A familiar dissertation or project outline in social sciences might look like this:
Abstract Introduction Literature review Research questions
Methodology (including methods of data collection and analysis)
Presentation of data
Now make a similar list of what you see as the key components of a dissertation or project that you have been asked to write.
A longer piece of writing can give you much more opportunity to put yourself into your work, and to bring together things in new ways which have not been possible in the shorter assignments you have written throughout your course. You may find that you can choose your area of study for a dissertation or project, and also your own title. This gives you the opportunity to make the work your own and say what you want to say, because you will not be constrained by a title set by your tutor. Because a dissertation or project may allow you to write about a topic that interests you, you will probably need to make time to do other kinds of writing which will help you to explore your thinking and your ideas outside the rather formal structures we have outlined above. In Chapter 13 we consider the use of learning journals and reflective writing in helping you to develop your ideas, which will be particularly useful when you come to prepare longer pieces of work.
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