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Dissertation examples

Listed below are some of the best examples of research projects and dissertations from undergraduate and taught postgraduate students at the University of Leeds We have not been able to gather examples from all schools. The module requirements for research projects may have changed since these examples were written. Refer to your module guidelines to make sure that you address all of the current assessment criteria. Some of the examples below are only available to access on campus.

  • Undergraduate examples
  • Taught Masters examples

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Explore University of Salford dissertations and theses using Library Search. Access resources and tips for finding other academic works.

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During the course of your studies, you may find that you need to search for dissertations or theses. Maybe you would like to see what other research has been undertaken in relation to your topic, or perhaps you would like to see what a dissertation or thesis looks like? There are many reasons why looking for this type of research can be useful.

You can use Library Search to help you find them and there are a number of different ways to search, depending on what you want to find.

You can access dissertations and theses by previous University of Salford students. Use the 'Advanced Search' option in Library Search to find these, and take a look at our University of Salford e-theses collection . This collection covers mostly PhD level research.

Digital dissertations - University of Salford

For help accessing our University of Salford dissertations and theses, watch this video:

Finding University of Salford dissertations and theses

Use databases to find other dissertations and theses.

There are a number of dissertation and theses databases you can use to find dissertations and theses from other academic institutions. You can access these through Library Search .

Some of the databases you can access include:

  • EBSCO Open Dissertations
  • EThOS – Electronic Theses Online System
  • ProQuest Dissertations and Theses

Find out more about the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database on our blog post: ProQuest Dissertations and Theses

We also have a ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global LibGuide to help you find out more.

For help accessing the wide range of dissertation and theses databases, watch this video:

Helpful tips when looking for dissertations and theses

  • Identify a couple of keywords to start with and use these when searching. Don't try to enter too many keywords all at once as it's often useful to see what else there is around your topic.  Also, entering too many keywords can make your search too specific and you may struggle to find what you need. Do not try searching using your whole dissertation topic title – this will not work!
  • Can't find what you need? Many databases only contain PhD level manuscripts. Using 'Advanced Search' options within databases can sometimes allow you to specify other manuscript levels.
  • Don't worry about topic area too much if you just want to see what a dissertation looks like and get a rough idea of layout and format.
  • Ensure you are looking at the correct level of research for your study. There is a BIG difference between a Masters' dissertation and a PhD level thesis!
  • Always check any guidelines you have been given by your school in regard to the layout, format and length of your own dissertation, so you know what to expect. If in doubt, speak with your supervisor.

Get help writing a dissertation

  • Read our Dissertations and Theses guidance for help on writing and formatting a dissertation.
  • Check out our Online resources for dissertation students Reading List – it contains links to really useful online dissertation resources and textbooks to help get you started.
  • Contact your Academic Support Team for further help and advice.

Further recommended resources

The University of Leeds has a selection of dissertation examples with an indication of the mark awarded to the student. Additional support resources are located on their Final Chapter webpage.

Mathematics Institute

Msc dissertations, mathematics dissertations.

The MSc dissertation counts for 90 CATS - that is, half of the total MSc load.

A dissertation is usually expository, collecting together results from several research papers into a coherent whole. Sometimes dissertations contain original research, and this is encouraged where appropriate. The general framework of a dissertation must be approved by the supervisor. This page may help to find staff members with interesting topics.

The appropriate length for a dissertation will vary with the topic, the formatting, and whether or not it includes figures, etc. As a guide, most MSc dissertations are between 30 and 50 A4 pages, double spaced, with normal font size and margins. Longer dissertations are not necessarily better, and the marks obtained depend much more on the quality of the content (especially the mathematics) than on the number of words. It is essential that the dissertation is well presented.

The dissertation should normally be produced in TEX or LaTEX. The package here is intended for PhD theses, but it can also be used for MSc dissertations. Suitable past dissertations are available for inspection. If you are in any doubt, please consult your supervisor or the Director of the MSc.

Interdisciplinary Mathematics Dissertations

For MSc Interdisciplinary Mathematics candidates the above holds, although these dissertations may be longer if they contain many diagrams, data or programs for example. The level of sophistication of the mathematics used in the dissertation may be lower than that expected in a straight Mathematics MSc provided that the dissertation demonstrates a compensating degree of understanding of the role or appropriate use of the mathematics described. The mathematics in the dissertation should be correct, appropriate for the interdisciplinary topic under discussion, and should say something of scientific value. This page may help to find staff members in the math dept with interesting topics.

