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Guide to undergraduate dissertations in the social sciences

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

❶I have several stand-alone chapters with analysis and discussion in each, and was wondering if I needed an overall thesis discussion chapter.

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Just like the horse whisperer – but with more pages
Structuring sentences
Step 1: Write a winning dissertation proposal

Collect good examples of vocabulary and punctuation. Consider how techniques used by the author convince the reader of their argument and see if you can apply them in your own writing. In an essay of this length, sub-headings are a useful way of breaking up the text and signalling to the reader what stage you have reached.

Tweak these sub-headings as you move through each draft to ensure they still provide a useful overview of the section. Look out for any words or phrases that have already been stated or implied elsewhere in the sentence — and cut them out. For example, if you've written "Many countries were reluctant to declare war while others on the other hand did not hesitate", you may like to change it to "Many countries were reluctant to declare war; others did not hesitate".

Reading your work aloud will help you spot clumsy sentence structure. As you write your essay, it is worth distinguishing the key points in your discussion from less important supporting ideas. Aim to give full weight to your key points by giving them each a sentence of their own. Elaborations and detail can be added in subsequent sentences. It is a common mistake to think that the longer the sentence, the cleverer it sounds.

It is important to remember that every word conveys a unit of meaning on its own, however small, so the more words there are in a sentence, the harder it will be for the reader to grasp the meaning within it.

Instead of adding on clauses, introduce the next point in a new sentence. Connective words and phrases — however, consequently, but, so — can be placed at the start of the new sentence if necessary, to indicate its relationship to the previous one and make your work flow.

Although your dissertation should contain your own original thought, you will also want to refer to the ideas of other writers on the topic. Your dissertation should critically evaluate those ideas and identify what problems remain in your area of research and what has not yet been explored.

You can also use the work of others as evidence to back up your own argument — when doing this, ensure you add a footnote to signpost clearly to the reader the original source of the point you are making.

Make sure you have a sufficient number of references to books, articles and sources you have used — check with your tutor what is expected. Some should be primary sources, which means non-academic material such as newspapers, interviews, cave paintings, train timetables, statistics. You will also quote secondary sources, which are usually academic articles that analyse primary sources.

Your academic department will tell you which one they use, and you will need to follow instructions to the letter. Consistency is critical, and you'll have to pay close attention to details such as punctuation. I know exactly what you mean. The most traumatic example was a poorly-theorized section of my prospectus.

I ended up spending the whole summer researching, taking notes, and thinking about the new material my prof required me to read, then the entire fall semester figuring out what it meant for my thesis. But now that I look back at my original material, I absolutely cringe. The new research may have added months to my work, but it also improved it dramatically. I still cringe at the fear of a negative reception from my committee, but at least I know they criticize in order to help.

The thing is, he has always ended up liking the result. I still have trouble pitching ideas to my colleagues until they have made it into writing. I guess we learn to think through writing. Being so close to finishing makes it worse! I had my soups shoot down entire chapters in the past but then I had enough time or so it felt to fix things and not take things too personally or, you know, panic! My last meeting had them telling me to switch around my entire chapter structure.

However NOW the bother is that all the chapters refer back to each other so even a little change e. This is all really useful as I write my findings chapters as it reminds me of what needs to be in the discussion chapter.

Thank you so much. I was very stuck on what to do with my discussion since my paper is qualitative with no research at all and I need to make the discussion and limitations discrete sections. Thank you very much for this. Thank Inger, this is brilliant. I have several stand-alone chapters with analysis and discussion in each, and was wondering if I needed an overall thesis discussion chapter. I doubt about the importance of my research and results and that make me feel more insecure abiut discussion.

It is good to read that this chapter is complicated for someonle else than me! Thank you for the posting. I am starting the Ph. D discussion chapter in January but I was confused about how to begin.

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Writing the PhD discussion chapter: Excellent, what a website it is! This weblog provides useful information to us, keep it up. Thanks, this has really resolve some of the difficulties am experiencing as I write my discussion chapter and dealing with a large quantity of data.

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Notify me of new posts via email. You can use a couple of basic techniques to help you with this process: Draw up a table describing where your work is similar to others and where it differs. Use each of these points as a prompt to write a short paragraph on why. Pretend your results are produced by a machine then describe the machine.

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Discuss few alternatives of the dissertation title with your mentor before you start writing the proposal. Structure of the dissertation proposal If you want to make the proposal convincing, its format has to be clean and easy to follow.

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A dissertation is an extensive academic paper with the primary focus on a particular subject matter. As a rule, it is a must-to-submit work to become a degree holder. It all adds up to the quality of your doctoral paper indicating the depth of acquired knowledge. Basically, dissertation writing is the culmination of your studying.

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Writing a dissertation requires a student to think deeply, to organize technical discussion, to muster arguments that will convince other scientists, and to follow rules for rigorous, formal presentation of the arguments and discussion. Guide to undergraduate dissertations in the social sciences. Introduction; How to start preparing a dissertation; Finding a topic for the dissertation; Start writing at the beginning of the project; Keep records of your reading at the preliminary stage We have made a checklist which could help you with this planning. Doc 5 Checklist for.

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Remember that the thesis statement is a kind of "mapping tool" that helps you organize your ideas, and it helps your reader follow your argument. In this body paragraph, after the Assertion, include any evidence–a quotation, statistic, data–that supports this first point. Help for Dissertation Writing. Writer's block? Don't know where to start? Would you like to know HOW the professionals get started? How they begin writing a dissertation, i.e., getting that first sentence down on paper? The most important writing task that must be done before anything else is to select a good not forget that you will be .