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

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

❶The point of this paper is to showcase your skills and capacity to conduct research in your chosen discipline, and present the results through an original piece of content that will provide value for the academic and scientific community.

What is a dissertation literature review? Example

Step 1: Write a winning dissertation proposal
How to write a literature review for a dissertation

Don't avoid the actual library and ask the librarian to provide you with some interesting publications. You have to take notes; otherwise you'll end up seriously confused and you won't know where you located a certain important argument that you plan to use.

Use Evernote , Penzu , or another online tool to write down notes about your impressions, as well as the sources you plan to reference. Now, you're left with the most important stage of the dissertation writing process: It's surprising to see that many students have some level of confidence during the previous two stages of the process, but they crack when they realize they don't really know how to write a dissertation.

Everything is easier when you have a plan. You already have the dissertation proposal, which is a preliminary outline for the actual dissertation. However, you still need a more detailed outline for the large project. Did the research stage lead you in an unexpected direction?

Make sure to include the new points in your outline. The first chapter should include a background of the problem, and a statement of the issue. Then, you'll clarify the purpose of the study, as well as the research question. Next, you'll need to provide clear definitions of the terms related to the project. You will also expose your assumptions and expectations of the final results. In this chapter of the dissertation, you will review the research process and the most important acknowledgements you've come down to.

This part of the dissertation is focused on the way you located the resources and the methods of implementation of the results. If you're writing a qualitative dissertation, you will expose the research questions, setting, participants, data collection, and data analysis processes. If, on the other hand, you're writing a quantitative dissertation, you will focus this chapter on the research questions and hypotheses, information about the population and sample, instrumentation, collection of data, and analysis of data.

This is the most important stage in the whole process of dissertation writing, since it showcases your intellectual capacity. At this point, you'll restate the research questions and you will discuss the results you found, explaining the direction they led you to. In other words, you'll answer those questions.

In the final chapter of the dissertation, you will summarize the study and you'll briefly report the results. Don't forget that you have to explain how your findings make a difference in the academic community and how they are implied in practice. Explain why you suggest this research and what form it should take. Use the recommended citation style for your field of study, and make sure to include all sources you used during the research and writing stages.

You'll need another timeline, but this one will be focused on the writing process. Plan how to complete your dissertation chapter by chapter. When you have attainable goals, it will be easier for you to write the project without getting overwhelmed by its length and complexity.

There is no life-changing advice to give at this point. You just need to stay away from distractions, stick to your timeline, follow the outline, and complete the first draft. You already have what it takes; now you're ready to do the real work.

Now that you've completed the first draft of the paper, you can relax. Don't even think about dissertation editing as soon as you finish writing the last sentence. You need to take some time away from the project, so make sure to leave space of at least few days between the writing and editing stage.

Abstracts and recommendations Whichever avenue you choose, reading the abstract is often a good starting point to get a sense of what the articles entails. Another route would be to simply read as much as you can on your research subject while considering which research areas still need addressing in the literature — this is usually an indication of research gaps. Use sample literature reviews Have a look at sample dissertation literature reviews in your subject area and read them thoroughly to familiarise yourself with existing key debates and themes.

This can be a good starting point for framing and structuring your own review. If you are not familiar with academic writing, going through samples will help you to get a sense of what is expected in this regard. Pay attention to the academic language and formal style used. Also, remember that the bibliography or reference section of your selected texts will help you to snowball further references if you need any. Keep it simple Keep your topic as narrowed down as possible.

Remember that there are hundreds — or in some instances, thousands — of sources or perspectives concerning any subject area or topic. Researchers investigate research problems in many divergent ways and the literature available on any given subject is extremely broad. In your review, ensure that you clearly state what the focus of your work will be. In the social sciences this rule may not apply, as many theoretical works are classics and you will be expected to be familiar with these perspectives.

You might have to the review the work of Marx, or Hobbes, or any other classic scholar. You still need to balance theory with current approaches, as you will need to demonstrate the ways in which perspectives in the literature have changed over the years, or you may even want to demonstrate how scholars have used classic theories to inform their work.

Consider the organisation of your work In a dissertation literature review, organising your work goes beyond having an introduction, body and conclusion. Below is a detailed guide on how to do this:. Like any other academic paper, a dissertation literature review will comprise a basic introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction of a literature review should be clear, short and focused. It should outline the focus of the review — in other words, it should clearly state the main topics to be covered.

A good literature review will also state the arguments to be made, as well as underlying rationale that underpins these arguments. The body of your literature review will include an in-depth discussion of the academic sources you have chosen to review.

