Doing a Dissertation?
A dissertion involves reseraching a well defined topic, planning to deliver a presentation (eg. lecture or video) on the topic, and then delivering that presentation. This is often part of a post graduate or academic course of study.
Prior to commencing your dissertation you will need to submit a dissertation proposal for approval before you may commence study in this module. This will allow us to assign an appropriate tutor. If you already have a preferred tutor please put include this in the proposal.
Defining a Research Topic
It is most likely that the most suitable topic for you will be one that lies within the field of your personal or professional interests. There are several reasons for this;
- Due to the high relevance of the topic to your own interests it is most likely that you yourself will be highly motivated and will pursue your research with vigor and interest.
- By keeping the topic within your personal or professional interests it is likely that you will already have a high level of prior knowledge pertaining to the topic. This can easily guide you to given problems or gaps in the research on which to base your research question.
- By selecting a topic related to personal or professional interests it may assist you with access to data collection, thus providing you with easy logistical support.
It is also possible to select a topic that they have already spent sometime in previous study or it may be closely related to a module already completed thus providing you with a relationship with the previous tutor who may also be able to guide you in your topic selections. It is well worth considering the following points:
- It is a subject that you will be able to complete within the given time frame
- There are adequate resources and materials available to ensure completion
First consider the General subject area
This is based on your experience and knowledge
and reviewing what previous research has been undertaken in that field.
Second consider the issues
Is there a practical issue or lack of knowledge in the existing research?
How has the subject been approached in the literature?
Third consider the approach to the topic
What you will be researching and how will it address the issue? Will you be doing a comparative study or investigating a known problem?
Witing a Proposal
Before writing your research proposal you will need to do a considerable amount of research to be able to justify the significance and important of what you intend to do. You will need to consider the following questions clearly; is the proposed research duplicating existing work? Is the scope of the proposed research realistic? Do you expect to reasonably be able to complete the project with the time frame?
The research proposal will need to satisfy several principal areas:
1. Background to the field of research
This will demonstrate your understanding and knowledge of existing research in your field.
2. What does this research intend to do/need for the study
This is where the case is made for your intended research. Refer back to the original problem or gap in the existing research.
3. Purpose and aims of the study
Clearly state the purpose of the research and outline the important research aims and questions.
4. Outline of proposed research
Provide a brief outline of the proposed research, preferably with a timeframe.
Remember a dissertation in a post graduate qualification is to provide evidence of an understanding of your field, it may also contribute to the knowledge in that field. With this in mind do not over-extend your expectations of the scope of your chosen topic.
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