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Dissertations offer you a great opportunity to investigate a topic of particular interestDissertation Tutorial, Image of the dissertation tutorial
to you with a view to discovering new knowledge or practice.

Take a look at our online Dissertation tutorial for an overview of getting started.

Don't forget that a dissertation must take a critical stance.

If you are working at Level 7 or above take a look at the Postgraduate research pages.



  • Types of dissertation

    Dissertations usually fall into one of two main types;

    1. Research based i.e. you carry out a piece of original research as part of your study.
    2. Review or audit. This could be a detailed literature review perhaps combined with reflective practice and asking for recommendations to develop a new idea, procedure or policy.

    Ensure you read your dissertation assignment brief carefully to see what you are expected to do. 

    Take a look at our online Dissertation tutorial for an overview of each type.

  • Finding a topic and proposals

    Ask yourself:

    • Is the topic of academic significance?
    • Is the topic manageable in the time available?
    • Is it a suitably narrow focus?
    • What is your own standpoint on the topic? How do your values and beliefs affect your research?
    • Have you created a balanced and objective approach to your research?
    • But most of all is it something you are interested in as you will be spending a lot of time with this topic.
  • Structure

    Please read your module guide and/or check with your tutor about the sections that are required for your particular dissertation.  

    Each section has specific requirements but you are expected to maintain a critical stance to ensure you create a deep understanding of the topic.

    Research Dissertation

    A fairly typical structure is as follows:

    • title page
    • contents page
    • abstract
    • introduction - Sets the context that justfies your research topic and identifies the key research question
    • literature review
    • methodology - how you carried out the research, justifying the approach
    • results: can include graphs
    • discussion - critical discussion of the findings
    • conclusion - any significant findings, implications for further research, any limitations to your research
    • recommendations (where appropriate)
    • appendices (if necessary)
    • reference list/bibliography (using Cite them Right)

    Review Dissertations

    An sample structure could be:

    • title
    • contents page
    • abstract
    • introduction -Sets the context that justfies your research topic and identifies the key research question
    • main body – search methodology, literature review, critical discussion divided into themes or issues
    • conclusion -any significant findings, implications for practice, any limitations to your research
    • Proposal (if required)
    • appendices (if necessary)
    • references / bibliography (using Cite them Right)
  • Writing it up

    Many of the skills you use in completing your essays will be vital when writing your dissertation. Why not take a little time to refresh these skills by clicking on the following links:

    Planning and layout
    Critical reading
    Critical Writing
    Developing arguments – check out the Essay Frameworks.


    The Academic Phrasebank also provides some good tips on how to word specific sections of your dissertation.

  • Further guidance

    Enlist the support of your dissertation supervisor. They will be able to help you with defining your proposal, selecting your methodology and check you are on track to answer your topic.

    The Final Chapter resource from Leeds University is a very good guide to  tackling your dissertation.

    Academic Phrasebank – a fabulous resource showing you phrases and words in introduce your dissertation, critically analyse your findings or use evidence in your discussions. 

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