How To Start Writing A Dissertation

Beginning to plan a dissertation is an undoubtedly daunting task.Writing an effective dissertation proposal is a necessary first step in deciding upon a subject area, focusing in on a research question, and identifying the methods that you will use in collecting and presenting your data.Depending upon the referencing system preferred by your university department, you will need the following information: Consult your departmental handbook or ask your supervisor if you need clarification of what information to use when referencing.

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Producing a coherent dissertation proposal helps you to communicate with your supervisor the aims and objectives for your research, and the methods you intend to use in making an assessment of your topic.

Your supervisor may then present you with a critical evaluation of your proposal, highlighting areas in which they foresee difficulty, ethical concerns, or lack of transparency.

The more reading that you do, the more you should be able to refine your research questions.

If you aim to address an area that is too broad, you will risk generalisation and run out of space in your word count.

You do not necessarily require a ‘conclusion’, but it might be a good idea to round off your dissertation proposal with a reminder of your reasons for choosing the topic, the type of research you will be carrying out and your expected outcomes.

For example - ‘I have chosen to investigate the relationship between ___ and ___ since I believe that proving a positive correlation would have serious implications for ___, and that carrying out further qualitative research in this area will be integral to improving understanding.You might even find that your original research question changes - it may be that you decide that there is not enough evidence to support your original line of argument, or that your chosen topic is too broad and requires further refinement.Either way, make certain to hold regular meetings with your supervisor, to adhere carefully to your university’s regulations and to list the sources that you come across as you do your research, to make sure that they are ready to be included in your bibliography at the end of your work.It could be that you identify one particularly interesting study, but realise that its findings are outdated, or are not easily applicable to modern times.You may decide that you want to investigate whether the findings would be the same in more recent research.Was there a concept that you thought could have been developed further?Or have you noticed a stark lack of scholarship in your research for an assignment, that suggests to you that further research into this particular subject area is needed?Whether you're writing an undergraduate or postgraduate proposal, it's vital you check your course and institution requirements prior to submission, since the word count and format can vary between universities.According to usual practice, you'll likely be assigned a supervisor from your subject area, who'll guide you throughout the dissertation writing process.Overall, a dissertation proposal is essential in preparing you for the writing process and will actually serve to make beginning your dissertation decidedly less frightening.Plus, it is not set in stone and will probably be subject to much change during the entire process.

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