You may choose to organise your sources according to themes, methodology or even based on a chronological order. In the body of your review, ensure that your arguments are presented clearly and that you link these arguments with the literature. Is there a scholar that agrees with your view? Say so, in a way that the reader will understand easily. This demonstrates that you are very familiar with the academic research in your field.

Remember to also make note of any views that do not agree with your position; excluding these arguments will reduce the methodological robustness of your piece. Instead, try to paraphrase quotations and only use direct quotes if it really helps to illustrate your argument.

If your literature review forms part of a broader research proposal, reiterate the gaps in the literature here, and clearly state how your proposed research will fill these gaps. Make recommendations for future research in this section too, which demonstrates your analytical skills and will score you some extra points. You have options here — you can choose to organise the content of your work based on a chronological method, based on themes, trends or methodology, or based on arguments.

To structure the body of work chronologically, you will have to organise your sources based on when they were published. A limitation of this approach is that it inhibits continuity in your arguments and in some instances, can undermine the coherence of your work.

Say you were trying to convey the debates on European migration policy, you might want to start by writing something along these lines:. They specifically espouse a perspective based on a human rights approach…".

This approach also leaves room for you to insert your voice into the literature. Using this technique also allows you to introduce additional literature that supports your position. Another way of organising your content is according to theme; or sub-themes, if your review focuses on one overarching topic. This method of organisation still allows you to present an overview of any polemical debates within these sub-themes.

A thematic review can easily shift between chronological periods within each sub-section too. This method is particularly evident in introductory sections whereby researchers may simply want to state that a particular subject has been mostly studied from a qualitative or quantitative perspective they will often then cite a number of scholars or studies to support this claim.

In scientific reviews however, a methodological approach may form the basis of the discussions in the body. If this is the case for you, focus on the methods used by various researchers. How did they go about answering a particular research question? Were there any limitations to this method? If so, what method s would have been better? The body of your research may also include additional sections that do not necessarily form a part of its organisational structure.

It may also focus on historical considerations. You could include a short methodology section that details the approach you used in selecting and analysing your sources. Write the paragraphs of the body Once you have settled on the approach to writing your body, you must now write each of its paragraphs in a way that is in keeping with academic conventions. Consider this paragraph from a literature review about stakeholder participation for environmental management, to clarify the discussion that follows:.

Despite the rhetoric and the concerns that have been expressed, there have been few attempts to investigate the validity of the many claims that have been made for stake-holder participation Webler, ; Beierle, ; Brody, ; Blackstock et al. The few attempts that have been made have tended to focus on evaluating the process rather than the outcomes e. Literature review provides a background and a context for a paper by demonstrating the results of previous research.

It is very essential to become familiar with previous achievements relevant to specific theory, issue, or area of research to move forward, suggest new ideas and fill in the gaps. Demonstrating your knowledge about your field of study means that you also have to prove that you understand theories, vocabulary, key phenomena and variables, as well as history and methods.

Moreover, creating a literature review also informs the author about the most important and influential research groups and researchers in the area. In a word, a little bit modified literature review could be a publishable and scholarly document. Take a look at the list below. It is your step-by-step guide on how to write a dissertation literature review. One of the main things to understand about writing a literature review is that it is familiar to the process of performing primary research on your topic.

In fact, a literature review secondary research is a modified primary research. The key components here are the following:. Conducting a literature review, you cannot just read all the sources, take some brief notes, and put them into a literature review.

Instead, you should develop a narrative summary of each document including basic ideas and facts that should be taken into account.


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Writing a Literature Review As an academic writer, you are expected to provide an analytical overview of the significant literature published on your topic. If your audience knows less than you do on the topic, your purpose is instructional.

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Writing a faulty literature review is one of many ways to derail a dissertation. This article summarizes some pivotal information on how to write a high-quali ty dissertation literature review.

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To write a good dissertation literature review, you need to have a fair idea of what sources you would like to review. If you haven’t been given a formal reference list by your tutor, refer back to the techniques we recommended earlier. Writing the literature review of a dissertation is one of the most challenging tasks. Literature review is usually the second section of a dissertation. It shows your readers that you’ve read sufficient studies and researches related to the topic.

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Dissertation: Literature Review Section. Writing a literature review for a dissertation is one of the main ways to demonstrate that you have made a strong research for your dissertation and have a strong academic background in your field. One of the most important chapters in a masters dissertation is the masters dissertation literature review. The results from this chapter help you determine what type of research you need to undertake to fill in the gaps found in .