Dissertation Marks

The dissertation is read by two internal examiners (including a supervisor) who report to the Examination Board. For MSc Interdisciplinary Mathematics dissertations, reports are generally requested from an internal examiner in each of the relevant departments to ensure sufficient interdisciplinary quality.

Examiners are asked to discuss the dissertation under the headings: Accuracy and depth of understanding (40%); Level of difficulty and degree of originality (40%); Exposition (10%); Context/Literature Bibliography (10%). The marks are passed to the Examination Board. The external examiner reviews the dissertations and marks prior to the Examination Board meeting.

The dissertation pass mark is 50% and students must pass the dissertation in order to pass the MSc.

Submitting your Dissertation or Postgraduate Diploma Project

The submission deadline is 2nd September 2024. Submissions will be made via Moodle. Further details will be provided closer to the deadline.

The name of the candidate's supervisor must be stated on the title page of the dissertation. The introduction to the dissertation should state clearly all sources used, and should pinpoint clearly any original passages claimed. The candidate should briefly describe how the sources were used and their relation to the dissertation. Acknowledgements should also appear, where appropriate, in the body of the dissertation. References with precise bibliographic details should be included. A dissertation will not be accepted if any reader (including one unfamiliar with the contents of the references cited) could gain a mistaken impression that expository material is the candidate's own original work.

Good English style, with correct grammar and spelling, is expected. The books Writing Mathematics Well by L. Gillman, and How to Write Mathematics by N.E. Steenrod et al. (AMS 1973) are recommended. (Both can be found in the Library catalogue .) In addition, supervisors can often help by suggesting which published mathematical papers are good models of exposition, and which are not.

Postgraduate Diploma Project

The expected standard in a Postgraduate Diploma is less than that for an MSc degree. If a candidate is recommended to transfer to the Postgraduate Diploma as a result of their examination results, the candidate will need to write a (Diploma) project rather than a dissertation. Students on the 2 year MSc course will submit a project at the end of their first year

The Diploma project counts for 24 CATS (rather than 90 CATS for an MSc dissertation). It is usually an expository work describing a piece of mathematics (which may be related to material covered in lectures). Sometimes a project may involve numerical work or a guided exploration of some particular problem. The project should normally be about 10-20 pages long and should show that the candidate is capable of writing about mathematics in a coherent fashion. The general framework of the project must be approved by the supervisor. The project is marked against these criteria and not against that for the MSc.

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The MSc Dissertation

From June – early September students undertake a research project, lightly supervised by a member of faculty , and submit a 10,000 word dissertation on or before the deadline in early September. A good dissertation will be a piece of original research, the best dissertations are published . The three-months dissertation project gives you the opportunity to acquire and enhance a number of skills including research skills, project management, organisation, software and writing.

The research methods course supports you in this project, providing training in:

  • Research and academic writing skills
  • Software (Matlab, Python, R, and Stata)
  • Empirical econometric skills.

In total, over 30 hours of lecture support skill acquisition directly relevant to the dissertation project. Helpdesks are also provided during the dissertation writing period. Dissertations fall into four categories:

Empirical Empirical dissertations typically take an econometric model from an existing paper and applying it to a new data set and / or extending it. Such a project involves:

  •     A brief critical literature review of your chosen area
  •     Finding and understanding your dataset
  •     Learning the appropriate software
  •     Implementing your model
  •     Understanding, criticising and checking the robustness of your results.

Examples of recent empirical dissertations are:

  •     Corruption and Education in the Developing World
  •     Analysis of Chinese Stock Market Efficiency
  •     UK Wage Flexibility in the Aftermath of the Great Recession
  •     Hedonstic wage estimation and the market for head teachers: Evidence for England
  •     Does Microcredit Crowd Out Traditional Moneylending? An Example From Hyderabad.
  •     Estimating the Competitive Structure of the UK Petrol Retail Industry
  •     The impact of paid work on women’s empowerment.

Theoretical Theoretical dissertations typically take model from an existing paper and extending it in some interesting way. Such a project involves:

  •     Acquiring a deep understanding of your model, in the context of the core material you’ve covered

Examples of recent theoretical dissertations are:

  •     An Investigation of a Network Targeting Model with Bounded Rational Consumers
  •     The finite sample performance of single equation models of ordered choice
  •     Rotating Savings and Credit Associations: A Theoretical Analysis
  •     News aggregators and search engines: Thumping entrants in the newspapers industry
  •     Disaster risk in a New Keynesian model

Policy Policy dissertations undertake a critical analysis of some previously unexplored policy or policy issue. Such a project involves:

  •     A description of the economic principles involved in the policy decision
  •     A critical appraisal of existing or proposed policies.

