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Top seven things that make an outstanding dissertation

Top seven things that make an outstanding dissertation
August 04
17:10 2017

BY CHIOMA IWUNZE–IBIAM

What makes a good dissertation?

This question often plagues the minds of most postgraduate students. Students want their supervising professors to award them high grades. No one wants results they can’t be proud of. Most students strive to aim for excellence in their dissertation.

Writing a good dissertation is easy, if you know the right steps to take. Different professors have varying backgrounds, and their trainings might influence their methods of supervising. In fact, advisors disagree on the amount of assistance they believe is appropriate, and this will reflect in the level of support that they will agree to give. Whatever you do, make sure you choose a topic/idea your supervisor will be interested in. That is the only way toguarantee that you will receive adequate feedback from him or her.

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Most experts will tell you that it is better to start your research early. The earlier the better. The best dissertations are never written in a hurry. Don’t wait until the last semester to commence the research. Most students rely on dissertation writing services because they have limited time, and the human brain can’t function at its utmost capacity when it’s under pressure.

When you start your research work, ensure that you keep an organized folder where you’ll archive your discoveries. Your referenced notes will not only make it easier for you to write the dissertation, it will make your job easier when you reach the bibliography and referencing phase. You really don’t want to run afoul of the plagiarism law of your institution.

These basic tips should help you get off on a good start. But if you want the final dissertation to earn you the best grades possible, below are the top ten things that will make your work outstanding.

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An outstanding dissertation must:

HAVE A CLEAR OBJECTIVE

Before you start writing, make sure you know the objective and goal of the dissertation. Ensure that your concise objective is based on a well-founded thesis or research question.

It is important to make your project easy to comprehend and supervise. Every derivation in your dissertation must clarify the objective of the research work. If at any point you realize that your dissertation has failed in this regard, root out and resolve the problem.

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BE WELL-PLANNED AND THOROUGHLY RESEARCHED

It is no secret that the best dissertations are often well planned and thoroughly researched. You will find the research work easier if you are working on a topic you are passionate about. Make sure you can find a library of material that can serve as a guide and provide the information you need for your research. One of my friends got stuck half way through her dissertation because she chose a topic she couldn’t write a lot about.

Professors often advise students to avoid research questions that begin with the phrase‘to what extent’. This is because the answer will most likely be ‘somewhat’. Such an answer is likely to make it difficult to plan your dissertation. Avoid general or unclear titles; they will only make your dissertation dull and unconvincing.

DEMONSTRATE THE STUDENT’S KNOWLEDGE OF THE TOPIC AND ORIGINAL THOUGHT

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As much as possible, show original thought. It also helps when your dissertation can demonstrate that you understand the relevant theories and concepts. Professors will be even more impressed when you are able to apply these theories and concepts to your own objectives. Resist the temptation to rely heavily on sourced materials.

Ensure that your project stands out. Think of new ways the concepts and ideas can solve a problem that is reflected in your topic. Your supervisors are likely to be very impressed and supportive.

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GO BEYOND BASIC DESCRIPTIONS

Most students are scared to take the long road of writing more than modest descriptions. This isn’t good for your work. Outstanding dissertations include detailed analysis, critical evaluations and discussions of concepts, theories and ideas. These make the excellent dissertations stand out from the mediocre ones.

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If you want your dissertation to be fantastic, provide more than simple descriptions.

INCLUDE ACCURATE AND CONSISTENT REFERENCING

Like I said in the introduction, ensure that you organize your findings in a file. This will make referencing easier, more accurate and more consistent. Excellent referencing represents the depth of your research as well as your knowledge of the research topic.

In scientific writing, students are expected to cite almost every relevant source that has contributed to the field of their research. This will go a long way to help the student prove the solid arguments they have made.

Site as many papers as your discussion will allow. Ensure that you have a good reason for quoting specific papers. In the end, everything should flow and be easy to read and follow.

Some poorly written dissertations neglect to include references, while others include the references in an inappropriate format. Make sure your dissertation doesn’t fall into this category.

BE PROPERLY STRUCTURED

Plan the structure of your dissertation before you start. The last thing you want is to realize after page 200 that you have been working with the wrong structure all along.

A properly structured dissertation follows a clear format. If confused about the appropriate structure, ask your supervisor to guide you. Don’t start off on the wrong path only to discover that you’ve got the structure all mixed up. Most of all beware of plagiarizing source materials.

Ensure that your project is written in the specified academic manner; else, your supervisor will be cross with you.

DON’T OVERLOOK THE BASIC GUIDELINES OF YOUR UNIVERSITY

Obey to your university’s guidelines on specifics like formatting, presentation and referencing. A recent survey at a university revealed that the supervisors don’t just consider students’ research skills, they also judge students’ ability to adhere to instructions.

The survey also showed that professors deducted scores for mistakes like incorrect margin and line spacing, font type or font size, omitting specific information on the title page, leaving out sections such as acknowledgements, abstracts, table of contents, and so on.

Even while you are working tirelessly on the content, don’t take the basics for granted. Pay attention to these details or you will lose marks that might have helped boost your overall score.

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