How To Write Dissertations

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  • learning about data collection methods, analysis (learning software), writing up -Results & Discussion]
    Qual +words rather than numbers
  • card index system
  • [theory & review of previous studies]
    General-specific pattern
  • Record your dissertation timetable, when your supervisor is away.
  • How To Write Dissertations

    1. 1. WRITINGWRITING DISSERTATIONSDISSERTATIONS Kuhu Pathak MBA-Marketing 1 EFFECTIVE LEARNING PROGRAMMEEFFECTIVE LEARNING PROGRAMME
    2. 2. DISSERTATION WRITING: OUTLINEDISSERTATION WRITING: OUTLINE  Introduction  What is a dissertation?  Planning your study: generating a research question; background reading & method  Planning a research schedule  Structuring your dissertation  Working with your supervisor 2
    3. 3. WHAT IS A DISSERTATION :WHAT IS A DISSERTATION : Depends on department  Extended lab/field report & conclusions  Extended study  Analysis of case study  Project work from company placement  Library driven examination of problem  Model testing [e.g. Acc & Fin] Metaphor of a journey 3
    4. 4. RESEARCH PROPOSALSRESEARCH PROPOSALS i.e. plan for the dissertationi.e. plan for the dissertation Required by many depts. Example from Linguistics:  Area of research  Questions you aim to answer  Rationale i.e. reasons for researching this area- contribution to understanding & practical use  Your background in this area: previous knowledge & gaps  Data you will collect  How you will collect data and how you will analyse it  Initial bibliography i.e. review of key studies * [progress report/ grant proposal-science] 4
    5. 5. GENERATING A RESEARCH QUESTIONGENERATING A RESEARCH QUESTION  Start with expected outcome or hunches  Develop research question[s] or hypothesis  Research question= well specified critical question rather than description of what aspect you want to find an answer to.  2 stages: What am I interested in? What questions can I make about this topic that could lead to an investigation?  Examples of RQs in psychology from Oxford http://www.psych.ox.ac.uk/babylab/research.html 5
    6. 6. GENERATING A RESEARCH QUESTIONGENERATING A RESEARCH QUESTION  Hypothesis = A tentative proposition which is subject to verification through subsequent verification…. Guide to the researcher depicting & describing the method to be followed in studying the problem. In many cases hypotheses are the hunches that the researcher has about the existence between the variables [Verma and Bear 1981 in Bell 1993]  Forms framework of study: i.e. which literature to investigate, how to select/devise methods; how you discuss results and write conclusions  NB need to modify question as study develops 6
    7. 7. DECIDING ON RESEARCH METHODSDECIDING ON RESEARCH METHODS  What data will you collect?  How will you collect this data? -interviews, questionnaires, case study -lab or field work -writing code and trialling software designing a model or hardware -simulating/testing -analysis of primary sources e.g. documents [original historical, legal sources etc]; -secondary sources- library & web sources- peer reviewed? 7
    8. 8. ANALYSING DATAANALYSING DATA How will you analyse this data?  theory or framework,  quantitative or qualitative quantitative e.g larger scale, number/statistically based. qualitative e.g. small scale, detailed description  using software for analysis e.g. SPSS, Excel etc How much data can you deal with in time allotted? 8
    9. 9. READING: BACKGROUND THEORY OR LITERATURE REVIEWREADING: BACKGROUND THEORY OR LITERATURE REVIEW  Read efficiently using SQ3RSQ3R  SQ3R= Survey, Question, Read, Recall, Review http://www2.ntu.ac.uk/sss/studysupport/Information /Reading/SQ3R/SQ3R.htm  Read critically- see Toronto Uni http://www.utoronto.ca/writing/critrdg.html  Library –database searches –see subject librarian  Keep a careful record of reading & where used in your dissertation  9
    10. 10. 10 PHD READING RECORD  Date of notes/pages author     title   publ/place/year/ed   topic   keywords   chap/section/rq     notes                                 comments               YOUR COMMENTS ON READING….. YOUR NOTES FROM READING BIBLIOGRAPHIC THIS PART- DETAILS. TOPIC & KEYWORDS RESEARCH QUESTION.
    11. 11. SCHEDULING YOUR DISSERTATION WORKSCHEDULING YOUR DISSERTATION WORK  Make a timetable or wall chart e.g. Gantt Chart  Identify best work times and keep to a daily writing slot  Split your dissertation into bite size-chunks  Be realistic about daily targets  Include time for input [supervisor & critical friends] & for drafts & redrafts  Familiarise yourself with deadlines* & plan accordingly 11
    12. 12. 3 key questions 1. Do I have the skills & knowledge to carry out this research? 2. What time is needed? 3. Do I have time within my schedule?  E.g. need to learn/improve knowledge of statistics  Learning software: Excel SPSS,  Learning new techniques & other skills 12 SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE REQUIREDSKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE REQUIRED
