Structuring Dissertation

of 26

  • date post

    10-Apr-2018
  • Category

    Documents

  • view

    214
  • download

    0

Embed Size (px)

Transcript of Structuring Dissertation

  • 8/8/2019 Structuring Dissertation

    1/26

    Structuring your MSc dissertation

    Dr Peter Levin

    (Teaching and Learning Centre, LSE)

    June 2006

  • 8/8/2019 Structuring Dissertation

    2/26

    Please note this fundamental point:

    Your MSc dissertation is the outcome of

    aproject.

    You have to plan and manage your

    project, then write it up and present it

    as yourdissertation.

    You arent just writing a glorified essay!

  • 8/8/2019 Structuring Dissertation

    3/26

    A A Preliminaries

    B What examiners like/dont likeG C The student/supervisor relationship

    D Finding a subject area

    E E Choosing a topic

    F Exploring/reviewing the literatureN G Project methodology

    H Materials and sources

    D I Time management and planning

    J Alternative dissertation structuresA K The writing process

    L Avoiding accusations of plagiarism

  • 8/8/2019 Structuring Dissertation

    4/26

    A. PreliminariesRegulations and guidance

    Purpose

    Marking scheme

    Handing-in procedure

    Limitations on subject and title

    Supervision/Assistance

    Access to dissertations written

    by past students

  • 8/8/2019 Structuring Dissertation

    5/26

    B1

    What examiners like

    Evidence of a well-thought-out project

    Clear, appropriate methodology

    Awareness of subtleties/

    interconnections

    Appreciation of wider context

    Use of relevant literature

    Independent critical thoughtThoroughness

    Clear dissertation structure

  • 8/8/2019 Structuring Dissertation

    6/26

    B2 What examiners dont like

    Anecdotal evidence

    I think, I believe

    Straying outside your discipline

    Absence of positively likeable

    qualities

  • 8/8/2019 Structuring Dissertation

    7/26

    C. The student/supervisor relationship

    Rights and expectations; responsibilities

    See Code of good practice for taught masters programmes:

    www.lse.ac.uk/resources/schoolRegulations/Default.htm

    Observe your supervisor

    Formulate your tactics

  • 8/8/2019 Structuring Dissertation

    8/26

    D. Finding a subject areaSomething youd like to explore?

    Something topical?

    New data or contacts you could use?Case study to compare with?

    Literature youre critical of?

    Personal experience to use?

    International comparison?

  • 8/8/2019 Structuring Dissertation

    9/26

    E. Choosing a topic: checklist

    Is it specific enough?

    Is it narrow enough?Have you a clear aim?

    Have you a feasible approach?

    Will you have an interesting conclusion?

    Are you enthusiastic about it?

  • 8/8/2019 Structuring Dissertation

    10/26

    F. Exploring/reviewing the literature

    Track down potentially useful publications

    Start compiling a bibliography and

    collecting publications

    Dont start writing your literature review

    too soon

  • 8/8/2019 Structuring Dissertation

    11/26

    G1 Project methodology:A

    re youInvestigating/describing/aiming to explain

    a phenomenon?

    Aiming to test a theory, model, law or

    hypothesis?

    Aiming to test a proposition or

    philosophical argument?

  • 8/8/2019 Structuring Dissertation

    12/26

    G2 Project methodology: Are you

    Aiming to evaluate a policy, proposal,

    action or technique?

    Aiming to explore and resolve an issue or

    problem?

    Discussing a theme?

    Arguing a thesis?

  • 8/8/2019 Structuring Dissertation

    13/26

    H. Materials and sources

    Raw materials

    Writings (the debate)Use the library

    Use the internet

    Extract knowledge from materials

  • 8/8/2019 Structuring Dissertation

    14/26

    I. Time management and planning

    Check your resources

    Plan your work

    Produce your first outline

    Set realistic cut-off date for project work

    Allow for 11th-hour rethink

  • 8/8/2019 Structuring Dissertation

    15/26

    J. Six draft outlines

    Introduction

    **

    *

    Discussion

    Conclusion

  • 8/8/2019 Structuring Dissertation

    16/26

    J1 Draft outline: desk researchIntroduction

    Methodology

    Materials

    Findings

    Discussion

    Conclusions

  • 8/8/2019 Structuring Dissertation

    17/26

    J2 Draft outline: field researchIntroduction

    Literature review

    Case study 1

    Case study 2

    Discussion

    Conclusions

  • 8/8/2019 Structuring Dissertation

    18/26

    J3 Draft outline: testing a theoryIntroduction

    Literature review

    Description of theory

    Testing of theory

    Discussion

    Conclusions

  • 8/8/2019 Structuring Dissertation

    19/26

    J4

    Draft outline: evaluative study

    Introduction

    Overview of the literature

    Exploration

    Evaluation

    Discussion

    Conclusions

  • 8/8/2019 Structuring Dissertation

    20/26

    J5

    Draft outline: theme

    Introduction

    Aspect 1

    Aspect 2

    Aspect 3

    Discussion

    Conclusions

  • 8/8/2019 Structuring Dissertation

    21/26

    J6 Draft outline: argument

    Introduction

    The literature

    Construction of thesis

    Corroboration of thesis

    Alternative theses: their defects

    Discussion

    Conclusions

  • 8/8/2019 Structuring Dissertation

    22/26

    K1 The writing process

    Producing your first full draft and

    finalizing your outline

    From writing as thinking to writing as

    assembly job

    Creating a linear presentation

    Your first draft

  • 8/8/2019 Structuring Dissertation

    23/26

    K2 The writing processImproving your draft

    Build on your first draft

    Synchronize and tidy up

    Make your dissertation reader-friendly

    Write good English

    Check your style

  • 8/8/2019 Structuring Dissertation

    24/26

    K3 The writing process

    Guides to writing

    W. Strunk & E.B. White,

    Elements of Style

    (4th edition, Longman 1999)

    Joseph M. Williams

    Style: Toward Clarity and Grace

    (Univ. of Chicago 1990)

  • 8/8/2019 Structuring Dissertation

    25/26

    L.A

    voiding accusations of plagiarismCite your sources

    Incorporate quotes into your text correctly

    Choose the most suitable referencing style

    List your sources correctly

    Resist temptation

    Beat the witch-hunt!See

    www.student-friendly-guides.com/plagiarism/index.htm

  • 8/8/2019 Structuring Dissertation

    26/26

    Advertisement

    Excellent dissertations!by

    Peter Levin

    (Open University Press 2005, price 7.99)

    On sale in Waterstones (LSE and Gower St

    branches) and Foyles (Charing Cross Road)