Note policy dissertations may often involve an empirical component Examples of recent dissertations are:

  •     An assessment of the second round of quantitative easing policy in the UK: A BVAR approach
  •     Capital controls on outflows during financial crises: Are they effective?
  •     The technological factors in the economies of developing countries: Comparison of the effectiveness of public policies on innovation in Chile for local research and inward technology transfer
  •     Welfare participation by immigrants in the UK
  •     A study upon market structure characterised by regulation: Information and oligopoly conditions.

Analytical Survey An analytical survey dissertation provides a clear outline of the intellectual development of the a particular area. Such a project involves:

  •     A thorough understanding of the literature in your chosen area
  •     Explaining the extent to which different contributors were addressing similar of different questions and in what sense and how far one contribution marks a significant improvement over earlier ones.
  •     Critically assessing the different contributions and of the field as a whole.

Examples of recent dissertations are:

  •     Heterogeneous Adaptive Learning in Real Business Cycle Models
  •     The Great Moderation: A critical survey since the crisis
  •     What are the social costs and benefits of reversing innovations in mortgage markets?
  •     What explains the top income surge?
  •     A survey on observational learning and informational cascades: Are observational conditions simple enough to warrant simple predictions?

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For further information please see the UCL pages for current students , or contact: [email protected]

Scheme of Award

Masters dissertations

If you would like your dissertation to be made available online to members of the university of bath, please deposit it with the library., select a degree programme to view past dissertations.

MA Contemporary European Studies (with transatlantic track) (1)

MA Contemporary European Studies: Politics Policy and Society (1)

MA Education (11)

MA Education (Educational Leadership and Management) (12)

MA Education (International Education) (12)

MA Education (Learning & Teaching) (2)

MA International Education and Globalisation (8)

MA International Relations (4)

MA International Relations and European Politics (7)

MA International Security (11)

MA Interpreting and Translating (10)

MA Interpreting and Translating (Chinese) (8)

MA Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) (4)

MA Translation and Professional Language Skills (5)

MA Translation with Business Interpreting (Chinese) (1)

MRes Advanced Quantitative Methods in Social Sciences (12)

MRes Economics (10)

MRes Education (13)

MRes European Social Policy (1)

MRes Global Political Economy (5)

MRes Health & Wellbeing (15)

MRes Health and Wellbeing (1)

MRes International Development (9)

MRes Politics and International Studies (5)

MRes Psychology (29)

MRes Security, Conflict & Human Rights (9)

MRes Social Policy (7)

MRes Social Work (1)

MRes Sociology (13)

MRes Sustainable Futures (10)

MSc Accounting and Finance (81)

MSc Applied Clinical Psychology (172)

MSc Applied Economics with Banking & Financial Markets (1)

MSc Applied Economics with Behavioural Science (1)

MSc Applied Economics with Public Policy (1)

MSc Applied Forensic Psychology with Counselling (9)

MSc Applied Psychology and Economic Behaviour (37)

MSc Architectural Engineering: Environmental Design (22)

MSc Artificial Intelligence (2)

MSc Automotive Engineering (16)

MSc Automotive Engineering with Electric Propulsion (12)

MSc Business Analytics (50)

MSc Civil Engineering: Innovative Structural Materials (34)

MSc Computer Science (2)

MSc Conservation of Historic Buildings (26)

MSc Data Science and Statistics (1)

MSc Economics (2)

MSc Economics & Finance (1)

MSc Electrical Power Systems (3)

MSc Engineering Business Management (2)

MSc Engineering Design (9)

MSc Entrepreneurship and Management (52)

MSc Finance (72)

MSc Finance with Banking (20)

MSc Finance with Risk Management (37)

MSc Health Psychology (50)

MSc Human Resource Management and Consulting (31)

MSc Humanitarianism, Conflict and Development (1)

MSc Innovation and Technology Management (8)

MSc International Construction Management (1)

MSc International Development (9)

MSc International Development with Conflict and Humanitarian Action (31)

MSc International Development with Economics (13)

MSc International Development, Social Justice and Sustainability (20)

MSc International Management (29)

MSc Machine Learning and Autonomous Systems (1)

MSc Management (30)

MSc Management with Finance (2)

MSc Management with Human Resource Management (1)

MSc Management with Marketing (1)

MSc Marketing (59)

MSc Mechatronics (5)

MSc Modern Applications of Mathematics (1)

MSc Modern Building Design (2)

MSc Operations, Logistics and Supply Chain Management (30)

MSc Public Policy (8)

MSc Sport and Exercise Medicine (2)

MSc Sports Physiotherapy (2)

MSc Sustainability and Management (44)

MSc Sustainable Chemical Engineering (1)

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OU theses and dissertations

Online theses.

