Abstract (~250 words)
Chapter 1: Introduction (~1000)
Chapter 2: Literature Review (~3500)
Chapter 3: Methodology (~1500)
Chapter 4: Results and Analysis (~1500)
Chapter 5: Discussion (~2000)
Chapter 6: Conclusions & Recommendations (~500)
The first section of your introduction should quickly prepare the reader for what you are
going to say and generally introduce the topic under investigation. It is likely to give the
background, aims and justification for the chosen subject, and to place the work in context.
The objectives of the dissertation should be clear from the beginning and the reader
(examiner) should be able to follow how the dissertation proceeds to meet its objectives.
The Literature Review:
The Literature Review should demonstrate the student\’s familiarity with the available
literature on the topic, and in most cases, the literature review should be included in a
separate chapter. It is important that the findings of the dissertation are related to the
existing body of knowledge on the topic. Thus, students should carry out literature searches
as soon as they have established what their topics are to be. It may be that the literature will
indicate a modification of initial objectives and research design. Remember it is very
important to illustrate that you can make use of the literature to set out a conceptual
framework which makes a case for and supports your own research topic. It is not sufficient
to simply list texts for the sake of including them – they need to be carefully chosen, critically
analysed and essential to your argument.
In most cases the Literature Review should proceed from general to the particular, starting
first with core texts in your subject area, moving from there to specialist subject texts and concluding with the most up do date information you can find, most probably drawn from
specialist journals and conference proceedings. As you write you should be developing a
clear structural framework, and commenting on core themes and concepts as you go.
Ultimately the Literature Review should identify current problems that appear to be
unresolved; these problems or research gaps in the literature should form the basis of your
You should translate these problems into specific Research Objectives which your
subsequent enquiries will investigate. Remember it is very important to define your research
problem very clearly so as the reader is left in no doubt as to what you are investigating.
The final sub-section of the Literature Review should concisely state the overall project aim
and specific research objectives. Alternatively, you may wish to state the aim and objectives
in a separate, short chapter headed Project Aim and Objectives.
This chapter may alternatively be headed Methods and Materials. The Research
Methodology should outline the research methods chosen and explain why this route was
taken and other alternatives rejected. This chapter should fully justify the choice of
approach to the study that has been made since different methodologies are appropriate for
different research objectives. In effect as well as describing what method(s) of data capture
you are going to employ you should also clearly explain why you chose that particular
research method or methods.
Specifically you should comment on:
Sampling methods: size and type of sample utilised, with reasons
Data Capture Technique: type of instrument or approach used – e.g. questionnaire,
in-depth interviews, field trials, again with reasons
You may wish to comment further on the underlying reasoning behind the content/format of
particular questions asked.
Analysis of Data obtained: state the approaches used for the data set what
statistical methods were used with quantitative or
qualitative data, and why?
Constraints faced should also be acknowledged, normally the scope and limitations of your
research should be cited here.
It is important to plan and timetable data collection and analysis, especially if the former
involves contacting outside organisations. Researchers are required to follow a code of
practice which involves respect and consideration for those from whom they collect data.
Apart from the normal courtesies it requires complete integrity in dealing with them. It is
clearly recognised that how the data is collected and analysed will depend upon its nature
and the objectives of the study, but it is essential to avoid subjective interpretations.
In the Results chapter you should present and interpret your research findings. In
presenting your findings you should try to make use of a variety of concise presentation
strategies which are likely to include: tables of data, figures, diagrams, images and
quotations as appropriate. Remember, simply providing blocks of narrative text is boring to
the reader and is therefore less likely to communicate your findings effectively. Always refer
to the table, figure, etc. when describing your results. Avoid discussing the results at this
stage because this belongs in the Discussion chapter. It is in the Results chapter that you
would state the output from any statistical tests carried out on the data.
When discussing your findings it is crucial to relate back to your specific Research
Objectives and also to evaluate your findings in the context of the background set up in your
Introduction and Literature Review. It is in the Discussion which you will find an opportunity
to demonstrate your skills of analysis (looking at the component parts of a complex problem
piece by piece) and synthesis (using your new-found knowledge and relating it to previous
research findings to arrive at a more competent and overall picture).
it is in the Discussion that you may wish to state any limitations of the project although remember that most projects will have limitations because of practical, time or financial considerations. Similarly, your study may suggest recommendations for further research.
Abstract (~250 words)