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Dissertation Writing

Guidelines, hints
and tips

z aims and objectives

z writing skills
z referencing / endnotes or footnotes
z illustrative materials
z management & administration
Aims and objectives
z Aims
• to facilitate the preparation of the dissertation
z Objectives
• to overview the guidelines for the preparation of
your dissertation
• to outline and discuss some of the elements that
characterise good writing
• to introduce some of the skills required to prepare
a bibliography
Are writing skills important?

Why are writing skills important?
z it is a fundamental skill of communication
and the major means of communication
within an organisation
z on average, 30% of work time is engaged
in written communication. Thus, it is vital
for you actively to develop the skill of
writing; not only because of the time
involved in writing, but also because your
career development depends upon it.
z Bullet points are easy - writing well is a
skill that needs practice
z it is the main method by which your
project work will be assessed
z the examiner needs to understand what you
mean readily and precisely, i.e., write what
you mean
Elements of good writing

z thought
z correctness
z appropriateness
z readability
z well-written work reflects thoughtfulness
z passages are well organised and faithful to
the purpose of the work
z it is accurate, and contains acceptable
propositions, assumptions and conclusions
z it shows a lack of bias and contains
believable justifications
z it reflects the author’s enthusiasm and is
z good writing contains correct grammar,
punctuation, and spelling
z it is coherent
z it is marked by proper syntax and good
sentence transitions
z it is well presented and contains
judiciously chosen headings and
z it has the right tone. The reader is neither
talked down to nor buried in verbosity,
jargon nor pomposity.
z For example: ‘Prior to analysis, the raw
data was entered into a SPSS spreadsheet
using a digital human-computer-interface
data-entry mechanism’
z appropriate writing gives the reader a clear
idea of what has been undertaken
z good writing is readable and flows smoothly
z it does not require the re-reading of every other
z readable pieces have a lead-off topic sentence
followed by sentences that outline the work
z there are clear transitions from paragraph to
z the reader knows where the material is heading
z summarising statements, which help the reader
to understand prior text, appear periodically
z ideas are logically presented
Although spell checkers and grammar checkers are
features of Microsoft Word, for important documents
there is nothing better than a good, old-fashioned
proof-read. As an example, the following comes from
a national advertising campaign run by a famous
maker of Champagne.
“Which country has one the Triple Crown the most
“Won may be impressed by their product, but one is
not impressed by the quality of their advertising copy.”
The best possible advice?
z spend a little time thinking about what
good writing involves
z start writing early
z read and revise
z get someone else to read it
z correct, read and revise
z get someone else to read it again
z correct, read and revise………..
Stages in the work
C. Planning Prepare Gantt chart
Table 2.1 Stages in Project Work
D. Proposal Skeleton of the Dissertation

E. Literature Search in libraries and

Activity Survey other
sources; record
A. Selection Identify one or more possible
F. Data Carry out appropriate
Acquisition activity:
topics; agree with Programme
Director experiment, questionnaire,
inspection of files, etc.
G. Analysis Boil down, recast,
B. Definition Define specific aims and recalculate
achievable scope
H. Synthesis Write Conclusions and
I. Draft of Assemble components and
Dissertation add missing bits
J. Final Prepare and polish
Interaction with the University

A. Selection
B. Definition
C. Planning
D. Proposal
E. Literature Survey
F. Data Acquisition
G. Analysis
H. Synthesis
I. Draft of Dissertation
J. Final Form of Dissertation
Selecting a Topic
z It is clearly related to Building Services
z It offers opportunities to demonstrate a number of
qualities assessed.
z It can be dealt with in the time available.
z It can be dealt with using the resources available
(or certain to become available).
z In short: you want something to get your teeth
into, but not so much that you choke.
Defining a Topic
Flow chart
Select topic from broad area of study

N Can topic
is investigation
emphasis be

Does topic have
sufficient scope

Topic outline submitted

Topic agreed by

Supervisor appoinred

Project proceeds
Attributes to the
z project-planning, including keeping to time
z identifying and assembling relevant source material
z critical judgment
z analytical capacity
z ability to synthesis
z clarity in exposition
z knowledge of conventional methods of presentation:
equations, tables, glossary, bibliography, internal and
external referencing, etc.
The Proposal
z Introduction
z Background to the Project
z Aims and Broad Objectives
z Methods to be Adopted
z Time-Plan
z Deliverables or Specific Outcomes
A final reminder……

Time is the name of game.

Bad grade in Dissertation is a disaster.

The disaster must be avoided.