What Is a Dissertation: Everything You Need to Know

Studying is hard work that gets rewarded only towards its end, as a student obtains the degree they’ve been focused on earning for years. There is one huge milestone between long periods of studies and a degree, though, and it lies in writing dissertation. Cambridge, Imperial College London and other historically known universities don’t differ from smaller and less popular ones in this regard, so whether you’re studying in Oxford or in Suffolk, you’ll be still working on this huge research project. But what is a dissertation in particular?  

In short, this is a complex, obligatory part of education process that helps determine if you’re ready to receive your Master’s or doctoral degree. There are two major types of it, empirical and non-empirical, also known as lit review method. Empirical project is based on primary research as you’re conducting it yourself, choosing a sample group, sample questions, etc. The literature review one involves analysis of peer-reviewed sources along with experiments performed in them. Conclusions are derived depending on the established outcomes. But these are not the only things you should know about conducting such an essential study.

Dissertation and Essay: What’s the Difference?

In the course of their studies, young people write essays numerous times, to the point where it becomes a familiar, already expected process. Many of them hope that if they’re successful in essay-writing, they won’t face issues with bigger projects as well. In some ways, it’s true because essays help practice relevant skills in addition to honing one’s writing style. In other respects, though, they belong to an entirely different work level.

First, essays are much shorter. They rarely exceed 5K words while dissertations can stretch up to 20K words or more. Then there is a fact that essays focus on a smaller subject area and dissertations entail a large-scale research that analyses each part of the topic. Basically, when crafting an essay, you are just scratching the top of the iceberg. When working on a dissertation, you’ll be tackling this whole monstrosity in a meticulous manner. Dissertation definition also comprises original research. You should bring something new in it whether by presenting personal research design or by deriving unique conclusions from a set of handpicked sources.

Specific Skills You’ll be Needing For Dissertation Writing

As a very particular kind of work, big projects require demonstration of specific abilities. Ideally, you were developing them during the previous years, back when writing essays. Without these skills, you’re unlikely to succeed in getting a degree. There are four main skills you are going to be showing.

  • Originality

A student must employ this skill from the very start, back when choosing their topic. While it shouldn’t necessarily be 100% unique, it still has to reflect one’s personal input. Think about something that you are genuinely interested in: twist the existing research or regard common topics under a newer angle.

  • Critical thinking

Dissertation meaning is tightly connected with your ability to analyse information and draw conclusions on its basis. Each part should flow smoothly, with logical links established between ideas and outcomes being clearly defined.  

  • Synthesis skills

Since each project of this type comprises thorough, detailed literature review, students should know how to regard different ideas, connect them, as well as draw differences and similarities between them. Each source shouldn’t be viewed just separately, you must analyse sets of them built on ideas they represent.   

  • Attentiveness  

This is pretty common skill but it’s vital nonetheless. Pay attention to templates, instructions, and suggestions. Check how everything is supposed to be formatted and approach your task with utmost seriousness. Re-read everything you write and don’t shy away from editing if needed.

Why Does My Degree Program Include a Dissertation?

Degree is a guarantee that a person has completed some education program and possesses valuable knowledge and skills. For this reason, it’s not surprising that your course might require some evidence of what you’ve learned. If you start wondering, “What is dissertation?” in this context, then it is a certificate proving your competency. That’s the reason why your program presupposes it.

Dissertation Is Completed: What’s Next?

If everything is written, edited, proofread, and re-read, then you are going to move to the next stage, which is defense. For this, students should practice their speaking and oral presentation skills. Special Committee is going to hear what you have to say: they will ask questions about your project and research processes you’ve engaged in. Be ready to give complete, thoughtful replies. This is another crucial part of getting your degree.

Stay Cool-Headed and Work At Your Pace

Now that you know how to define dissertation, all you need is start working. Give yourself enough time so you wouldn’t be in a hurry. Work on each part, consult with others, and don’t be scared of asking for dissertation help. Plan everything in advance and adhere to your composed outline because it might help you stay on track.