Structure and contents
There is no best way of writing a dissertation or one model for an appropriate format. However, certain aspects are conventionally found in a dissertation and should only be varied after discussion with the supervisor for good reason. These are:
1) An opening section which should contain the following separate pages: Title page, ethics number, declaration and statement, supervisor’s statement, acknowledgements, abstract (a summary of 300 words, which should summarise all sections of the dissertation (THIS MUST BE INCLUDED), and a table of contents.
(2) The first chapter should be an introduction to the dissertation which should state very clearly the purpose of the project on which the dissertation reports, some background, the research question, aim and objectives, short section on Methodology (half a page), scope and limitations and a brief outline of the subsequent chapters of the dissertation.
3) Chapter two should be a critical review of the relevant academic literature on which the dissertation builds, identifying the relevant theoretical ideas, concepts, debates and issues.
4) A chapter on Research Methods should state what methodologies are selected and why. Justification for the final methods selected and the sampling techniques, sampling framework, the size and type of any appropriate survey, should be included. (If a case study method is used then the justification for the organisation used should be included).
5) One, or possibly two chapters that report on the research findings, both secondary and primary, clearly described, using as themes, what you have discovered and proposing reasons why this may be. This section should use any appropriate graphical representation that adds to the clarity of your findings.
6) Clear discussion chapter setting out the main findings of the dissertation linking your literature reviews with the research findings so that a clear theme can be identified through the whole work. On this information you can make your argument and assess. Remember to include what your findings contribute to both the general literature on the subject and the specialist field, and/or practical problems which you have covered empirically. Include those results which surprised you and which may appear, at first sight, counter-intuitive to others.
Make sure that you address all the objectives of the study. Do not forget to identify further avenues of development.
7) The conclusion should refer back to aim and objectives. Clear recommendations or procedures should be identified.
8) References: There should be a complete reference list of all works used. This should be done in a standard Harvard format listing works alphabetically by author. It should be noted that one of the routine sources of presentational problems comes in mistakes in the referencing bibliography and therefore students should take considerable care in the compilation of the reference list and ensure that every work referred to in the texts is in fact listed in the references.
9) Appendices to the dissertation are legitimate but should be kept to an absolute minimum, e.g. Questionnaires used.
10) Footnotes should be avoided.
It is important that the dissertation should be your own independent work as a formal examination script. A dissertation should not merely consist of a patchwork of other people’s thoughts and interpretations stitched together with a few threads of the student’s own devising.
The OVERALL LENGTH of the dissertation (excluding appendices) would normally be expected to be within a range of 8,000 to 10,000 words. State the number of words at the end of your work.
- Allcopiesshallbepresentedinpermanentandlegibleformintypescriptor print and the characters shall be not less than 12 pt and preferably Arial font.
- 1.5 spacing shall be used in typescript but for indented quotations single spacing shall be used.
- DrawingsandSketchesshallbeinblackink;unnecessarydetailshouldbe omitted and there should be at least 1 mm between lines.
The Cover Page:
• The volume shall bear the surname and initials of the candidate,
• Cohort Name and number
• The full or abbreviated title of the dissertation,
• The name of the degree for which the dissertation is being submitted
• The date of submission.
• The Ethics number