How to Write a Perfect Dissertation
Dissertation write up is the most important hurdle, every student has to clear before getting the final Masters certification. It is the most important phase of your final stage and getting it done in a right way is extremely crucial to get good grades. There are different aspects of writing a perfect dissertation write up, one should follow in order to produce a master piece. I am glad to present some useful tips which will prove to be very useful in writing your dissertation.
Step 1: Start Thinking About What You Would Like to Write About:
Get in touch with your tutor or supervisor as soon as possible and consult with him on the expected scope of your dissertation and area of your interest.
The most important point to remember here is that you will not be writing a general proposal, but you need to rather focus on particular aspects, such as solving a problem, studying existing research, or critically analyzing a specific case study or “thesis”. The final title can therefore be a simple title with extensive research aspect or a critical analysis of a particular problem and probable solutions to overcome the issue.
Step 2: Start with Your Research and Planning:
Planning your dissertation write up is very important as it is a commitment which is going to decide your final award in the long run. It is therefore obvious, to plan your dissertation carefully. Plan your schedule and stick to it, avoid leaving things to the last minute.
Problems are surely going to arise like difficulties in obtaining books or materials; delays in receiving replies to letters or questionnaires; lack of feedback, these are all mysterious dissertation-eating dogs which cannot be avoided. Whilst all such problems you have to manage everything.
Therefore start by collecting some recent journals, articles and books relevant to your topic of study. Frame your aims and objectives. Scan through the information and frame your research questions in mind to avoid the overheads of wasting time in reading irrelevant information.
Most important finalize your research methodology, if you are planning to conduct primary research through questionnaire or a survey then please be specific about it and mention about all the minute details including the approach of collecting responses to prove your evidences.
The drawback of conducting primary research however is that the said companies and organizations are often swamped with such sort of things and the response rate will probably be very disappointing or negligible which can again create issues.
This will lead to redrafting your dissertation drafts several times and waste your crucial time. Focus on committing lesser mistakes while writing, avoid grammatical and spelling errors. Proofread everything you write, or perhaps get someone else to do this for you. Any revisions needed, will of course take time, depending on your tutors availability. In the process, make sure you take your tutors feedback regularly chapter wise every week to show him the progress of your work.
Step 3: Structure Your Dissertation Write Up:
Structuring your dissertation is again very important because a good clearly presented dissertation can easily get the additional edge. Consult your tutor and with course literature what the required structure is, as there are many variations with the structures available. A basic framework would be as follows:
Abstract: One paragraph summarizing the whole dissertation.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to those who have assisted you.
Table of contents: Chapters and/or sections & sub-sections with page numbers Table of figures, if appropriate.
Introduction: A presentation of your question/problem/thesis, with a brief outline of the structure of your work.
Main body/discussion: The facts, evidence, analysis, evaluation and discussion. All very well structured: arts/social sciences tending towards paragraphs; sciences/engineering towards sections; business a mixture of the two.
Conclusion: Where you bring it all together, stating very clearly your answer to your central question and if appropriate making recommendations, suggestions etc.
Bibliography: A complete list of your sources, correctly formatted.
Appendices: Any information not central to your main text or too large to be included: for example, complete questionnaires, copies of letters, maps etc. Avoid footnotes, unless you’re using a numerical referencing system. Avoid too many brackets. Use bold and italics sparingly and consistently. Avoid underlining. Avoid using “etc.”
Step 4: Content and Writing Style:
The dissertation write up you are going to produce is a piece of academic work. It’s purely an intellectual achievement. Considering your academic level of understanding, university will never expect you to produce something which is completely new and unique, but it expects you to present a grasp of good theories and important issues; deep understanding of proof of concept and evidence, and critical analysis and evaluation capabilities to narrow down on the particular aspect of your study. You should be able to demonstrate the research onion and theme adding value to your research and present your findings correctly.
Simple or a generalize approach can directly impact your grades. It is therefore extremely important to write in an academic style, avoiding common terms, contractions, semantic errors and imprecision. You should be clear and concise in your expression and often avoid writing long paragraphs of vocabulary.
Remember to always write as a third person while writing your dissertation as this is a universally accepted rule of thumb in all UK universities. In case of group assignments always prefer to express yourself as “we” because it is a collective effort which you represent through your work.
Coming to your conclusion, do not draw your tutors attention on unnecessary criticism or exhibiting apology for poorly presented results. Keep a positive approach, every research has weaknesses; it is matter of how thoroughly you have analysed the problems and presented your findings. Sentences should be precise with appropriate punctuations and adequate paragraphs. Make use of phrases or connecting words to keep the reader engaged through your writing. All figures and diagrams should be correctly referenced with valid sources and integrated within the text referred to.
Step 5: The Art of Referencing:
Referencing your information with vital and valid sources is extremely important in your academic dissertation. Improper and poor referencing can directly impact your grades as your writing will then be considered as offence for plagiarism. If you are not, then please contact your tutor or library staff there is lots of information. Sources available which can help you learn the referencing style.
In depth referencing and citations prove extensive research whereas poor referencing leads to poor or weak research. Referencing and citations help you to back up your theory and argument. So do not hesitate and use as many sources as possible. Focus more on use of academic journals and books.