Thursday, August 15, 2019

Dissertation Writing Guide For Dummies

  Tim       Thursday, August 15, 2019
Dissertation writing is a daunting task for many students and rightly so. It is a long and complex writing process that takes months to complete. Unlike college essay writing tasks, dissertation is the final original piece on a given topic and after successful submission, you pass out with either a graduate or masters degree. The terms dissertation and thesis are used interchangeably across the world. 


dissertation writing help and tips for beginners


Dissertation is mostly used in the UK educational institutions while the thesis in the US and across the globe. Both terms serve the same purpose: an original research piece written on a chosen topic that attempts to come up with new or improve the existing research findings.  Many students, given the complexity of the project, end up seeking dissertation help to solve their troubles.  It may be the right way for students with extremely poor writing skills. However, the best advice is to learn the basics of writing your dissertation and apply it.

Dissertation can also be a very rewarding experience if you choose to work on the topic you love. The key is to pick up the topic and idea of your choice, the topic that endears you. However, choosing the right topic is not just enough.  You need better English writing skills, presentation skills, and research organization skills. You have to give your topic a unique perspective and come up with an interesting finding. 

I remember writing my own dissertation while being an English literature student. It took me almost a month to confirm the topic with my supervisor and completed the entire work within 2 months. It was a painstaking yet rewarding experience. It enhanced my research skills, further polished my writing skills. 

Writing your dissertation not only requires good writing skills but proper planning and research skills too. All these skills not only help you in your advanced academic life but in your professional life as well.  The research skills involve careful planning of the topic, timeframe and scheduling and organizing your content in a coherent manner. 



Structure 

The structure of the dissertation is almost similar across the world. The standard structure of the dissertation includes a research proposal, introduction, literature review, methodology, recommendations and conclusion.  

Research Proposal 

Before starting your actual dissertation on the topic you have chosen, you are required to submit a research proposal. It will consist of 2000-4000 words. Once approved by your supervisor, you will then begin working on your dissertation.  The research proposal covers the sketchy details related to your topic because you neither have the time nor wordcount to include every bit of literature review details. However, the research proposal must convey and contain some theoretical framework and research questions stating why you are keen to write about this topic. In case, you have no clue about how to begin writing it, you should seek professional research proposal writing help. It will clear up a lot of confusion and concerns. Use that work as a specimen to build your own.

Introduction

Followed by an abstract that briefly details the topic, the introduction sheds further light on the topic, its aims and objectives. The introduction part is usually no longer than 500-1000 words for a full-fledged and comprehensive dissertation.  You have to write succinctly about the topic, why you have chosen this topic and what you are aiming to achieve with this study. Though briefly written, the introduction part is not that you should ignore. It holds its own importance in determining the entire tone of your dissertation. 

The introduction part helps you lay out a broader outline of your ideas as to how you are going to approach the topic and what you intend to cover. Do not consider the introduction as something trivial or less important compared to other parts. Your introduction part reveals the strength of your entire dissertation and that counts when your supervisor is marking your dissertation. 

The introductory part is not a static or permanent one. It remains open to changes and constant improvements. Since you have to develop your ideas into a full-fledged dissertation, there is always a possibility that you will need to change the introduction part accordingly.  Clarity and focus are the two integral features of your introduction part as well as the other parts.  

If the topic you have chosen is very vibrant in terms of academic debates, pros and anti viewpoints then it is necessary to state your standing and position on the subject. It is not just enough to narrate the viewpoints and summarize them. You have to toe your own line to make your entire dissertation an interesting piece and worth publication in the later stages of your academic career such as P.hd. 

The introduction part should state how your research findings and study will improve upon the old researches and theoretical understanding of the subject.  A word of caution is that you should not include a lot of citations and in-text references in your dissertation for this will not read like an introduction of a standard dissertation.  Your introductory part is the starting point that attracts or distract the readers' attention. You should not use flowery or high flown language as well making sure that every sentence and paragraph is on point and clear. 

In order to make your introduction a perfect piece, you should consider making your opening paragraph in a manner that it quickly attracts the reader's attention. It should be informative as well as attention-grabbing.  You do not need to give every bit of detail in your introduction part and also make sure that you are making any research claim that cannot be substantiated in the later stages of your subject. 

