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❶The dissertation shall be the written product of systematic, rigorous research on a significant professional issue.

What is a dissertation?

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Whichever way your course is organised, it is essential that you create a plan that helps you allocate enough time to each task you have to complete. It is useful to work out how many weeks you have until you need to submit your completed dissertation, and draw a chart showing these weeks. Block out the weeks when you know you will be unable to work, and mark in other main commitments you have that will take time during this period. Then allocate research tasks to the remaining time.

It is very important to be realistic about how long each task is likely to take. Some focused thought at the beginning, then at the planning stage of each phase, could save hours later on. Write down the resources needed for each stage. It could be time in the library; the resource of your working hours; or the use of equipment or room space that needs to be booked in advance. Some people find that they procrastinate more than they would like. This is a common problem, so it is probably best to be well-prepared to identify it and deal with it if it does start to happen.

People procrastinate for various reasons for example:. Early identification of the signs of procrastination will give you the best chance of minimising any negative effects.

Once you suspect that you are procrastinating, it can be helpful to review what you are expecting of yourself, and check that those expectations are realistic. This is where planning is vital. Your research plan should also include information about what equipment you will need to complete your project, and any travel costs or other expenses that you are likely to incur through the pursuit of your research.

You should also think about whether you are dependent on any one else to complete your project, and think about what you are going to do if they are unable to help you. Once you have created your plan it is a good idea to show it to someone else. Ideally you will be able to show it to a member of academic staff or bring it to the Learning Development, but talking it over with a friend may also help you to spot anything that you have forgotten or anywhere that you have been unrealistic in your planning.

Although a dissertation is an opportunity for you to work independently, you will usually be allocated a member of academic staff as a supervisor.

Supervisors are there to help you shape your ideas and give you advice on how to conduct the research for your dissertation. They are not there to teach you the topic you have chosen to investigate: They are, however, one of the resources that you can call on during your research.

Academics are busy people, so to get the most out of your supervisor you will need to be organised and to take responsibility for the relationship. To ensure that you get the most out of your supervisor you need to:.

If you are not happy with the way you are being supervised, explain why to your supervisor or discuss the issue with your personal tutor. Regardless of whether you have been given a dissertation topic or you have developed your own ideas, you will need to be able to demonstrate the rationale for your research, and to describe how it fits within the wider research context in your area.

To support you in doing this you will need to undertake a literature review, which is a review of material that has already been published, either in hard copy or electronically, that may be relevant for your research project. Key tools that are available to help you, include:.

It is a good idea to make an appointment to see the librarian specialising in your subject. An information librarian should be able to give you advice on your literature search, and on how to manage the information that you generate. You will probably generate more references than you can read.

Use the titles and abstracts to decide whether the reference is worth reading in detail. Be selective by concentrating on references that:. Once you start reading, ensure that you think about what you are trying to get out of each article or book that you read.

Your notes should enable you to write up your literature search without returning to the books you have read. Refer to the guides Effective Note Making , Referencing and Bibliographies , and Avoiding Plagiarism , for further help with note-making. For most research projects the data collection phase feels like the most important part. However, you should avoid jumping straight into this phase until you have adequately defined your research problem, and the extent and limitations of your research.

If you are too hasty you risk collecting data that you will not be able to use. Consider how you are going to store and retrieve your data. You should set up a system that allows you to:. There are many systems that support effective data collection and retrieval. These range from card indexes and cross-referenced exercise books, through electronic tools like spreadsheets, databases and bibliographic software, to discipline-specific tools.

You should talk about how you plan to store your data with your supervisor, an information librarian, or a study adviser in the Learning Development. As you undertake your research you are likely to come up with lots of ideas. It can be valuable to keep a record of these ideas on index cards, in a dedicated notebook, or in an electronic file. They may be useful as ideas in themselves, and may be useful as a record of how your thinking developed through the research process.

A pilot study involves preliminary data collection, using your planned methods, but with a very small sample. It aims to test out your approach, and identify any details that need to be addressed before the main data collection goes ahead. For example, you could get a small group to fill in your questionnaire, perform a single experiment, or analyse a single novel or document.

