Being a student can be a turbulent time in that sometimes you feel as if a positive electrical buzz is travelling right through your body but then it becomes over activated and you start to feel like your head is going to burst. This quite often happens when you have to start your dissertation. You have just learned to cope with all the other work and then suddenly this big project is expected of you. Don’t despair, if you take the right steps, writing a dissertation can be inspirational.
In this article, you will learn:
One of the most important steps you can take when writing a dissertation is ensuring that you create a properly tailored dissertation outline. This is an essential step because:
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In the introduction, you will need to make it clear what the research topic or problem is. To do this, you need to be sure about it yourself so you need to give it a great deal of thought.
If you’re doing a humanities dissertation, for example “the effects of capitalism in Wuthering Heights compared with the Merchant of Venice”, this part might confuse you because your subject matter is the literature itself. The best way to tackle the literature review for the outline in this case is to review the most important issues of the text succinctly and also to do the same with any theorists that you are using. Remember that this is an outline, not the full piece so you have to be concise. The most important aspect of this is that you get your analytical points across. The literature review in a text based dissertation is not expected to be as immense as in a more practical dissertation.
If, on the other hand, you are doing an empirical dissertation, a literature review must demonstrate that you have read around your topic and that you have an understanding of the issues that it raises. Therefore, in your outline, you need to mention this and acknowledge the work of the theorists that you will be using. In doing this, you also need to demonstrate how their findings work as a springboard for your own research. If this seems like hard work, it is, but it is also worth it because it will give you a clarity that could deliver the groundwork for the critical analysis in your own research later on in the dissertation.
If you are writing a dissertation outline for an English Literature topic such as “the effects of capitalism in Wuthering Heights compared to the Merchant of Venice”, the methodology will be different from a dissertation based on obesity. The reason for this is that methodology within a humanities degree is often based mostly on other people’s theories whereas methodology for a practical dissertation often means conducting research personally. Your methodology outline would therefore need to describe which theorists you would be examining and critically analysing, why you had chosen them and also what you contemplate you will achieve through your comparisons.
If you are writing a dissertation that was not text based but more practical, for instance, “Is obesity in low income families due to a lack of education?” you would have to use either qualitative methodology, quantitative methodology or mixed methodology depending on your individual topic.
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