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Equally important is the development of various levels of critical insight, depending on the level of degree for which the dissertation is to be submitted – undergraduate or master’s.Box 1 summarises what is expected from you in a dissertation.This is attributed to the fact that within one topic, a deeper exploration will open up ideas for several more topics.
The qualities that distinguish an outstanding dissertation from an average one include clarity of purpose, clarity of thought and sophistication of the argument.
A first-class submission will be highly organised and focused, clearly demonstrating critical insight, as opposed to a simple, unquestioned description.
Acording to Wisker (2013) a dissertation is a large piece of work requiring careful planning, good time management, critical thinking, conceptual understanding and adherence to practices for completion.
The time taken initially to decide on the topic, approaches and resources will be time well spent.
Writing a dissertation equates to developing an understanding of research or systematic enquiry rather than generating new evidence; that is the purpose of a doctoral thesis.
While there are various methods according to the nature of the project, the main purpose of a dissertation is to enable students to demonstrate organisational skills, beginning insights into research, and deeper, more critical understanding of their chosen focal topic.
In the worst case scenario, plagiarism can lead to the candidate’s work being disallowed.
If you are tempted to use the work of others and claim it for yourself, the advice is simple: do not go there.
However, there are commonalities be-tween a dissertation and thesis, especially around the importance of good supervisory relationships.
This article focuses on dissertations, offering a framework for students embarking on – or stuck in the middle of – the process of writing one.