This section looks at effective planning, which should be a continuous process that intensifies during the writing of your dissertation and not something that fades into the background. Do all dissertations look the same? This video clip contains comments from the following academics:. Case Study 12 Making sure your dissertation doesn't get on top of you. Insofar as the preparation of the dissertation is a process of investigation and discovery, the precise scope of your study may well only emerge as you become closely involved in a detailed review of the literature.
At this early stage, your title may be a provisional one that you will revise later. Your dissertation supervisor may advise on the title in order to help you find and define the focus of the dissertation.
You should examine articles in scholarly journals for examples of appropriate titles for a study of this length. Supervisors have different ways of working and you will, to some degree, need to negotiate your approach to supervision style. For example, your supervisor may advise you to write a short proposal or abstract, say of about words, in which you set out as clearly as possible what you intend to do in the dissertation.
The value of this exercise is that it requires you to focus and articulate your thinking. It may be that you will be able to summarise the exact nature and scope of your study, in which case the proposal can serve as guide to refer to as you write the main chapters of the work. Alternatively, it may make you aware of gaps in your knowledge and understanding, and show you the areas that need further thought and research. It is useful, therefore, to write the proposal and to retain it for reference and revision.
It helps to attempt such an abstract even if your supervisor has not suggested that you write one. However, practice varies, and your supervisor will advise you on how to proceed. As you continue to write the main chapters of the work, you may find that your initial plan has changed. This means that when you have completed the chapters that form the main body of your dissertation you can return to the proposal and revise it as much as you need, to form the introduction.
It is highly advisable to draft a plan of the dissertation. There is a lot in common between different dissertations regarding the structure and although you do not need to stick slavishly to a standard plan, such a plan is very helpful as a template to impose some order on what may seem an unmanageable task.
Here is an indicative structure that might help you with your initial plan. The field of study, the research question, the hypothesis if any or, more generally, the research question that is to be investigated.
It should also include a summary of the contents and main arguments in the dissertation. Usually, this comes immediately after the introductory chapter. This may be more than one chapter, but should certainly be written in sections. This should include previous work done on the field of study and anything that you consider to be relevant to the hypothesis or research question and to its investigation.
It will include a large number of references to the literature in your chosen area. You should consider the benefits of your chosen method as well as identifying any disadvantages and how you overcame them. Ethical issues and the ways in which you dealt with them should be noted. This section should also discuss any variations from the original fieldwork plan, and should conclude with a reflection on the experience of doing fieldwork.
You may also wish to include an evaluation of any difficulties you encountered in collecting and analysing data, together with an assessment of how this affected your plan of research. You should NOT introduce any new literature at this stage. An overall assessment of what you found out, how successful you were and suggestions for future research. Once you have produced the proposal and discussed it with your supervisor, you may want to write the first draft of a chapter of the dissertation.
When you hand in this draft, you should arrange a tutorial to receive your supervisor's verbal or written comments and suggestions on how it may be improved. You may, for example, produce a draft introduction setting out the issue, together with a literature review which covers what, if any, treatment of the topic has gone beforehand.
You may also wish to draft those sections of the methodology chapter that cover the methods that you wish to use, together with a justification for why you think those methods are best. When you have received your supervisor's comments on the draft of any chapter, you should revise that particular chapter immediately.
Prompt revision is easier than letting things drift, and you should do it while the advice of your supervisor is fresh in your mind. This will also avoid building up a backlog of work that needs to be revised, which can be discouraging. Having the material on a computer disk will enable you to do revisions efficiently and with a minimum of fuss.
Be sure to back up all your work on a floppy disk, CD, or memory stick. Depending on the credit rating of the dissertation, the amount of time you devote to it should be equivalent to the time you would devote to a taught course with the same credit rating; that is, seminar and lecture time plus time for private study.
In our research we found that students often did not think about the credit rating of their dissertation and actually spent more time working on it than they should have! They saw it as such an important part of their degree that they wanted to put more into it:. It [the dissertation] took up more of my time Once you get into it, you have to out in the effort. All the modules in the final year are important.