    13. 13. MAKING A DISSERTATION TIMETABLEMAKING A DISSERTATION TIMETABLE How many words? How much practical work & analysis? 2 ways of timetabling dissertations:  Whole dissertation timetable: examples 1 & 2  Weekly timetables: example 3 Important to break down dissertation into realistic weekly tasks to make it more achievable Look at the 2 examples of dissertation timetables What level of detail would work best for you? [Examples 1 &2 are from Strathclyde University's Centre for Academic practice webs pages on Dissertation writing. See: http://www.strath.ac.uk/Departments/CAP/dissertation/frameset4.html 13
    14. 14. MAKING A DISSERTATION TIMETABLEMAKING A DISSERTATION TIMETABLE B 14
    15. 15. MAKING A DISSERTATION TIMETABLEMAKING A DISSERTATION TIMETABLE B 15
    16. 16. MAKING A DISSERTATION TIMETABLEMAKING A DISSERTATION TIMETABLE The next slide shows how the plan for the whole dissertation can be broken into weekly tasks. Allows you see progress at manageable level-  focus on individual tasks  tick off these tasks  not be overwhelmed by totality  know exactly where you are or should be 16
    17. 17. MAKING A WEEKLY DISSERTATION TIMETABLEMAKING A WEEKLY DISSERTATION TIMETABLE B 17
    18. 18. WHAT DOES A DISSERTATION LOOK LIKE?WHAT DOES A DISSERTATION LOOK LIKE? Dissertation structure can vary significantly from dept to dept & whether it’s based on an empirical study or analysis of literature. The former are based on a scientific report structure:  Introduction  Methods  Results  Discussion  Conclusions 18
    19. 19. AN OVERVIEW OF THE CHAPTERS: INTRODUCTIONAN OVERVIEW OF THE CHAPTERS: INTRODUCTION This sets the scene, by introducing:  the research area  previous studies  gap in research to be filled  your research questions/hypotheses  brief signposting of dissertation structure NB In some dissertations, the background information is in a separate chapter called Literature Review 19
    20. 20. METHODSMETHODS  Explains what methods you used to collect data  Explains how you collected the data  Not just a description as it should explain reasons for various choices made  Goal of your explanation is to allow future student to repeat your study  Grammar! Past tense & passive used e.g. Twenty five interviews were conducted….. 20
    21. 21. RESULTSRESULTS  Presents the results collected from the method[s] you used  But does not analyse these results  May use a series of tables and figures to present the results more effectively  Talks the reader through the series of results i.e. refers to figures Figure 4.2 shows that the incidence of x rises when…  Highlights key patterns NB Some writers combine the Results & Discussion headings and organise by topic 21
    22. 22. DISCUSSIONDISCUSSION  Interprets the results i.e. explains what they mean  Broadens from discussion of your results to how they can be compared with the results of others who’ve done similar research  Refers to the previous studies you introduced earlier  Discusses any problems with results  Doesn’t include tables & figures, except when comparing your results with others 22
    23. 23. CONCLUSIONSCONCLUSIONS  A short, succinctly written summary  Must addresses the research question/hypotheses presented in the introduction  May include limitations of your study and suggestions for further work 23
    24. 24. OTHER BITSOTHER BITS FRONT  Title page  Acknowledgements  Contents  List of figures*  Glossary* BACK  References  Appendices* 24 *if your study requires this
    25. 25. WORKING WITH YOUR SUPERVISORWORKING WITH YOUR SUPERVISOR  What can my supervisor?  What won’t my supervisor do?  Will they approve the research proposal/research questions?  Will they read with drafts of work & if so, to what extent?  Will they advise on methodology & help with difficulties ~~~ NB Make agendas for supervision meetings/ Tape as a record 25
    26. 26. SOME DISSERTATION WRITING TIPS [i]SOME DISSERTATION WRITING TIPS [i]  Keep a research journal with you to record ideas  Write a dissertation timetable: whole process & weekly  Start writing early  Set a daily writing slot  Allow time for problems:personal & with your data collection  Set plenty of editing and rewriting time  Get a critical friend to read through drafts and feed them! 26
    27. 27. MORE DISSERTATION WRITING TIPS [ii]MORE DISSERTATION WRITING TIPS [ii]  Read at a couple of past dissertations  Compare their structure by tracing through the research questions from the introduction to conclusion.  Start writing in the middle- methodology or background  Write the introduction and abstract last, when you know what you’ve found  Introduce and conclude chapters. Guide the reader through with signposting & cross referencing 27
    28. 28. 28 Thank You Thank You

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