A dissertation or thesis is likely to be the longest and the most difficult piece of work a student has ever completed. It can, nevertheless, be a really fulfilling piece of work because, unlike essays and other assignments, the student can choose a special interest issue and work independently.
The research journey will be a lot smoother if the student clearly understands the big-picture of how to write a dissertation or thesis. Here are some tips to outline the big picture of how to write a high-quality dissertation or thesis without losing your mind in the process.
So, what exactly is a dissertation?
To put it simply, a dissertation or thesis is a formal piece of research that reflects the typical research method. It’s not an opinion piece, nor is it a place to push your agenda or persuade someone to agree with you. Now, what is the usual research procedure? There are four main steps:
As discussed, asking a clear, well-articulated question is the first step in the research process. To put it another way, you’ll need to come up with a study topic that poses a specific question or series of questions (these are called research questions).
A a few key characteristics of a good dissertation topic are given below:
Your research topic should be very specific about what you’re going to research, what you want to learn, and how you’re going to learn it. There should be no ambiguity or uncertainty concerning the topic of your investigation.
Your research should address a question or set of questions that hasn’t been addressed before, or that hasn’t been addressed in a particular context (for example, in a specific country or industry).
It is not enough to just ask a unique or original inquiry; the query must add value. To put it another way, answering your research questions correctly should add value to the field of research or the industry.
Once you’ve found a good research topic, the following step is to persuade your university to let you conduct research on it. No matter how fantastic you believe your topic is, it must first get approval before you can proceed with your research. A research proposal can be used as a tool to get this done.
After your proposal has been approved, it’s time to start writing your dissertation or thesis
Your proposal will serve as the foundation for your first three chapters — introduction, literature review, and methodology.
In general, it will comprise the following:
You’ll need to do some initial evaluation in Steps 2 and 3 to find your research gap and craft a convincing research proposal – but that’s just the beginning. When you get to the literature review stage of your dissertation or thesis, you’ll need to delve even further into the current research and create a thorough literature review chapter. There are two main stages:
The first step is to do a thorough review of the available literature (journal articles, textbook chapters, industry reports, and so on) to obtain a thorough understanding of the current status of research on your issue. Reading and digesting the necessary literature is a time-consuming and a demanding task. Many students underestimate the amount of effort that goes into this step, so make sure to budget enough time for it when planning your study.
After you’ve read and digested all of the material, you’ll need to write up your literature review chapter. You’ll need to do at least three things to write a successful literature review chapter:
When you’ve completed your literature evaluation and have a thorough comprehension of the existing research, it’s time to develop your own study (finally!) You’ll do this study with the goal of discovering the answers to your specific research topic.
The first step is to plan your research strategy and draft a methodology section.
Designing your research strategy and writing a methodology chapter are the first steps.In another way, this chapter explains the “how” of your research. The “what” and “why” were explored in the introduction and literature review chapters, so it’s only natural that the “how” should be discussed next – that’s what the methodology chapter is all about.
You’ll put your research idea into action and begin collecting data once you’ve finalised it. This could include conducting interviews, running an online poll, or using any other technique of data collection. Data collecting can take a long time (especially if you conduct in-person interviews), so make sure you provide enough time in your project schedule for it. Things don’t always go as planned (for example, you don’t get as many survey responses as you expected), so factor in some extra time in your budget.
After you’ve gathered your data, you’ll need to undertake some data preparation before diving into the analysis.
It’s finally time to share your findings after you’ve finished your analysis. You’ll usually present your findings in two chapters in a dissertation or thesis: the results chapter and the discussion chapter.
While the results and discussion chapters are identical, the results chapter simply presents the processed data neatly and clearly without interpretation, whereas the discussion chapter discusses the story the data is telling – in other words, it provides your interpretation of the results.
Depending on the university and degree, these two chapters (results and discussion) are occasionally consolidated into one. So make sure to verify with your institution. This section is about presenting the conclusions of your research in a straightforward, easy-to-understand manner, regardless of chapter arrangement.
You’ll wrap up your research in this chapter by highlighting the most important findings and discussing the consequences of those discoveries.
What are the most important findings? The key discoveries are those that have a direct bearing on your original research questions and overall study goals (which you discussed in your introduction chapter). On the other side, the implications describe what your findings mean for industry or research in your field.