Over the past few years, dissertations have become an increasingly essential part of Higher Education and are usually incorporated into third level undergraduate and Masters level program.
Dissertations give you an opportunity to work on a subject of your interest independently and at length. It further acts as an efficient way to research training, which assists you to acquire superior intellectual skills like evaluation, synthesis, and analysis, plus management expertise.
This study guide aims to assist you to feel confident in the writing process of your dissertation, and to offer you support in its successful completion.
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In a worldwide scale, most universities compare a thesis from a dissertation as belonging to different levels of educational research, whereas a few universities interchange the terms regardless of the educational research level. Nonetheless, despite the fact that they are different, their difference is paper-sheet thin. This explains the mixed up descriptions of a thesis and a dissertation by most scholars.
The Difference Between the Thesis and the Dissertation
A thesis highlights academic research for the achievement of a higher academic degree while a dissertation implies comprehensive references related to observations made by an author, usually at the level of graduation. They are both concerned with research, but thesis leads to the completion of a Ph.D. or a doctorate, whereas a dissertation leads to the attainment of a post-graduate degree, for example, MPhil. On the other hand, American Universities apply the reverse of the latter difference whereby a dissertation leads to the attainment of a Ph.D. and thesis culminates Master’s level.
A thesis entails an original subject which is presented as a hypothesis. A university allots the hypothesis as a synopsis, then written according to the University’s overall supervision guide. On the other hand, a dissertation involves synthesizing collected information and adding genuine thoughts concerning the subject. A thesis is contemplated as a brief paper while a dissertation is long since it supports knowledge acquired through research on a particular topic.
To highlight the difference, a thesis constitutes supporting a hypothesis through research findings. The synopsis or hypothesis has to contain the essence of the new research findings made on the subject being examined. A thesis document has to include details of genuine research findings made on the search subject. Therefore, a plagiarism check is usually performed to determine the originality of a thesis.
On the other hand, a substantial knowledge is required to convey adequately the new discoveries documented in a dissertation. Another difference between a thesis and a dissertation is that a dissertation is an analysis of existing literature while a thesis involves the addition of new findings to existing literature.
Your dissertation should state the objectives of your investigation, describe your research methods, and present and discuss your results. This is achieved using the structure below. However, your supervisor will provide direction regarding the layout, word count, and structure of your dissertation.
You should include:
- The title of your dissertation:
- Your full name and any academic qualifications you may have.
- A statement:
- Institution Affiliation:
- Date submitted:
- Name of supervisor (if required):
- The same principle applies throughout the document. Illustrations should only be included to convey information, and not just for artistic effect.
This is a short paragraph summarizing your dissertation. You should incorporate a brief summary of the following:
- The topics that you have researched and the reason.
- Research methods selected and why.
- Your outcomes.
- Your conclusions.
It does not matter that your conclusions are evident from the start; it is the rigor that you have employed in getting them that counts.
You should acknowledge anyone that has assisted you during your research. This may be your university’s Librarian, lecturers, or colleagues who may have helped you with research material.
Introduce the subject under research and define your goals and objectives. It is better to explain the implication and relevance of the hypothesis you are trying to prove, the activities you will carry out to prove it and the research method you will apply to get results.
You have to plan contents of each section as:
You ought to critically review past research findings which are relevant to your subject. A well-written literature review is in-depth, analytical, and informative. This section’s conclusion should contain the contributions you intend to the existing literature. So as to carry out a comprehensive review of the subject, you should have a decent knowledge of the various research techniques.
This section involves developing and describing your research framework. You have to describe the research technique to used, data collection and analysis methods you have resolved to use during research and discuss why the methods are suitable for the research. Its content differs based on the research undertaken.
Results and Discussion
You have to explain, present, interpret and appraise your research findings. Also, you must identify the limitations and review the pros and cons of your research report.
In this section, you have to combine your arguments so as to offer an undoubted answer to the hypothesis. You have to justify your conclusion and depict how your reasoning in each stage was connected to reach your conclusion. You should also discuss any future developments for the subject and if practical effects for management or government procedures need to be applied.
Bibliography and References
A dissertation must have either a bibliography or a reference and a bibliography based on the supervisors expectations. Failure to citing of your sources in the appropriate form may result in allegations of plagiarism hence fail your dissertation.
You should include examples of the items used to collect evidence for the research, such as surveys, questionnaires, letters, statistical tables, illustrative material, etc. Same materials should be documented under the same appendix and have to be numbered in an ordered manner, for example, different questionnaires should be under the same appendix and numbered 1(a), 1(b), 1(c) and so on.
The initial step in writing your dissertation is setting a deadline. By doing this, you will have enough time to proofread your paper and to make any additional modifications.
You should have a journal of your ideas to assist with the writing process.
Create a detailed outline of your paper.
Keep your writing style formal: When starting to write your dissertation, remember that you are writing an academic paper- formal writing is a must.
Consult a scholarly text to see how your dissertation should be structured.
Once you are done with writing your dissertation, you should find an editor to check on the spelling and grammar issues, as well as check for overall continuity and flow.
1. Identify what your reader knows and doesn’t know: The reader usually wants most of all to understand your primary point, and won’t start criticizing it before he or she understands it.
2. Make your writing clear and concise.
3. Make the starting of your dissertation powerful.
4. Organize your ideas and arguments so as to discuss adequately.
5. Divide chapters into sections connected by a shared theme.
6. Present tense is usually best: Most essentially, though, maintain the tense consistent. Avoid starting a paragraph in past tense and finishing it in the future.
7. Use the standard sentence structure: subject, verb, and object. Not: “The insurance mechanisms that agents utilize to smooth consumption in the face of transitory earnings fluctuations are diverse” Instead: “People use a variety of insurance mechanisms to smooth consumption..”
1. Sloppy errors: Always avoid submitting your dissertation having careless errors. These confirm to your review committee that you didn’t perform proper editing.
2. Mistakes in formatting: Do not try to be creative, make use of the provided template to make your work easy and to avoid formatting blunders.
3. Documentation mistakes: All sources that you include require proper documentation in the appropriate formatting. Double check your references pages, and the intext documentation.
4. Write in text language: ensure that you maintain formal writing style.
5. Include unsupported opinions: Make sure that your ideas have absolute support for them.
6. Use many technical terms: This will make your writing appear too complicated. The goal of writing is clarity.
7. Use of adjectives in describing your work: If you have to, then ensure not to use double adjectives.
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