When you complete your pilot study you should be cautious about reading too much into the results that you have generated although these can sometimes be interesting.

The real value of your pilot study is what it tells you about your method. Spend time reflecting on the implications that your pilot study might have for your research project, and make the necessary adjustment to your plan.

Even if you do not have the time or opportunity to run a formal pilot study, you should try and reflect on your methods after you have started to generate some data. Once you start to generate data you may find that the research project is not developing as you had hoped. Do not be upset that you have encountered a problem. Research is, by its nature, unpredictable. Think about what the problem is and how it arose. Is it possible that going back a few steps may resolve it?

Or is it something more fundamental? If so, estimate how significant the problem is to answering your research question, and try to calculate what it will take to resolve the situation.

Changing the title is not normally the answer, although modification of some kind may be useful. If a problem is intractable you should arrange to meet your supervisor as soon as possible. Give him or her a detailed analysis of the problem, and always value their recommendations. The chances are they have been through a similar experience and can give you valuable advice.

Never try to ignore a problem, or hope that it will go away. Finally, it is worth remembering that every problem you encounter, and successfully solve, is potentially useful information in writing up your research. Rather, flag up these problems and show your examiners how you overcame them.

As you conduct research, you are likely to realise that the topic that you have focused on is more complex than you realised when you first defined your research question.

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: 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. 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.

The thesis used to be 40—60 pages long, but has been reduced to 20—30 pages in new Bologna process programmes. To complete Master's studies, a candidate must write magistrsko delo Master's thesis that is longer and more detailed than the undergraduate thesis.

The required submission for the doctorate is called doktorska disertacija doctoral dissertation. In pre Bologna programmes students were able to skip the preparation and presentation of a Master's thesis and continue straightforward towards doctorate.

In Sweden, there are different types of theses. After that there are two types of post graduate degrees, Licentiate dissertation and PhD dissertation. A licentiate degree is approximately "half a PhD" in terms of size and scope of the thesis. Swedish PhD studies should in theory last for four years, including course work and thesis work, but as many PhD students also teach, the PhD often takes longer to complete.

Outside the academic community, the terms thesis and dissertation are interchangeable. A wide range of supervisory arrangements can be found in the British academy, from single supervisors more usual for undergraduate and Masters level work to supervisory teams of up to three supervisors.

In teams, there will often be a Director of Studies, usually someone with broader experience perhaps having passed some threshold of successful supervisions. The Director may be involved with regular supervision along with the other supervisors, or may have more of an oversight role, with the other supervisors taking on the more day-to-day responsibilities of supervision.

At most universities, dissertation is the term for the required submission for the doctorate, and thesis refers only to the master's degree requirement. Thesis is also used to describe a cumulative project for a bachelor's degree and is more common at selective colleges and universities, or for those seeking admittance to graduate school or to obtain an honors academic designation.

These projects are called "senior projects" or "senior theses"; they are generally done in the senior year near graduation after having completed other courses, the independent study period, and the internship or student teaching period the completion of most of the requirements before the writing of the paper ensures adequate knowledge and aptitude for the challenge. Unlike a dissertation or master's thesis, they are not as long and they do not require a novel contribution to knowledge or even a very narrow focus on a set subtopic.

Like them, they can be lengthy and require months of work, they require supervision by at least one professor adviser, they must be focused on a certain area of knowledge, and they must use an appreciable amount of scholarly citations. They may or may not be defended before a committee but usually are not; there is generally no preceding examination before the writing of the paper, except for at very few colleges.

Because of the nature of the graduate thesis or dissertation having to be more narrow and more novel, the result of original research, these usually have a smaller proportion of the work that is cited from other sources, though the fact that they are lengthier may mean they still have total citations. Specific undergraduate courses, especially writing-intensive courses or courses taken by upperclassmen, may also require one or more extensive written assignments referred to variously as theses, essays, or papers.

Increasingly, high schools are requiring students to complete a senior project or senior thesis on a chosen topic during the final year as a prerequisite for graduation. The extended essay component of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme , offered in a growing number of American high schools, is another example of this trend.

