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Introduction A Master's dissertation: what is it? So, what skills do you need to succeed? Watch your words! How to use this book Summary of key points Preparing for your dissertation Putting together your research proposal Research focus and overall research aim Research objectives and keywords Research methods Setting a timescale Producing a dissertation template Supervisor meetings Supervisor and Student: roles and responsibilities Summary of key points Developing your i-skills What are i-skills? Information needs Organising skills Literature search techniques Speed reading skills Critiquing skills Communication skills and mind-mapping Summary of key points The dissertation Introduction The general structure of the Introduction Background Research focus (revisited) Overall research aim and individual research objectives Value of your research A further suggestion Summary of key points The Literature Review Focus on your research objectives Referencing Description vs critical evaluation Learning theory and your dissertation Structuring your Literature Review Summary of key points Systematic Reviews What is a systematic review? The stages of a systematic review AMSTAR: a checklist for systematic reviews Summary of key points Research methods What's it all about? Research strategy Introduction Quantitative vs qualitative research Sampling techniques Positivism and phenomenology Justifying your research strategy The question of reliability (and validity) Data collection Preparation, preparation, preparation What and why? Framework for data analysis Limitations and potential problems Summary of key points Writing up your findings The general approach The process of description, analysis and synthesis: an example Summary of key points Concluding your dissertation What's in a Conclusion? Research objectives: summary of findings and conclusions Recommendations Contribution to knowledge Self-reflection Summary of key points Finally: Writing the abstract? What is an abstract? How to write an abstract Abstract template Summary of key points Practical issues Presenting your work and preparing for a viva Presenting your work: common mistakes Preparing for a viva The marking scheme Good grammar A word of warning: plagiarism What counts as plagiarism? What if you are accused of plagiarism? Research ethics Summary of good practice to adopt and bad practice to avoid Forewarned is forearmed Dissertation writing: summary of good practice to adopt and bad practice to avoid Practical issues: summary of good practice to adopt and bad practice to avoid
Dr John Biggam is a lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He has an international reputation in teaching and learning. He is also a Union Learning Representative, the first in Scotland for the University and College Union (UCU).