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Guide to undergraduate dissertations in the social sciences

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❶When choosing a topic think of an area of study that has interested you throughout you college career.

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Thesis statements
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Purpose statements

A thesis statement is a sentence that makes an assertion about a topic and predicts how the topic will be developed. It does not simply announce a topic: X has made a significant impact on the teenage population due to its. A thesis statement makes a promise to the reader about the scope, purpose, and direction of the paper. It summarizes the conclusions that the writer has reached about the topic. A thesis statement is generally located near the end of the introduction. Sometimes in a long paper, the thesis will be expressed in several sentences or an entire paragraph.

A thesis statement is focused and specific enough to be proven within the boundaries of the paper. Key words nouns and verbs should be specific, accurate, and indicative of the range of research, thrust of the argument or analysis, and the organization of supporting information. A purpose statement announces the purpose, scope, and direction of the paper. It tells the reader what to expect in a paper and what the specific focus will be.

This part of the purpose statement aims to answer the question: Why should we care? In other words, why should we be interested in the research problem or issue that you want to address? The types of motivation that may drive your dissertation will vary depending on the subject area you are studying, as well as the specific dissertation topic you are interested in.

Individuals face many problems and issues ranging from those associated with welfare , to health , prosperity , freedoms , security , and so on. From a health perspective, you may be concerned with the rise in childhood obesity and the potential need for regulation to combat the advertising of fast food to children.

In terms of welfare and freedoms , you may be interested in the introduction of new legislation that aims to protect discrimination in the workplace, and its implications for small businesses.

Organisations also have a wide range of problems and issues that need to be addressed, whether relating to people , finances , operations , competition , regulations , and so forth. From a people perspective, you may be interested in how organisations use flexible working options to alleviate employee stress and burnout.

In terms of regulations , you may be concerned with the growth in Internet piracy and the ways that organisations are dealing with such a threat. Society is another lens through which you can view problems and issues that need to be addressed. These may relate to a wide range of societal risks or other problems and issues such as factory farming, the potential legalisation of marijuana, the health-related effects of talking on cell phones, and so forth.

You may be interested in understanding individuals? When communicating the motivation driving your dissertation to the reader, it is important to explain why the problem or issue you are addressing is interesting: It is not sufficient to simply state what the problem or issue is.

The expectation is that you, the learner, take responsibility for your own learning and that you produce a literature review, you choose a method for undertaking a study, write up your findings and discuss the outcomes in a discussion section. So this part of site provides you with a better understanding of the following:. Watch What is a dissertation? Traditionally, an undergraduate degree in the social sciences and humanities uses a dissertation for a final piece of study.

The degree might also offer other alternatives such as the option of an extended essay, or an independent learning project, or a senior paper. This is because the process of producing this type of assessment enables you to:. In many ways this is about doing social science rather than writing about the social science that others have produced.

Some of these skills are clearly academic and related to your discipline. Others are much broader and develop your effectiveness in collecting, manipulating and interrogating information, its application and the production of reports - all of which are useful skills in employment.

For many undergraduate degree students, a significant element of final year study is an independent learning project. According to Todd et al while these projects may vary greatly in scope and nature e.

Ultimately you will be drawing together issues of theory, method and methodology and bringing them to bear on your chosen topic. Those dissertations that can best accomplish this integration or even synthesis are often the most conceptually and methodologically accomplished pieces of work. The way in which this type of assessment is organised will vary from institution to institution and course to course.

It is important that you familiarise yourself with the particular arrangements for your degree. Look for a module handbook which sets out these requirements and how you are allocated a dissertation tutor or supervisor.

Your supervisor and any handbooks that are produced are excellent sources of information and support and will help you understand how the dissertation process works.

The following checklist will start you on the dissertation journey, start planning and also clarify what is expected of you. Does the dissertation have any special status in the calculation of your final degree classification? When do you need to start planning the dissertation formally?

Some degree programmes start this process in the second year, others in the final year. Are there any key interim dates when for example outlines, sections or requests for the ethical approval of proposed research have to be submitted?

How long is the dissertation and does the word count include the bibliography and appendices? Is there a schedule of meetings that you have to attend or do you arrange them with your supervisor? Watch the What is special about a dissertation? The dissertation offers you the opportunity to further develop your subject expertise and your social research, intellectual and organisational skills:.

This process improves your subject expertise, is a good preparation for further study and research at postgraduate level, and requires you to work independently and methodically in a variety of intellectually demanding contexts. For all these reasons, the dissertation can be seen as the culmination of your undergraduate studies. Here you not only demonstrate the intellectual, study, research and presentation skills that you have developed throughout your degree course, but also create something which is uniquely your own.

In other courses it is set out what they want you to find out. This is about your individual thought and direction — you can go off in your chosen direction, branch out and make different things relate to each other. Todd, Bannister and Clegg, , pp All dissertations will vary in format, style and design. It is important that you familiarise yourself with the particular requirements of your institution and degree programme. A typical format guide would require the dissertation to be word-processed with double or one-and-a-half spacing, and a wide left margin to enable binding.

Most formats would include:. Findings either a certain number of chapters or an extended essay which has clearly identified sections.

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Writing a dissertation is the culmination of a graduate student's academic experience. Selecting a topic of interest, researching and then writing about the findings of an academic investigation becomes the basis of your academic resume indicating your professional proficiency in your area of.

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The purpose statement of a dissertation proposal explains why a researcher’s study will be conducted and what the study will accomplish. It guides the research, describes the expected outcomes, and explains the means for collecting data. Purpose statements typically are a half to three-quarters of a page in length and.

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Starting the first major chapter of your dissertation (usually Chapter One: Introduction), the purpose statement establishes the intent of your entire dissertation. Just like a great song that needs a great "hook", the purpose statement needs . The dissertation is an individual student project (that follows astudents coursework) advancing an original view point on a topic ofthe students choosing with extensive suppor ting research.

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Purpose of a Thesis. Writing a thesis statement is notoriously hard. The attempt to summarize a paper in a single sentence (or two) probably causes more student frustration than anything else in writing. I have often been tempted to give up and make do with a mediocre thesis, hoping that a good argument later will make up for it. What is a Dissertation Paper? investigation of the subject in question in order to provide valid and accurate arguments supporting the students thesis. Whereas the purpose of a regular thesis is to answer one question, the dissertation has many arguments which its author has to prove.