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    I am planning on starting my dissertation during the summer holidays so the work load does not get too heavy during term time.
    I was wondering, does anyone have any advice on how to write a good dissertation?
    What makes a good dissertation?
    Thanks
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    (Original post by Mathmatician)
    I am planning on starting my dissertation during the summer holidays so the work load does not get too heavy during term time.
    I was wondering, does anyone have any advice on how to write a good dissertation?
    What makes a good dissertation?
    Thanks
    What is your topic on? Hard to say without knowing what subject you're doing.

    I guess some key general points would be:

    1) Well and thoroughly researched.

    2) Original and relevant.

    3) Clear and solid argument.

    Good idea on started during the summer, it will make a huge difference to your workload. Make sure you keep at your dissertation throughout the year, don't leave it for the final term/semester. Keep accurate and referenced notes regarding your dissertation also - it will make life so much easier when it comes to bibliography/referencing.
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    If you have a supervisor who is marking it, make sure that they are interested in your idea (and it helps if they like you as a person as well) and make sure you get as much feedback as possible from them.

    Obviously, start your research early too! If you're starting it now, just take it slow and keep an organised folder with your findings.

    It depends what you're studying though... My History dissertation was very different to a Psychology one, in terms of research and structure!
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    Don't underestimate the importance of following your uni's guidelines on things like formatting, presentation and referencing. Talking to staff at my current uni, the dissertation isn't just looking at your research skills, but your ability to follow an academic or publisher's brief (as you would for a thesis or journal paper).

    Staff tell me that they routinely have to dock marks for easily remedied issues such as using an incorrect font or font size, not including the required info on the title page, omitting sections required in the spec such as Acknowledgements, Abstract or Table of Contents, incorrect margin size and line-spacing etc.

    Whilst your focus will generally be on the content, don't overlook the "quick wins" which can gain or lose easy percentages. Don't sacrifice attention to detail.
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    (Original post by Puddles the Monkey)
    What is your topic on? Hard to say without knowing what subject you're doing.

    I guess some key general points would be:

    1) Well and thoroughly researched.

    2) Original and relevant.

    3) Clear and solid argument.

    Good idea on started during the summer, it will make a huge difference to your workload. Make sure you keep at your dissertation throughout the year, don't leave it for the final term/semester. Keep accurate and referenced notes regarding your dissertation also - it will make life so much easier when it comes to bibliography/referencing.
    Hi, it is maths based
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    Get your supervisor sorted early. I tried to meet mine in Summer as you are supposed to at my uni but I had issues getting a hold of her. Pick your topic and stick to it and make sure there is plenty to write about it. As I got half way through mine and got a bit stuck. We were always told never to pick a question that was like "To what extent" as the answer will always be "somewhat."

    Mine was: "Masculinity and Crime: What effects does masculinity play on men committing and being able to desist from crime?"
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    (Original post by Mathmatician)
    Hi, it is maths based
    I can't give you any specific help as I didn't do Maths.

    However the advice in the other posts on this thread is really solid. Make sure you speak to your supervisor and make sure you carefully read what's expected from your dissertation. Your supervisor should also show you examples of first class, second class, etc. work also, to give an idea.
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    (Original post by lyrical_lie)
    Get your supervisor sorted early. I tried to meet mine in Summer as you are supposed to at my uni but I had issues getting a hold of her. Pick your topic and stick to it and make sure there is plenty to write about it. As I got half way through mine and got a bit stuck. We were always told never to pick a question that was like "To what extent" as the answer will always be "somewhat."

    Mine was: "Masculinity and Crime: What effects does masculinity play on men committing and being able to desist from crime?"
    "To what extent" as the answer will always be "somewhat."
    That is great advice, any more stuff
    I have got my supervisor sorted out already.

    I am such a nerd I am already teaching myself next years material hahaha
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    (Original post by Mathmatician)
    "To what extent" as the answer will always be "somewhat."
    That is great advice, any more stuff
    I have got my supervisor sorted out already.

    I am such a nerd I am already teaching myself next years material hahaha
    Don't lose your references and reference as you go including page numbers. I would say as you are writing it use full references then use Ibid later as when you insert references they all change place and makes it difficult to work out which one you are referring to.
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    I didn't do a dissertation however I completed an undergraduate summer project which essentially was equivalent to a dissertation (I got funding as opposed to a grade )

    It can be fairly difficult to come up with an original idea as such within mathematics (more pure then applied) however what makes a good project is essentially:

    1. Being able to make your project easy to follow. You may come across particular derivations in your project that don't make the objective very clear. Sorting this issue out not only helps you but demonstrates that you understand the maths.

    2. Keeping a tab on your research. As you will be working with quite a few equations (my project ended up coming to about 150 equations even though it was about 20 odd pages). It then makes it fairly easy for you to follow. If you're using LaTeX then there are some good editors that help with this task

    3. Where possible showing original thought. This is what will make your project stand out. Even if it seems really small, you have though of a new way to tackle the problem. Your supervisor depending on the type of person they are (mine was fairly cool) will tell you if your thought process is good.

