It differs from what most have previously produced in requiring more of most things – more research in greater depth, more reading, more time, more independence (students select their own topics and work on them in isolation), more planning, and above all, a more extended piece of writing.
As distinct from an essay, where you critically evaluate other people’s ideas, you will need to report on your own research or work and offer your own thoughts and interpretation.
Your research design: what data did you collect; where did you collect it; how did you analyse it; why did you use those methods and what alternative approaches could you have taken. An alternative to the above would be to combine the literature review, but have separate chapters/sections for the data.
You could also discuss here the setting of the research, and how you selected your sample. This should be an analysis of the findings, relating back to the conceptual models and the research question. If you have been sponsored by a specific organization, or your college has arranged for a placement on which your dissertation will be based, they may want a different kind of report or presentation.
The structure of the report will depend on the scope you have been given, in particular to recommend or implement changes.
If you are limited to analysing a situation and making a proposal for change, or you are reflecting on a project from the past, Maylor and Blackmon (2005, p.Except in some projects which use grounded theory – which involve going back into the field several times with a new perspective – you will establish your research or project design fairly early, and in quantitative research, you will do your literature review before your field work.These chapters can be written up front, which will have the double advantage of getting some of the writing out of the way and also helping you practice the type of writing you will need to master.What is the scope of the research and why is it important? This will set the research problem in its conceptual framework and gives a critical perspective. What are the main lessons to be learnt from your study? What were the main problems and how did you overcome them?It should be a discussion rather than a description, and you should highlight concepts and theories which have a particular bearing on the research. What are the implications for the stakeholders concerned, and what are the possible future directions of the research?For each stage/major finding, clearly summarize then discuss the conclusions you have reached, your reasoning, the relevant confirming and disconfirming literature, and the implications.The inclusion of prelims and end matter is another way in which the dissertation differs from the more run of the mill piece of written work.However, you will also need to include and critique the ideas of other writers in order to provide a theoretical framework for your own ideas.The first thing to say – and hopefully it is not too late for those of you reading this – is that you need to allow yourself sufficient time for the writing process.Various structures are possible for your report depending on the type of project and the audience.The main ones are outlined below: others are possible, and you should always discuss your proposed structure with your supervisor.