Skip Nav

Guide to undergraduate dissertations in the social sciences

1. The Topic

❶Unique paper Totally confidential Secure payments On-time delivery.

Choosing a topic

Table of contents
Your dissertation without language mistakes and blunders?
Dissertation titles

Find out what has been written about your dissertation question in the literature. There is a gap in the research if nothing has been written about your specific dissertation question-this means your dissertation research question will be filling a research gap. Also, find out what methods have been used to study your dissertation question. Doing this preliminary research will set the stage for you to complete the other steps of your dissertation including writing the dissertation literature review and choosing a methodology to use in your dissertation.

You should also share your dissertation research question idea with your dissertation chair or dissertation consultant. Sharing the dissertation research question with others will help you refine it-- others will give you their perspective on the clarity and significance of your dissertation research question. After taking these steps, you should have a version of a dissertation research question you feel comfortable with. The next step will be to refine your dissertation research question so that is clear and strong enough to base an entire dissertation study on.

Make sure you are vigilant and ask for advice and guidance from your dissertation advisor or a dissertation consultant about conceptualizing and concretizing your dissertation research question. These characteristics include innovation, clarity and feasibility.

They are not there to teach you the topic you have chosen to investigate: They are, however, one of the resources that you can call on during your research. Academics are busy people, so to get the most out of your supervisor you will need to be organised and to take responsibility for the relationship.

To ensure that you get the most out of your supervisor you need to:. If you are not happy with the way you are being supervised, explain why to your supervisor or discuss the issue with your personal tutor. Regardless of whether you have been given a dissertation topic or you have developed your own ideas, you will need to be able to demonstrate the rationale for your research, and to describe how it fits within the wider research context in your area. To support you in doing this you will need to undertake a literature review, which is a review of material that has already been published, either in hard copy or electronically, that may be relevant for your research project.

Key tools that are available to help you, include:. It is a good idea to make an appointment to see the librarian specialising in your subject. An information librarian should be able to give you advice on your literature search, and on how to manage the information that you generate. You will probably generate more references than you can read.

Use the titles and abstracts to decide whether the reference is worth reading in detail. Be selective by concentrating on references that:. Once you start reading, ensure that you think about what you are trying to get out of each article or book that you read. Your notes should enable you to write up your literature search without returning to the books you have read.

Refer to the guides Effective Note Making , Referencing and Bibliographies , and Avoiding Plagiarism , for further help with note-making. For most research projects the data collection phase feels like the most important part. However, you should avoid jumping straight into this phase until you have adequately defined your research problem, and the extent and limitations of your research.

If you are too hasty you risk collecting data that you will not be able to use. Consider how you are going to store and retrieve your data. You should set up a system that allows you to:. There are many systems that support effective data collection and retrieval. These range from card indexes and cross-referenced exercise books, through electronic tools like spreadsheets, databases and bibliographic software, to discipline-specific tools.

You should talk about how you plan to store your data with your supervisor, an information librarian, or a study adviser in the Learning Development. As you undertake your research you are likely to come up with lots of ideas. It can be valuable to keep a record of these ideas on index cards, in a dedicated notebook, or in an electronic file. They may be useful as ideas in themselves, and may be useful as a record of how your thinking developed through the research process.

A pilot study involves preliminary data collection, using your planned methods, but with a very small sample. It aims to test out your approach, and identify any details that need to be addressed before the main data collection goes ahead.

For example, you could get a small group to fill in your questionnaire, perform a single experiment, or analyse a single novel or document. When you complete your pilot study you should be cautious about reading too much into the results that you have generated although these can sometimes be interesting. The real value of your pilot study is what it tells you about your method.

Spend time reflecting on the implications that your pilot study might have for your research project, and make the necessary adjustment to your plan. Even if you do not have the time or opportunity to run a formal pilot study, you should try and reflect on your methods after you have started to generate some data. Once you start to generate data you may find that the research project is not developing as you had hoped. Do not be upset that you have encountered a problem.

Research is, by its nature, unpredictable. Think about what the problem is and how it arose. Is it possible that going back a few steps may resolve it? Or is it something more fundamental? If so, estimate how significant the problem is to answering your research question, and try to calculate what it will take to resolve the situation.

Changing the title is not normally the answer, although modification of some kind may be useful. If a problem is intractable you should arrange to meet your supervisor as soon as possible. Give him or her a detailed analysis of the problem, and always value their recommendations.

The chances are they have been through a similar experience and can give you valuable advice. Never try to ignore a problem, or hope that it will go away. If you contact us via our chat, I or one of my colleagues would be happy to try to help you. Have a thesis expert improve your writing.

Check your thesis for plagiarism in 10 minutes. Generate your APA citations for free! Home Knowledge Base Dissertation roadmap Examples of main research questions for a dissertation. Examples of main research questions for a dissertation Date published December 2, by Bas Swaen. Are you on track with your postgraduate research?

Supports postgraduate researchers in the early stages. Clarifies what you want to research. Clarifies how to conduct that research. Guides you through the whole writing process.

Is this article helpful? Bas Swaen Bas is co-founder of Scribbr. Bas loves to teach and is an experienced thesis writer. He tries to help students with writing clear and easy to comprehend articles about difficult topics.

One Last Word

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

A very elaborate research question, or a question which is not differentiated into different parts, may hide concepts that are contradictory or not relevant. So far, we have considered a number of issues relevant to developing an appropriate research methodology for your dissertation. The chart below should help you to synthesise your.

Privacy FAQs

12 rows · Dec 02,  · Take a look at our examples of good and bad main research questions for /5().

About Our Ads

Choosing a Dissertation Research Question Dissertation Proposal Writing Help Once you've chosen a dissertation topic, you are ready to move on the second step-developing a dissertation research question. bell hooks essays Help With Dissertation Question write a short essay on my family customer service research paper.

Cookie Info

Dec 02,  · Research questions indicate what you will help answer through your research and provide structure for your dissertation.. They usually include both a main research question (which is the fundamental question you are exploring) and sub-questions (which assist you in answering the main question)/5(71). Dissertation titles. The dissertation title is your first opportunity to let the reader know what your dissertation is about. With just a few words, the title has to highlight the purpose of the study, which can often include its context, outcomes, and important aspects of the research strategy adopted.