09 August 2010

On writing a dissertation

This is what I have been up to when not posting to this blog. Honest!

These notes originate from my efforts to help an old friend undertaking a taught Master's course, at a university which seemed to devise its regulations around the key principle that under no circumstances should, or could, a supervisor be helpful. So my reaction to his first almost complete draft was to say that it needed to be completely re-organised; it was great content, but did not follow the conventions of a dissertation. Quite reasonably he asked how he was supposed to know that? This is a game he would only play once, whereas supervisors and assessors and external examiners are familiar with it. He suggested,
    "I should have found (useful) a model outline for the MA, like
    A. Intro could include..........and should not......
    B. Literary review could..... and should not..............
    C. Further Chapters could.... and should not...........
    D. Conclusion could ...and should not...... "
So this is my attempt to provide just that. I had just assumed that it already existed in practically every text on Research Methods, but on the basis of the sample I have consulted. it doesn't. I've already modified it in response to some very useful suggestions from people on lists I belong to, and plan to continue to do so—so please write to me (address in the footer) and together we can improve it further. Thanks.

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Comments welcome, but I am afraid I have had to turn moderation back on, because of inappropriate use. Even so, I shall process them as soon as I can.