Generally speaking, a dissertation is judged as to whether or not it makes an original and unique contribution to scholarship. Lesser projects a master's thesis, for example are judged by whether or not they demonstrate mastery of available scholarship in the presentation of an idea.

The required complexity or quality of research of a thesis may vary significantly among universities or programs. One of the requirements for certain advanced degrees is often an oral examination called a viva voce examination or just viva in the UK and certain other English-speaking countries. This examination normally occurs after the dissertation is finished but before it is submitted to the university, and may comprise a presentation often public by the student and questions posed by an examining committee or jury.

In North America, an initial oral examination in the field of specialization may take place just before the student settles down to work on the dissertation. An additional oral exam may take place after the dissertation is completed and is known as a thesis or dissertation " defense ", which at some universities may be a mere formality and at others may result in the student being required to make significant revisions.

The result of the examination may be given immediately following deliberation by the examiners in which case the candidate may immediately be considered to have received his or her degree , or at a later date, in which case the examiners may prepare a defense report that is forwarded to a Board or Committee of Postgraduate Studies, which then officially recommends the candidate for the degree. At most North American institutions the latter two verdicts are extremely rare, for two reasons.

First, to obtain the status of doctoral candidates, graduate students typically write a qualifying examination or comprehensive examination, which often includes an oral defense. Students who pass the qualifying examination are deemed capable of completing scholarly work independently and are allowed to proceed with working on a dissertation.

Second, since the thesis supervisor and the other members of the advisory committee will normally have reviewed the thesis extensively before recommending the student proceed to the defense, such an outcome would be regarded as a major failure not only on the part of the candidate but also by the candidate's supervisor who should have recognized the substandard quality of the dissertation long before the defense was allowed to take place.

It is also fairly rare for a thesis to be accepted without any revisions; the most common outcome of a defense is for the examiners to specify minor revisions which the candidate typically completes in a few days or weeks. At universities on the British pattern it is not uncommon for theses at the viva stage to be subject to major revisions in which a substantial rewrite is required, sometimes followed by a new viva.

Very rarely, the thesis may be awarded the lesser degree of M. Phil Master of Philosophy instead, preventing the candidate from resubmitting the thesis. In Australia, doctoral theses are usually examined by three examiners although some, like the Australian Catholic University and the University of New South Wales , have shifted to using only two examiners; without a live defense except in extremely rare exceptions.

In the case of a master's degree by research the thesis is usually examined by only two examiners. Typically one of these examiners will be from within the candidate's own department; the other s will usually be from other universities and often from overseas. Following submission of the thesis, copies are sent by mail to examiners and then reports sent back to the institution.

Similar to a master's degree by research thesis, a thesis for the research component of a master's degree by coursework is also usually examined by two examiners, one from the candidate's department and one from another university.

For an Honours year, which is a fourth year in addition to the usual three-year bachelor's degree, the thesis is also examined by two examiners, though both are usually from the candidate's own department.

Honours and Master's theses sometimes require an oral defense before they are accepted. In Germany, a thesis is usually examined with an oral examination. This applies to almost all Diplom , Magister , master's and doctoral degrees as well as to most bachelor's degrees.

However, a process that allows for revisions of the thesis is usually only implemented for doctoral degrees. There are several different kinds of oral examinations used in practice. The Disputation , also called Verteidigung "defense" , is usually public at least to members of the university and is focused on the topic of the thesis.

In contrast, the Rigorosum is not held in public and also encompasses fields in addition to the topic of the thesis. The Rigorosum is only common for doctoral degrees. Another term for an oral examination is Kolloquium , which generally refers to a usually public scientific discussion and is often used synonymously with Verteidigung.

In each case, what exactly is expected differs between universities and between faculties. Some universities also demand a combination of several of these forms. Like the British model, the PHD or MPhil student is required to submit their theses or dissertation for examination by two or three examiners. The first examiner is from the university concerned, the second examiner is from another local university and the third examiner is from a suitable foreign university usually from Commonwealth countries.

The choice of examiners must be approved by the university senate. In some public universities, a PhD or MPhil candidate may also have to show a number publications in peer reviewed academic journals as part of the requirement. An oral viva is conducted after the examiners have submitted their reports to the university.

