A dissertation is the culmination of at least one stage of your education. With this work, you get the opportunity to display your knowledge and apply your skills.
However, writing a dissertation can be a daunting task for any student. Below are a few tips to help them out:
The structure of your dissertation would depend on your specific field. In medical science, for example, practical methods need to be clear. The writer actually has to make the research more transparent so that it can be replicated when necessary.
The ‘title page’ and ‘table of contents’ are the first two things you want to think about. While you may play around with the title in the course of writing on the other hand table of contents is the outline of your entire document. It would help the reader to figure out how you have written the paper. It helps to understand the writing structure of the project.
The title should include the name of the university, the degree name, the department, and the date. Your name should also be there. Look up your university requirements to get a full idea of what the title page should look like.
The table of contents should preferably come after the abstract. Before this, one needs to put informal notices, acknowledgements, declarations of originality, ethics clearance, etc. You may also want to put in a list of the abbreviations and initials you have used in your writing. This would make it easier for you to keep writing in your flow, and also enable the reader to understand better.
The introduction would delineate certain things about your dissertation. It would make the objectives of the research clear as well as define what the writer aims for. Again, you need to look up the requirements of your field and institute to ascertain just how specific your introduction has to be.
An introduction would also define the content of your research and writing. The reader needs to understand what you’re at. Hence, the context could be narrative, historical, or academic. The point here is to make your paper clear, concise, and easy-to-understand to the reader.
This is the section where one looks at the previous works on their chosen subject. This would build up the expectations of what is to come. This part, however, needs a lot of contemplation. One cannot possibly include everything on a subject unless it’s extremely specific.
Hence, it is sufficient to show that you have researched the topic quite well. Allusions to obscure studies are not received too well by markers.
A researcher should be well-versed in qualitative and quantitative research methods. Within the parameters of research procedures, there are several subcategories that are specific to certain subjects. When writing a dissertation, you have to choose the best one for your topic and discuss it in this section.
In the methodology section, you would explain what methods you have chosen and why. The details of the research instrument i.e. interview, questionnaire, transcripts etc itself would go in the appendix.
Some methodologies would be more detailed than others. You would have to consult your supervisor on the best method to use for your subject and topic. Original research requires a bit more detail than secondary or armchair research.
Results and discussion
The research methodologies would give some sort of result which deserves its own section. Here, you would put forward your findings on the subject and what your research has contributed.
The ‘discussion’ section comes after the ‘results’. It is an interpretative piece of writing that gives your own understanding of the outcomes of your study. This is also where you would make your judgments as well as contextualise your idea within the parameters of other theories and research.
The conclusion is where a researcher would sum up the hypothesis, research methods, and the findings. You would write in an evaluatory, maybe argumentative, manner about how you reached your point.
You will talk here about how your research fulfilled your objectives and to what extent. You may have proved or disproved your hypothesis, so you also need to clarify that.
You may have to double-check about whether to use recommendations or not as this is not always a requirement. If, in the course of your dissertation, you give information for future decisions, you need to give recommendations as well so that the reader and future researcher can seek guidance.
References are essential in making your dissertation solid and relevant. Plus, they are required in order to ward off accusations of plagiarism. So be sure to mention the material sources i.e. journals, books, review, articles etc. that you have used within your research here.
One generally completes a lot of research in the course of writing a dissertation. It is impossible to include all the information in the main body. This is where the appendix comes in. Here, you would put further information that could be of interest to your reader. This could be the results of your experiment, tables, or surveys.
Keep in mind that appendices are for further information only. The reader should not have to go here in order to understand what you are saying in the main body of your work.
Structuring a dissertation can make writing much easier. In fact, the assessor will greatly appreciate a good structure. Hence, it is worth the time you spend on it.