Are available via Open Research Online .

Print theses

Search for OU theses in the Library Search . To see only print theses click 'In the Walton Hall library' and refine your results to resource type 'Thesis'.

OU staff and research students can  borrow a consultation copy of a thesis (if available). Please contact the Library helpdesk giving the author and title of the thesis.

UK theses and dissertations from EThOS

The Electronic Theses Online System (EThOS) offers free access to the full text of UK theses.

  • EThOS offers a one stop online shop providing free access to UK theses
  • EThOS digitizes theses on request into PDF format, this may require payment
  • EThOS is managed by the British Library in partnership with a number of UK universities
  • EThOS is open to all categories of library user

What does this mean to you as a library user?

When you need to access a PhD thesis from another UK based HE institution you should check EThOS to either download a thesis which has already been digitised or to request that a UK thesis be supplied to you.

  • For all UK theses EThOS will be the first point of delivery. You can use the online ordering and tracking system direct from EThOS to manage your requests for UK PhD theses, including checking the status of your requests
  • As readers you will deal directly with EThOS so will not need to fill in a document delivery request
  • OU staff and research students will still be entitled to access non-UK based PhD theses by filling in a document delivery request
  • In some cases where EThOS is unable to supply a UK thesis OU staff and research students will be able to access it by filling in a conventional document delivery request. The thesis will be supplied through direct loan
  • The EThOS system is both faster and cheaper than the previous British Theses service which was based on microfilm
  • The British Library no longer arranges interlibrary loans for UK PhD theses
  • Interlibrary Loan procedures for other types of request from the British Library (articles and books for example) will remain the same

If you have any queries about using EThOS contact the Document Delivery Team ( [email protected] or the Library Helpdesk ).

Note 13/03/2024: The British Library is continuing to experience a major technology outage affecting its websites and other online systems, due to a Cyber attack. as a result access to ETHOS might not be possible until the issue is fixed. 

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Master's research

Prize winning msc dissertations.

Master's students undertake a dissertation as part of all our MSc programmes , allowing them to further develop their research in areas of interest. Each year a prize is awarded to the dissertation with distinction that receives the highest mark across each of our MSc programmes. Read some of our students' recent prize winning MSc dissertations below.

Visit the GV499 course page for information on our masters dissertation course.

Joint Winners of the MSc Comparative Politics Prize for Best Dissertation

Varieties Of Exports, Varieties Of Growth: The Institutional Determinants Of Growth Model Variation Among Coordinated Market Economies . |  Thomas Prendergast

Issue Ownerships And Party Polarisation: Does The Effect Of Issue Ownership Considerations On The Vote Choice Depend On The (Relevant) Party Polarisation In An Individual’s Consideration Set?  | Michael Stirnimann

Joint Winners of the MSc Conflict Studies Prize for Best Dissertation

Killing The Dead: The Logic Of Cemetery Destruction During Genocidal Campaigns.  |  Noa Krikler

Second MSc Conflict Studies Joint Prize-Winning Dissertation Not Published.

Winner of the MSc Global Politics Prize for Best Dissertation

Evaluating The International Criminal Court’s Performance: An Empirical Study Of The Court’s Deterrence Effects In Darfur, Sudan. |  Maximillian Hörtnagl

Joint Winners of the MSc Political Science and Political Economy Prize for Best Dissertation

Restricting The Citizen’s Initiative: An Analysis Of Policy Adoption And Proposal In U.S. States. |  Allegra Dawes

Local Political Responsiveness To Electoral Pressures On Corruption: Evidence From An Anti-Corruption Referendum In Colombia. |  Hannah Fölsz

Joint Winners of the MSc Political Theory Excellent Dissertation Award

Towards A Postcolonial Contract: Revisiting Malaysia's Grand Bargain. |  Aiman Mohammad Caezar

The Seed Of A Good Life: Why Societies Should Support Parents. |  Felix Westerén

Winner of the MSc Public Administration  and Government Prize for Best Dissertation

Factionalism, Competition And Efficiency In Russian Banking. |  Alexander Soldatkin

Joint Winner of the Peter Self Prize (MSc Public Policy And Administration) for Best Dissertation

Determinants Of Open Government And Transparency Reforms: An Exploratory Study Of Provincial Governments In Argentina. |  Julia Amerikaner

Second MSc Public Policy and Administration Joint Prize-Winning Dissertation Not Published.

