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The abstract, together with the findings, conclusions and recommendations section, is the
most important part of your dissertation. It is probably the only part that some people will
read, so it is important that it gives an accurate representation of the main work.
Generally, the abstract should be about one page in length. It should be objective, pre-

cise and easy to read.

It is difficult to write a good abstract. Some people wait until the end of the dissertation
to write the abstract. Others write it tentatively at the start as it gives a brief overview of

84Better Exam Results:A Guide for Accountancy and Business Students

MALO-09.QXD 25/8/04 1:10 PM Page 84

the thesis. You can always change it as you progress or at the end of the dissertation. The
abstract should stick exactly to what you have written in your dissertation. It should con-
vey the content of your thesis in as clear and brief a way as possible. The abstract is not the
place for elaboration or adding new ideas.
The abstract should provide the following:

q

The research question

q

Its importance

q

The research methods employed

q

Summary of findings, conclusions and recommendations.

The abstract can be a separate part of your dissertation, placed in a separate section
before the main body of your work.
The layout of the rest of the dissertation will vary from individual to individual, but one
suggested layout might be as follows:

Reports,assignments and dissertations85

Chapter 1

Introduction

Chapter 2

Research methodology – empirical research

Chapter 3

Research methodology –literature review

Chapter 4

Synthesis of literature review

Chapter 5

Content analysis and empirical research findings

Chapter 6

Findings, conclusions and recommendations

Divide chapters into sections so that you have enough organizers to give a clear structure
to your work. Divide sections into paragraphs. Within paragraphs you may use bullet
points as appropriate.

MALO-09.QXD 25/8/04 1:10 PM Page 85

86Better Exam Results:A Guide for Accountancy and Business Students

Summary

A typical report will have the following:

q

Title page

q

Executive summary

q

Contents list

q

Introduction

q

Body

q

Findings

q

Conclusions

q

Recommendations

q

Appendices

q

Glossary

q

Bibliography and references.

A similar approach is often adopted for academic assignments.
A research model for a dissertation may have the following approach:

q

Define problem

q

Review literature

q

Formulate hypothesis

q

Research design

q

Implement

q

Interpret

q

Report.

Examiners want a minimum of:

q

Abstract

q

Introduction

q

Body

q

Findings, conclusions and recommendations.

A research proposal should have the following:

q

Title

q

Background

q

Research question and objectives

q

Proposed research method

q

Timescale

q

Resources needed

q

References.

A suggested research time scale is given in this chapter, and a framework for ana-
lytical writing suggested. Vital tips on the preparation of a dissertation are also given.

MALO-09.QXD 25/8/04 1:10 PM Page 86

W

riting

Dissertation layout

Research proposal

Examiners want

Dissertations

Reports/assignments

Introduction

Literature

Empirical

Research methodology

Synthesis

Literature

Empirical

Findings

Abstract

Report

Define problem

Contents

Title page

Executive summary

Introduction

Body

Findings

Conclusions

Recommendations

Appendices

Glossary

Review literature

Formulate hypothesis

Research design

Implement

Interpret

Conclusions

Recommendations

Findings

Body

Title

Time scale

References

Resources

Method

Research

Background

Question

Objectives

Recommendations

Conclusions

Content analysis

Mind Map ofChapter 9:Writing

MALO-09.QXD 25/8/04 1:10 PM Page 87

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