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Top Tips When Writing Your Postgraduate Thesis or Dissertation

Aspects of a Masters Dissertation Proposal

❶Your institution likely has very specific guidelines for submitting your thesis.

Step 1: Write a winning dissertation proposal

When is the right time to start writing my thesis/dissertation?
How does supervision work for a Masters dissertation?
Sections of a Masters Dissertation Proposal

They are more specific than the aim of the masters dissertation proposal, in that they outline the particular dimensions of your research topic, which are relevant to the overall objective of your research.

Explain what prompted you to research about the topic you settled on. Explain your interest in the topic, and if any, previous experiences that have led you to investigate the subject of your Masters dissertation proposal. This is one of the challenging bit, due to the extensive research that is conducted during a masters dissertation proposal. However, the writer should narrow down on a specific problem and explain it clearly. The problem stated in your masters dissertation proposal must be converted into a research question.

The research questions are more specific than your research objectives and specify the various information that needs to be collected in order to achieve the objectives.

Keep in mind that the research question in your masters dissertation proposal often starts with a Why, How, or What. A Masters literature review comprises a collection of information from other sources.

These sources include journals, websites and, online books. A Masters literature review is a summary of information from collected sources that have been compacted. This information is organized and restructured incorporating both the new and old information. A literature review often gauges the intellectual progression of the specific subject.

A literature review is often used by professionals to keep them up to date with information in a particular field. Your literature review should aim to justify the research objectives and research question posed. This explains the type of research tools you plan to use in your masters dissertation to extract and process the information gathered.

It is essential to explain how you will be collecting the data in order to address the research question. You must clarify whether you are using qualitative or quantitative methods to collect information such as interviews or questionnaires.

In cases of interviews and questionnaires, define the sample, size, and criteria you will be using. Research methodology and especially in social sciences refers to the philosophy governing the methods you used.

Describe the problems you might encounter in the field. This is to help you form a contingency plan in case either fails. For example, people you intended to interview may suddenly decline or the questionnaires not returned for analysis. Always work within a limited time frame when working on your masters dissertation proposal to avoid falling short of time and working haphazardly. If you have liaised with an organization for your research project, ensure your objectives are met within the set time.

Ensure you write a list of all the sources you have used to research so that when the time to consolidate information gathered, you will not fall back looking for sources.

This can be a bit like producing a series of shorter pieces of work, similar to those required by individual modules, but with the further requirement that they collectively demonstrate and support a broader set of conclusions. This more involved structure will give you the space to investigate your subject in greater detail than is possible at undergraduate level, but it will also challenge you to be effective at internally organising your work so that its individual components function as stages in a coherent and persuasive overall argument.

This will also have an impact on your research process if the individual topics within your overall project require you to access separate sources or datasets and to plan around their availability. The other significant difference between undergraduate and postgraduate work concerns the expectations of you as a researcher. Your undergraduate dissertation will have given you a chance to prove the competence you have developed in your subject area by undertaking an independent and research task, demonstrating an ability to comprehend and analyse new material for yourself.

As a postgraduate you will do all of this again, but you will also be expected to establish and assert your own critical voice as a member of the academic community associated with your field. This will involve proving that you are not just capable of analysing and critiquing original data or primary source material, but are also aware of the existing body of scholarship relating to your topic and can situate your work as an original contribution to or reflection upon this.

So, if you'll excuse the pun, a 'Master's' degree really is about achieving 'mastery' of your particular specialism and the dissertation is where you'll demonstrate this: As a Masters student at the dissertation stage you'll usually be matched with an academic within your institution who will be tasked with guiding your work. This might be someone who has already taught you, or it may be another scholar whose particular research interests and expertise align well with what you want to do.

You may be able to request particular supervision, but taught postgraduates are more likely to be assigned supervisors by their department. Specific arrangements with your supervisor will vary depending on your institution and subject area, but they will usually meet with you at the beginning of the dissertation period to discuss your project and agree a suitable timetable for its undertaking.

This timetable will probably set dates for subsequent discussions and progress checks, including the submission of draft chapters or sections and the receipt of feedback.

Though your supervisor is there to help and advise you, it is important to remember that your dissertation is a personal research project with associated expectations of you as an independent scholar. As a rule of thumb, you can expect your supervisor to read each part of your dissertation once at the draft stage and to offer feedback.

Most will not have time to look at lots of subsequent revisions, but may respond favourably to polite requests for exceptions provided their own workload permits it.

Inundating your supervisor with emails or multiple iterations of draft material is best avoided; they will have their own research to manage as well as other supervision assignments and will be able to offer better quality feedback if you stick to an agreed schedule.

On most courses your dissertation will be assessed by an external examiner as well as additional members of faculty within your university who haven't been responsible for supervising you , but these will read and critique the work you submit without personally questioning and testing you on it. Though this examination process is not as challenging as the oral defence or 'viva voce' required for a PhD thesis, the grading of your Masters dissertation is still a fundamental component of your degree.

It will usually be worth around 60 credits - a third of the total credit value for a UK Masters - and will therefore play a key role in determining your final result.

On some programmes the result awarded to a student's dissertation may also determine the upper grade-band that can be awarded to their degree. You can find more information on the dissertation requirements for individual Masters programmes by looking at the entries for courses in the FindAMasters database.

For some extra help and advice on the Masters dissertation experience and help with managing your research, see our selection of useful tips. This article is the property of FindAMasters.

How to Write Your Best Dissertation: Step-by-Step Guide

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• Dissertation Presentation Day (some programmes only: see Appendix 1 for further details) • Dissertation Proposal Hand-in and final approval by academic supervisor. See Appendix 1 for dates which apply to your programme. • Dissertation hand-in, 4pm School Office MB. See Appendix 1 for dates which apply to your programme.

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How to Write Your Best Dissertation: Step-by-Step Guide. When you get to the point of writing a dissertation, you're clearly near the end .

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GUIDELINES. FOR WRITING A THESIS OR DISSERTATION. CONTENTS: Guidelines for Writing a Thesis or Dissertation, Linda Childers Hon, Ph.D. Outline for Empirical Master’s Theses, Kurt Kent, Ph.D. How to Actually Complete A Thesis. Top Tips When Writing Your Postgraduate Thesis or Dissertation Writing a masters or PhD dissertation/thesis is a massive undertaking – and one that is not to be taken lightly. There are similarities and differences to each task, in some ways writing a masters thesis can feel like running a m race – the course is usually very quick .

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How to Write a Masters Dissertation. Now that you have a Masters dissertation proposal, it is time to get started on your masters dissertation. While it can seem overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be thanks to our guide on the writing process as well as tips on making it less stressful and more successful. A masters dissertation proposal is one of the final steps before writing your dissertation for your taught Master’s program. Our experts have put together an informative guide that will have you clinching good results and impressing your masters dissertation .