Winner of the MSc Regulation William Robson Prize for Best Dissertation

The Political Independence Of Regulatory Agencies: A Critical Appraisal Of A “Magic Concept” And Perspectives For Its Reconceptualization. |  Elisa Cartesi

Best MSc Comparative Politics Dissertation Prize-winner

'A War Against our Values?' - An Actor-Centred Comparison of Anti-Immigration Framing in the UK, Netherlands and France |  Joshua Kay

Best MSc Conflict Studies Dissertation Joint Prize-winners

Truth and Reconciliation Commissions: Global Norm or Passing Trend? |  Claire Williams

Rebel Strength and Post-Agreement Conflict: A Disaggregated Analysis |  Konrad Pialucha

Are French Muslims Constructed as a "Suspect Community"? A Critical Discourse Analysis of French Right-Wing Newspaper Coverage of Islamist Terrorism Between 1995 and 2015 |  Etienne Koeppel

Prize for Best MSc Global Politics Dissertation

The Forest Stewardship Council and Colonialism: A Critical Anti-Colonial Analysis of the Forest Stewardship Council's Normative Framework |  Yumann Siddiq

Prize for Best MSc Political Theory Dissertation

Data Ownership, Fraud and the Tainted AI: On the Unjust Means in the Development of Artificial Intelligence |  Ricky Li

Joint Prize for Best MSc Political Science and Political Economy Dissertation

The Mass Media of Remembering: The Role of TV in Coming to Terms with the Nazi Past |  Luis Bosshart

In Europe We Trust? An Examination into the Determinants of Citizen Trust in the European Union and European Institutions, and the Factors Leading to Extreme Political Views Among EU Citizens  |  Ailbhe Brioscu

Prize for best MSc Public Policy and Administration dissertation (not published).

Prize for best msc public administration and government dissertation.

Female Representation and the Substantive Representation of Women's Interests by Male MPs |  Luxia Broadbent

Prize for best MSc Regulation dissertation

What Counts in CEO Appointments in State-Owned Enterprises? Evidence from Chile, 1990-2018 |  Pablo Torres

Prize for Best MSc Comparative Politics Dissertation

Generational Effects and Support for the European Union in the UK: Political Socialisation During World War II | Kieran Devine

Prize for Best MSc Conflict Studies Dissertation

The Effectiveness of Women’s Leadership – Recognising and Addressing Wartime Sexual Violence |  Elisabet Olafsdottir

Business for Climate: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis of Policy Support and Opposition from Transnational Companies | Daniel Witte

The Political as a Theological Problem in the Thought of Carl Schmitt |  Jack Hutchison

Prize for best MSc Political Science and Political Economy dissertation

Ballot-Structure and Corruption: A Natural Experiment from French Municipal Elections |  Sebastian Law

Prize for best MSc Public Public Policy and Administration dissertation

Federalism’s Flaw: Does Decentralisation Enable the Violation of International Labour Law? | Evan Stubbings

Can Zombies be Rational? Investment, policy uncertainty and the Role of SOEs in China | Anthony Ng

What Affect Bureaucratic Attitudes Toward the Reform of Integrated Administrative Executive System: Evidence from the Practices in two Chinese Municipalities |  Fangda Ding

(no prize awarded)

Voting Islamist or Voting Secular? An Empirical Analysis of Election Outcomes in Tunisia’s Democratic Transition 2011-2014 |  Sapandeep Maini

Transitional Justice Beyond EU Conditionality: Post-Accession Backsliding in Croatia from a Rational Institutionalist Perspective |  Tijana Recevic

Discourse Contestation, Deliberation, and the Democratization of Global Governance: Evaluating the Labour Migration-and-Development Arena Against the ‘Discursive Democracy’ Ideal |  Cazadira Tamzil

A Disputed State: the Nature and Practice of Political Philosophy in Michael Oakeshott’s Early Writings |  Samuel Louis Bickler

The Scope of Public Reason Under Non-Ideal Conditions: Introducing the Interference View |  Henrik Dahlquist

The Revolving Door for Political Elites: An Empirical Analysis of the Linkages between Government Officials’ Professional Background and Financial Regulation |  Elisa Wirsching

Prize for best MSc Public Policy and Administration dissertation.

Measuring Transforming Rehabilitation’s Impact on Public Service Motivation |  Matthew Walker

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  • Dissertation

How to Write a Dissertation | A Guide to Structure & Content

A dissertation or thesis is a long piece of academic writing based on original research, submitted as part of an undergraduate or postgraduate degree.

The structure of a dissertation depends on your field, but it is usually divided into at least four or five chapters (including an introduction and conclusion chapter).

