University Of Greenwich Dissertation

University Of Greenwich Dissertation

Writing a dissertation

TLDROFF
A successful dissertation needs careful planning and resourcing before you even start to write.

By the time you have reached the stage when writing a dissertation is a requirement or an option for you you will already be very familiar with academic writing conventions. You will have been writing essays that require an academic style, Harvard referencing and a high level of analysis and critical thinking. The primary difference between a standard undergraduate essay and a dissertation is simply the length and depth of engagement. With that in mind it is important to pick your topic with care and plan it carefully.

Checklist Guide

  • Picking your topic: Many dissertations can run into trouble simply because the topic has not been chosen carefully. If you have decided that a dissertation is for you then it helps to pick an area that is of genuine interest to you. Remember, you will have to live with this project for a whole academic year so you will need to get on well with it. Having a passion for your topic will help sustain your interest over the course of your research, especially towards the end when you may be flagging and losing motivation. In many ways picking a dissertation topic is like choosing a romantic partner, going for one that looks pretty on the face of it may go disastrously wrong when a few weeks into the relationship you find that you actually have nothing in common, nothing to talk about and are desperate to break-up.

University Of Greenwich Dissertation

  • Be realistic: It is very tempting, when coming up with a dissertation topic, to go a little crazy and try and include everything that you are interested in, this is a clear recipe for disaster. A dissertation is not your life’s work, even a 100,000 word PhD thesis is nowhere near everything that you will ever be able to say on a topic. One of the secrets to a successful dissertation is knowing how to limit the scope of the project so that you maintain control and keep your research focused. Consider, for example, a dissertation on cats. You may be very keen on cats and excited about every aspect of their lives. With this in mind you decide on a dissertation project entitled “Cats of the world a study of their lives and behaviour”. You begin your research by typing “cats” into Google and immediately break the internet. You visit the library and search for every book and article they have on cats and return home with a mountain of textbooks that you have no chance of reading in the time available and so you give up and go and attempt something more doable like iron your socks.
  • Establish a research focus and methodology: As with any task deciding exactly what needs to be done, how, when, with what and in what order is vital to the successful completion of an academic dissertation. There are a number of possible research foci and approaches that can help you structure a successful piece of research and selecting the one or ones most appropriate to your topic can mean the difference between a tightly argued and well-presented dissertation and a messy collection of randomly selected information on a vague theme. Consider these for instance:

University Of Greenwich Dissertation

The question – what problem are you trying to tackle?