Postgraduate study skills in science, technology or mathematics
Postgraduate study skills in science, technology or mathematics

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Postgraduate study skills in science, technology or mathematics

1.5 Key dissertation ingredients

A number of ingredients are essential for a satisfactory dissertation:

  • a thesis, i.e. one coherent overriding ‘story’ or argument

  • situation in existing knowledge, i.e. a critical review of prior research which motivates and justifies the research question

  • contribution of something new

  • appropriate voice and argument, i.e. the provision of clear and explicit evidence, substantiation, and chain of inference.

More hangs on the student's ability to demonstrate intellectual maturity and critical depth (and through them to provide insight) than on the scale or scope of the research findings. A good PhD is based on an honest report of research that reflects sound practice and well-articulated critical thinking.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus