How to Write Politics Dissertations
How can you achieve a first class mark for your dissertation? A 1st class dissertation will typically display all or many of the following characteristics — make sure you incorporate them in your dissertation writing to improve your chances of success. A dissertation constitutes your personal academic position, and should therefore by nature be substantially original in order to fulfil its basic requirement.
Originality comes in shades and degrees, however, and for an upper 1st mark you must demonstrate in all aspects of your work an original critical stance and unique perspective, informed by your novel research aims.
The content of your upper 1st class dissertation must be gauged to relate meaningfully and appropriately with the existing literature. The scope of your work must be clearly delineated, its aims relevant, interesting and cognisant of significant trends in the field, and its findings compelling, persuasive and important.
Your thorough understanding of the data collection methods applicable in your chosen field must be communicated unambiguously to the reader.
Justify your chosen methodology through a rigorous comparative analysis of available alternatives and evaluate the advantages and drawbacks of the chosen approach. Demonstrate a thorough and deeply engaged understanding of the tissue of ideas and theoretical paradigms surrounding your chosen area of research and remain mindful of this background conceptual framework when discussing your findings.
To achieve the very highest marks you must appropriate these ideas to your own needs and use them to render your data intelligible. Proper chapter development, subheadings, introductory and concluding sections: Logical development of argument should be mirrored in — and facilitated by — coherent and intuitive organisation of material. Employ linking devices to guide the reader across chapters.
For an upper 1st class dissertation, the quality of your written English should be consistent with expectations for any serious piece of academic research, which is to say absolutely impeccable. Your comfort with the academic register should be second nature, lending a consistent assured tone throughout.
Total accuracy in usage of specialist vocabulary is required. You will have an extremely wide first-hand knowledge of the relevant literature and the broad knowledge base which this brings. Reference material from an extensive variety of sources and demonstrate your expert scholarly acumen through citation of esoteric texts and unusual material alongside mastery of the core material. The material that you reference should be brought entirely under your command through a prodigious capacity to identify, draw out, critique, dissect and evaluate key concepts.
In your analyses consider provenance as well as implications. Ensure not only the relevance of your findings, but other attributes such as significance for the field, reproducibility, and the extent to which such findings can be generalised. Not only the nature of your findings but their position in relation to existing research must be thoroughly discussed.
This initial section of a first-class dissertation should include a background of the particular study, and it is often one of the hardest sections to write. The introduction prepares the reader for the content to follow and provides a proper context for the relevant research. It is often easier to edit this section of the dissertation after you have completed the remaining sections of the document.
A well-written introduction will motivate and interest the reader, whilst a poorly worded introduction will have the exact opposite effect. The introduction will also lay out the thesis for your academic paper, which is the issue your paper will discuss and analyse. A solid, well-written thesis will be clearly expressed, specific and arguable. The second part of a first-class thesis, called a literature review , must centre on current issues that pertain to your particular research area or topic, practice and theory.
The author must also present a solid statement highlighting the problems that will be researched. This means choosing relevant journal articles that are current.
For example, if the dissertation is written in , the news and journal articles should be no older than , unless they are key texts and papers which have shaped the issue in question. Writing a solid thesis or dissertation also involves analysing relevant models and theories related to a thorough literature search. Some recommended sources for the literature review include newspapers, the news, textbooks and journal articles. It is also crucial that students verify the accuracy and reliability of any secondary data sources.
Many reliable sources can be found online on sites such as www. Students must adopt a critical survey approach when they write a first-class thesis. This includes using SPSS for data analysis if the research involves questionnaires. Business research books are are commended source to investigate the various research methods that can be used.
The author of a thesis can choose to adopt qualitative, rather than quantitative research methods. This will depend on your personal preference, and your affinity for statistics and numbers. If you are unsure which method you should use, it is best to discuss the issue with your supervisor. In addition, the research methodology will determine the analysis of the primary data. For example, questionnaires will involve the use of the SPSS program, whereas descriptive patterns can be used for any interviews conducted with focus groups.
Rather than implying that thecontent must be negative, the author must simply adopt a questioningapproach and attempt to explain the findings of the research. Studentsmust clearly demonstrate the validity of their argument and interpret,demonstrate and explain it as thoroughly as possible.
If a thesis or dissertation includes elements such as additional statistics, tables, calculations or figures, the author must include a complete and critical explanation or comment for each. If you fail to include any comments or you provide an insufficient explanation, you may end up losing valuable marks. The final chapter of a first-class dissertation is called the conclusion, and it should include recommendations and conclusions that incite additional investigation or action.
Any current issues relating to the research topic should be presented and arguments both for and against the topic should be included. When you reference your thesis or dissertation, you need to ensure all of your references are correctly cited and consistent. You should use the Harvard system for this type of academic document.
Details about this particular referencing system can be found on any of the major online search engines such as MSN, Yahoo! If you want to earn a high mark for your thesis or dissertation, you must pay proper attention to your writing style. The writing style of this type of academic paper is very different from other informal documents such as personal letters. Make sure you take note of the following guidelines, which reflect proper writing style for dissertations:.
A first-class thesis or dissertation should also not include an excessive use of technical language. A clear, concise writing style is recommended for writing such an academic document. This is the recommended format for academic documents such as theses. The goal of a dissertation or thesis is not to make a judgment, but topresent a valid, well-researched argument regarding a certain topic.
Proper punctuation, spelling and grammar Make sure all of your sentences are correctly punctuated and that there are no spelling mistakes. You should also develop each of your paragraphs properly and include appropriate linking phrases or words to guide the reader through the various sections of the thesis. Most paragraphs should include about five to six sentences, although some may be shorter.
Enlist the help of a native English speaker to proofread your thesis if English is not your first language. Non-native English speakers have a much greater probability of making grammatical or syntactical errors in their academic paper. Hence, you should ensure your dissertation does not contain any spelling or grammatical errors before submitting the document to your supervisor. You will lose marks for submitting a paper that contains numerous errors and has not been proofread and corrected.
An error-free thesis or dissertation will also convey a more professional appearance and be much easier for the marker to read. During the initial planning of your thesis, you do not need to focus on issues such as verb agreement. However, you should allot sufficient time to correct any grammatical or spelling errors as you write your dissertation. Your writing skills will continue to improve as you rewrite your academic paper.
This process will also enable you to convey your ideas more succinctly, rather than merely jotting down any last-minute ideas.