The most common dissertation structure in the sciences and social sciences includes:

  • An introduction to your topic
  • A literature review that surveys relevant sources
  • An explanation of your methodology
  • An overview of the results of your research
  • A discussion of the results and their implications
  • A conclusion that shows what your research has contributed

Dissertations in the humanities are often structured more like a long essay , building an argument by analysing primary and secondary sources . Instead of the standard structure outlined here, you might organise your chapters around different themes or case studies.

Other important elements of the dissertation include the title page , abstract , and reference list . If in doubt about how your dissertation should be structured, always check your department’s guidelines and consult with your supervisor.

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Table of contents

Acknowledgements, table of contents, list of figures and tables, list of abbreviations, introduction, literature review / theoretical framework, methodology, reference list.

The very first page of your document contains your dissertation’s title, your name, department, institution, degree program, and submission date. Sometimes it also includes your student number, your supervisor’s name, and the university’s logo. Many programs have strict requirements for formatting the dissertation title page .

The title page is often used as cover when printing and binding your dissertation .

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The acknowledgements section is usually optional, and gives space for you to thank everyone who helped you in writing your dissertation. This might include your supervisors, participants in your research, and friends or family who supported you.

The abstract is a short summary of your dissertation, usually about 150-300 words long. You should write it at the very end, when you’ve completed the rest of the dissertation. In the abstract, make sure to:

  • State the main topic and aims of your research
  • Describe the methods you used
  • Summarise the main results
  • State your conclusions

Although the abstract is very short, it’s the first part (and sometimes the only part) of your dissertation that people will read, so it’s important that you get it right. If you’re struggling to write a strong abstract, read our guide on how to write an abstract .

In the table of contents, list all of your chapters and subheadings and their page numbers. The dissertation contents page gives the reader an overview of your structure and helps easily navigate the document.

All parts of your dissertation should be included in the table of contents, including the appendices. You can generate a table of contents automatically in Word.

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If you have used a lot of tables and figures in your dissertation, you should itemise them in a numbered list . You can automatically generate this list using the Insert Caption feature in Word.

If you have used a lot of abbreviations in your dissertation, you can include them in an alphabetised list of abbreviations so that the reader can easily look up their meanings.

If you have used a lot of highly specialised terms that will not be familiar to your reader, it might be a good idea to include a glossary . List the terms alphabetically and explain each term with a brief description or definition.

In the introduction, you set up your dissertation’s topic, purpose, and relevance, and tell the reader what to expect in the rest of the dissertation. The introduction should:

  • Establish your research topic , giving necessary background information to contextualise your work
  • Narrow down the focus and define the scope of the research
  • Discuss the state of existing research on the topic, showing your work’s relevance to a broader problem or debate
  • Clearly state your objectives and research questions , and indicate how you will answer them
  • Give an overview of your dissertation’s structure

Everything in the introduction should be clear, engaging, and relevant to your research. By the end, the reader should understand the what , why and how of your research. Not sure how? Read our guide on how to write a dissertation introduction .

Before you start on your research, you should have conducted a literature review to gain a thorough understanding of the academic work that already exists on your topic. This means:

  • Collecting sources (e.g. books and journal articles) and selecting the most relevant ones
  • Critically evaluating and analysing each source
  • Drawing connections between them (e.g. themes, patterns, conflicts, gaps) to make an overall point

In the dissertation literature review chapter or section, you shouldn’t just summarise existing studies, but develop a coherent structure and argument that leads to a clear basis or justification for your own research. For example, it might aim to show how your research:

  • Addresses a gap in the literature
  • Takes a new theoretical or methodological approach to the topic
  • Proposes a solution to an unresolved problem
  • Advances a theoretical debate
  • Builds on and strengthens existing knowledge with new data

The literature review often becomes the basis for a theoretical framework , in which you define and analyse the key theories, concepts and models that frame your research. In this section you can answer descriptive research questions about the relationship between concepts or variables.

The methodology chapter or section describes how you conducted your research, allowing your reader to assess its validity. You should generally include:

  • The overall approach and type of research (e.g. qualitative, quantitative, experimental, ethnographic)
  • Your methods of collecting data (e.g. interviews, surveys, archives)
  • Details of where, when, and with whom the research took place
  • Your methods of analysing data (e.g. statistical analysis, discourse analysis)
  • Tools and materials you used (e.g. computer programs, lab equipment)
  • A discussion of any obstacles you faced in conducting the research and how you overcame them
  • An evaluation or justification of your methods

Your aim in the methodology is to accurately report what you did, as well as convincing the reader that this was the best approach to answering your research questions or objectives.

Next, you report the results of your research . You can structure this section around sub-questions, hypotheses, or topics. Only report results that are relevant to your objectives and research questions. In some disciplines, the results section is strictly separated from the discussion, while in others the two are combined.

