A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO
WRITING A DISSERTATION
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Banish boredom and confusion by using this course to guide students through their research journey in a practical and fun way.
This course is aimed at students, rather than academics. We’ve booted sesquipedalian words – that actually is a word that means long and confusing. We’ve cut out technical talk that gets in the way of understanding. We’ve dumped complex definitions that make academic textbooks so hard to read.
Instead, we present a simple, practical, step-by-step guide that is easy and fun to use. This is not simply a course, it’s a guide that will lead your students through the research journey and writing their dissertation. In fact, it is more than a guide – it is a lab. It is a space for students to test their thinking, develop their ideas, and even create a draft of their thesis.
In addition to the practical course, students also receive access to:
- ThesisLab Research Wiki – an active space in which students create a draft of their thesis as they are guided through each section. The order of the sections is in the typical order that the student will go through during the research process. Pages can be added or edited, and each page provides additional prompts to help students progress through their research journey.
- ThesisLab Research Journal – a private space where each student can keep a record of their thoughts and ideas, notes and summaries of the literature
- ThesisLab Toolkit – This is where students will find a range of tools that help them to complete various aspects of their dissertation journey. These include assessment tools for research feasibility, academic value, and topic type, worked examples for quantitative and qualitative analysis, writing an abstract, plagiarism, and many more.
- ThesisLab Templates – A range of ready-to-use templates to assist in each stage of the research process.
- End of Lesson quizzes – Multiple choice questions that are designed to monitor student progress through the course. Student responses are marked and if an incorrect answer is given, the student is provided with a link to the relevant page in the course. Students are also given the opportunity to retake the quizzes to encourage them to increase their knowledge and understanding of research theory.
- Research Glossary – A quick reference guide to the terms and concepts used in research, each hyperlinked to a lesson where it is explained in depth.
COMPLETING THIS COURSE WILL HELP DISSERTATION STUDENTS:
WHO IS THE COURSE FOR?
The Thesis Lab course is ideal for students who are completing an undergraduate or Honours dissertation, or extended research project. Masters and Ph.D. students will also find this course useful as it brings together all aspects of the research journey into a single space. The course assumes no prior understanding of research methods.
This course is structured to parallel the research process, from planning the project to writing up. Three core phases of this process are identified: Plan, Do, and Report. In addition, an extra phase at the beginning and end of the process has been added, giving the student some introductory skills before they start, and another at the end that helps them to assess their work. Each lesson and each section concludes with a multiple choice quiz, as well as one or more activities that are designed to put the theory learned into practice, whilst at the same time developing their research project.
SECTION 1 – GETTING STARTED
Each lesson in this section gives some useful tools that will help students to get started with their research project and will also be of help throughout their research project.
- Why Research Isn’t That Hard
- Finding A Research Topic
- Understanding Journal Articles
- Finding Academic Literature
- Using A Research Journal
- Making Referencing Easy
- Preventing Plagiarism
SECTION 2 – PLANNING YOUR PROJECT
Each lesson in this section provides some useful tools to help the student develop a research plan that will demonstrate that the planned study is both feasible and worth doing.
- Planning Your Research Question
- From Topic To Research Question
- Writing Your Research Question
- Research Methods Part 1
- Research Methods Part 2
- Developing Your Research Design
- The Research Proposal
SECTION 3 – DOING YOUR RESEARCH
Each lesson in this section gives tools and tips on how to actually do the research according to the Research Proposal or Research Plan.
- The Literature Review
- Collecting Data Using Questionnaires
- Analysing Quantitative Data
- Collecting Data Using Interviews
- Analysing Qualitative Data
SECTION 4 – WRITING UP
This section focuses on getting down to actually writing up a research report. It provides tips and templates that can be used as exemplars and adapted to suit specific topic and/or university requirements.
- Structuring Your Research Report
- The Results Chapter
- The Analysis Chapter
- The Conclusions & Recommendations Chapter
- The Introduction Chapter
SECTION 5 – FINISHING TOUCHES
In this final section, students are given some useful tools to use before they submit their final dissertation, to help them to submit their best work.
- How To Write An Abstract
- Presenting Your Work
- How Self-Assessment Can Boost Your Grades
- Final Thoughts