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This Study Guide addresses the task of writing a dissertation.It aims to help you to feel confident in the construction of this extended piece of writing, and to support you in its successful completion.
The good news is that you have already started writing if you have written any of the following in relation to this study: In each case the object of the writing was to communicate to yourself, your supervisors, or to others, something about your work.
In writing your dissertation you will draw on some of this earlier writing to produce a longer and more comprehensive account.
The process of having to describe your study in detail, in a logical sequence of written words, will inevitably highlight where more thought is needed, and it may lead to new insight into connections, implications, rationale, relevance, and may lead to new ideas for further research.
Barras (196) suggests that you ‘think of your report as part of your investigation, not as a duty to be undertaken when your work is otherwise complete’, and this Study Guide suggests that: writing is an integral part of the research process.
In addition to the research context, there may be other relevant contexts to present for example: It can be difficult to identify the best order for sections in this chapter because the rationale for your choice of specific research question can be complicated, and there may be several inter-linked reasons why the research is needed.
It is worth taking time to develop a logical structure as this will help to convince examiners of the relevance of your research, and that you understand its relevance.Although this is the first piece of writing the reader comes to, it is often best to leave its preparation to last as, until then, you will not be absolutely sure what you are introducing.The introduction has two main roles: This can lead logically into a clear statement of the research question(s) or problem(s) you will be addressing.It is certainly an academic exercise, but perhaps not too different from the concise explanations of your research you may have had to give to relatives and neighbours over the last few years, in terms of its brevity, accessibility, and comprehensiveness.This is your opportunity to mention individuals who have been particularly helpful.Before embarking on any substantial writing for your dissertation you will need to check the exact requirements regarding: There are some conventions that guide the structuring of dissertations in different disciplines.You should check departmental and course regulations. The title itself is an important opportunity to tell the potential reader what your research is about.Reading the acknowledgements in other dissertations in your field will give you an idea of the ways in which different kinds of help have been appreciated and mentioned.The contents pages will show up the structure of the dissertation.“I know I’m good at writing so I can leave it to later”.“I want to get everything sorted out in my mind before I start writing or I’ll just end up wasting my time re-writing”.