For example, for qualitative methods like in-depth interviews, the presentation of the data will often be woven together with discussion and analysis, while in quantitative and experimental research, the results should be presented separately before you discuss their meaning. If you’re unsure, consult with your supervisor and look at sample dissertations to find out the best structure for your research.

In the results section it can often be helpful to include tables, graphs and charts. Think carefully about how best to present your data, and don’t include tables or figures that just repeat what you have written  –  they should provide extra information or usefully visualise the results in a way that adds value to your text.

Full versions of your data (such as interview transcripts) can be included as an appendix .

The discussion  is where you explore the meaning and implications of your results in relation to your research questions. Here you should interpret the results in detail, discussing whether they met your expectations and how well they fit with the framework that you built in earlier chapters. If any of the results were unexpected, offer explanations for why this might be. It’s a good idea to consider alternative interpretations of your data and discuss any limitations that might have influenced the results.

The discussion should reference other scholarly work to show how your results fit with existing knowledge. You can also make recommendations for future research or practical action.

The dissertation conclusion should concisely answer the main research question, leaving the reader with a clear understanding of your central argument. Wrap up your dissertation with a final reflection on what you did and how you did it. The conclusion often also includes recommendations for research or practice.

In this section, it’s important to show how your findings contribute to knowledge in the field and why your research matters. What have you added to what was already known?

You must include full details of all sources that you have cited in a reference list (sometimes also called a works cited list or bibliography). It’s important to follow a consistent reference style . Each style has strict and specific requirements for how to format your sources in the reference list.

The most common styles used in UK universities are Harvard referencing and Vancouver referencing . Your department will often specify which referencing style you should use – for example, psychology students tend to use APA style , humanities students often use MHRA , and law students always use OSCOLA . M ake sure to check the requirements, and ask your supervisor if you’re unsure.

To save time creating the reference list and make sure your citations are correctly and consistently formatted, you can use our free APA Citation Generator .

Your dissertation itself should contain only essential information that directly contributes to answering your research question. Documents you have used that do not fit into the main body of your dissertation (such as interview transcripts, survey questions or tables with full figures) can be added as appendices .

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  1. Dissertation examples

    Dissertation examples. Listed below are some of the best examples of research projects and dissertations from undergraduate and taught postgraduate students at the University of Leeds We have not been able to gather examples from all schools. The module requirements for research projects may have changed since these examples were written.

  2. Dissertations

    Research Design and Dissertation in International Development. The DV410 dissertation is a major component of the MSc programme and an important part of the learning and development process involved in postgraduate education. The objective of DV410 is to provide students with an overview of the resources available to them to research and write ...

  3. Dissertation Examples

    Find examples of high-quality dissertations from undergraduate and postgraduate students in the School of Economics at Nottingham. See topics, methods, and findings from various fields of economics.

  4. PDF University of Nottingham School of Economics MSc Dissertation

    an MSc in the School of Economics, University of Nottingham. The work is the sole ... This thesis looks to re-examine the oft-discussed relationship between income inequality and economic growth. Much of the research to date has relied upon the Gini coefficient as the indicator of inequality. I go into detail discussing why the Gini coefficient ...

  5. Find Dissertations and Theses

    You can use Library Search to help you find them and there are a number of different ways to search, depending on what you want to find. You can access dissertations and theses by previous University of Salford students. Use the 'Advanced Search' option in Library Search to find these, and take a look at our University of Salford e-theses ...

  6. PDF Guide to Writing MSc Dissertations

    The dissertation project is an important part of postgraduate education. Most students are surprised how much they learn in the process, both in understanding and organising the material and in writing the dissertation. This is a guide on how to write an MSc dissertation. It is written for Master's students

  7. PDF Pinning Pretty: A Qualitative Study of Pinterest Users' Practices and Views

    What is noticeably lacking, however, is a qualitative study on the uses and views of Pinterest users, as well as an exploration of this particular intersection of gender and technology. This dissertation aims to fill this gap in the literature. Fourteen Pinterest users were interviewed for this study, and their interviews transcribed and analyzed.

  8. MSc Dissertation Library

    The online Dissertation Library includes content from all postgraduate degrees in the School, including all taught and research MScs and the Masters of Social Work (MSW). As an SPS masters student in the School of Social and Political Science, you are given exclusive access to the Library. Please note that dissertations from any given academic year may not be uploaded before March/April of the ...

