Dissertation is a serious final year project, which requires the student to choose the topic, a method for researching it and to do a thorough research with thought-provoking and actual findings, which could be used to solve the problem, which is analyzed. Degree dissertation is an interesting form of assessment because it enables the student to:
- Focus on the subject that they would like to research.
- Explore the area of interest with great depth.
- Consolidate intellectual, information-seeking and communication skills.
- Produce knowledge, which other people can use to solve problems.
Most final year study projects share the four following characteristics:
- The student defines the main focus of his work.
- Although, some sort of direction and support is provided, dissertation paper is mostly written on and individual basis.
- Writing a dissertation includes substantial research.
- Student will have a much longer engagement with this type of written work than with the standard works such as reports or essays.
Organization of dissertation paper is different depending on the course and educational institution; therefore it is necessary to get acquainted with the requirements in the module handbook before you get started. If there is not enough information in your module handbook than it is better to consult your supervisor and clarify all questions. Having answered the question "what is dissertation" let's take a closer look on how does it look like. Although all dissertations are different in terms of design, style and format. However, there are certain elements that are present in all dissertations:
- Review of Literature - this section should be written in accordance to the similar standards as "review of literature" section in other types of writing assignments.
- Methodology - this section of dissertation should explain why you have chosen this particular method or methods of research, what are its weaknesses and strengths and why are these methods of research good in this particular case.
- Findings - it should include your evidence, case studies and data. The length of this section depends on the type of findings that you have made.
- Discussion - a very important section which unites all strands of the argument that you have presented at the beginning of your dissertation. It should be somewhere in the middle between your findings, the literature that you have used and discussed and the methodology that you have utilized.
- Recommendations and conclusions - this is an especially valuable chapter because it includes recommendations that can be used in order to improve certain aspects of the researched topic. Mind that new ideas should be included in the discussion section, while "conclusions and recommendations" section is for crystallizing your thoughts and formulating your recommendations in the most precise and meaningful way. You can use this section to point out, how your findings and recommendations can be used for further research.
One very important aspect of writing a good dissertation is starting early because if you start a couple of weeks before your dissertation is due, chances of you completing a decent dissertation would be close to zero. Start early, work regularly and follow the recommendations of your supervisor!