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What Are Acceptable Dissertation Research Methods?

What is a dissertation?

❶Present the results of your research in a clearly written, academically cogently argued, logically structured and properly referenced form.

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Structural Differences between a Thesis and a Dissertation

Ultimately you will be drawing together issues of theory, method and methodology and bringing them to bear on your chosen topic.

Those dissertations that can best accomplish this integration or even synthesis are often the most conceptually and methodologically accomplished pieces of work.

The way in which this type of assessment is organised will vary from institution to institution and course to course. It is important that you familiarise yourself with the particular arrangements for your degree. Look for a module handbook which sets out these requirements and how you are allocated a dissertation tutor or supervisor.

Your supervisor and any handbooks that are produced are excellent sources of information and support and will help you understand how the dissertation process works. The following checklist will start you on the dissertation journey, start planning and also clarify what is expected of you.

Does the dissertation have any special status in the calculation of your final degree classification? When do you need to start planning the dissertation formally?

Some degree programmes start this process in the second year, others in the final year. Are there any key interim dates when for example outlines, sections or requests for the ethical approval of proposed research have to be submitted? How long is the dissertation and does the word count include the bibliography and appendices? Is there a schedule of meetings that you have to attend or do you arrange them with your supervisor? Watch the What is special about a dissertation? The dissertation offers you the opportunity to further develop your subject expertise and your social research, intellectual and organisational skills:.

This process improves your subject expertise, is a good preparation for further study and research at postgraduate level, and requires you to work independently and methodically in a variety of intellectually demanding contexts. For all these reasons, the dissertation can be seen as the culmination of your undergraduate studies.

Here you not only demonstrate the intellectual, study, research and presentation skills that you have developed throughout your degree course, but also create something which is uniquely your own. In other courses it is set out what they want you to find out. This is about your individual thought and direction — you can go off in your chosen direction, branch out and make different things relate to each other.

Todd, Bannister and Clegg, , pp All dissertations will vary in format, style and design. It is important that you familiarise yourself with the particular requirements of your institution and degree programme.

A typical format guide would require the dissertation to be word-processed with double or one-and-a-half spacing, and a wide left margin to enable binding. Most formats would include:. Findings either a certain number of chapters or an extended essay which has clearly identified sections. Conclusions and if appropriate recommendations. Bibliography a list of all the books, journal articles, web sites, newspapers and other sources that you have used in your dissertation.

However you decide to divide up your chapters and sections, certain essential ingredients need to be present in some form. You will also be able to draw upon other experience, for example in the analysis and presentation of findings that you may have covered on methodology modules.

You are probably aware of where your academic strengths and weaknesses lie. If you have never really thought about this it would be worth devoting some time to doing so. In setting up your project you will want to play to your strengths. If you are concerned about your study or communication skills you may find support is available in your institution — seek it out.

The Essential Guide for Success. A Comprehensive Guide to Content and Process. A short article which describes the difference between a dissertation and an essay. Guide to undergraduate dissertations in the social sciences. Content About this site. Introduction Why does my degree programme include a dissertation? Definitions How is your dissertation module organised?

What is it that is special about a dissertation Use your experience and strengths Summary Key questions Further reading Web resources. How to start your dissertation Help with finding literature and research Formulating the research question Methodologies Responsibility in the research process Research Ethics Supervision of the Dissertation Writing the Dissertation Developing Your Academic Style of Writing Plagiarism.

Resources Further reading Research papers. What is a Dissertation? So this part of site provides you with a better understanding of the following: What a dissertation is Why you are required to do a dissertation What your dissertation may look like How to set about your initial reading and writing Watch What is a dissertation?

This is because the process of producing this type of assessment enables you to: Identify your own area of interest. Explore an area in depth. Define your own question. Experience the process of producing knowledge. Manage a project from beginning to end. Consolidate your communication, information-seeking and intellectual skills.

Definitions For many undergraduate degree students, a significant element of final year study is an independent learning project. First, the learner determines the focus and direction of their work. At most university faculties in Croatia, a degree is obtained by defending a thesis after having passed all the classes specified in the degree programme.

Most students with bachelor's degrees continue onto master's programmes which end with a master's thesis called diplomski rad literally "diploma work" or "graduate work". The term dissertation is used for a doctoral degree paper doktorska disertacija. In the Czech Republic, higher education is completed by passing all classes remaining to the educational compendium for given degree and defending a thesis.

