How to Lay out a dissertation?
The advice given here is very general in nature: you must always check with your supervisor and with course documentation what the specific requirements are on your course.
A good dissertation will:
have a clear objective, based on a well worked out thesis or central question.
be well planned and widely researched.
show that the student has a good grasp of relevant concepts and is able to apply these in their own work.
include analysis, critical evaluation and discussion, rather than simple description.
contain consistent and correct referencing.
be structured and expressed in an appropriate academic way.
show your tutors that you have learnt something on the course and have been able to use this to produce a well argued extended piece of academic work.
A mediocre dissertation will:
have a very general or unclear title.
be poorly planned, with a narrow field of research.
rely heavily on source material, with little or no attempt to apply this to the student’s aims.
be mostly descriptive.
contain little or no referencing, perhaps in an incorrect format.
be poorly structured, with possible plagiarism of source material.
not convince your tutors that you have learnt much.
Some tips on how to produce a good dissertation
Start thinking early on about what you would like to write about. Consult as soon as possible with your supervisor for advice on the expected scope of your dissertation. Remember that you will not simply be writing about “IT in Primary Education”, but instead will be focussing on specific aspects, perhaps trying to solve a problem, querying currently held beliefs, or arguing a particular case or “thesis”. Your final title may instead be something like:
A computer for every pupil?
A critical analysis of the over-reliance on Information Technology in current UK primary education.
This title will therefore probably need to be refined over the weeks before you agree the final version with your supervisor.
Planning and research
Your dissertation is a major commitment and will be a long way to deciding your final award. It is obviously very important, therefore, to plan meticulously.