Crystalclearmagic
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Hi everyone,

How are you structuring / did you structure your dissertation?

And have you included a literature review in it?

Lots of dissertation guides talk about this but my supervisor hasn't said anything about a literature review - my dissertation is on Mongolian History in the time of Genghis Khan.

Thanks in advance!

ps. sorry if this is meant to go elsewhere... mods, please move as necessary
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Klix88
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(Original post by Crystalclearmagic)
Hi everyone,

How are you structuring / did you structure your dissertation?

And have you included a literature review in it?

Lots of dissertation guides talk about this but my supervisor hasn't said anything about a literature review - my dissertation is on Mongolian History in the time of Genghis Khan.

Thanks in advance!

ps. sorry if this is meant to go elsewhere... mods, please move as necessary
I've never known a dissertation without a lit review. It's crucial to show that you have a good understanding of the most recent thinking around your subject, how current ideas came to be as they are, and where your diss fits into the debate.

Ask your supervisor if they have any advice. They might be waiting to see if you're intelligent enough to notice the major hole in your current plan. Or they might just consider it so obvious that they haven't felt the need to offer guidance.
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ivancampo
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i was advised by my dissertation tutor to structure mine in the following order.

1.) Contents page 2.) Introduction 3.) Literature Review 4.)Methodology 5.)Findings 6.)Discussion/Conclusion 7.) References

I included many different sub headings within the chapters.

It's difficult to advise as all dissertation's are different in terms of content & some require unique structures and chapters. Meet your tutor and i'm sure they that will offer you some helpful advice on structure.

As the tutor marks the dissertation, it's very important that they approve of the structure and layout.
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Crystalclearmagic
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(Original post by Klix88)
I've never known a dissertation without a lit review. It's crucial to show that you have a good understanding of the most recent thinking around your subject, how current ideas came to be as they are, and where your diss fits into the debate.

Ask your supervisor if they have any advice. They might be waiting to see if you're intelligent enough to notice the major hole in your current plan. Or they might just consider it so obvious that they haven't felt the need to offer guidance.
So is a lit review just a discussion of secondary sources (basically scholarship) - but not about the primary sources? I keep thinking it's like a 'book review' - if you get what I mean... Ugh, sorry this is probably all a very dumb question My mind is in a massive kaffuffle...

My supervisor isn't the most helpful person... just a "yeah, that's good" and a "rethink that" is perhaps all I ever get :/

(Original post by ivancampo)
i was advised by my dissertation tutor to structure mine in the following order.

1.) Contents page 2.) Introduction 3.) Literature Review 4.)Methodology 5.)Findings 6.)Discussion/Conclusion 7.) References

I included many different sub headings within the chapters.

It's difficult to advise as all dissertation's are different in terms of content & some require unique structures and chapters. Meet your tutor and i'm sure they that will offer you some helpful advice on structure.

As the tutor marks the dissertation, it's very important that they approve of the structure and layout.
What subject is your dissertation on? I'm just thinking Methodology doesn't fit with a humanities dissertation? Perhaps I'm just thinking of my Geography A Level with the tables and data....


--- And thanks guys for the reply
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sliceofcake
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(Original post by Crystalclearmagic)
So is a lit review just a discussion of secondary sources (basically scholarship) - but not about the primary sources? I keep thinking it's like a 'book review' - if you get what I mean... Ugh, sorry this is probably all a very dumb question My mind is in a massive kaffuffle...

My supervisor isn't the most helpful person... just a "yeah, that's good" and a "rethink that" is perhaps all I ever get :/



What subject is your dissertation on? I'm just thinking Methodology doesn't fit with a humanities dissertation? Perhaps I'm just thinking of my Geography A Level with the tables and data....


