Dissertation writing differs from essay writing in that the latter is relatively short – usually 1500 to 2500 words. A dissertation “a substantial paper that is typically based on original research and gives evidence of the candidate’s mastery of both his/her own subject and of scholarly method.”
In dissertation writing, the writer chooses his or her own topic and it has to be original research. The writer must demonstrate his/her knowledge of the subject/topic and of the key facts. This means, dissertation writing requires uncovering facts about the topic and reviewing different points of view about the topic.
There are different types of dissertations depending on the subject or academic level. In relation to academic level, we have undergraduate dissertations, Master’s dissertations, PhD dissertations. Dissertations also differ according to subject. For instance, there is biology dissertation, nursing dissertation, law dissertation, history dissertation, military science dissertation, political science dissertation, employee morale dissertation etc. As far as dissertation writing goes, we encourage students to choose a topic they are conversant with and that which has sufficient information both online and on books.
Dissertation writing involves choosing a topic, doing the preliminary study, providing a new concept/solution and supporting the proposition. Anything outside this is not a dissertation.
Dissertation writing follows a certain format. Unlike a research paper, a dissertation must not have methodology/method. The main parts of a dissertation are:
• Abstract: short summary of the whole dissertation. It comprises the research question along with chapter outlines and the conclusion
• Research question: The next important part is the research question. It is the fundamental question defining your research and forms the core of the research. The research question should appear in the introduction- in a separate section. The research question is the attention-setter for the reader/audience, therefore, it should be strong, well-written and curiosity-drawing.
• Literature review: Literature review is equally important as it gives an overview of all the existing research work done on the subject/topic. This is important as it serves two purposes: (1) it lets your dissertation committee know that you have a good understanding of the existing literature on the subject/topic and the questions you should be asking. (2) It brings a holistic perspective to the students on the topic of your research and helps them to position your study within bigger area of study.
• Chapters: They are the pillar of dissertation writing. A dissertation must be divided into 5 or more chapters. Each chapter must focus on a specific topic and must be written in a way that it can make for an independent reading.
• Bibliography: a bibliography is a tabular list of the names of the authors who have been consulted by a student while writing the dissertation. All the sources of indirect and direct influences should be mentioned.
Dissertation writing is something you must familiarize yourself with before you even begin your research. For example, what is the acceptable length of a dissertation? Although some dissertations can have a minimum length of 21 pages, the average length of a dissertation should be between 100 and 200 pages depending on what academic level the student is and how complex the subject is. The pages should be double-spaced and 250-300 words each.
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