Types of dissertation
The content and structure depend on the type of dissertation. Your tutor may give you a structure to follow. If not, you can adapt the guidance here.
Practical dissertation (more)
A practical dissertation focuses on primary research – you gather data yourself.
• Constructed, e.g. computer models, lab experiments
• Explored, e.g. case studies, interviews, field observation
Theoretical dissertation (more)
A theoretical dissertation focuses on secondary research – you use data collected and presented by other researchers to develop an argument.
• Conceptual, e.g. on feminism, racism, sustainability
• Applied, e.g. applying economic, social or environmental theory to a practical situation, such as sustainability in building design
Source: Trevor Day (2018), Success in Academic Writing, 2nd ed. Palgrave, p.108
Descriptive versus analytical writing
A practical dissertation includes both descriptive and analytical writing. Make sure you are clear about the differences between them.
- Listing details
- Giving information
- Describing an example
- Explaining how something works
- Identifying if an idea is defensible
- Explaining the relationship between things/ideas
- Weighing up the significance of things/ideas
- Drawing conclusions