--- And thanks guys for the reply
Hello!
Perhaps your department has a dissertation or study skills guide you could look at that will help you. I think everywhere is different, depending on degree type and department. My department has a guide and it said they expect 3, at most 4 chapters (not including introduction and conclusion). I'm a humanities student and I talked to my advisor about a literature review and he said not to bother, he didn't feel it was necessary or even that relevant. If I want to apply scholarly views in my discussion then I should do it at the points where it's relevant, rather than wasting a chapter on analysing other people's work. The department's guide said methodology shouldn't take more than a few sentences (I study History of Art, so it's not like we can carry out surveys or active research).
I separated my dissertation into 3 chapters, arranged linearly (as makes sense for my dissertation). I'm approaching each chapter like it's an essay, though being conscious that it's a part of a larger piece of work so I write each introduction and chapter conclusion differently.
A source I used for comparison that I imagine will help you more than it has me is this:
http://www.bristol.ac.uk/history/stu...dissertations/
I found it can help to see what other people did. Most dissertation articles or advice is oriented towards projects for which you can have different approaches, whereas I think humanities ones are like a massive essay.
I hope I've been of some use here!
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Hal.E.Lujah
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At what stage are you on for dissertation?


To be honest, if still planning it out, I'd say it's best to just write large amounts in sessions towards the complete piece. They don't have to fit in anywhere yet.


Unless it's due over the next few months... in which case you really really left it late to plan a structure. I think that was actually the first thing I did.


Mine was structured (For English Literature)

- Foreward (This was probably only applicable due to the Disso criteria for my uni, had stuff like reasoning for the study and difficulties in planning).

- Introduction (1000 Words)

- Main 'Point' One (2000 Words)
-Conclusions drawn from point one (500 Words)
- Main 'Point' Two (2000 Words)
-Conclusions drawn from point two (500 Words)
- Main 'Point' Three (2000 Words)
-Conclusions drawn from point three (500 Words)

- Conclusion from Main Points collectively (1000 Words)
- Literature review (500 I guess?)
- References/Bibliography (Under 500)


I'm pretty sure I got the order right for references/biblio. I've gone on that from memory though so wouldn't be surprised if have mixed it up. Definitely talk to your tutor about ordering and submission questions!
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Crystalclearmagic
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(Original post by sliceofcake)
Hello!
Perhaps your department has a dissertation or study skills guide you could look at that will help you. I think everywhere is different, depending on degree type and department. My department has a guide and it said they expect 3, at most 4 chapters (not including introduction and conclusion). I'm a humanities student and I talked to my advisor about a literature review and he said not to bother, he didn't feel it was necessary or even that relevant. If I want to apply scholarly views in my discussion then I should do it at the points where it's relevant, rather than wasting a chapter on analysing other people's work. The department's guide said methodology shouldn't take more than a few sentences (I study History of Art, so it's not like we can carry out surveys or active research).
I separated my dissertation into 3 chapters, arranged linearly (as makes sense for my dissertation). I'm approaching each chapter like it's an essay, though being conscious that it's a part of a larger piece of work so I write each introduction and chapter conclusion differently.
A source I used for comparison that I imagine will help you more than it has me is this:
http://www.bristol.ac.uk/history/stu...dissertations/
I found it can help to see what other people did. Most dissertation articles or advice is oriented towards projects for which you can have different approaches, whereas I think humanities ones are like a massive essay.
I hope I've been of some use here!
Yeah I've looked at the bristol dissertations too! And I guess I'm panicking because there's no "formula" for it... everyone does it so differently but can get a great mark even so.... ahhhhhhhhhhh :eek:


(Original post by Hal.E.Lujah)
At what stage are you on for dissertation?


To be honest, if still planning it out, I'd say it's best to just write large amounts in sessions towards the complete piece. They don't have to fit in anywhere yet.


