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Dissertations answers

What is a dissertation?

What are the differences between an essay and a dissertation?

Essay Lecturer sets question, a short composition (usually under 3000 words) on a single
subject, usually presenting the views of others and the authors response to those views. The
research is normally book-based.

Dissertation Student decides on own question, a long treatise on a specific aspect of a subject
(12,000 15,000 words) advancing a new point of view resulting from original research. The
research is normally field-based.

Before you begin to think about possible topics for investigation, make sure you are clear in your
own mind about what a dissertation is. You will be familiar with the principles of essay writing,
the most common form of academic writing, but it is worth reviewing briefly what an essay is
really designed to do, and looking at how a dissertation may echo but also differ from a standard
essay.

Different subject disciplines may emphasise different features, but, broadly speaking, an essay is
a continuous piece of writing, arranged in clearly demarcated paragraphs, in which an argument (a
clear line of thought) is developed, in response to a central question or proposition (thesis). The
line of argument is supported by evidence you have acquired through research, which you are
required to analyse, and which supports or contradicts the various perspectives explored in the
course of that argument. The essay then reaches a conclusion in the final section, which pulls
together the threads of your argument, supporting, qualifying or rejecting the original thesis.

Are the following features describing qualitative or quantitative research?

Ql - The aim is a complete, detailed description


Qn - The aim is to classify features, count them, and construct statistical models in an attempt to
explain what is observed

Ql - Researcher may only know roughly in advance what he/she is looking for.
Qn - Researcher knows clearly in advance what he/she is looking for.

Qn - All aspects of the study are carefully designed before data is collected.
Ql - The design emerges as the study unfolds

Qn - Researcher uses tools, such as questionnaires or equipment to collect numerical data.


Ql - Researcher is the data gathering instrument.

Qn - Data is in the form of numbers and statistics.


Ql - Data is in the form of words, pictures or objects.

Ql - Subjective - individuals interpretation of events is important ,e.g., uses participant


observation, in-depth interviews etc
Qn - Objective seeks precise measurement & analysis of target concepts, e.g., uses surveys,
questionnaires etc.

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Dissertations answers

Qn - Data is more efficient, able to test hypotheses, but may miss contextual detail.
Ql - Data is more 'rich', time consuming, and less able to be generalized.

Front Cover
Title Page
Acknowledgements
Abstract
Table of Contents
1. Introduction
2. What is the research question?
3. Literature review
4. Methodology
5. Results and Analysis of findings
6. Conclusions and recommendations from the study
Bibliography
Appendices

Answers In contrast
1 similar [similar / the same in that they... or in the way they... or in how they...]
differ [differ is a verb. Not they are differ, but they differ n the way / in that they etc...]
2 Likewise [Common at the start of a sentence followed by comma. = In the same
way,...]
3 Both [.... have criticised]
unlike [to contrast two ideas. Unlike X, Y.... or Y......, unlike X..]
rather than [often goes with unlike. Also can start a sentence: Rather than seeing
learning ..., as Ardau does, Corder believes learning styles can be adopted ...]

4 Like [note like joins two similar ideas in one sentence. Likewise connects a similar
idea to one mentioned in a previous sentence]
while [we often use However, while X..., Y... to show a contrast between two similar
positions]
and
5 In contrast to [because ..... which may provide new insights. i.e. the results were
different. Note we often say in contrast to previous studies / findings / results /
research]

whereas = while
similarly = likewise
instead of = rather than
contrary to = In contrast to

Think about political parties in your country / in the UK. How are they similar / different?
Think about three or four competing companies (airlines / clothes shops etc). How are they
similar / different?
Think of some competing theories / methods in your subject area. How do they differ?

Look back and note any new language you find useful in the exercise.