Dissertation Guide

Our comprehensive guide to the process of writing a dissertation or thesis. Back to Student Resources

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Do different fields have different requirements for a thesis?

“Check the departmental guidelines as soon as possible. Find out how many words the thesis should be. If the department doesn’t have any guidelines then offer to write them. You could learn a lot from doing that!”

“Look at other theses early on – preferably good ones – and see what they look like. I guess it doesn’t matter what other disciplines are requiring, only your own. I remember a combined-honours undergraduate once telling me that one subject’s lecturers told her to write one way and the other subject’s lecturers told her to write another way. What could she do about it? I didn’t answer her very well at the time. Afterwards I thought I should have told her that that was how professional writers worked. You choose different styles to suit your specific readers. One general-readership magazine might need sentences of less than ten words. A literary magazine might allow more extended prose. You should always look at what’s been published in that magazine.”