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Writing a dissertation is not an easy task. Most among you all think that the abstract and introduction should be written first of all chapters, since these are the first sections of your dissertation that your readers will read. But this is not true. You should write abstract, introduction and conclusion after writing all other chapters of your dissertation. It is because introduction and conclusion of your dissertation will match with each other and also it will provide a better understanding of your ideas behind. Another reason is that it is time saving because as your dissertation develops your ideas are likely to evolve and may give your research a different direction. As a result you may have to go back and edit or even re-write your whole introduction again. Third reason is that it will ensure that your abstract is bearing all the information for the reader so that they will have an overall idea about what you have done in your research.
Do the following things while writing your dissertation introduction:
You should include sub-sections in your introduction including headings and sub-headings and also you should highlight key references that you are going to use in your main study. Since you have already written your review of literature, it will be easier for you to find most prominent authors. This is the reason why you should write your dissertation introduction in the last. The length of your dissertation introduction depends on the total length of your dissertation. The length between 5-7% of the total dissertation is good and acceptable.
You need to tell the readers what is the purpose of this research. You should identify the gap in research and the problems that need to be addressed. You have to tell your readers why this research is needed. You should start with listing down 5-7 key references as you have mentioned in your literature review. Then write down briefly as to how they are relevant to your topic of research. Write some essential terms as well to make your reader understand your dissertation. One or two pages are enough to write the background information.
The Research Focus
Your research focus should be linked to the background information you have provided. Give an idea about the area of your intended research. You should explain the rationale behind your study. Make sure all the sections are in continuous flow and linked to each other. You need to explain your readers what is the importance of doing research in this area, what has been done in the past and in which direction your research is going. This will help you in presenting your aims and objectives.
The Value of Your Research
Here you need to clearly state the worth of your research work. Discuss about the past research on your topic and show how your work is relevant to a problem on a broader scale. You may suggest that the topic you have chosen needs critical investigation and you may be looking at your area of research from a different angle which can add value to your research. In short you should state the importance or added value of your research.
The Research and The Objectives
Every research project has an overall aim which needs to be stated clearly. State your hypothesis or research question and write your main objectives that should not be more than 3 or 4 else it will look like you don’t have a focused plan. Start with a simple objective. Start each of your objectives with a key word, such as determine, identify, examine, assess, explore, investigate, evaluate etc. Each objective should be related to your area of study. Each objective needs to be focused and it should assist you in achieving overall aim of your research. There needs to be clarity in each of your objectives. Each objective should be achievable within a specified time period.
Hence your dissertation introduction should be well organised and clear.
You need to finish this chapter in a cohesive, concise and organised manner which should answer your prime research question. It is the conclusion of your entire study at the end. It reminds your readers of the aims and objectives of your research and also reminds them what your study is all about.
You should write down the significance of your results or findings that you have achieved during your research. You can give some recommendations based on your findings or you can also suggest future prospects in that area of research. Do not make recommendations that are not linked to your research conclusion as it will not be beneficial to you. A good recommendation should be linked to your previous conclusions and aims and objectives of your research.
Additionally, you should state the main contributions of your research study in that specific area of research and what you have added to the existing knowledge in that field. You need to tell the readers how your research work is unique. You can demonstrate how your research study has supported the past research in your area of study and how it has contributed in filling the gap in research. You can also highlight your publications and conference proceedings as examples of how you have made your contribution. This section should be comprehensive bearing multiple sub-sections.
You have to tell your readers how you have achieved your objectives, give recommendations for future research and show that you have contributed meaningfully to an existing knowledge in that field. Similar to your dissertation introduction the length of your dissertation conclusion can be between 5-7% of total dissertation.
It should provide a brief synopsis of your work which gives your readers an overall sense of what you have done. It is the first section that the readers will read in your dissertation, so you need to mention all the main points in your abstract. You should write it after finishing all chapters of your dissertation.
The abstract is a short summary of your work, which you should include after the title page and acknowledgements. It should be written in not more than one page or even shorter i.e. about 200-300 words. You may include some key words at the end of your abstract that should be specifically related to your research. You should avoid using too many abbreviations while writing your abstract since it should be understandable to your readers. The abstract is the most important part of your dissertation. You need to present your synopsis in a logical and well organised manner that will explain what you have achieved with your research. Ultimately, a good abstract will influence the readers to continue on reading the entire dissertation.
After writing you need to revise your rough draft several times so that your research project will keep focused. Check and remove words and phrases that are used as fillers, improve your selection of words, and do correct the punctuation and grammatical errors if any. Look for sentences that are incomplete, mistakes in spellings, apostrophes in plurals, quotation rules followed or not, comma use, elimination of contracted words.
Read your document more than once. Read your document backwards. By doing so, you will be able to find more errors. Read the sentences from last one, and then read the second one, third one and so on. Keep on doing this until you reach the first sentence of your document.
Ask someone else to review your document and tell their opinion about it. Let them give their feedback and do the needful changes. Finally, print and proofread your dissertation to eliminate minor mistakes either grammatical or typographical errors and ensure that your dissertation is perfect. Make sure you have not excluded any vital points and your dissertation is free of errors.
Now next time when you go to write your dissertation, make it perfect by keeping all the above points in your mind.
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