Unless it's due over the next few months... in which case you really really left it late to plan a structure. I think that was actually the first thing I did.
It's due in a month's time... I tend to leave the writing part till late anyway and I'm not worried about that. I have a structure and it's been looked at by my useless supervisor; I've not really got confidence in it I guess, nor my supervisor for that matter. Also written bits and bobs of the dissertation but nothing substantial ... It's more I keep tweeking everything and won't settle - guess trying to be Miss Perfectionist right now isn't a good idea... I can't wait for this all to be over! It's a great topic but it's causing more than enough stress



--- And thanks to you both for your replies
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Hal.E.Lujah
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(Original post by Crystalclearmagic)
Yeah I've looked at the bristol dissertations too! And I guess I'm panicking because there's no "formula" for it... everyone does it so differently but can get a great mark even so.... ahhhhhhhhhhh :eek:




It's due in a month's time... I tend to leave the writing part till late anyway and I'm not worried about that. I have a structure and it's been looked at by my useless supervisor; I've not really got confidence in it I guess, nor my supervisor for that matter. Also written bits and bobs of the dissertation but nothing substantial ... It's more I keep tweeking everything and won't settle - guess trying to be Miss Perfectionist right now isn't a good idea... I can't wait for this all to be over! It's a great topic but it's causing more than enough stress



--- And thanks to you both for your replies


I really struggle with writing large pieces because I'm a perfectionist too. I wrote the first line out about fifty times!


But really it's sometimes best to just ramble it all out, even if it's not structured in, and then rewrite it.


Hope any of what I've posted helps and that you submit an awesome disso. Sounds really interesting
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Rakas21
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(Original post by ivancampo)
i was advised by my dissertation tutor to structure mine in the following order.

1.) Contents page 2.) Introduction 3.) Literature Review 4.)Methodology 5.)Findings 6.)Discussion/Conclusion 7.) References

I included many different sub headings within the chapters.

It's difficult to advise as all dissertation's are different in terms of content & some require unique structures and chapters. Meet your tutor and i'm sure they that will offer you some helpful advice on structure.

As the tutor marks the dissertation, it's very important that they approve of the structure and layout.
That's how i was told to do it as well although i'm not entirely sure how many words will be going in each section. How many did you put in each section?
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Klix88
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(Original post by Crystalclearmagic)
So is a lit review just a discussion of secondary sources (basically scholarship) - but not about the primary sources? I keep thinking it's like a 'book review' - if you get what I mean... Ugh, sorry this is probably all a very dumb question My mind is in a massive kaffuffle...

My supervisor isn't the most helpful person... just a "yeah, that's good" and a "rethink that" is perhaps all I ever get :/
If you ask him a straight-up question like "How do you recommend I do a lit review?" then it would be a bit difficult to get away with that kind of reply. The lit review summarises what you've read in preparation for the diss. At it's most basic, it's proof of the level of preparatory reading that you've done. I can't think what kind of diss wouldn't need that, but your supervisor might be able to.

If you don't want to talk to him about it (which in my view is really what you need to do, as fast as possible) then I'm sure there will be guides online. My last uni has their subject undergrad diss guidelines on their intranet. As an example, this is the KCL diss advice page for one of their arts & humanities undergrad subjects. Links to detailed guides (including 'how to...' and marking criteria) are at the bottom of that page:
http://www.kcl.ac.uk/artshums/depts/.../6aat5000.aspx
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Crystalclearmagic
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(Original post by Hal.E.Lujah)
I really struggle with writing large pieces because I'm a perfectionist too. I wrote the first line out about fifty times!


But really it's sometimes best to just ramble it all out, even if it's not structured in, and then rewrite it.


Hope any of what I've posted helps and that you submit an awesome disso. Sounds really interesting
Yeah I guess starting is always the hard bit and then once you've got something it's always better than nothing

And thank you!!

(Original post by Rakas21)
That's how i was told to do it as well although i'm not entirely sure how many words will be going in each section. How many did you put in each section?
My outline is:

Introduction chapter (max 1,500 words)
Chapter 2 (addresses question set, defining terms and providing background) (c.2000-2,500 words)
Chapter 3 (argument 1) (c.2,500 words)
Chapter 4 (argument 2) (c.2,500 words)
Conclusion chapter (max 1,000 words)

I'll probably have different subheadings in the chapters too.


(Original post by Klix88)
If you ask him a straight-up question like "How do you recommend I do a lit review?" then it would be a bit difficult to get away with that kind of reply. The lit review summarises what you've read in preparation for the diss. At it's most basic, it's proof of the level of preparatory reading that you've done. I can't think what kind of diss wouldn't need that, but your supervisor might be able to.