You will find that once the final year begins, the weeks go by very quickly, and you will need to organise your time well from the start so that the ongoing preparation of your dissertation continues alongside work for the taught units you are studying. Once you have a workable plan it is much easier to plan the work in sequence and to set yourself targets for the completion of the separate parts see the section on Getting started with the Dissertation.
Allow plenty of time for final revisions after your tutor has seen a complete draft. If you are taking a dissertation over two semesters, you should aim to spend the equivalent of one full half-day per week working on your dissertation during each semester of your final year if it is worth 20 credits - nearer twice that amount of time if it is a credit dissertation. You will decide with your supervisor precisely when to produce drafts, but if you are taking a dissertation module over one academic year then by the end of the first semester you would normally expect to produce a proposal or abstract and a first draft of one or two chapters.
You would then produce the drafts of the remaining chapters and complete the process of revision and writing-up during the second semester. In the second semester, when drafting the remaining main chapters of the dissertation, you will follow the practice established in the first semester of submitting the drafts to your supervisor for comments and advice.
You should take advantage of the period between the first semester and the start of the second semester to write a draft of a chapter, and you should plan to have produced first drafts of all the main chapters by at least four weeks before the submission date also allowing for any vacation periods when staff may not be available.
If, however, you are taking the dissertation module over one semester, you will need to adjust this time frame accordingly.
The introduction to your dissertation should explain to the reader what you are going to investigate. It should describe the dissertation's topic and scope. You should explain your reasons for investigating your chosen topic by referring to the appropriate literature. Having completed the work on the main substance of your dissertation, you should have a much clearer idea of its nature and scope than you did when you wrote your preliminary abstract or proposal.
It is important, however, to write the introduction as though you are setting out on a process of investigation. You need to emphasise the exploratory nature of your work. You should also avoid anticipating the discoveries and conclusions that you have made in the course of your investigations.
So, you might simply say that you have identified certain common features in the relevant literature, or a particular issue that it deals with, and that your dissertation will examine the literature closely in order to demonstrate the relationships between treatments of the issue in the sample texts.
When you have completed the main body of the work and your tutor has commented on your complete draft, you may well wish to revisit the introduction to take into account your findings and your tutor's comments on their significance.
Your dissertation is a substantial piece of written work that ideally should conform to a number of academic conventions. One of the most important of these academic conventions is the literature review. In short, the literature review is a discussion or 'review' of secondary literature that is of general and central relevance to the particular area under investigation.
Often students ask how long a literature review should be. This is a difficult question given that the total length of your dissertation might be anything from five to twelve thousand words.
Obviously your supervisor may be able to give some indication of the approximate length of your literature review. However, don't become pre-occupied with word length, the main thing is that your literature review should capture the general and specific aspects of the literature of your subject. The literature review is an important device in your dissertation as it performs a number of related functions:.
Writing a literature review is not as simple as at first it may seem. What follows is a step by step guide on how to go about conducting and presenting your literature review. The first stage of your literature review is to collect a list of literature that is relevant to your study. Once you have a list of references for your dissertation, you now have to access and read this material.
This is time consuming because you will be reading a large amount of material. Once you start you might find that some literature is of little relevance to your study. This is something that many researchers and dissertation students go through and is often a necessary part of the process.
This model works very naturally in a short space such as a research proposal or article but can be harder to realize on the bigger canvas of a thesis introduction. Many thesis writers struggle with the need to provide adequate contextualizing detail before being able to give a satisfying account of their problem. Truth be told, this inclination—the feeling that our problem is so complex that any explanation will require extensive background—can be a bit of a graduate student weakness.
I suggest that thesis writers take every possible opportunity to articulate their topic under severe space or time constraints. You have to find a way of giving them the big picture before the deep context. You are writing your thesis on the reappearance of thestrals in the s in Mirkwood Forest in the remote country of Archenland after a devastating forest fire caused by mineral extraction in the s.
