Planning A Dissertation

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What is the scope of the research and why is it important? This will set the research problem in its conceptual framework and gives a critical perspective. What are the main lessons to be learnt from your study? What were the main problems and how did you overcome them?

It should be a discussion rather than a description, and you should highlight concepts and theories which have a particular bearing on the research. What are the implications for the stakeholders concerned, and what are the possible future directions of the research?

For each stage/major finding, clearly summarize then discuss the conclusions you have reached, your reasoning, the relevant confirming and disconfirming literature, and the implications.

The inclusion of prelims and end matter is another way in which the dissertation differs from the more run of the mill piece of written work.

Also, note requirements as to what should go into the main body of the text – some organizations require you to put your methodology in the appendix for example.

You should also have a plan for how you do the writing, taking account of: You should start to think fairly early on how you will organize your work.

You may have done all the right reading, have a waterproof design and brilliant data, but if you don’t allow yourself sufficient time for the write-up you will let yourself down.

Writing a dissertation is a much more involved process than the average assignment; you might occasionally have been able to burn the midnight oil over an essay but you are unlikely to be able to be able to keep up that level of intense writing for a longer piece of work.

The structure of the report will depend on the scope you have been given, in particular to recommend or implement changes.

If you are limited to analysing a situation and making a proposal for change, or you are reflecting on a project from the past, Maylor and Blackmon (2005, p.


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