The minimum page length is generally and not formally pages or about , characters , but is usually several times longer except for technical theses and for "exact sciences" such as physics and maths.

The word dissertation in French is reserved for shorter 1,—2, words , more generic academic treatises. In Germany, an academic thesis is called Abschlussarbeit or, more specifically, the basic name of the degree complemented by -arbeit e.

For bachelor's and master's degrees, the name can alternatively be complemented by -thesis instead e. Length is often given in page count and depends upon departments, faculties, and fields of study. A bachelor's thesis is often 40—60 pages long, a diploma thesis and a master's thesis usually 60— The required submission for a doctorate is called a Dissertation or Doktorarbeit. The submission for a Habilitation , which is an academic qualification, not an academic degree, is called Habilitationsschrift , not Habilitationsarbeit.

PhD by publication is becoming increasingly common in many fields of study [ citation needed ]. A doctoral degree is often earned with multiple levels of a Latin honors remark for the thesis ranging from summa cum laude best to rite duly.

A thesis can also be rejected with a Latin remark non-rite , non-sufficit or worst as sub omni canone. Bachelor's and master's theses receive numerical grades from 1. In India the thesis defense is called a viva voce Latin for "by live voice" examination viva in short. Involved in the viva are two examiners and the candidate. One examiner is an academic from the candidate's own university department but not one of the candidate's supervisors and the other is an external examiner from a different university.

Engineering qualifications such as BTech, B. In all the cases, the dissertation can be extended for summer internship at certain research and development organizations or also as PhD synopsis. In Indonesia, the term thesis is used specifically to refer to master's theses.

The undergraduate thesis is called skripsi , while the doctoral dissertation is called disertasi. In general, those three terms are usually called as tugas akhir final assignment , which is mandatory for the completion of a degree.

Undergraduate students usually begin to write their final assignment in their third, fourth or fifth enrollment year, depends on the requirements of their respective disciplines and universities. In some universities, students are required to write a proposal skripsi or proposal tesis thesis proposal before they could write their final assignment. If the thesis proposal is considered to fulfill the qualification by the academic examiners, students then may proceed to write their final assignment.

In Italy there are normally three types of thesis. In order of complexity: Thesis requirements vary greatly between degrees and disciplines, ranging from as low as 3—4 ECTS credits to more than Thesis work is mandatory for the completion of a degree. Malaysian universities often follow the British model for dissertations and degrees. However, a few universities follow the United States model for theses and dissertations.

Branch campuses of British, Australian and Middle East universities in Malaysia use the respective models of the home campuses. In Pakistan, at undergraduate level the thesis is usually called final year project, as it is completed in the senior year of the degree, the name project usually implies that the work carried out is less extensive than a thesis and bears lesser credit hours too.

The undergraduate level project is presented through an elaborate written report and a presentation to the advisor, a board of faculty members and students. At graduate level however, i. A written report and a public thesis defense is mandatory, in the presence of a board of senior researchers, consisting of members from an outside organization or a university. A PhD candidate is supposed to accomplish extensive research work to fulfill the dissertation requirements with international publications being a mandatory requirement.

The defense of the research work is done publicly. However, in Philippine English , the term doctorate is typically replaced with doctoral as in the case of "doctoral dissertation" , though in official documentation the former is still used. The Philippine system is influenced by American collegiate system, in that it requires a research project to be submitted before being allowed to write a thesis.

This project is mostly given as a prerequisite writing course to the actual thesis and is accomplished in the term period before; supervision is provided by one professor assigned to a class. This project is later to be presented in front of an academic panel, often the entire faculty of an academic department, with their recommendations contributing to the acceptance, revision, or rejection of the initial topic.

In addition, the presentation of the research project will help the candidate choose their primary thesis adviser. An undergraduate thesis is completed in the final year of the degree alongside existing seminar lecture or laboratory courses, and is often divided into two presentations: In most universities, a thesis is required for the bestowment of a degree to a candidate alongside a number of units earned throughout their academic period of stay, though for practice and skills-based degrees a practicum and a written report can be achieved instead.

