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Doing Your Master's Dissertation

Doing Your Master's Dissertation
From Start to Finish

First Edition
Additional resources:

March 2013 | 176 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
'From finding a research topic through to the final write up, this clear guide takes the mystery out of graduate-level research. This book will help your project succeed' - James V. Spickard, Professor of Sociology, University of Redlands, US
Just starting your Master's? Worried about your dissertation? This book is an indispensible guide to writing a successful Master's dissertation. The book begins by addressing issues you'll face in the early stages of writing a dissertation, such as deciding on what to research, planning your project and searching for literature online. It then guides you through different aspects of carrying out your research and writing up, helping you to:
  • Write a research proposal
  • Choose one or more methods
  • Write the introduction and conclusion
  • Discuss the literature
  • Analyse your findings
  • Edit and reference
  • Formulate research questions
  • Build your argument

The book offers guidance that other books often miss, from dealing with emotional blocks, to ways of identifying your strengths and weaknesses, and improving your writing. It addresses the social aspects of the writing process, such as choosing and working with an advisor, using social media and forming student work groups for added help and inspiration. Each chapter ends with an action plan, which is a resource section that features exercises and reflection questions designed to help you apply what you've read to your own work.

Student Success is a series of essential guides for students of all levels. From how to think critically and write great essays to boosting your employability and managing your wellbeing, the Student Success series helps you study smarter and get the best from your time at university. 

Help! How Do I Find a Research Topic?
Overcoming Barriers and Getting Started
Basic Rules of Writing
Who Can Help You? Establishing Support Networks
A Guide for Searching the Literature
Reviewing Research Literature
How Do I Formulate Research Questions?
Easier Said Than Done - Choosing a Suitable Research Design and Method
The Art of Keeping a Steady Course - Structuring the Analysis
Beginning and End - Introduction and Conclusion
Chaos and Order - Editing and Referencing
When Is It Finished? Checklist Summary


SAGE Study Skills hub

Visit the SAGE Study Skills hub for tips, resources and videos on study success!

This book is a well structured, easy to follow guide but more basic and less informative than Chris Hart's more comprehensive book on the same topic which is our recommended choice for this module.

Miss Alison Woolf
School of Education and Community, Glyndwr University
June 18, 2014

A useful textbook for anyone feeling stuck - provides helpful, accessible tips. This is a clear guide to steer your way through what can be a challenging process.

Ms Angela Hilton
School of Education, Wolverhampton University
March 19, 2014

useful, practical, clear and helpful

Ms Anne Morris
Social Science , London Metropolitan Uni (North Campus)
February 21, 2014

An important text for master's level dissertation. Complete with relevant learning/research tools.

Dr John Opute
Management , London South Bank University
February 13, 2014

Extremely useful book to 'dip into' as a reference for those students involved in Masters modules. Very accessible to all students with clear advice and supporting information.

Mr Andrew Sheehan
Department of Education, Newman University College
February 3, 2014

Excellent book - clear and full of information which will help any students starting their master's dissertation.

Mrs Alicia Hawkes
Education, Totton College
July 16, 2013

A clear and practical guide to support students when they are working independently and need reassurance.

Miss Liz McGuire
PGCE Secondary, Leeds Trinity and All Saints
June 19, 2013

Excellent! A very thorough guide to completing a dissertation - at any level.

Ms Fiona Meddings
Health , Bradford University
June 17, 2013

A clear and accessible guide explaining some of the processes that might get taken for granted. The practical ‘Action Plan’ at the end of each chapter is useful for student and supervisor alike.

Mrs Irene Scott
Faculty , Chester University
May 31, 2013

This is a very accessible text for students, written in simple language with many practical points to assist them with their dissertations. I liked the summaries and in particular the action plans at the end of each chapter. The text would also be valuable to supervisors and advisors of students.

Professor Nonnie Botha
Faculty of Education, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
May 21, 2013