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Redrafting your dissertation Dissertation workshop for coursework postgrads Dr Cheryl Lange.

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Presentation on theme: "Redrafting your dissertation Dissertation workshop for coursework postgrads Dr Cheryl Lange."— Presentation transcript:

1 Redrafting your dissertation Dissertation workshop for coursework postgrads Dr Cheryl Lange

2 You’ve finished the first draft - well done Don’t race off to show it to your supervisor yet. There are still a couple of important things you need to do. Set aside your work for a few days Redraft Many ideas in this presentation are adapted from Evans, D & Gruba, P 2002 (2 nd ed.) How to write a better thesis, Melbourne, Melbourne University Press, pp

3 Things to check 1.Structure 2. Spelling, grammar, punctuation, formatting, etc.

4 Structure – some questions Is there a table of contents? (check that there is agreement between the table of contents and your chapter headings) Does the Introduction mention –why the research was done – what the aim is –how the aim was achieved –what the scope of the dissertation is? Do the conclusions correspond with the aim? Note areas to be improved in the margins of the text

5 Redraft questions – ask yourself Does the logic of my argument flow from introduction to conclusion? (If not, fix up any gaps, repetitions, problems with order, etc.) Has my aim shifted during my research? (If yes, re-write your aim.) Is there material in the body that would be better off in an appendix? (If yes, move it to an appendix.) Have important points emerged that I didn’t consider when structuring my first draft? (If yes, work out how/where to incorporate them.)

6 Results – more questions Are the results of my experiments, interviews or other aspects of my own work clearly presented and explained? Am I discussing the implications of my results as I go? (OK if you are doing a dissertation in the humanities and some social sciences. NOT OK, for dissertations in physical, biological sciences.)

7 Discussion and Conclusions Have I discussed my findings in terms of improving or extending current theory or practice? (This may not be necessary for some coursework dissertations.) Do my conclusions follow on from my discussion? (They should.) Have I introduced new discussion topics into my conclusion? (If yes, you will have to rewrite your discussion to include the new ideas or rewrite your conclusion and leave them out.) Do my conclusions explain the implications of my work for theory or practice or provide recommendations? (They should, depending on your dissertation requirements.)

8 More redrafting questions Does my formatting confirm to the specifications of my unit/discipline? Have I checked my spelling thoroughly (don’t rely solely on spell check) Does my punctuation help the reader understand my various points of view? Have I labelled all my tables and figures correctly? Have I meticulously checked my referencing? Redrafting takes time but it MUST be done

9 Redrafting your Abstract 1.Have I stated briefly what my research is about? 2.Have I included my research question? 3.Have I contextualised my research in terms of previous studies? 4.Have I stated why my research is important, e.g. what gap or limitation it is addressing? 5.Have I reported my findings? 6.Have I mentioned the major conclusions and /or implications of my findings for my field of research? 7.Have chosen the most appropriate key words?

10 What’s a good title? [T]he fewest possible words that adequately describe the contents of the paper 1. It’s catchy, yet informative. It summarises what you found, not what you did. 1. Day,RA 1983 How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper, (2 nd edn), ISI Press, p. 9.

11 Effective titles Compare – which is more effective? 1.Lamb loses more moisture during cooking than mutton. 2.Studies on the cooking of lamb and mutton. Adapted from More examples Becoming sinless : converting to Islam in the Christian Solomon Islands ( D. McDougall) Loss in anchor embedment during placement anchor keying in clay (Z. Song)

12 Want to impress your examiners? Use a clear, direct writing style

13 Tips for writing concisely Circle the prepositions (of, in, about, for, onto, into) Draw a box around the "is" verb forms Ask, "Where's the action?” Change the "action" into a simple verb Move the doer into the subject (Who's kicking whom) Eliminate any unnecessary slow wind-ups Eliminate any redundancies.

14 An example

15 More help? See Guide to Grammar and Writing Concise Sentences for lists of redundant phrases: About.Com Grammar and Compositions lists 200 Common Redundancies:

16 Drop in 1pm-2pm daily during teaching weeks Reid Library - Mon, Wed, Thurs Science Library – Tues, Fri Writing Clinics Tues and Fri 10 am – 12 noon Generic study skills workshops Mon – Thurs usually between 11am - 2pm Individual consultations – make your appointment and submit your draft at least 2 days prior to when you want your consultation. Contact details Phone: Student Support Reception


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