How to write a first class disseration 19th feb 2013 astonPresentation Transcript
How to Write a First-Class Dissertation Vlad Mackevic 19th February 2013 Aston University
Objectives How to come up with a dissertation topic How to write a literature review How to be critical How to structure your dissertation How to research efficiently How to become a better writer
Dissertation A piece of independent research Contributes to the body of knowledge Something NEW: New methods with old theory New data with old methods New theory with the same dataset
What Earns You Points? Answering the Question (!) Structure Style and language Research and Analysis References Formatting and Presentation
DissertationResearch-Based vs. Library-Based
The Question1. The Object of the Study2. The Context of the Study3. The Method of the Study
Keep It Simple and NarrowThe rise of the Asian Tigers(economic power in the East)
Taiwan Reasons Impact Singapore The rise of the Asian Tigers (economic power in the East) International relations Hong KongSouth Korea Consequences Economic performance
What were the reasons for theeconomic miracle of South Koreain the second half of the twentiethcentury?
What were the reasons for the economic miracle of South Korea in the second half of the twentieth century?• Not consequences
What were the reasons for the economic miracle of South Korea in the second half of the twentieth century?• Not consequences• Not Taiwan, Singapore or Hong Kong
What were the reasons for the economic miracle of South Korea in the second half of the twentieth century?• Not consequences;• Not Taiwan, Singapore or Hong Kong• Not any other time
How national cultures affectorganisational cultures and theimpact of this on the performanceof businesses in differentcountries?
ObjectHow national cultures affectorganisational cultures and theimpact of this on the performanceof businesses in differentcountries?
ContextHow national cultures affectorganisational cultures and theimpact of this on the performanceof businesses in differentcountries?
MethodHow national cultures affectorganisational cultures and theimpact of this on the performanceof businesses in differentcountries?
How national cultures affect organisational cultures and the impact of this on the performance of businesses in different countries?• Which countries do you mean?• What companies will be used as examples?
Walter Scott and the carving ofbrutishness: Nationalism andregionalism within his novels.
The role of maternal diet in early childhood obesity• Focus group = participants? Sociological profiling?• Methods? observation, survey, etc• Context = NOW!
StructureIntroduction (10-15%) Main Body (70-80%) Conclusion (10-15%)
Structure1. Say what you’re going to say;2. Say it;3. Say what you’ve just said.
Set Topic vs. Free Topic Introduction Introduction Main Body Literature Conclusion Review References Methodology Analysis and Discussion Conclusion References
Abstract and Introduction
Abstract and Introduction Summarise your research Explain what you are writing about Guide your reader Mention the Object, the Context and the Method
Write YourIntroduction at the End
Why? It’s hard You don’t have all the information yet Theory Applications of the theory Arguments of the essay Outline and structure Write about your most recent actions
Main Body Main arguments Evidence Reading/knowledge References
The Funnel and the Hourglass
Broad to Narrow
The Funnel Principle
Link all yourarguments back to the assignment topic!
Broad to Narrow and Back to Broad
Copy from one, it’s plagiarism; copy from two, it’s research. Wilson Mizner US screenwriter (1876 - 1933)
Research Wikipedia (ONLY for general knowledge) Not to be included in the list of references References on Wikipedia
Research Textbooks and their chapters (theory) Research articles and conference papers (application of theory in practice)
Research Tips Relevant – answer the question Research ethics Make notes while you’re reading Carefully note down full references BACK IT UP!
Literature Review A critical summary of mainresearch you have found on the subject
Why? Done your reading Know your topicAware of the weaknesses
‘Passable’ Literature Review Main theories How they were applied Research methods used by others Research design used by others
First-Class Literature Review Why did you choose these theories? How did others obtain their results? Similarities/differences in study design Predict your results An original contribution
Analysis and Discussion What has been found? Why such results? Differences between your research and that of the others Different methods; different participants
LimitationsIn the beginners mind there aremany possibilities, in the expertsthere are few. Shunryu Suzuki
Acknowledge Your Limitations Your lecturer will like it All researchers do it No theory is perfect No dataset is perfect No research method is perfect
Conclusion Mention the topic again Describe methods, data analysed etc. Summarise the findings How your findings correspond to the previous research Only write about your data and your research.
Speak confidently about your own results. Do not make generalisationsabout the world based on your limited data sample.
Why Reference? To avoid failing the module Because it’s fair To back up your claims Evidence of extensive reading
Referencing Who wrote it? What is the book/article called? Who published it? Where was it published? When was it published?
The Writing Process
No Perfect First Draft
Never Leave Your Sheet Blank
Good Writers Read
Always Carry a Notebook
Do Not Complicate Things
Speak to Your Lecturers!
Graduate Employment 1930 2009
Unfilled vacancies?Students lack skills that employers are looking for http://lifehacker.com/infographic/
Job Skills1. Communication (Written and Spoken)2. Analytical and Research3. Teamwork4. Self-motivation5. Organisational Skills6. IT Skills7. Leadership
Communication SkillsWritten Spoken Sources: http://www.sytelco.com and www.nightingale.norfolk.sch.uk
Communication Skills Written Spoken Writing essays, research reports and dissertations Email communication
Communication Skills Written Spoken Writing Giving essays, research presentations reports and Participating in dissertations discussions in Email lectures and communication seminars Being a good listener
Analytical and Research Skills Source: www.actbucks.org.uk
Analytical and Research SkillsAcademic writing is all about researchand analysis: Looking for information online and in the library Determining which information is relevant to your assignment question Collecting and analysing data Acknowledging its limitations
Teamwork Skills Group assignments Establish a study group – or join one Group work in lectures and seminars Participations in group discussions Source: www.destructoid.com
Self-motivation• Most of academic work is made of independent learning tasks• Always deliver more: take initiative to make presentations, speak in group discussions
Organisational SkillsAcademic work requirestop-class organisationalskills:– Managing multiple coursework deadlines– Planning your time to write your essays– Planning your time in exams– Outlining and organising your writing
IT SkillsIT skills at university:– Word Processing– Spreadsheets– PowerPoint presentations– Internet-based research– Professional social media (Facebook and LinkedIn)
Bank intern? Family emergency?http://www.complex.com/tech/2012/05/25-facebook-posts-that-have-gotten-people-fired/bank-intern-busted
Teacher Fired for Drinking on Vacationhttp://www.complex.com/tech/2012/05/25-facebook-posts-that-have-gotten-people-fired/paynestaking
“LBGs new CEO gets £4,000 an hour. I get £7. Thats fair.”http://www.complex.com/tech/2012/05/25-facebook-posts-that-have-gotten-people-fired/salary-leak
This Guy Worked for Apple! Fail! Fail! Fail!http://www.complex.com/tech/2012/05/25-facebook-posts-that-have-gotten-people-fired/apple-employee
What about this Tweet?
LeadershipWho is a leader?– A good communicator– A team player– A good researcher– Able to analyse situations– Motivated and ready to motivate others– Organised, with a respect for deadlines
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