Date of publication: 2017-08-10 16:26
There is also a very useful Moodle resource developed by Dr Sunil Kumar entitled (a) Researching and Writing Assessed Essays and Dissertations. The resource has been designed to be self-taught and provides a clear explanation of the purpose of each of the research components (for example, literature review, research question) and how the components are inter-related in writing your essays and dissertation.
Students can expect comment on written work (an outline, particular chapters or a draft) if it is received by supervisors by week 7 of the summer term. It should be noted that students cannot expect to receive support from supervisors after the end of the summer term. Academics are expected to spend the summer vacation on research and writing, as well as attending meetings and conferences and taking holidays, so do not rely on contact with your supervisor after that date. Even before that date however you should not expect your supervisor to give meticulous detailed comments on drafts: the purpose of the Dissertation is to give you a chance to show your capacities to contribute to academic discussion and debate and it should be your own effort.
A well-argued dissertation is easy to follow. Essentially, you are trying to tell the reader a story. You will aid clarity if you break up the argument into clear steps.
The introduction will give details of the research topic you have decided to focus on, why the topic is of interest, what the gaps are in knowledge, how your dissertation 'adds value' to previous research (., what is new). It should also include your research question (and any sub-question(s)). The introduction should provide a brief overview of the structure of your dissertation (., what different sections/chapters will focus on).
While you do this, be aware of whether you need to increase the number of words, or decrease it to reach your target. As you read you can then cross through material that appears unnecessary, and mark points that could be expanded. This will then form the basis for your next, improved, draft.
It can be a good idea to put the word limit to the back of your mind at this point, and concentrate on getting everything recorded in a document. You can always edit upwards or downwards later as necessary.
Persons awarded a Microsoft Research Dissertation Grant in June will receive their financial award in July or August of that year. Microsoft sends the payment directly to the university, which then disperses funds according to its guidelines.
Your analysis should critically evaluate earlier work in the field, paying due attention to its contributions, and to any methodological problems and limitations involved. It should also pay due attention to theoretical problems and controversies, and to key findings.
This may be one of the shortest sections of your thesis or dissertation, but it is worthwhile taking great care to write it well. Essentially, the Abstract is a succinct summary of the research. It should be able to stand alone in representing why and how you did what you did, and what the results and implications are. It is often only one page long, and there may be a word limit to adhere to. The Abstract is an important element of the thesis, and will become a document in its own right if the thesis is registered within any database. The examiners will therefore assess your Abstract both as part of your thesis, and as a potentially independent document.
You may choose to review your draft from the standpoint of a dissertation examiner, which might involve preparing a list of questions that you want to see answered, then reading through your dissertation scribbling comments, suggestions, criticisms, and ideas in the margin. If you have a marking guide then apply it to your dissertation and see if there are aspects that you can improve.
It is a good idea to make an appointment to see the librarian specialising in your subject. An information librarian should be able to give you advice on your literature search, and on how to manage the information that you generate.