Some Frequently Asked Dissertation Questions

Finding answers to some of the most common and frequently asked dissertation questions

When students are asked to do a dissertation for the first time, the most common and frequently asked dissertation question is “what is a dissertation?” A dissertation is an academic document written for a degree program such as a Masters or a PhD. The student will study and research a certain research problem in a field of his study and write an extensive and in-depth review and analysis of the problem after conducting research on the matter. Writing a dissertation is a time consuming task as it requires investment of time and energy. Writing a dissertation will develop the research and writing skills of the student immensely. This document will act as a stepping stone for your future career plans.

Once you have figured out what a dissertation is you will have many questions regarding your dissertation. Dissertation questions will vary from person to person. Below is a list of the most common questions asked regarding their dissertations and the answers to such FAQ’s.

How long should a dissertation be?
There is no set rule which states the length of dissertation should be an exact number of pages. But the requirements differ from university to university as well as the degree program. A normal Masters dissertation is approximately 15,000 – 25,000 words. But a PhD dissertation can be longer. The length of your dissertation will also depend upon the comprehensiveness of information you have gathered and your ability to write. Some papers will have a fairly large literature review extending the writing. Including related but not directly relevant information in appendices can help students to keep the dissertation within the required word limit.

How to do the relevant research?
Research for a dissertation is a mix of both primary and secondary data at most times. How you do your research will depend to a great extent on the dissertation methodology. The secondary research component which is important for the completion of the literature review can make use of internet data bases of previous scholarly research papers, dissertations and academic journal articles. Extensive reference to text books on the subject will also be needed to get the theoretical framework for the dissertation. The primary research for the study comes from the student’s own investigation in to the matter. You may use various research tools and methods to uncover information on the subject and test your hypothesis etc.

How to structure a dissertation?
Your dissertation should have a cover page, an abstract, a dissertation acknowledgement, a table of content, introductory chapter, the literature review chapter, methodology chapter, the analysis and discussion chapter, conclusion and the appendix. This is the standard structure for any dissertation.

How to select a topic for the dissertation?
A good dissertation is dependent on the selection of a good dissertation topic. You need to select something within your study area, and a subject that can add important knowledge to the existing work of other scholars. Your investigations should ideally fill a gap in knowledge within the chosen field of study.

How do I begin the writing process?
The main requirement here would be to organize your self. Draw up a dissertation project plan and work with an outline. This will help you to get organized with the writing process. Listing out all relevant information and what you want to include in your dissertation will help you. Examine the lay out of past dissertations to get an idea as to how you should begin.

Remember that everything you write has to be checked and rechecked. Check if all relevant in formation has been included in your dissertation and you have not left anything out. Usually a paper of this nature goes through 3-4 rounds of drafting and editing. A good dissertation should not have any grammar and spelling errors. It’s a formal document and needs to be completed in a professional manner.

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