Before you get started, look at what a typical project looks like. You don't need to read examples in full, just browse through to get a feel for the type of work involved. Remember that the purpose of this project is to do work which is unique and interesting to you. Examples you look at should get you thinking about HOW you will go about the project, not WHAT you will include.
Solent electronic archive (SEA)
If you have not been shown specific examples for your course, you can log into Solent Electronic Archive, and browse the 'final project' category to see some dissertations written by Solent students.
Try to get a picture of the type of questions students investigate, the type of research they carry out and how they write.
Fill in this form as you look at example projects. The form will help you develop an overview of the structure, content and language of a dissertation. You can create a document and download the answers you type.
Before you decide on a topic and a question, explore all possibilities. Talk to your tutor and find out about the topics students have covered in the past. Remember you will be working on your chosen topic for one or two semesters, so choose something which interests you!
Questions to consider:
Has a unit, topic, person or event inspired you?
Is there an issue you would love to investigate?
Are there any social, ecological or technological trends or issues you could address?
Do you have any experience or skills from outside your studies which you could bring in?
Is there potential for collaboration?
Is there a local context you could address?
Do you have a debatable idea or testable hypothesis?
How can you narrow the project down to a realistic scope?
Do you have a unique angle on the topic?
Can you address a gap in the market, an unmet need, a problem to be solved?
Will you use materials or techniques in an original way?
Which collections and archives can you access?
How will you record the information you find?
How will you record and track your own ideas?
How much time will you give to preliminary research?
How much in-depth reading will you do?
Where will you record references?
How can you keep the research process interesting?
Swetnam (2000) identifies a strategy for narrowing down your topic to a draft title. Try to fill in each category below for your project. An example of a Sociology project is given.
General area of study:Sociology
Particular Interest:Groups of old people
More specifically: Community care
Especially:In residential homes
Draft title:'The management of community care in warden controlled residential homes.'
Swetnam, D., (2000), Writing your dissertation : how to plan, prepare and present successful work. 3rd Ed., Oxford: How to books
There are many help guides on researching and writing your dissertation. Browse Solent Library books and e-books on the subject of dissertationsfor further guidance on how to get started with your project.