Setting out a dissertation

If you are too hasty you risk collecting data that you will not be able to use. To support you in doing this you will need to undertake a literature review, which is a review of material that has already been published, either in hard copy or electronically, that may be relevant for your research project.

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Even if you do not have the time or opportunity to run a formal pilot study, you should try and reflect on your methods after you have started to generate some data.

Undertaking a literature survey Regardless of whether you have been given a dissertation topic or you have developed your own ideas, you will need to be able to demonstrate the rationale for your research, and to describe how it fits within the wider research context in your area.

Things to know before starting a dissertation

Acknowledgements This is your opportunity to mention individuals who have been particularly helpful. Reporting the research As you conduct research, you are likely to realise that the topic that you have focused on is more complex than you realised when you first defined your research question.

Alternatively it can be useful to write the abstract earlier on, as an aid to identifying the crucial main thread of your research, its purpose, and its findings, which could then guide the structure of the dissertation. Was it easier or harder than you thought it was going to be.

Being organised and methodical while conducting your research The role of the supervisor Although a dissertation is an opportunity for you to work independently, you will usually be allocated a member of academic staff as a supervisor.

Planning and conducting a dissertation research project

Improving the structure and content Once you have the dissertation in draft form it becomes easier to see where you can improve it. This is a useful check on whether amalgamation of sections, or creation of further sections or sub-sections is needed.

Develop an existing point of view, perhaps by utilising it on larger or more complex datasets, or apply a theory to a new context Adapted from Taylor Items that can usefully go in the appendices are those that a reader would want to see, but which would take up too much space and disrupt the flow if placed within the main text.

Writing a dissertation

Again, make sure you reference the Appendices within the main text where necessary. It is worth taking time to develop a logical structure as this will help to convince examiners of the relevance of your research, and that you understand its relevance.

This could include your research plan, early results of your data collection or draft chapters; turn up on time to each meeting you have arranged.

Not all studies are as generalizable as others, but you need to discuss how generalizable your results are likely to be, and why. Once you start reading, ensure that you think about what you are trying to get out of each article or book that you read. Data Collection and Analysis Methods You will have to explain how the data was collected by what means and then explain the analysis tools you used.

It can be useful to think of the research question or topic going like a strong thread throughout the dissertation: It can be valuable to keep a record of these ideas on index cards, in a dedicated notebook, or in an electronic file. The chances are they have been through a similar experience and can give you valuable advice.

It can be best to write the Abstract last, once you are sure what exactly you are summarising. It is actually better to write this at the start of your research, so that it can be changed if your methods are not producing the results you need.

Explain the choice of age group and ethnicity of your respondents. This may involve critiquing the work of established leaders in the field. They provide an overall picture of what you research is trying to achieve. They are not there to teach you the topic you have chosen to investigate: Make a clear decision about stopping data collection.

Consider how you are going to store and retrieve your data. Coming back afresh to look critically at the main text may then enable you to complete it to your satisfaction.

Setting out an essay planning

You may need to refer to wider concerns; to a related field of literature; or to alternative methodology; but you must not be diverted into spending too much time investigating relevant, related, but distinctly separate fields.

To be informative, studies should be both reliable and valid Validity — that is, does the study test what it sets out to test. The Abstract is an important element of the thesis, and will become a document in its own right if the thesis is registered within any database.

You can refer back to the rationale that you gave for your research in the literature review, and discuss what your own research has added in this context.

Planning and conducting a dissertation research project

Limitations — finally, you need to acknowledge any ways in which the study was limited. Your research plan should also include information about what equipment you will need to complete your project, and any travel costs or other expenses that you are likely to incur through the pursuit of your research.

However, you should avoid jumping straight into this phase until you have adequately defined your research problem, and the extent and limitations of your research. It may be that, for example, a literature review chapter needs to be split into a review of several different segments of literature.

Writing a dissertation

This is not a failure, but a positive sign of increased experience and skill. Writing your Dissertation: Methodology From our: If you are submitting your dissertation in sections, with the methodology submitted before you actually undertake the research, you should use this section to set out exactly what you plan to do.

It is usually helpful to start your section on methodology by setting out the conceptual. Supervisors and/or dissertation guidelines often suggest (or state) If you plan to simply adopt the theoretical model put forward in the main journal article, you can skip STEP FOUR and move onto STAGE SIX: Setting your research strategy.

However, to learn more about modifying such a theoretical model. This Study Guide addresses the task of writing a dissertation. It aims to help you to feel confident in the construction of this extended piece of writing, and to support you in its successful completion.

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Planning and conducting a dissertation research project Study guide This guide addresses the task of planning and conducting a small research project, such as for an undergraduate or masters’ level dissertation.

Before starting your dissertation or thesis you should start by setting out each chapter, section and sub-sections. The outline of the report should clearly reflect the logical details of the book. The logical structuring of chapters, sections and.

Setting out a dissertation
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