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This article explores the extent to which published advice on the organisation and structure of theses and dissertations concurs with what happens in actual practice. The study examines guides and handbooks which focus on thesis and dissertation writing and postgraduate research. The sample texts examined were master’s and doctoral theses written in a number of different study areas at a major research university. The study found that only a few of the books examined devoted a substantial amount of space to this topic. It also found a wider range of thesis types than the guides and handbooks would suggest occurs. The study identified four main kinds of thesis: ‘traditional: simple’, ‘traditional: complex’, ‘topic-based’ and ‘compilations of research articles’. The article argues for teaching materials which show students the range of thesis options they might have, highlight the kind of variation that occurs in actual texts, and consider the rationale for the various choices they might make.
• Once you have planned and structured your dissertation, you can write in any order you like. You may prefer to write the introduction towards the end, and the abstract last.
• Always back up your work in at least one place!
This course will provide you with tips and strategies to successfully write your dissertation. Ideally, you should view this course before you have completed your dissertation proposal. A good portion of the advice provided in this course will tell you what to do during the proposal writing process and the data collection process that will make your writing go smoother.
You will learn about alternative formats for writing your dissertation and how you can use analytic memos during the data collection phase to help you finish in a timely manner. When it comes to writing your dissertation, you will learn how to make a timeline, create a plan for getting your writing done, and learn how to get feedback from others in ways that will support (and not confuse) you. Finally, you will think a bit about where to publish your work and consider some outlets for your work beyond a traditional manuscript.