What is a dissertation?
A dissertation is a final document in the stage of an academic degree or a professional qualification that shows research and findings of the finalist. A dissertation proves that you have gained the necessary skills and knowledge to organize and conduct a research project. Skills that are acquired and tested are such as:
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Difference Between a Thesis and a Dissertation
The words “thesis” and “dissertation” are often referred to as the same thing, and it depends on the region or the institution since some prefer thesis on the final Masters Research and dissertation on finalizing Ph.D. They (thesis and dissertation) have almost or the same structure basing on the introduction, literary review, main body, conclusion, bibliography, and appendix.
How a thesis and a dissertation is defined is dependent on the country or institution that a student is from. Generally, in the US, a thesis refers to a final project for the master's students and a dissertation is a final paper to a doctorate. Those studying for masters usually perform research on a particular subject that demonstrates their knowledge acquired throughout their program. Seeking a Ph.D. requires one to write a dissertation which portrays something completely new and undiscovered to your field. This means that the student in question has to contribute original knowledge to the subject. So, the main difference between a thesis and a dissertation is the depth of knowledge you must attain in order to write the paper. Also, what you study is different in the sense that masters tests on the application of knowledge on the final paper and Ph.D. lead to a discovery to be presented in the final paper.
There is some similarity on a master’s degree thesis and a research paper done during college completion. What makes it differ from the research paper is the use the research of others to provide your own analysis on your discoveries when developing your thesis. It demonstrates your level of critical and analytical thinking and defines the subject that you are most interested in pursuing within your field. With a dissertation, you are expected to use the research of others only to guide you in your own research to come up with a whole new hypothesis. The idea behind this having analysis and concepts forming the core of the dissertation and experimental data is avoided at all costs.
Another way in which the thesis and dissertation differ is in length. A dissertation is twice or even thrice the length of a master’s thesis. It is recommended that you consult those providing the guidelines for the proper length of your dissertation or thesis based on what you are undertaking.
An Outline of a Dissertation
A dissertation involves two main aspects:
• A practical list of what is needed.
• A sketch of what to write.
First, there is a list that comprehensively displays the items that you can use as the basis of your own to-do list. Writing your to-do list is the easiest part of your dissertation. The tasks are arranged roughly in the order that you’re likely to do them, although some of the tasks will depend on others to be done first.
Second, the outline needs to show your thoughts and ideas clearly on what is to be included in each section of your dissertation. Sketching out what you need to say and structuring the presentation of your thoughts and ideas can be done in a number of ways. Two of the popular methods are linear planning and concept planning. People often have strong feelings about which style they prefer; each method has pros and cons.
If you find creating an outline a useful part of your planning strategy, it’s a good idea to use the same outline style for each chapter. This helps you to write a dissertation with a clear, tight structure and avoiding repetition and confusion. A well-structured outline leads to a coherent dissertation.
Don’t apply your plan as if it is fixed – a good dissertation develops as you’re working on it and you’ve no need to be afraid of moving slightly away from your original plans. If you’re going wildly off track, however, seek support from your supervisor before messing up your whole plan.
Use Linear Planning For Your Dissertation
When using linear planning, list your tasks in the order of doing them prioritizing the important ones first. Linear planning makes for a very clear outline, but it’s harder to make changes as you go along than with a concept map. For your linear plan you can use the chapter headings recommended by your supervisor or the headings in the following list:
Dissertation Writing Tips
Here are a few tips that you can consider in the course of writing the dissertation:
- The easiest way to build your content is doing it inside out. Start with the chapters that describe your research. Take the terms as they come and keep a definition for each.
- As stated earlier, definitions should be in a separate chapter, and they should be precise and formal.
- The only way to make it in writing a successful dissertation is practicing, reading and practicing again – no shortcuts in this.
The Do’s and Don’ts
- Talk to your advisor or committee soon and often.
If you have any questions related to format, content, or deadlines, make an effort to contact your thesis advisor or other members of your thesis committee at any time. They are your best resource for most situations.
- Relax and plan your time.
If you really haven’t worked that much on your thesis yet, don’t panic. You have time to work on a great thesis before graduation, as long as you plan ahead and don’t have any anxiety attacks. Make a schedule of experiments, interviews, or research time to help you plan on what you need to do. Don’t forget to schedule writing time; this is a project that warrants more than one draft. Sacrificing is vital, so don’t take it for granted. And be sure to plan in some time to relax— gaining energy for more involving work.
- Don’t be a last minute person.
You don’t want to be printing the day of your defense when the paper runs out, or the printer goes on the fritz. Also, make sure you know as soon as you can about the different sections of your thesis. Most theses call for a brief introduction of the project, and you can help yourself with the following questions:
• How long should yours be?
• Who is your intended audience?
• Do you need a bibliography?
• Do you need a table of contents?
• A section for graphs or charts?
Again, consult your thesis advisor. Just make sure you ask soon since preparation at the last minute will have your thesis canceled due to improper structuring, and furthermore, you never created room for consultation.
Spelling and grammar
- Don’t underestimate the importance of spell checking and pay particular attention to the spellings of key names and theories. Make sure your use of capital letters is both correct and consistent.
- Don’t use self-assessment statements that pose as a form of praise or criticism. Avoid statements like “this method shows a breakthrough….” Or “this technique is not well revised…” and such other statements.
- Don’t use passive voice in your writing. Instead, use active voice always.
A dissertation must adhere to impeccable writing standards, especially with the grammar and vocabulary. A doctoral level or master’s level dissertation must not have any spelling mistakes and must be properly proofread. If you are an international student, you can have online proofreading service to proofread a dissertation and correct grammar mistakes.
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