You've reached the dissertation stage! You may now be starting to think about the following:
Take a look through the different tabs below to familiarise yourself with the steps involved in planning and developing your dissertation or research project.
Before moving forward, you need to decide what you want to find out. This is known as your research topic, and should be something that you can answer through the research you've performed and then presented in your dissertation.
If you're unsure what you want to concentrate on, do some exploratory and background reading and find out what has already been written on your area of interest.
When deciding on a topic, choosing what not to include is just as important! Consider how you will limit your research.
Once you have a topic in mind, you are now ready to move forward to formulate and develop potential research questions. This concentrates on exactly what you want to find out and should be something that you can answer through your dissertation.
Don't put too much pressure on yourself at this point to formulate the exact question. Remember nothing, and not even your question is set in stone at this stage – it can be amended and modified over the course of your research to suit what you end up investigating.
You can use techniques such as:
to think of different ways to describe the most important words involved in your research, also known as key concepts or keywords.
Using a framework can help to refine your exact research question with tools such as PICO, SPIDER and SPICE. The style of your study will help to determine which is the most relevant.
You might find that your topic does not always fall into one of the models listed below. You can always modify a model to make it work for your topic, and either remove or adjust additional elements.
PICO is a popular model or framework which is used most commonly for quantitative clinical and healthcare related questions.
PICO has been adapted to include additional variations:
This framework is an alternative tool compatible with both qualitative subjective and quantitative objective style studies.
This is a tool for qualitative questions and is often preferred for social science research. This is another variant of PICO but this time including the setting - the where the context of the study
A literature review is a piece of writing that collates, links and evaluates key sources related to a chosen topic or research question. These key sources could be scholarly articles, books, dissertations, conference proceedings and other resources which are relevant to a particular issue, theme, theory or area of research.
The guiding ethical principles governing all research within Aberystwyth University are the following:
• Respect for the rights, safety and well-being of all human participants and animals
• Respect for other cultures, values, traditions and the environment around us
• Honesty, integrity and professionalism at all times
We encourage all researchers to refer to the Research Ethics Framework as a starting point. The framework contains operational guidance in relation to research ethics and its associated processes. Please familiarise yourself with the relevant sections of this guidance in the first instance. If you require any advice or support, please contact us.
However, if you still have unanswered questions, please contact the Research Ethics team (email@example.com) who will be pleased to help. We can also able to provide advice on the correct approvals process for you to follow, advice on the drafting of applications and to discuss any potential research topics or ideas that you may have.
A sequence of steps which you can follow for selecting terms/phrases and building them into your search strategy is given below:
Repeat this procedure from steps 3-10 in a more specialist database, again adding any further useful terms which you find to the relevant group of concepts, until you are contented with the search. Use the same output method as used with the general database to output your results.
The research process for a dissertation or project is substantial and takes time. Research methods are the tools used to help you find, collect, analyse and interpret information in order to answer your research question.
You will need to think about what you have to find out in order to answer your research question, and where and when you can find this information. As you gather your research, keep returning to your research question to ensure you are keeping in line with what you aim to find out and what you are doing is relevant.
When starting your search procedure, it is often useful to pick out a few review articles on your topic to read in detail as these will cite a large number of primary papers which may also be relevant to your specific study. Many databases have a specific filter to pick out the review papers from the references which your search has initially retrieved.
The choice of method used depends on your research question.
You’ve done your research, you've analysed the data – now you have to present it!
Make sure you read your module handbook - this will give you the rules to follow and how to structure the work correctly. Your lecturer can also give you guidance on what is expected.
Before you submit your work:
This service is available to Aberystwyth University Staff and Students in support of the academic aims of the University.
Further information on binding options is available at https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/is/library-services/binding/
If you're an undergraduate, you can attend optional free writing, communication and information skills classes. More information available at: Free Undergraduate Courses : Student Learning Support, Aberystwyth University
If you're a postgraduate, you can attend optional free classes in writing and advanced information skills. More informationavailable at: Free Postgraduate Courses : Student Learning Support, Aberystwyth University
It's a good idea to take a look at example of dissertations to familiarise yourself with the layout and format.
Currently AU libraries, the National Library of Wales and the Aberystwyth Research Portal, receive from AU academic departments:
and also stock pre 2013 Taught Master’s:
Further information is available by visiting:https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/is/library-services/collections/theses/
The Aberystwyth Research Portal makes the very best of Aberystwyth University's staff and postgraduate research openly available online, free of charge.
Content in the portal includes published outputs, postgraduate theses, project details, as well as records for other esteem activities.
You can search the Aberystwyth Research Portal for theses either in the general search box or by browsing the postgraduate publications community.
Other theses from Welsh universities are deposited at the National Library of Wales, National Library of Wales