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

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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.

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