Dissertation Writing in Practice

Dissertation Writing in Practice: Turning Ideas into Text

Linda Cooley
Jo Lewkowicz
Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 212
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  • Book Info
    Dissertation Writing in Practice
    Book Description:

    This book is designed to raise students' awareness of the linguistic features of a postgraduate dissertation/thesis written in English. It deals primarily with the linguistic aspects of extended pieces of writing, placing great emphasis on the writer's responsibility for the readability of the text. Each of the features introduced is illustrated through examples taken from authentic writing at the appropriate level. In addition, each chapter has a number of tasks to help students put into practice the skills that have been introduced. This book is mainly designed to help research students whose first language is not English, but it should also prove useful to native speakers of English, many of whom lack extensive experience of writing at this level. It can be used as a textbook for postgraduate students on a dissertation/thesis writing course, and may also be used as a self-study guide since an annotated answer key is provided for all the tasks. This book takes a realistic approach to helping students who may find the extended writing required at postgraduate level a daunting task; although it provides ample opportunities for practice, it does not expect students to produce extensive writing beyond that required for their degree.

    eISBN: 978-988-220-104-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    Recent years have seen a dramatic increase in the number of students registering for postgraduate studies. In particular many EFL/ESL (English as a Foreign Language/ English as a Second Language) students are choosing to carry out their studies in universities in English-speaking countries, such as Australia, the UK and the US, or in countries using English as the medium of instruction for university studies, where they will be expected to complete the writing of their dissertation in English. This has led to a growing body of research interest in the area of postgraduate dissertation writing in general, and in the...

  4. 1 Identifying the Research Gap
    (pp. 7-36)

    When you come to write your dissertation, you need to convey three types of information to your readers: you have to explain the background which led to your study; you must describe how the study was carried out and finally you discuss your findings and present the conclusions that you have reached. This first chapter considers how a writer presents the background information, that is, the introductory part of a dissertation. (As we explained in the Introduction, throughout this book we are using the term ‘dissertation’ to apply to what is variously called a dissertation or a thesis.)

    Before we...

  5. 2 Making Use of Source Materials
    (pp. 37-68)

    As we have seen in Chapter 1, it is essential when writing a dissertation to refer to other scholars whose work you have used for source material during your research. References to the work of other scholars appear throughout a dissertation, although they are, naturally, most frequent when actually reviewing the literature. As making references to your sources is such an important element in your dissertation, this chapter aims to consider the reasons a writer has for referring to the work of others and looks at different methods of referring, before examining the language that is used to make these...

  6. 3 Stating Facts, Interpreting Data and Making Claims
    (pp. 69-94)

    Although the organisation of your dissertation will depend largely on the type of research you are conducting, the rhetorical moves you will need to make and the language you use to make them will generally be very similar across disciplines. In all dissertations you will need to state facts, interpret data and make claims. This chapter focuses on how this is done.

    Typically, in experimental research the methods and results sections of the dissertation are associated with the statement of facts. In the methods section you tell your readers what you did and how you did it, while in the...

  7. 4 Drawing to a Close
    (pp. 95-126)

    The final chapter of your dissertation draws together everything you have said earlier and completes the picture for your readers. At one level it should prove relatively easy to write as you will have finished all your research and will be totally familiar with your findings: by the time you come to write the conclusion you will be the expert in the particular area you chose to investigate. At another level, however, it may prove a challenge as you will need to link everything you have said earlier with the ideas you present in your conclusion, ensuring that you address...

  8. 5 Structuring and Signposting
    (pp. 127-150)

    Having considered the individual parts of the dissertation in earlier chapters, we can now look at putting the parts together. We indicated in Chapter 1 that there are different ways of doing this as there are different types of dissertation structure. In this chapter we first look at the different types of dissertation that are commonly found and then we discuss signposting, which is an important means of helping readers through your text.

    The structure of your dissertation will depend on the purpose and type of study you conduct, but it is likely to fall into one of the four...

  9. 6 The Final Touches
    (pp. 151-170)

    As you are writing your dissertation, you will need to keep proofreading and editing your text to ensure that it is easy to follow and error-free. You will also need to read it through one final time before you submit your dissertation. We should at this point distinguish between proofreading and editing. The former refers to the process of reading a text to detect surface errors, such as spelling mistakes or missing plurals. These errors, although they are extremely irritating to a reader and give an impression of carelessness, do not generally impede understanding of the text, unless they are...

  10. Answer Key
    (pp. 171-192)
  11. Sources
    (pp. 193-200)
  12. Index
    (pp. 201-203)