Smart planning of social policy dissertation: advice from postgraduate students

Your dissertation is the largest and the most important piece of work you are ever going to have to do throughout your academic career. Therefore, it is essential that you invest your time and effort into writing an impressive project. Planning is essential when it comes to writing a good thesis and you should put just as much effort into the beginning stage. Here is a guide to writing a dissertation.

  • Introduction: In the introduction, you will write a background to the problem that you are trying to solve and a statement that defines the issue. You will then go on to clarify the main purpose of the study including the research questions. You will then need to explain the terms that you are using in the project. You will also talk about your expectations and any assumptions you may have made.
  • Literature review: In this chapter you will discuss the research you used for the project. This is a discussion of previous research into the subject and the theoretical concepts you intend on using to defend your arguments.
  • Methodology: Here you will detail the research methods that you chose to use for your study. For example, was the study quantitative or qualitative? Did you use interviews or questionnaires? You will need to discuss in detail how you used your research methods. The point here is that someone else should be able to duplicate the study from what you have written in the methodology section.
  • Findings: What were the answers to the questions; did your findings confirm or refute your thesis statement?
  • Conclusion: This is the final chapter of your thesis. Here you will provide a summary of the study and provide a brief report of the results. You will also need to mention how your findings benefit the academic community. You are also required to include recommendations for further research in the future. This is where you will discuss the issues and problems that you had with the study in the hopes that someone else will want to replicate it so they can solve the problems that you have mentioned.
  • Final thought:Once you have written the outline for your dissertation you will need to arrange a meeting with your supervisor to discuss whether or not you are heading in the right direction. They will be able to give you the appropriate advice on how you can improve your thesis before you begin and settle into the writing process.