    For 3 this can vary a lot. My friend decided to tackle an original problem as his research area was fairly new and accessible at the level we were working. Whereas because I hadn't completed modules such as relativity I was much more limited and did half a review and half an original project

    Turned out to be okay though
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    Cover the areas that your question asks

    Thoroughly use all the usual material from the course

    Be original but original in the way you combine established material rather coming up with brand new ideas
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    hey guys,
    For a math or engineering degree, does your dissertation have to be upped up using latex?
    If not do you get extra marks for using latex?
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    (Original post by Mathmatician)
    hey guys,
    For a math or engineering degree, does your dissertation have to be upped up using latex?
    If not do you get extra marks for using latex?
    I did engineering, and for my equations I either copied them directly from Mathcad or used Word's inbuilt equation editor.
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    With regards to your dissertation, can the title be something open for example " working out something using method A" ?

    I have not started writing my dissertation but I have done a lot of research and have mentally grasped a strong understanding of what I need to do (something which takes a lot for time for me)

    Also what is a literary review ? Is it just including other papers in your discussion i.e "....Adam(1993) also agreed with this view..."?
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    (Original post by Mathmatician)
    Hi, it is maths based
    I have not written a math based one, so I can't give you specific advise, but:
    a) Ask your supervisors (or older students or maybe they are lying around anyway) for dissertations you can have a look at to understand the structure and the aim of one.
    b) Make shure, you analyse and present your ideas over the topic instead of only copying from books. And only use primary sources. (I don't know, wether you already had experience with essays, as a lot of math degrees don't require writing, thus those basic hints.) At the end referencing is crucial. Bad referencing can make any great idea obsolete, as it shows, that you are able to work scientifically.
    c) Make shure, you define and proof anything. So it is good to start early, because finding proofs under pressure is not for everyone.


    (Original post by Mathmatician)
    hey guys,
    For a math or engineering degree, does your dissertation have to be upped up using latex?
    If not do you get extra marks for using latex?
    Depends on the university, but with the other programs gotten better and better, LaTeX is no more the only software which can provide you with a good layout. Getting extra marks because of using it: No, why?
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    (Original post by Mathmatician)
    With regards to your dissertation, can the title be something open for example " working out something using method A" ?
    This is something you should discuss with someone knowing, what your dissertation is about.

    Also what is a literary review ? Is it just including other papers in your discussion i.e "....Adam(1993) also agreed with this view..."?
    It presents your knowledge of the state of the art concerning your research topic. It is usually part of your introduction. (By the way, scientific writing requires you to cite everything which has to do something with your topic/helping to proof your point. Of course not in the sense of citing every paper and including it, but at least as reference or bibliography. So it is more than just includung papers in your discussion, it actually should evolve from your work, which papers you quote and why. It has to be one stringent flow, when you read it.)
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    (Original post by Mathmatician)
    With regards to your dissertation, can the title be something open for example " working out something using method A" ?
    The title is something you agree with your supervisor. If you have one in mind now and you want to start work prior to getting a supervisor, don't stress about the structure if it too much. Anything can be rephrased to meet the right format. Bear in mind that you will be expected to format it into a research question at some point in the final diss, so it's always good to have that format in your mind as you work. It will also help you remember what you're trying to do, which can occasionally get lost as you concentrate on the detail.

    I have not started writing my dissertation but I have done a lot of research and have mentally grasped a strong understanding of what I need to do (something which takes a lot for time for me)

    Also what is a literary review ? Is it just including other papers in your discussion i.e "....Adam(1993) also agreed with this view..."?
    The lit review is a separate section of the diss, which summarises the reading that you've already done, structured a bit like an essay and linking back to your own research whenever possible.

    It's a review of the existing research around your question, which will hopefully show that you are looking at something related and useful. It will demonstrate that you know enough to write with a good basic understanding of what has been done by other people. For example, you could use it to show how your research question has been approached and answered over the past few years/decades, showing that you are part of the current research theme, or maybe explain why it's a good idea for you to go back to an older research theme and rework it.

    The exact content and direction of the lit review is something you will agree with a good supervisor. They will hopefully give you pointers for additional reading if they feel there's a gap anywhere.
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    (Original post by Mathmatician)
    With regards to your dissertation, can the title be something open for example " working out something using method A" ?

    I have not started writing my dissertation but I have done a lot of research and have mentally grasped a strong understanding of what I need to do (something which takes a lot for time for me)

    Also what is a literary review ? Is it just including other papers in your discussion i.e "....Adam(1993) also agreed with this view..."?
    I did a dissertation that scored highly in applied maths that I can send you for an example if you like.

    The main points would be to (obviously!) make sure it is very well written. Make sure your equations are numbered and referenced. All of the standard things like numbering/titling figures and tables for you contents. I found it helpful to have a structure in mind before I started writing it up.
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    Thanks for the great replies everyone. Really helpful.
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    One that your supervisor likes.
 
 
 
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