Literature Review 

A literature review is an equally important chapter of your dissertation that demonstrates your knowledge about the topic area. A literature review is full of citations and mentions of research papers done related to your topic.  It must include a number of research papers that have been done previously and your job is to summarize all the key points of the work including strengths, weaknesses and limitations.  

You should also state why you have chosen this particular topic and what value you will achieve by doing the research on this particular topic as well as the relevance and importance of your topic. 

It is important to note that your literature review should not merely be descriptive in nature rather it should include critical analysis of the sources you have read. You will demonstrate a clear understanding as to how and why the previous studies are correlated with your new study.  It is not necessary to include all studies related to your topic. You should only consider including the sources and readings that fits most to your subject area. 

Finding your sources is not as an uphill task it used to be back in the pre-internet ear. In those, students used to visit the physical libraries at college and universities and skim through the literature on their topic. The internet has made it easy for students to search their sources, read, analyze and include them in your dissertation. However, there is a downside to the material accessible on the internet. 

Each piece of a research article may not be credible and previously scrutinized by other research experts: peer-reviewed.  Additionally, the material available on the internet may not be evergreen and it might not exist online after a couple of months or years. The best idea is to look for peer-reviewed articles related to your topic and consider including them in your study. 


 
Avoid relying on internet sources such as Wikipedia and Sparknotes. While you will get the material from these sites but its reliability is often questionable. It is better to conduct internet research along with physically going to the libraries and looking for the relevant material. The old-school practise of going to libraries still pays off and you should consider doing that. However, if you have still had no clue how to start writing this part, you can consider buying literature review online from a credible and reliable source.  Use their work only a guide and establish your own research rather than submitting somebody else's work as your own.

The question of whether how many sources you should cite in your literature depends on the choice of your supervisor. For example, a 3000 words literature should at least include 20 sources with critical analysis. You do not have to just describe other sources but your piece should reflect critical analysis and understanding. 

Methodology 

Once you have completed the literature review, you will move on to completing the next equally crucial part: methodology.  Some students mistake the methodology for methods while they are two different things. Methods being part of methodology does not mean they make up for the entire chapter. The methodology includes broader philosophical underpinning of your research question and methods. Methods generally refer to choosing either qualitative or quantitative research methods or a blend of both. 

If you are submitting your dissertation chapter-by-chapter basis, you should include in your methodology section as to how you will be conducting your research questions. This section should clearly set out the plan and steps through which you will undertake your research.  This section must link to back to the previous chapter of literature and you should clearly state the academic basis of your basis.  For some topics, you will be required to conduct a qualitative study and a quantitative study for others. Usually, the humanities, liberal arts subjects follow qualitative methods. Subjects like finance, statistics involve quantitative methods. 

In short, the methodology section should clearly state what you did and will be doing with your topic, literature review and how your work progressed with suggestions for further improvements. Your methodology section should build on the literature review you have already written. 

The common aspects of the methodology are:  questionnaire, interviews, observations, and documentary analysis.  In the questionnaire section, you will collect data in the form of questions from the participants. The participants may vary depending on the topic. For example, if your topic relates to students or educational institutions, your participants will include students, teachers and people related to universities and colleges.  You need to be very careful in drafting the questions for your research study. A well-developed questionnaire is always pivotal to completing a high scoring dissertation. 

Results and Discussion

The next chapter is that of result and discussion.  This is also a very crucial and interesting part of the jigsaw. You cannot overlook or underrate this equally important part of your dissertation. This section may be written separately if you are submitting your dissertation to your supervisor in parts or with other parts of the work.  The discussion chapter should interpret and explain your results, answer your research question, justify your approach, and evaluate your entire study. 

This section includes your analysis of the methods, results you have achieved with your research. You need to write the results in detail including its implications, research gap, the need for future studies.  If you undertook the quantitative mode of methodology, you might include statistical analysis. If you chose a qualitative study, you would still require a discussion part.  You can include a summary of your analysis and discussion with the help of images, texts and charts.  The more detailed and coherent your analysis is, the better your dissertation will be. 

Conclusion

The conclusion is the last but not the least part of your dissertation. It includes briefly your research question, your literature review, findings and results and discussion. You should dedicate your conclusion part to around 1000-1500 words. Once you have written your conclusion, you need to check for other little but equally significant parts. You should include a list of references, title page, appendix, table of content and acknowledgements. 

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