A dissertation is a piece of academic work which is a major requirement for the award of a final degree in a particular area of study. As an academic necessity, the writer is expected to write something unique and innovative on the subject of interest.
A dissertation can also be referred to as a project or a thesis in some jurisdictions for those studying for higher degrees, but whatever the name, it denotes to an independent work or study by a student for the award of a degree.
It should also be noted that although the requirements for those studying for Masters and PhDs are more complicated, the procedure and methodology of a dissertation are largely the same.
The main purpose of a dissertation is to test the student’s ability in critically analyzing and evaluating the subject which is the focus of study.
Here are some tips to producing a great dissertation.
- CHOOSE A SUBJECT
A writer once said that our generation came too late and that everything that should be said and written has been said and written. This writer was just trying to emphasize the fact that there is no subject that people have not written or commented on.
You do not have to re-invent the wheel. But you can certainly improve on the design. Subjects are like prisms. All you need to do is to tilt it a little and voila, you have a new perspective.
There are very few subjects that will not find huge materials on them. But the truth is that every old idea needs new assertions. And when you make new assertions on old ideas, it then requires new judgments to validate them.
- SELECT A FAVOURITE TOPIC.
During my undergraduate days, I knew many of my friends who made the mistake of delving into areas of study that seemed fashionable at the time, but of which they knew little or nothing about. Most of them sooner or later regretted those choices.
It does not matter what your subject matter is, just make sure it is something you are passionate about and are willing to research into. Resist the temptation of choosing big or complicated topics in order to impress your teachers or friends.
If you are of the opinion that the area of your research is simple or not challenging enough, then twist it a little by giving it an argumentative edge.
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- WRITE YOUR THESIS
When you have chosen a topic, then it is time to compose your thesis. A thesis in this vein refers to the working statement that you are trying to prove or disprove.
The first step of writing and constructing your thesis is narrowing and defining your subject to a workable size. The main function of a thesis is to act as a guide which will not allow you to lose focus of the main purpose of your dissertation.
- WRITE A PROPOSAL
In most institutions, the student is required to write a proposal for the final dissertation. A research proposal is a succinct statement of how you intend to set about writing your paper and the purpose you seek to attain at the end of the day.
In those schools that require this, you cannot start your dissertation unless your proposal is approved by your supervisor(s).
In writing your proposal, your supervisor(s) look out for some information which includes among others, the academic question you pose and the importance of finding the answers, the methodology you will use in finding the answers.
- DO YOUR RESEARCH
Think of writing a dissertation as cooking a meal. But before you start cooking, you must have done your shopping to get your foodstuffs. Without the groceries, there will be no meal.
Research is like gathering your foodstuffs. It is a process of gathering materials required to elaborate on the topic of your dissertation. There are many places and avenues of research. It may be a simple observation, questions and answers, visiting the library for materials and using the internet. . It is important to use as many reliable materials as you can when conducting your research.
While conducting your research you will come across a lot of data and information which may be a little overwhelming. It is not compulsory that you must use all the information. Recognize the ones related to your thesis, organize them and get right to work
- THE STRUCTURE OF YOUR DISSERTATION
After your thesis or methodology has been approved, it is time to write your dissertation. Dissertations as academic works have their own style and structure that serves as a standard for all those involved in the exercise.
Note that your school or supervisor(s) have the final say on what the structure should look like. However, all dissertations must contain the following structural outline or something similar.
- A Title. This must be on the cover and usually on the first page after the cover. The cover will also contain the name of the author, course, name of supervisor(s) and date.
- An abstract, which is a brief summary of your dissertation
- Table of contents
- The body divided into chapters
7. PROOF READING
After you are done with you work you have to submit it to either a friend or someone who is experienced in that area of work and get an impassioned feedback. You will be surprised at the corrections that will be pointed out to you on a work you thought was perfect.