Use the past tense throughout and do not use jargon or unexplained abbreviations.

· In general, there are 3 sections:
1. the introductory chapters which set out the relevant contextual and theoretical background information and the reasons for your choice of topic. They give an overview of the methodology and data collection techniques used.
2. the central chapters which constitute the main body of your dissertation. The exact number of the sections or chapters depend on your topic but should normally include the literature review, methodology and results. If you are adopting a case study approach which involves a particular company or organisation, you must include a section describing and explaining the sample involved.
3. the concluding chapters are usually termed conclusion and discussion. These should pull together the whole piece of work. They relate your findings to the aims and objectives. They must present a summary of the preceding chapters but not just a repetition of earlier material. They should be used to reflect on the whole process and attempt to explain where research could lead if continued.
A more detailed format follows with advice on each component; however, there are no hard and fast rules regarding numbering and what you must put into each section. Consult your supervisor if in doubt. In addition, if you did not collect empirical evidence for your dissertation, the methodology and results sections would not apply.
1. Title page – you should include the title of the dissertation, your full name, details of the degree and other information specified by your course (eg your supervisor’s name, the department etc).
2. Acknowledgements – it is a good idea to thank everyone who helped you. Check the spellings of their names.
3. Abstract – an abstract is a summary of the whole work, not a condensed Contents page (see below). It should be brief, to the point and contain no other information than an outline of the work. It should be complete in its own right so that anyone reading it would know what your work is about and what your main findings are. The abstract is usually written when your work is complete. The length of the abstract is an important consideration. It should not be more than half a page for most undergraduate dissertations. Its sole purpose is to indicate scope and content. Assume the reader is very intelligent but knows nothing about the subject of your topic. Use the past tense throughout and do not use jargon or unexplained abbreviations. Start the last sentence or paragraph with “In summary, this study has demonstrated…/this investigation has shown….” or something like that.
4. Contents page – Use Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3..) for sections and chapters and the decimal system for subheadings (1.1, 2.1.1 etc) and Roman numerals (I, II, III …) or A,B,C for Appendices . Page 1 usually starts with the Introduction – the acknowledgements, abstract, Contents page are normally numbered i, ii, iii etc.
5. Introduction – this section should state clearly what exactly your dissertation sets out to achieve. The aim and plan should therefore be made explicit. Tell the reader why you chose the topic, what the main research issues are, what aspects you are investigating and how you investigated them. DO NOT SUMMARISE THE CONTENTS PAGE HERE.
6. Literature review – every dissertation should have a review of previously published work which is related to your work. It sets your dissertation against existing knowledge, comparing and linking this work with what your work is about. It is not a catalogue of references. It should relate theory to practice and provide a critical insight into the topic you are investigating. It may not always be an explicit section but it should be self evident within the content of the dissertation.
7. Methodology and data collection – this section would include a description and explanation of how you approached the investigation of your topic. You should give a full account of the approach (qualitative or quantitative) and the techniques for collecting data, sampling etc.
8. Results – range from transcriptions of interviews, analyses of questionnaires and tables of raw data. This section only presents the results – do not explain them. Original data could be best put in the appendix with summaries in tabular or other diagrammatic forms in this section. These should be accompanied by a short description in words eg The table shows……, As you can see from the pie-chart…..
9. Discussion – in this section you interpret what your findings mean and whether they correspond with your aims. You relate your work back to the literature review and discuss how it fits into current theories and practice.
You may find this a difficult section to write but the following questions may be of help: how are the results related to the aims? How are they are related to the literature? What is the role of theory? Were the methodology and data collection procedures appropriate? What are the effects (if any) on professional practice?
10. Conclusions – this is a very important section to do well. Include: a summary of the principal features of your study; an outline of the main findings, key concepts and theories identified in the literature; the implications involved; any recommendations for future research and practical suggestions.
11. Bibliography – the Harvard system is recommended for UClan.
12. Appendices – Any material that was produced and gathered during the process which is relevant but perhaps too bulky or disruptive of flow to put in the main text could be included in the appendix. Do not add material just to bulk up your dissertation. Appendices are not included in the word length of a dissertation.

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