When a thesis writer attempts to give the full context before elaborating the problem, two things will happen. First, the reader will labour to see the significance of all that they are being told. Second, the reader will, in all likelihood, struggle to find connections between the various aspects of the context. Once you have explained what we need to know about thestrals, you will need to discuss the topography of Mirkwood, the endangered species policy framework in Archenland, the mineral extraction practices commonly used in the s, and the way forest fires affect animal populations.
I am picturing a thesis introduction that looks something like this:. What do you think about this as a possible structure for a thesis introduction? While I realize that it may sound a little rigid, I think such an approach is warranted here.
Using this type of structure can give thesis writers an opportunity to come to a much better understanding of what they are trying to say. In other words, in my experience, thesis writers tend to feel better after reconstructing their introductions along these lines.
For some, it may prove a useful way to present their introduction in their final draft; for other, it may just be a useful scaffold, something that they can improve upon once everything is on a surer footing.
Using this structure can help the writer craft an introduction that responds to the needs of the reader , rather than the demands of the material. Typically, the thesis introductions that I see provide an introduction to the topic but not necessarily to the piece of writing. Introducing your introduction is one way to meet your key responsibility to guide the reader through the text. The resurfacing of this post is so timely. I am currently drafting my introduction and am startled to find myself struggling to articulate my research question after just under a year working on it….!
Thanks for another very helpful post. Thank you for this post! I wonder if we feel that we ought to be able to convey what we are doing in our writing without having to tell the reader what is going on, but I think this sets the bar pretty high! What I try to do in my own writing is to go ahead and make my intentions as explicit as possible, with the understanding that I may wish to go back and polish it later.
Yes, the best is that we will just going on and try to pursue our intentions. Editing or polishing it afterwards will help us refine anything what we wished to happen.
I would love to know what to call the introduction to the Introduction. Mine needs a heading of some description! You could just leave it unnamed. That is, your first section would have no heading; once the intro-to-the-intro is complete, you would provide your first heading. My introduction is called just that but has several sub-headings. Thanks for your insight into writing a thesis introduction.
By roadmap, I just mean the elaboration of what is to come in the thesis. That sort of thing. Since different theses can have such different introductions and then such different structures, the reader will usually benefit from an explicit elaboration of the overall plan. Where to Get Good Essay Samples. Trusted by students worldwide. Your data is protected.
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Want to be matched with the best-fitting expert now? Just hit the button below! Masters Undergraduate College High School. Writing Chapter Four Dissertation: Steps for Writing a Methodology Chapter in a Dissertation Writing a methodology chapter in a dissertation is as challenging as writing a dissertation introduction chapter.
It is important to explain to the reader why you chose to use your approaches. This is important because it justifies the validity of your approach. However, do not provide an explanation as to why you did not use the other possible approaches in carrying out your research.
The purpose of your methodology chapter is to provide the reader with enough insight into your approach. You should provide enough information such that if anyone tries to replicate your study, they can do so with ease. You methodology should include every step you took during your research. Therefore, it might be a good idea to list down every step you take so that you do not forget when writing down your research.
Since you will be writing something that has already been done, it is important to use the reported speech when writing your report. This will make it sound more professional and will make it easier to understand.
If your research includes human subjects, it is important to explain the steps you took to ensure every participant was safe and unharmed throughout your research.
The introduction to your dissertation or thesis may well be the last part that you complete, excepting perhaps the abstract. However, it should not be the last part that you think about.
Sep 08, · The introduction is the first chapter of your dissertation and thus is the starting point of your dissertation. You describe the topic of your dissertation, formulate the problem statement and write an overview of your dissertation/5().
Dissertation Introduction Examples. Simply select the subject that best matches your area of study to see a dissertation introduction example in that subject. Please note that these dissertation introduction examples were written by other students and then submitted to us for publishing here to . The introduction will receive close attention from your dissertation committee. Some experts have recommended writing it at the end but because writing it will help get things clear in your mind in simpler language it is probably better to start with it.
A great dissertation suggests an astute knowledge of the importance of its own findings, and goes beyond the fundamental conditions of collection, review and evaluation. The introduction is . A dissertation introduction is the first thing that a reader sees when reading your dissertation. It basically creates the first impression of your dissertation, and this first impression will last till the end of your dissertation or thesis.