  9. Masters dissertations

    MSc Applied Clinical Psychology. The Interplay of Self-Esteem, Stress, and Deservingness: Exploring the Effect of Self-Perception on Social Behaviour and Coping. Exploring the Relationship between PID-5 Personality Traits, Perceived State Stress, Restorative Outcomes, and Depression and Anxiety using immersive Virtual Reality.

  10. Masters dissertations

    Ethan Hassall, 2022. ESG and corporate financial performance——Evidence from the UK. Tian Jiyao, 2022. The impact of capital structure on firm performance. Kyveli Kyriacou, 2022. 1 Investigating The Role of Financial Technology in Driving Economic Development (Kenyan Case Study) Alexander Langridge, 2022.

  11. MSc Dissertations

    The MSc dissertation counts for 90 CATS - that is, half of the total MSc load. A dissertation is usually expository, collecting together results from several research papers into a coherent whole. Sometimes dissertations contain original research, and this is encouraged where appropriate. The general framework of a dissertation must be approved ...

  12. Media@LSE MSc Dissertation Series

    These MSc dissertations have been selected by the editor and deputy editor of the Media@LSE Working Paper Series and consequently, are not the responsibility of the Working Paper Series Editorial Board. 2022-23. No 313 The App Keeps the Score: Period-Tracking Apps, Self-Empowerment and the Self as Enterprise, Martina Sardelli.

  13. Prize-Winning Thesis and Dissertation Examples

    Prize-Winning Thesis and Dissertation Examples. Published on September 9, 2022 by Tegan George.Revised on July 18, 2023. It can be difficult to know where to start when writing your thesis or dissertation.One way to come up with some ideas or maybe even combat writer's block is to check out previous work done by other students on a similar thesis or dissertation topic to yours.

  14. PDF MSc Dissertation Handbook 2020-21

    Sustainability Dissertation Handbook, which will be available on the programme level Learn page. For further guidance, please contact the Programme Director . [email protected]. or Administrator Kathryn Will, [email protected]. 2. Scope of the dissertation Every MSc Programme in the School has a dissertation component. The dissertation is

  15. Dissertation handbook for taught Masters programmes 2023/24

    (except MSc Management) are required to submit a dissertation on a topic approved by the programme director/supervisor. This handbook has been produced to provide you with information about the framework for MSc dissertations. It should be used in conjunction with your programme handbook and the advice of your supervisor1.

  16. The MSc Dissertation

    The MSc Dissertation. From June - early September students undertake a research project, lightly supervised by a member of faculty, and submit a 10,000 word dissertation on or before the deadline in early September. A good dissertation will be a piece of original research, the best dissertations are published.

  17. PDF MSc Research Project/Dissertation Guidelines

    Word limit. Your research dissertation should be around 10,000 words. There is an absolute maximum of 12,000 words. This includes everything apart from figure legends, tables, appendices and references. The marker will stop reading after 12,000 words, and anything after that will not be marked (except for your reference list).

  18. Masters dissertations listed by programme

    MA International Security (11) MA Interpreting and Translating (10) MA Interpreting and Translating (Chinese) (8) MA Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) (4) MA Translation and Professional Language Skills (5) MA Translation with Business Interpreting (Chinese) (1) MRes Advanced Quantitative Methods in Social Sciences (12 ...

  19. Prize-Winning Thesis and Dissertation Examples

    Prize-Winning Thesis and Dissertation Examples. Published on 9 September 2022 by Tegan George.Revised on 6 April 2023. It can be difficult to know where to start when writing your thesis or dissertation.One way to come up with some ideas or maybe even combat writer's block is to check out previous work done by other students.

  20. Theses & dissertations

    UK theses and dissertations from EThOS. The Electronic Theses Online System (EThOS) offers free access to the full text of UK theses. EThOS offers a one stop online shop providing free access to UK theses. EThOS digitizes theses on request into PDF format, this may require payment. EThOS is managed by the British Library in partnership with a ...

  21. Dissertation & Thesis Outline

    Example 1: Passive construction. The passive voice is a common choice for outlines and overviews because the context makes it clear who is carrying out the action (e.g., you are conducting the research ). However, overuse of the passive voice can make your text vague and imprecise. Example: Passive construction.

  22. Master's research

    Prize winning MSc dissertations. Master's students undertake a dissertation as part of all our MSc programmes, allowing them to further develop their research in areas of interest. Each year a prize is awarded to the dissertation with distinction that receives the highest mark across each of our MSc programmes.

  23. How to Write a Dissertation

    The structure of a dissertation depends on your field, but it is usually divided into at least four or five chapters (including an introduction and conclusion chapter). The most common dissertation structure in the sciences and social sciences includes: An introduction to your topic. A literature review that surveys relevant sources.