A dissertation literature review takes on six different characteristics. Within each of those six characteristics are various angles you can take. In general, there are five main milestones you should be cognizant of as you go through the process:. The sciences often call upon dissertation writers to use a hypothesis in lieu of a thesis statement. The hypothesis section of a dissertation is typically required of certain academic disciplines. A hypothesis section lets readers know what you believe the data from your study will reveal as the answer to your research question.
In most cases, you are also required to state the null hypothesis , which typically reflects the direct opposite of the hypothesis. A hypothesis has to reveal a collective pattern or answer. A hypothesis also has to be something that can be tested.
If the results and conclusions do not seem logical or sound to you, make note. You can also make note of results and conclusions that raised questions for you in terms of whether they ignored a critical aspect or indicated additional research was needed.
You may need to continue to refine the first drafts of your hypothesis in order to accomplish these objectives. Out of all the sections of a dissertation, the methodology is critical to its acceptance. The research in your methodology needs to be well-thought out, logical, and stand out as the optimal way to investigate your research question. This helps validate the legitimacy of your methodology and allows future researchers to be able to critically evaluate your methods.
What are the weaknesses of your proposed approach compared to the strengths of the other available approaches? Will your proposed approach yield the best possible data to help you arrive at a solid conclusion to your research question?
Is your method realistic and feasible? A single research study cannot cover every gap, and in fact many research studies discover previously unknown gaps. If the results backed up your thesis, you should also be able to explain how your results might have been produced assuming your thesis is incorrect.
Also acknowledge any exclusions or limitations, while stating how your topic can be researched further. A dissertation discussion needs to match up with the methodology section, in the sense that each result should have a corresponding method. Your results need to stem from the techniques identified within the methodology. While most readers will reasonably assume that all personal biases are impossible to eliminate, the content and tone of your discussion should reassure them that you have conducted a relatively neutral analysis.
The results of a research study are otherwise included in the dissertation discussion section. A separate results section only presents the data and results gathered from the research study.
Any discussion and interpretation of the results should be saved for the discussion section. Separate positive from negative results and your main findings from your secondary findings. You may find that you are unfamiliar with the best analysis method for your study. Spend time researching what statistical analysis methods exist, including their advantages and disadvantages.
In the results section, you should plan on sticking to the details of the data. Give the readers enough detail and explanation to reasonably understand the data, as well as the statistical analysis method.
In some cases, you may be designing your own equation. With a quantitative study, your data results will consist of equations, numerical results, and numerical analysis. However, a purely qualitative analysis will be lacking these types of numerical results. This applies to both your method and the results. You can still leverage charts and graphs with qualitative results in order to facilitate understanding.
The dissertation conclusion is designed to remind readers of the major points of your dissertation. Prior to writing the conclusion, check with your academic advisor for clarification on what to include. In general, you should avoid introducing concepts or material in the same way that you discussed them in previous sections. Although the conclusion looks back on what the dissertation has discussed, the overall perspective should be forward looking.
Dissertation conclusion sections typically do not go over four to five pages. The recommended order and importance of each point are as follows:.
Depending upon the academic field, these recommendations may be geared towards future research or field practitioners. In some cases, you may be providing both sets of recommendations.
Academic fields such as business administration tend to be geared more towards recommendations for practitioners, but does not necessarily ignore the theoretical side. When writing recommendations for practitioners, think of yourself as a consultant. Remember that your conclusion is the final opportunity to remind your readers why your research study stands out from the crowd. A good conclusion relates back to the main research question you posed in the beginning, as well as your thesis statement or hypothesis.
Putting a dissertation together can seem intimidating. Complete dissertations contain a multitude of sections, or chapters. Full dissertations are usually written at the PhD level and the average length can range between one-hundred to two-hundred pages.
Dissertation chapters go through several revisions while the candidate works on each piece with an academic supervisor. Before you write the abstract, you should have a good idea and solid outline of what you want to research. Be prepared to run through several revisions, depending on feedback from your academic committee, academic supervisor, or as changes occur to other portions of the dissertation. Briefly state what your general topic is about and give some background information on it.
Depending on the academic discipline, the thesis could be stated in the form of a hypothesis. In general, your thesis should be one sentence and state what results you believe to be true and why. Provide a brief analysis of the data and relate the results back to your thesis. Writing the introduction for a dissertation is far more intensive than that of a typical essay or research paper.