The oral viva session is attended by the Oral Viva chairman, a rapporteur with a PhD qualification, the first examiner, the second examiner and sometimes the third examiner.

Branch campuses of British, Australian and Middle East universities in Malaysia use the respective models of the home campuses to examine their PhD or MPhil candidates. In the Philippines, a thesis is followed by an oral defense.

In most universities, this applies to all bachelor, master, and doctorate degrees. However, the oral defense is held in once per semester usually in the middle or by the end with a presentation of revisions so-called "plenary presentation" at the end of each semester.

The oral defense is typically not held in public for bachelor and master oral defenses, however a colloquium is held for doctorate degrees. Typical duration for the total exam is 1 hour 30 minutes for the MSc and 3 hours for the PhD.

In North America, the thesis defense or oral defense is the final examination for doctoral candidates, and sometimes for master's candidates. The examining committee normally consists of the thesis committee, usually a given number of professors mainly from the student's university plus his or her primary supervisor, an external examiner someone not otherwise connected to the university , and a chair person.

Each committee member will have been given a completed copy of the dissertation prior to the defense, and will come prepared to ask questions about the thesis itself and the subject matter.

In many schools, master's thesis defenses are restricted to the examinee and the examiners, but doctoral defenses are open to the public. The typical format will see the candidate giving a short 20—minute presentation of his or her research, followed by one to two hours of questions. A student in Ukraine or Russia has to complete a thesis and then defend it in front of their department.

Sometimes the defense meeting is made up of the learning institute's professionals and sometimes the students peers are allowed to view or join in. After the presentation and defense of the thesis, the final conclusion of the department should be that none of them have reservations on the content and quality of the thesis. A conclusion on the thesis has to be approved by the rector of the educational institute.

The Diploma de estudios avanzados DEA can last two years and candidates must complete coursework and demonstrate their ability to research the specific topics they have studied. After completing this part of the PhD, students begin a dissertation on a set topic.

The dissertation must reach a minimum length depending on the subject and it is valued more highly if it contains field research. Once candidates have finished their written dissertations, they must present them before a committee. Following this presentation, the examiners will ask questions.

In Hong Kong, Ireland and the United Kingdom, the thesis defense is called a viva voce Latin for "by live voice" examination viva for short.

A typical viva lasts for approximately 3 hours, though there is no formal time limit. Usually, one examiner is an academic from the candidate's own university department but not one of the candidate's supervisors and the other is an external examiner from a different university. Increasingly, the examination may involve a third academic, the 'chair'; this person, from the candidate's institution, acts as an impartial observer with oversight of the examination process to ensure that the examination is fair.

The 'chair' does not ask academic questions of the candidate. In the United Kingdom, there are only two or at most three examiners, and in many universities the examination is held in private. The candidate's primary supervisor is not permitted to ask or answer questions during the viva, and their presence is not necessary.

However, some universities permit members of the faculty or the university to attend. At the University of Oxford, for instance, any member of the University may attend a DPhil viva the University's regulations require that details of the examination and its time and place be published formally in advance provided he or she attends in full academic dress. A submission of the thesis is the last formal requirement for most students after the defense.

By the final deadline , the student must submit a complete copy of the thesis to the appropriate body within the accepting institution, along with the appropriate forms, bearing the signatures of the primary supervisor, the examiners, and, in some cases, the head of the student's department.


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All theses, projects, and dissertations in ScholarWorks are full-text searchable and available in common search engines such as Google and Google Scholar. Though the campus is moving to an online format for the submission of theses, projects, and dissertations, the university’s format guidelines still .

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A dissertation is an extended project that asks you to manage your time and undertake a variety of tasks. Some courses schedule the dissertation at the end, while others have it running along concurrently with other modules.

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Dissertation Research Project Examples. Below you will find our dissertation research project example index. This index contains a number of genuine dissertation research projects that have been written by students for their dissertations. Please download the guidelines for the preparation of thesis, dissertation, graduate projects and artistic abstracts. Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines .pdf).