If you don't want to talk to him about it (which in my view is really what you need to do, as fast as possible) then I'm sure there will be guides online. My last uni has their subject undergrad diss guidelines on their intranet. As an example, this is the KCL diss advice page for one of their arts & humanities undergrad subjects. Links to detailed guides (including 'how to...' and marking criteria) are at the bottom of that page:
http://www.kcl.ac.uk/artshums/depts/.../6aat5000.aspx
My supervisor is amazing at dodging questions and generally giving vague advice... infamous in my uni for it too.... But I guess I'm going to have to try and draw some water out of this stone :/


--- And thanks everyone for your replies and advice and wishes
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Josb
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(Original post by Hal.E.Lujah)
Mine was structured (For English Literature)

- Foreward (This was probably only applicable due to the Disso criteria for my uni, had stuff like reasoning for the study and difficulties in planning).

- Introduction (1000 Words)

- Main 'Point' One (2000 Words)
-Conclusions drawn from point one (500 Words)
- Main 'Point' Two (2000 Words)
-Conclusions drawn from point two (500 Words)
- Main 'Point' Three (2000 Words)
-Conclusions drawn from point three (500 Words)

- Conclusion from Main Points collectively (1000 Words)
- Literature review (500 I guess?)
- References/Bibliography (Under 500)
500 words to conclude a 2000 word chapter? :eek:
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Josb
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(Original post by Crystalclearmagic)
X
Introduction should be 20% of the work, then 2500 words for each section, and 500 words for conclusion.

Introduction:
- relevance and definition of the subject. Start with a fancy quote from a historian/contemporary author. Then explain your geographical borders (do you speak of the conquests of the Mongol Empire or just its core lands? etc.), chronological borders (when do you start/end?), and thematical borders (Will you speak of the economy, society, diplomacy, military aspects of the Empire, or just focus on Gengis Khan? etc.).
- Historiography. Start by explaining the major work/historian on Gengis Khan/Mongol Empire. Say if his works are outdated or still valid, if they have been criticised (if so, by whom? When? Why?). Tell about the point of view of historians from Mongolia/Asia. Then go into details, and tell about articles or books that will be especially relevant to you. You must mention one/two works/historian in particular, which you would like to continue the approach.
-->Great transition to the methodology section. Describe your primary sources. There mustn't be a lot of them, but you can still find some translated texts (unless you speak old Mongolian ), and probably a lot of iconographic documents. Was there any contemporary historian? If so, tell about them (Were they close to the Mongolian power? foreigners at the court? opponents? enemies? Did they live at that time? In short, what was their own methodology?)
How will you exploit them? What are the problems of these documents (were they written in an allegorical way (difficult to understand)? Did they only focus on the king (thus ignoring common people)? etc. You must also question the authenticity of your sources.).
- Tell how you are going to answer your initial question and the path you will take (a few word summary of each of your main sections).

Tell me if you have additional questions.
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Crystalclearmagic
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(Original post by Josb)
Introduction should be 20% of the work, then 2500 words for each section, and 500 words for conclusion.

Introduction:
- relevance and definition of the subject. Start with a fancy quote from a historian/contemporary author. Then explain your geographical borders (do you speak of the conquests of the Mongol Empire or just its core lands? etc.), chronological borders (when do you start/end?), and thematical borders (Will you speak of the economy, society, diplomacy, military aspects of the Empire, or just focus on Gengis Khan? etc.).
- Historiography. Start by explaining the major work/historian on Gengis Khan/Mongol Empire. Say if his works are outdated or still valid, if they have been criticised (if so, by whom? When? Why?). Tell about the point of view of historians from Mongolia/Asia. Then go into details, and tell about articles or books that will be especially relevant to you. You must mention one/two works/historian in particular, which you would like to continue the approach.
-->Great transition to the methodology section. Describe your primary sources. There mustn't be a lot of them, but you can still find some translated texts (unless you speak old Mongolian ), and probably a lot of iconographic documents. Was there any contemporary historian? If so, tell about them (Were they close to the Mongolian power? foreigners at the court? opponents? enemies? Did they live at that time? In short, what was their own methodology?)
How will you exploit them? What are the problems of these documents (were they written in an allegorical way (difficult to understand)? Did they only focus on the king (thus ignoring common people)? etc. You must also question the authenticity of your sources.).
- Tell how you are going to answer your initial question and the path you will take (a few word summary of each of your main sections).

