation supervisionLooking forward to supervising my first MSc dissertations in the Department of Media and Communications at LSE (previously, I supervised on the MSc Management of Information Systems and Digital Innovation in the Department of Management and even before that at the Global Development Institute in Manchester). If students initially seem intimidated with the prospect of writing 10,000 words, I always tell them it’s an amazing and unique experience, pretty much a carte blanche to write objectively and critically, without having to toe an organizational line (like this blog, I guess, but with more references!). My ten dissertation students this year have varied and fascinating topics, from analyzing Prime Minister Modi’s communications strategy, to the localization of a Chinese reality TV format in Korea, the political economy of media industries and the political identity of Democrats Abroad in London during the US Primary Elections.

In the weeks to come, all those writing dissertations will receive not only guidance on the topics, but tips on academic writing skills.  Over the years, I’ve read some great articles on writing: just two of these are how to write a literature review (be concept-centric, not author-centric) and how to write a good academic piece. My Department also shares past dissertations so students have an idea of what a good dissertation might look like. And here are some tips from LSE experts.

But in the end, only two points remain with me every single time. The first is something I have to tell myself constantly when I write:


And the second is this great article on writing concisely (even though it’s not specifically for academic writing) and table below:


Really looking forward to the summer and working with these students!

Author: Savita Bailur

I’m a researcher in digital development. Currently a Research Director at Caribou Digital and Adjunct Associate Professor at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University. Previous experience includes USAID, World Bank, Commonwealth Secretariat, World Wide Web Foundation, mySociety, Microsoft Research India and University of Manchester (lectureship).

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