With a dissertation, save the final draft of the introduction for last. This way you can pull out the most important pieces of information from each section of the dissertation. Define your main research problem or question. You need to be succinct, but also provide enough background on the problem or question to allow your audience to grasp the subject matter. Include a summary of your actual research study, including the data results.
You will also want to include a summary of your literature review or at least a few citations from the literature that are a good representation of the existing research on your topic.
Remember to not rely too heavily on citations, but to be strategic about which ones you use and how you use them. Include information on whether the data results supported or disproved your thesis, as well as whether the results raised additional questions.
Were there any restrictions to the study that might have impacted the results? For example, are you going to be looking at the theoretical or practical side? Are you going to be looking for common ground and patterns, or take on the role of critic and sort through what is feasible in practice and what is not? Finally, Decide what information and analysis to include in your writing, and what to omit. First, decide what your objective is in order to determine the problem the literature review will address.
To critically evaluate the role of the electoral college in the national presidential election. Your chosen scope will come into play during this stage.
On the other hand, if you choose a narrowed focus, you could spend the same amount of time trying to find sources that fit your criteria. Beyond searching for sources through electronic databases, remember to consult your peers and academic advisors. Also, see if you can locate the sources cited in some of the references you initially find. Determine what to take and what will best serve the purpose of the review, going back to your objective and problem.
For this example, a historical structure would be appropriate as you could start with the earliest examples and work your way through to the present. Your point of view is taking the perspective of one side, so in this case it would also be appropriate to cite information that takes the other side of the argument and then critically evaluate the validity of that information.
You would likely need to discredit the validity by citing opposing evidence. You can analyze the information using quantitative methods, qualitative methods, or a mixture of both. This stage involves revising the information, including what is kept intact, and what is tweaked, reduced and eliminated.
Peer reviews and field experts can be an invaluable resource during this stage, especially prior to submitting the review to an academic committee. You may need multiple revisions once the academic committee or dissertation supervisor reviews your work. Do not be discouraged by the revision process, as the supervisor and committee are there to help refine your dissertation to increase its chances of becoming publishable material.
After you finish your literature review, look at the notes you made about the information. What unfulfilled question appears to be the most promising in terms of testability? A restricted diet of 1, to 1, calories per day leads to a simultaneous decrease in body fat percentage, overall weight, and muscle weight percentages. A restricted diet of 1, to 1, calories per day does not lead to a simultaneous decrease in body fat percentage, overall weight, and muscle weight percentages.
Is your question going to be making a prediction, describing an observation, or describing a pattern? This will determine how you write the hypothesis and shape it. The independent variable can best be identified by isolating what factor is causing a difference, or what factor represents a polar-opposite difference. Be sure to sync your hypothesis with your methodology covered below.
It might also make sense to have access to participants who currently have an unhealthy or high percentage of body fat. The next section should explain how the data was collected and how the data was analyzed. Be sure to also give a description of your technique. Explain why your data is reliable and others can trust its accuracy. Also, explain the reasoning behind limitations to your sample size and analysis. An example would be why only one type of demographic was surveyed.
Think about how you want to organize your discussion into various sections, either by the eight points of discussion mentioned previously in this guide or by combining some of those points into larger chunks. Also, determine what results you will present in graphs and charts. Will those be inserted into the body of the discussion or be included in the appendices? Be sure to evaluate the meaning of your results and discuss whether those meanings are significant. The second set of sections should discuss whether personal or outside biases impacted the results.
While you should work to mitigate these biases, acknowledge any suspicion of them. Spend time showing your reader why your results are relevant, and why and how the results could impact the field. A discussion of the limitations should state the limitation s in terms of the methodology or approach, followed by an explanation of how the methodology or approach could be expanded.
Did your results bring up any questions the results themselves were unable to answer? Discuss those questions here and also suggest that these questions could be developed into future research studies. Alternatively, did your results indicate the need for a follow-up study? If so, briefly discuss what that follow-up study will need to entail.
The conclusion should instill the main idea you want your readers to take away from your study. You should discuss your dissertation structure and content with an academic advisor or supervisory committee. Samples of written dissertation discussions can also help immensely, since samples demonstrate structure, content and tone. Also, by presenting your main findings before your secondary findings, your readers can get a better sense of what they can take away from your research.
The main findings should not only be more prevalent in terms of recurrence, but also significance. Secondary findings will not necessarily make as much of an impact as your main findings, but are either worth mentioning or raise questions about the need for additional research.
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