Tell me if you have additional questions.
Great guidance thanks! (I want to give your post a positive rating, but apparently I rate your posts too much ... )

Out of interest, how would you format the cover page? I've got people putting images and so on on the page so it's "catchy" - what do you think about this?

And would I need a foreword section? Like that spiel of thanking people and acknowledging things?
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Josb
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(Original post by Crystalclearmagic)
Great guidance thanks! (I want to give your post a positive rating, but apparently I rate your posts too much ... )

Out of interest, how would you format the cover page? I've got people putting images and so on on the page so it's "catchy" - what do you think about this?

And would I need a foreword section? Like that spiel of thanking people and acknowledging things?
Yeah you can add a small image of primary sources or contemporary pictures on your front page, but avoid a photo from Hollywood. I put the coat of arms of the noble family I studied on mine.

As for the acknowledgements, it's common practice to thanks your adviser. Avoid "Josb from TSR", it won't be serious.
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Crystalclearmagic
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(Original post by Josb)
Yeah you can add a small image of primary sources or contemporary pictures on your front page, but avoid a photo from Hollywood. I put the coat of arms of the noble family I studied on mine.

As for the acknowledgements, it's common practice to thanks your adviser. Avoid "Josb from TSR", it won't be serious.
Did you put the source of the picture that you put on the front page on the front page too, or in your bibliography? By that I mean like: source: website link

Haha! to be honest, your help is probably as good as my supervisor's! :beer:
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Josb
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(Original post by Crystalclearmagic)
Did you put the source of the picture that you put on the front page on the front page too, or in your bibliography? By that I mean like: source: website link

Haha! to be honest, your help is probably as good as my supervisor's! :beer:
The source should be on the second page.

I'm Oxford material.
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Klix88
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(Original post by Josb)
Yeah you can add a small image of primary sources or contemporary pictures on your front page, but avoid a photo from Hollywood. I put the coat of arms of the noble family I studied on mine.

As for the acknowledgements, it's common practice to thanks your adviser. Avoid "Josb from TSR", it won't be serious.
Check your uni's guidelines as well. My undergrad uni exactly mandated the layout of the front and title pages, right down to content, wording, layout, uni logo, font and font sizes. There may not be the opportunity to use illustrations until the body of the work.

Also, there were strict guidelines on who should/shouldn't be thanked in the acknowledgements and how that section should be written. Supervisors, participants and any other academics were in. No thanking Mum, Dad, family and friends.

Your supervisor won't be telling you any of this because there will be a written guide somewhere which covers it. The supervisor is there to help with the research side of things, not the presentation. And you will get marks deducted for not following the guidelines which can be enough to push you below a grade boundary. As well as being an apprentice piece on how to research, it is also an exercise to test how well you can adhere to an academic specification.

What is true for one uni/course, won't necessarily be the case elsewhere. Don't take advice from the internet about layout or content, unless you've checked whether it's correct for your course.
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Crystalclearmagic
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(Original post by Klix88)
Check your uni's guidelines as well. My undergrad uni exactly mandated the layout of the front and title pages, right down to content, wording, layout, uni logo, font and font sizes. There may not be the opportunity to use illustrations until the body of the work.

.....

What is true for one uni/course, won't necessarily be the case elsewhere. Don't take advice from the internet about layout or content, unless you've checked whether it's correct for your course.
True that.

Though I've had a flick through my course handbook and wonder why I even bothered... apart from banging on about plagiarism there was nothing specifically on the dissertation that was of much use. Ah well, I guess I'll worry about formatting once I've finished writing... onwards and forwards; to infinity and beyond!

:dance::dance::dance:
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