For most students, an undergraduate dissertation is their first opportunity to engage in detail with scholarship in their fields and to design and conduct a rigorous research project. In an undergraduate dissertation, you therefore need to show a capacity to engage with a broad field of research, to synthesise diverse and even opposing approaches to a problem, and to distil this down into a design for a research project that will address your research questions with the appropriate level of scholarly level.
The ability to synthesise what you've learned from scholars in your discipline, and to shape that into a methodology that you can use to shed light on your research question, is, therefore, key to a successful undergraduate dissertation. The best undergraduate dissertations will of course show originality of thought and may even be able to make an original contribution to their field — but the focus will generally be on demonstrating that you have the fundamental research skills to undertake investigative work in your field. A postgraduate dissertation , by contrast, can be expected to make a substantial contribution of high-quality, original research to its field.
The best postgraduate dissertations will be publishable by leading journals, or even as scholarly monographs. As you build your career as an early career researcher, the impact of your dissertation on its field — as measured by citations in the work of other scholars — will be crucial to enhancing your academic reputation. It's important to remember that the dissertation's value to other scholars won't just be its findings or conclusions, and that your research's emerging importance to the field will be measured by the number of scholars who engage with it, not those who agree with it.
Although some scholars may well cite your conclusions as a basis for their own work, a far greater number of citations is likely to result regardless of discipline from your development of a framework that other scholars can use as a point of departure for their own work. If you've come up with a methodology that is both original and grounded in the research, this will probably be the aspect of your work that other scholars value the most. Their own work might build upon, develop or modify your methodology in some way; they might apply your methodology to a different data set in order to contest your findings, or they might even take it and apply it in a new context that hadn't even occurred to you!
The best postgraduate dissertations are those that convince at every level — that are based on a rigorous engagement with the field, that develop reproducible frameworks for engaging with that field, and that supply high-quality and convincing results and conclusions.
But the methodology is the central point around which the dissertation — and its potential impact to the field — pivots. When developing and presenting your dissertation methodology, you should therefore think not just about how well it can answer your particular question, but also about how transferable it is — whether it can be used by other scholars to answer related questions, or whether it can be made more adaptable with just a few tweaks without compromising your own use of it, of course.
And when presenting your dissertation, don't forget to emphasise the value of the methodological framework you develop, if it is indeed adaptable to other related contexts. You're underselling your research if you suggest its only value lies in its conclusions, when the approach it takes to your data or source material in arriving at those conclusions is potentially of equal if not greater value.
Thesis methodology examples and structure
Your dissertation methodology, as we've now discussed in some detail, is the engine that drives your dissertation, and as such it needs to be grounded, theoretically rigorous, and, where possible, sufficiently adaptable to be used in other contexts to answer different research questions within your field. However, in focusing on all this it's easy to forget that all dissertations — even the seemingly driest, most scientific of them — are fundamentally pieces of persuasive writing: their primary purpose is to convince readers of the quality of your research, the validity of your methods, and the merit of your conclusions.
A crucial but often neglected component of this persuasive function is the role of rhetoric in persuading your audience of the merits of your work.
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This kind of commentary allows you to control the agenda for discussion of your work, and to head off potential objections to your arguments and methods at the pass. Sound rhetorical presentation of your methodology is not just "decoration" — it forms an integral part of its overall rigour and structural soundness, and can make the difference between a and a First, or between a merit and a Distinction. Here are some of the ways in which you can use metacommentary to shape your audience's response to your methodology. The roads not taken It's very likely that the approach you've taken to your research question is one of many approaches you could have taken — and in your literature review you probably engaged with or read about lots of approaches that, for one reason or another, you decided not to take.
Your methodology chapter is not the place to go into detail about these methodologies hopefully your literature review does this , but you should remind your reader that you actively considered these other methodologies before deciding on your own. Even if you decided on your methodology early on in your research process, it should appear rhetorically as the result of a careful weighing of competing factors, before you decided on the most logical choice.
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A little reassurance goes a long way Judicious use of metacommentary can also help to make up for any shortcomings in your methodology section, or simply create a sense of balance between scholarly groundedness and innovation if your methodology might seem to veer a little too much in one direction or another.
If your methodology takes a bold new step that some may find off-putting, you can acknowledge this whilst taking extra care to emphasise its grounded relationship to established work in the field. You might, for instance, ensure that you refer back to your literature review frequently and use phrases like, "This approach may seem like a significant departure from established approaches to this field, but it combines the proven data-gathering techniques of X with the statistical analysis model of Y, along with the following innovations".
Signposting Flagging what each section of an argument is doing is vital throughout the dissertation, but nowhere more so than in the methodology section. You can significantly strengthen the justification you provide for your dissertation methodology by referring back to your literature review and reminding your reader of conclusions you've drawn — and if you're feeling really confident you can gently hint to your readers that they agreed with you, using a formulation like, "As we have seen, method X is extremely useful for approaching questions related to Y, but less applicable to problem Z".
You should be careful with this approach, of course — claiming you've proved something when this transparently isn't the case isn't going to bring your readers onside — but if your argumentation is already strong, rhetorical techniques like this can help underline the structural coherence of your work. Defining your own terms If you don't define your own measures for success and failure, readers can infer from the overall structure of your argument the terms on which it was trying to succeed, and judge it accordingly. On the other hand, defining your own set of success criteria and help within reason helps to ensure that your readers evaluate your work on these terms.