The examination board often consists of 3 to 5 examiners, often professors in a university with a Masters or PhD degree depending on the university's examination rules. Required word length, complexity, and contribution to scholarship varies widely across universities in the country. The academic dissertation for a PhD is called a dysertacja or praca doktorska. The submission for the Habilitation is called praca habilitacyjna" or dysertacja habilitacyjna".

Thus the term dysertacja is reserved for PhD and Habilitation degrees. All the theses need to be "defended" by the author during a special examination for the given degree. Examinations for PhD and Habilitation degrees are public.

The defense is done in a public presentation in which teachers, students, and the general public can participate. For the PhD, a thesis tese is presented for defense in a public exam. The exam typically extends over 3 hours. The examination board typically involves 5 to 6 scholars including the advisor or other experts with a PhD degree generally at least half of them must be external to the university where the candidate defends the thesis, but it may depend on the University.

In Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Ukraine an academic dissertation or thesis is called what can be literally translated as a "master's degree work" thesis , whereas the word dissertation is reserved for doctoral theses Candidate of Sciences.

To complete a master's degree, a student is required to write a thesis and to then defend the work publicly. Length of this manuscript usually is given in page count and depends upon educational institution, its departments, faculties, and fields of study [ citation needed ]. At universities in Slovenia, an academic thesis called diploma thesis is a prerequisite for completing undergraduate studies. The thesis used to be 40—60 pages long, but has been reduced to 20—30 pages in new Bologna process programmes.

To complete Master's studies, a candidate must write magistrsko delo Master's thesis that is longer and more detailed than the undergraduate thesis.

The required submission for the doctorate is called doktorska disertacija doctoral dissertation. In pre Bologna programmes students were able to skip the preparation and presentation of a Master's thesis and continue straightforward towards doctorate. In Sweden, there are different types of theses. After that there are two types of post graduate degrees, Licentiate dissertation and PhD dissertation.

A licentiate degree is approximately "half a PhD" in terms of size and scope of the thesis. Swedish PhD studies should in theory last for four years, including course work and thesis work, but as many PhD students also teach, the PhD often takes longer to complete. Outside the academic community, the terms thesis and dissertation are interchangeable. A wide range of supervisory arrangements can be found in the British academy, from single supervisors more usual for undergraduate and Masters level work to supervisory teams of up to three supervisors.

In teams, there will often be a Director of Studies, usually someone with broader experience perhaps having passed some threshold of successful supervisions. The Director may be involved with regular supervision along with the other supervisors, or may have more of an oversight role, with the other supervisors taking on the more day-to-day responsibilities of supervision. At most universities, dissertation is the term for the required submission for the doctorate, and thesis refers only to the master's degree requirement.

Thesis is also used to describe a cumulative project for a bachelor's degree and is more common at selective colleges and universities, or for those seeking admittance to graduate school or to obtain an honors academic designation. These projects are called "senior projects" or "senior theses"; they are generally done in the senior year near graduation after having completed other courses, the independent study period, and the internship or student teaching period the completion of most of the requirements before the writing of the paper ensures adequate knowledge and aptitude for the challenge.

Unlike a dissertation or master's thesis, they are not as long and they do not require a novel contribution to knowledge or even a very narrow focus on a set subtopic. Like them, they can be lengthy and require months of work, they require supervision by at least one professor adviser, they must be focused on a certain area of knowledge, and they must use an appreciable amount of scholarly citations.

They may or may not be defended before a committee but usually are not; there is generally no preceding examination before the writing of the paper, except for at very few colleges. Because of the nature of the graduate thesis or dissertation having to be more narrow and more novel, the result of original research, these usually have a smaller proportion of the work that is cited from other sources, though the fact that they are lengthier may mean they still have total citations.

Specific undergraduate courses, especially writing-intensive courses or courses taken by upperclassmen, may also require one or more extensive written assignments referred to variously as theses, essays, or papers. Increasingly, high schools are requiring students to complete a senior project or senior thesis on a chosen topic during the final year as a prerequisite for graduation. The extended essay component of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme , offered in a growing number of American high schools, is another example of this trend.

Generally speaking, a dissertation is judged as to whether or not it makes an original and unique contribution to scholarship. Lesser projects a master's thesis, for example are judged by whether or not they demonstrate mastery of available scholarship in the presentation of an idea.

