The dissertation can be described as a project in the assessment form, which is different from any other regular assessment, submitted by students in the final year of their study. The dissertation can be seen to be differing from any other assessment in the way that in dissertation a student needs to be preparing literature review based on the things learned and by taking responsibility for the introduction of their finding and discussing the outcomes. By way of the dissertation, the students are enabled to be identifying their area of interests that are seen to be offering the opportunity of exploring the area in a depth in which their questions can be defined. With the inclusion of experience and the production process of knowledge, the students can be seen to be learning to manage a product from the beginning to the end. Dissertations can be seen to be containing original findings that are being based on the arguments done by the Ph.D. or doctorate students.
The Undergraduate Dissertation and Criteria for Examination
Although discussions made on dissertations are mostly focused on the post-graduate studies, however, the undergraduate students can also be frequently seen to be completing undergraduate dissertations as one of the parts of their overall degree. An undergraduate or a bachelor’s dissertation can essentially be described as an extended piece of research and writing done on a single subject. The dissertation can typically be seen to be completed by the students in the final year of the degree program on a topic selected by the student on their own area of interest. By way of the dissertation, a student is being allowed to be exploring the greater depth of any narrow topic in contrast to a traditional module. The student is needed to be working with a supervisor who would be chosen from the faculty of their departments and the supervisor is seen to be providing support and guidance to the student throughout the course of the research.
The bachelor’s degree dissertations can be seen to be significantly different from the postgraduate dissertations. Firstly, an undergraduate dissertation is shorter in length with an average of 10,000-15,000 words. Although the word limit is seen to be shorter than that of a Masters or Ph.D. dissertation, however, an undergraduate dissertation can be seen to be much longer than any other writing needed in the bachelor’s programs. Secondly, the level of originality needed in a postgraduate dissertation is not necessary for an undergraduate dissertation. Although the students are expected to be completing their works in an independent manner and cite all the sources that had been used by them, yet no new ideas are needed to be presented by them. Thorough and sustained research and the presentation of a critical discussion of a narrower research topic is sufficient. Discussion of the philosophical context for the research or the designing of the distinct methodology is also not necessary. Lastly, the dissertation in undergraduate studies is also seen to be varying in the type of research that has been conducted. The research is seen to be more focused on documents and texts instead of active field researches. Most of the time the students are required to be examining either secondary sources or primary sources that are easily accessible and are not needed to be pursuing data sources that are obscure or costly. Although some disciplines are seen to be incorporating practical elements in the dissertation, that can be seen usually to be performed with less independence than expected in the postgraduate level.
The Criteria for the examination of an undergraduate dissertation is discussed below:
- The student in the dissertation should be integrating their learning from the undergraduate course and exhibiting skills and knowledge that was acquired not only by way of what has been taught in class but also by way of self-directed learning.
- There should be clarity in the dissertation. The research questions should be clearly thought-out and should have aligned methodology.
- There should be clarity in the dissertation in regard to the findings, solutions, and recommendations and the presentation of the dissertation should be clear as well.
- The dissertation needs to be well-written, structured and organized and should be divided into chapters.
- The dissertation needs to have a sound methodology in close alignment with the research questions, evidence of critical thought and there should also be a review of the literature in relation to the dissertation questions present.
- The conclusion is needed to be able to relate to the questions and objectives of the research in a way that the comparison, discussion, and argument should be demonstrating that there has been original thought process used in the paper and not simply a plagiarism of language or ideas has been carried out.
The Master’s and Doctoral Dissertation and Criteria of Examination
The completion of a dissertation or thesis is seen to be a general requirement of a graduate degree. Although dissertation and thesis are used as interchangeable terms sometimes yet there are definite points of difference between the two in most contexts. The structure of both the papers can be seen to be similar, as both contain an introduction, literary review, body, conclusion, bibliography, and appendix. A thesis can be described as a dissertation that is being submitted at the end of a master’s degree program and a dissertation is a project submitted at the end of a doctoral program. A further distinction between the two can be made on the basis of the length of the work. A master’s dissertation is needed to be at least 100 pages orbit beyond that in length however a doctoral dissertation is needed to be much longer than a master’s dissertation paper as a doctoral dissertation is seen to be involving a great deal of research as well as background information, along with each and every detail of the research proposal and the student had arrived at the specific information. A master’s degree dissertation can be seen to be a compilation of research made to prove the student’s knowledge about the information that has been learned throughout the master’s program. A master’s degree dissertation is almost similar in structure to the research papers submitted in the undergraduate programs. Like undergraduate research paper in a master’s dissertation also a topic is researched, analyzed and commented upon in respect to the information gathered and how the information is found to be related to the particular subject matter at hand. The point of a master’s dissertation is to be showing a student’s ability to be thinking critically about any topic and to be discussing in-depth the information in a knowledgeable way. In a master’s degree dissertation the students are presented with an opportunity for the expansion of any subject that is most relevant to the area of specialty they had been wishing to be pursuing professionally. A doctoral dissertation, on the other hand, can be seen to be the opportunity presented during a doctoral program for the contribution of new knowledge, theory or practice to the particular field of study. The point of a doctoral study can be seen to be coming up with concepts that are entirely new, developing the same and defending the worth of it. In a doctoral dissertation, the students are required to be utilizing the researches done by others as mere guidance for coming up with their own and unique hypothesis, concept or theory. The bulk of information can be seen to be completely attributed to the student in a doctoral dissertation. As a doctoral dissertation is seen to be an extremely complex work it can likely be two or even three times longer than a master’s dissertation. In a doctoral dissertation, guidance is provided by a faculty member serving as a dissertation advisor.
The Criteria for the examination of the master’s and doctoral dissertation is discussed below:
- In spite of variability almost all the examiners can be seen to be indulging in common practices like looking for similar core qualities and offering similar recommendations.
- A dissertation should be meeting the expectations of the examiner to be academically sound, having great literature, logical structure, and relevant methodology.
- The dissertation should be worthy enough to be passing
- A candidate is expected to be interpreting, analyzing, critically appraising their findings, coming up with relevant conclusions and showing the inferences for the research problem.
- The dissertation should be worthy to be published.
- The dissertation should be free of presentation errors.
- The dissertation should have a convincing approach and should be exhibiting a comprehensive understanding of the literature.
Conclusive Ruminations on What is Checked in the Dissertation
Each of the undergraduate dissertation, master’s dissertation, and doctoral dissertation can be said to be having its own criteria for examination. It can be further said that these criteria have been on the basis of significant quantitative, qualitative and empirical researches. However, it can be seen in this context that although there is a considerable amount of difference between each of the standards, yet certain qualities and values of originality, clarity of the work can be seen to be running through all the standards.