Again, your dissertation methodology is a critical space in which to establish these criteria: "This research does not make any claims about human social behaviour while consuming alcohol beyond the current context of X. The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Dissertation. Writing your dissertation methodology. What is a methodology? What should my methodology look like?
A recap of your research question s. A description of your design or method. A simple methodology section is a good thing, because it helps other researchers to reproduce your work. This is not the part in the thesis where you show that you're an imaginative writer. Unless you're doing completely novel research, I'd expect most methodologies to be simple and "relatively unoriginal. The point of the methodology section is to describe what you did so that if your study was replicated, the same results would be obtained.
It also allows others to determine if something in your methods resulted in an unexpected finding, or suggest something that could be changed that might lead to a novel finding. At the very least, it demonstrates you understand and follow the scientific method. For example, Monash University has a webpage Discuss your methodology page, have a general outline for a scientific-based thesis methodology, such as: rationale for choosing materials, methods and procedures details of materials, equipment and procedures that will allow others to replicate experiments understand and implement technical solutions They also have examples for other disciplines, but a strong suggestion is to read and learn from other dissertations from your field - also, ask your advisor if they have examples.
Sign up or log in Sign up using Google. Sign up using Facebook. Sign up using Email and Password. Post as a guest Name. Email Required, but never shown. Featured on Meta. The undergraduate thesis is called skripsi , while the doctoral dissertation is called disertasi. In general, those three terms are usually called as tugas akhir final assignment , which is mandatory for the completion of a degree. Undergraduate students usually begin to write their final assignment in their third, fourth or fifth enrollment year, depends on the requirements of their respective disciplines and universities.
In some universities, students are required to write a proposal skripsi or proposal tesis thesis proposal before they could write their final assignment.
If the thesis proposal is considered to fulfill the qualification by the academic examiners, students then may proceed to write their final assignment. In Iran, usually students are required to present a thesis in their master's degree and a dissertation in their Doctorate degree, both of which requiring the students to defend their research before a committee and gaining their approval. Most of the norms and rules of writing a thesis or a dissertation are influenced by the French higher education system.
In Italy there are normally three types of thesis. Thesis requirements vary greatly between degrees and disciplines, ranging from as low as 3—4 ECTS credits to more than Thesis work is mandatory for the completion of a degree. Malaysian universities often follow the British model for dissertations and degrees. However, a few universities follow the United States model for theses and dissertations.
Branch campuses of British, Australian and Middle East universities in Malaysia use the respective models of the home campuses. In Pakistan, at undergraduate level the thesis is usually called final year project, as it is completed in the senior year of the degree, the name project usually implies that the work carried out is less extensive than a thesis and bears lesser credit hours too. The undergraduate level project is presented through an elaborate written report and a presentation to the advisor, a board of faculty members and students. At graduate level however, i.
A written report and a public thesis defense is mandatory, in the presence of a board of senior researchers, consisting of members from an outside organization or a university. A PhD candidate is supposed to accomplish extensive research work to fulfill the dissertation requirements with international publications being a mandatory requirement. The defense of the research work is done publicly. However, in Philippine English , the term doctorate is typically replaced with doctoral as in the case of "doctoral dissertation" , though in official documentation the former is still used.
The Philippine system is influenced by American collegiate system, in that it requires a research project to be submitted before being allowed to write a thesis. This project is mostly given as a prerequisite writing course to the actual thesis and is accomplished in the term period before; supervision is provided by one professor assigned to a class.
This project is later to be presented in front of an academic panel, often the entire faculty of an academic department, with their recommendations contributing to the acceptance, revision, or rejection of the initial topic. In addition, the presentation of the research project will help the candidate choose their primary thesis adviser.
An undergraduate thesis is completed in the final year of the degree alongside existing seminar lecture or laboratory courses, and is often divided into two presentations: proposal and thesis presentations though this varies across universities , whereas a master thesis or doctorate dissertation is accomplished in the last term alone and is defended once. In most universities, a thesis is required for the bestowment of a degree to a candidate alongside a number of units earned throughout their academic period of stay, though for practice and skills-based degrees a practicum and a written report can be achieved instead.
The examination board often consists of 3 to 5 examiners, often professors in a university with a Masters or PhD degree depending on the university's examination rules. Required word length, complexity, and contribution to scholarship varies widely across universities in the country. The academic dissertation for a PhD is called a dysertacja or praca doktorska. The submission for the Habilitation is called praca habilitacyjna" or dysertacja habilitacyjna".
Thus the term dysertacja is reserved for PhD and Habilitation degrees. All the theses need to be "defended" by the author during a special examination for the given degree. Examinations for PhD and Habilitation degrees are public. The defense is done in a public presentation in which teachers, students, and the general public can participate. For the PhD, a thesis tese is presented for defense in a public exam. The exam typically extends over 3 hours.
The examination board typically involves 5 to 6 scholars including the advisor or other experts with a PhD degree generally at least half of them must be external to the university where the candidate defends the thesis, but it may depend on the University. In Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Ukraine an academic dissertation or thesis is called what can be literally translated as a "master's degree work" thesis , whereas the word dissertation is reserved for doctoral theses Candidate of Sciences.
To complete a master's degree, a student is required to write a thesis and to then defend the work publicly. The length of this manuscript usually is given in page count and depends upon educational institution, its departments, faculties, and fields of study [ citation needed ]. At universities in Slovenia, an academic thesis called diploma thesis is a prerequisite for completing undergraduate studies.