The required complexity or quality of research of a thesis may vary significantly among universities or programs. One of the requirements for certain advanced degrees is often an oral examination called a viva voce examination or just viva in the UK and certain other English-speaking countries. This examination normally occurs after the dissertation is finished but before it is submitted to the university, and may comprise a presentation often public by the student and questions posed by an examining committee or jury.

In North America, an initial oral examination in the field of specialization may take place just before the student settles down to work on the dissertation. An additional oral exam may take place after the dissertation is completed and is known as a thesis or dissertation " defense ", which at some universities may be a mere formality and at others may result in the student being required to make significant revisions.

The result of the examination may be given immediately following deliberation by the examiners in which case the candidate may immediately be considered to have received his or her degree , or at a later date, in which case the examiners may prepare a defense report that is forwarded to a Board or Committee of Postgraduate Studies, which then officially recommends the candidate for the degree. At most North American institutions the latter two verdicts are extremely rare, for two reasons.

First, to obtain the status of doctoral candidates, graduate students typically write a qualifying examination or comprehensive examination, which often includes an oral defense.

Students who pass the qualifying examination are deemed capable of completing scholarly work independently and are allowed to proceed with working on a dissertation.

Second, since the thesis supervisor and the other members of the advisory committee will normally have reviewed the thesis extensively before recommending the student proceed to the defense, such an outcome would be regarded as a major failure not only on the part of the candidate but also by the candidate's supervisor who should have recognized the substandard quality of the dissertation long before the defense was allowed to take place.

It is also fairly rare for a thesis to be accepted without any revisions; the most common outcome of a defense is for the examiners to specify minor revisions which the candidate typically completes in a few days or weeks. At universities on the British pattern it is not uncommon for theses at the viva stage to be subject to major revisions in which a substantial rewrite is required, sometimes followed by a new viva.

Very rarely, the thesis may be awarded the lesser degree of M. Phil Master of Philosophy instead, preventing the candidate from resubmitting the thesis. In Australia, doctoral theses are usually examined by three examiners although some, like the Australian Catholic University and the University of New South Wales , have shifted to using only two examiners; without a live defense except in extremely rare exceptions.

In the case of a master's degree by research the thesis is usually examined by only two examiners. Typically one of these examiners will be from within the candidate's own department; the other s will usually be from other universities and often from overseas. Following submission of the thesis, copies are sent by mail to examiners and then reports sent back to the institution. Similar to a master's degree by research thesis, a thesis for the research component of a master's degree by coursework is also usually examined by two examiners, one from the candidate's department and one from another university.

For an Honours year, which is a fourth year in addition to the usual three-year bachelor's degree, the thesis is also examined by two examiners, though both are usually from the candidate's own department. Honours and Master's theses sometimes require an oral defense before they are accepted. In Germany, a thesis is usually examined with an oral examination. This applies to almost all Diplom , Magister , master's and doctoral degrees as well as to most bachelor's degrees.

However, a process that allows for revisions of the thesis is usually only implemented for doctoral degrees. There are several different kinds of oral examinations used in practice. The Disputation , also called Verteidigung "defense" , is usually public at least to members of the university and is focused on the topic of the thesis.

In contrast, the Rigorosum is not held in public and also encompasses fields in addition to the topic of the thesis. The Rigorosum is only common for doctoral degrees. Another term for an oral examination is Kolloquium , which generally refers to a usually public scientific discussion and is often used synonymously with Verteidigung.

In each case, what exactly is expected differs between universities and between faculties.

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This guide addresses the task of planning and conducting a small research project, such as for an undergraduate or masters’ level dissertation. It aims to help you develop a clear sense of direction early on in the project, and to support you in organising, planning, and monitoring your project.

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Writing a dissertation or thesis is a key component of every psychology graduate student's education. Funding Your Research Funding is available from universities, foundations, APA divisions and grants, psychology groups, federal sources and state associations.

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How to plan your dissertation Having a clear goal and a structure for your work means you won't be fazed when your research doesn't go quite the way you thought it would Stella Klein. The dissertation is an independent piece of research where you take a great deal of responsibility for your own learning. It will demand the use of your communication, information-seeking and .

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Virtually every major research library in the world provides access to the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses (PQDT) database through one of several formats. ii Guidelines for Writing Research Proposals and Dissertations The following information presents guidelines for preparing and writing research papers and reports, including theses and dissertations.