The main intention of universities behind expecting a dissertation from students is to bring out an original matter about a given topic. Students have to do a thorough research and study the various literatures available on the given topic. A particular question or questions have to be framed related to the topic. All the attention should be concentrated on getting the answers to these questions. Basically, the examiner looks for relation between various factors such as talent, potential, approach, etc., while checking the dissertation. In this regard, Chris Hart wrote, “…the criteria are sets of interrelated expectations that your examiners are looking for from your dissertation.” (Hart, 2005, p.13)
There is a set pattern that has to be followed while writing a dissertation. The following is a format and style that should be followed in a dissertation.
A proper title page should be included.
The abstract should state the aim of the dissertation, give a brief insight to the main literature covered, give a brief overview of the methodology used for the research, a brief indication of what the main findings were and then a brief outline of what the main conclusion of the research was.
This should include those who assisted you with the research e.g. companies who have given you access to data and individuals who have helped you. Recognition in this section should not be exhaustive.
Table of Contents
This section should list all the headings and sub-headings exactly as they appear in the text. These should also be given page numbers.
List of Tables / List of Figures
This page should list all the tables that have appeared in the dissertation. The table number, the table label and the page number should be on this page.
Chapter 1 – Introduction
This chapter should show the importance and relevance of your research. An important part of this chapter is to clearly state the aim and objectives of the dissertation. This tells the reader exactly what it is you are trying to achieve. An aim is what you want to achieve overall. Objectives are smaller stepping stones that you take to achieve the aim.
Chapter 2 – Literature Review
You are expected to provide a critical review of the existing literature (published and unpublished) on the research topic being studies. It considers the work of theorists in the area and compares their work with others. The purpose of this is to show that you have the ability to examine the literature available and criticise it constructively. It should also show how your ideas are related to previous research related topics.
Chapter 3 – Methodology
This chapter provides detail of the design of the research and the methodological approach taken to do the dissertation. It explains the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ of the research. That is, it reports the methods of investigation
Chapter 4 – Analysis
This chapter should begin with a brief explanation of how results are to be presented. You should break presentation of your results into logical groupings. Much data will be given in the form of tables and graphs.
Chapter 5 – Conclusions and Recommendations
This chapter should not contain any new material. Your critical evaluation is seen here – what do you conclude overall from the literature and primary data?
Full details of all the books and journal articles cited or referenced throughout the dissertation should be included in this section.
Information contained in the appendices should be considered relevant to the work, but which is too long, detailed or in some form would interrupt the flow of the work.