They need to show they are capable of presenting work in an orderly, academic form, clearly demonstrating a working knowledge of their chosen subject.
Equally important is the development of various levels of critical insight, depending on the level of degree for which the dissertation is to be submitted – undergraduate or master’s.
Unless older work is seminal, avoid citing it and seek newer material; never use literature just because it is convenient or to hand Box 4.
Plagiarism: do not go there As Singh and Remenyi (2016) explain, plagiarism is using, in an essay or dissertation, ideas that have been sourced from work published by other authors without acknowledging them.
Few are fully confident that they know how to go about writing the dissertation, manage the supervisory relationship and highlight the essentials of the topic they wish to examine.
However, writing a dissertation is a learning process, and need not be such an onerous task if it is carefully planned.
The time taken initially to decide on the topic, approaches and resources will be time well spent.
Many students consider identifying and refining the topic of their dissertation to be one of the most difficult elements in the process.
It can be helpful to distil your ideas using a framework such as Lowry’s reflective triangle (Lowry, 2016).
Start by making notes on what interests you and why (the ‘case’), then put these into the ‘context’ and consider all the ‘variables’ (Fig 1).