Writing your Postgraduate Dissertation

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Writing your postgraduate Dissertation

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Writing your Postgraduate Dissertation

  1. 1. Dr Ela Beaumont Writing your Postgraduate dissertation Dr Ela Beaumont Writing your postgraduate dissertation
  2. 2. Writing at postgraduate level <ul><li>You make your </li></ul><ul><li>own decisions </li></ul><ul><li>You will discover </li></ul><ul><li>what works for </li></ul><ul><li>you </li></ul><ul><li>You already have learning methods </li></ul><ul><li>Your tutor expects </li></ul><ul><li>you to be more independent </li></ul>
  3. 3. What’s different about postgraduate writing <ul><li>It’s longer </li></ul><ul><li>You will work on it independently </li></ul><ul><li>You have freedom of choice </li></ul><ul><li>You will decide on your subject and methodology </li></ul>
  4. 4. Research-what’s the problem? <ul><li>What shall I write about? </li></ul><ul><li>How do I get started? </li></ul><ul><li>How do I write a title? </li></ul><ul><li>What is a methodology? </li></ul><ul><li>How do I get all the information? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Stages of your dissertation <ul><li>Choosing a question </li></ul><ul><li>Gathering information </li></ul><ul><li>Brainstorming </li></ul><ul><li>Talking to tutors and others </li></ul><ul><li>Clarifying the structure </li></ul><ul><li>Drafting </li></ul><ul><li>Revising </li></ul><ul><li>Redrafting </li></ul><ul><li>Writing the final version </li></ul>
  6. 6. Top tips for writing your dissertation <ul><li>Plan so you have plenty of time to organise your sources </li></ul><ul><li>Choose something that interests you </li></ul>
  7. 7. Time management <ul><li>Remember your motivation </li></ul><ul><li>Be creative </li></ul><ul><li>Organise your research and writing schedule </li></ul><ul><li>Start writing </li></ul>
  8. 8. Choosing a title <ul><li>Key words-subjects and concepts </li></ul><ul><li>Link these to form a question or state a position </li></ul><ul><li>Move from the general to the specific </li></ul>
  9. 9. Creating a good title illustrate explain examine evaluate discuss describe define criticise contrast compare assess analyse account for Your investigation Process word Your subject
  10. 10. Reviewing the literature <ul><li>You need: </li></ul><ul><li>Authoritative sources-whose work is referred to most? </li></ul><ul><li>Up to date sources-track down recent publications </li></ul><ul><li>Accurate references-volume numbers, pages, titles </li></ul>NB Has your tutor written on the subject?
  11. 11. How to read
  12. 12. Reading <ul><li>Never read a whole book </li></ul><ul><li>Read the title page </li></ul><ul><li>Look at the table of contents </li></ul><ul><li>Check the index </li></ul><ul><li>Read the preface </li></ul><ul><li>Leaf through the whole book </li></ul><ul><li>Survey a chapter </li></ul>
  13. 13. Collecting your data <ul><li>Keep a note book handy and make a note of: </li></ul><ul><li>author </li></ul><ul><li>editor </li></ul><ul><li>date </li></ul><ul><li>page number </li></ul><ul><li>article or book title publisher </li></ul>
  14. 14. Making notes <ul><li>WHY? </li></ul><ul><li>Reference </li></ul><ul><li>Preparation </li></ul><ul><li>Memory aid </li></ul><ul><li>Organising your knowledge </li></ul>
  15. 15. Reflect and evaluate <ul><li>Do you need this information? </li></ul><ul><li>What have you discovered? </li></ul><ul><li>Have you clarified your argument? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you have enough evidence? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you have enough examples? </li></ul>
  16. 16. Collecting your references using Harvard <ul><li>Read your course handbook </li></ul><ul><li>How does your tutor want you to reference? </li></ul><ul><li>What’s the style in your discipline? </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>Practice paraphrasing and writing in your own words </li></ul><ul><li>Practice Harvard in your notes </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>Use short quotes in “quotation marks”, comment on them in your own words, and give a reference </li></ul><ul><li>Practice using Harvard in your notes </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>Reference all your internet sources </li></ul><ul><li>www.physorg.com/preview12180.html </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>Think about creating a spreadsheet or database for your references </li></ul><ul><li>Go to library courses on: </li></ul><ul><li>Searching for course material </li></ul><ul><li>Referencing </li></ul>
  21. 21. When you have enough information-start writing <ul><li>The researcher doing endless research </li></ul>
  22. 22. Elements of a good dissertation <ul><li>Title </li></ul><ul><li>Contents </li></ul><ul><li>Summary </li></ul><ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>Methodology </li></ul><ul><li>Findings </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion </li></ul><ul><li>Recommendations </li></ul><ul><li>References </li></ul>
  23. 23. A good dissertation (1) <ul><li>Has a good title </li></ul><ul><li>Deals with key points and arguments </li></ul><ul><li>Is written in an objective style </li></ul><ul><li>Has no spelling or grammatical mistakes </li></ul><ul><li>Shows evidence of wide reading </li></ul><ul><li>Uses references and quotations </li></ul>
  24. 24. A good dissertation (2) <ul><li>Is analytical and questioning </li></ul><ul><li>Has a good introduction </li></ul><ul><li>Is logical and balanced </li></ul><ul><li>Has a good conclusion </li></ul><ul><li>Is neat and well-presented </li></ul><ul><li>Has a bibliography </li></ul>
  25. 25. A dissertation is never finished <ul><li>Know when to stop </li></ul><ul><li>You get marks for quality not quantity </li></ul><ul><li>There will always be more you want to add- don’t </li></ul>

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