Our guide to writing a business dissertation is split into 5 sections:
- Find a research topic
- Structuring your proposal
- Layout of a dissertation proposal
- Structuring your dissertation
- Final tips to help you
1. Finding your research topic for your business dissertation
Like any dissertation or thesis, a business dissertation needs first and foremost to be original. Before you even begin, you should spend some time reading widely in your topic of interest and then identify, if you can, areas that have not been fully developed this will help you to find a research topic for your research proposal. This kind of detailed Literature Review is essential in a dissertation or thesis and will form part of your final dissertation.
When you are reading, try to examine critically the arguments being produced and find perspectives that you might be able to develop in your thesis. Remember to keep a record of all your reading so that you can:
- Use it later in your bibliography
- Use it as a source to place your research in context.
You will notice that it is suggested here that originality in approach can be just as acceptable to a research committee as the basis of a thesis proposal as an idea that is entirely new.
In fact, it is usually in the angle or methodology that a dissertation or thesis in any subject, including business, is most likely because being completely original on any topic is extremely difficult. In a business dissertation this will probably be focused primarily on the methodology because of the nature of the subject.
Remember before you make your final choice of research topic that it has to be sufficiently strong to sustain in-depth investigation and writing over a long period.
2. Structuring your business dissertation proposal
When you have decided on your thesis statement, i.e. your dissertation topic, you will need to write your dissertation proposal. This is the basic layout that you will use to persuade the research committee of your college or university that your dissertation or thesis is worth further investigation.
As has been stated, the main purpose is to show that your dissertation thesis will be original in either substance or approach. In a business dissertation, it is wise to centre your focus of originality upon methodology as this is where you will find most scope for originality.
3. The basic layout of a dissertation proposal is as follows:
The title page
(it need only be a working title at this stage) you should also include on this page your name, the academic institution at which you are applying to study and the degree for which the dissertation or thesis is being entered.
A contents page
a brief summary of what will be contained within the dissertation as a whole.
giving the thesis statement and expanding on it.
to be applied throughout (especially important in a business dissertation). Include reference to timescale.
Summary and number of chapters with working titles
(the usual number of chapters runs from three to five depending on the length of the thesis).
giving a summation and synthesis of thinking so far and any problems you foresee at this stage.
containing a list of your reading thus far, subdivided into primary and secondary texts. This must be in the required referencing style of your college or university.
whether you intend to include them (usually essential in a business dissertation) and how.
4. Researching and structuring your business dissertation
You will have made a good start on this with the reading for your proposal but now you must dig deeper, finding evidence either to support or conflict with your thesis statement and keeping up to date in your reading to ensure that your research has not been pre-empted.
In a business dissertation, it is at this stage that you will apply the proposed methodology to accumulate data to support or quantify your research.
Remember to keep a record, in the required referencing style, of all sources you consult, whether you actually cite them in the dissertation or not. You will probably find it useful to separate the sources into primary and secondary texts.
The structure of the dissertation will be very similar to that of the proposal i.e.:
The title page
it must be final by this stage, and again you should also include on this page your name, the academic institution to which you are submitting the dissertation and the degree for which the dissertation or thesis is being entered.
A contents page
with full details of the contents and page numbers.
a one page summary of what is contained within the dissertation as a whole.
where you acknowledge help received, especially from your supervisor.
giving the thesis statement and expanding on it, developing the central idea and leading into the main body of the dissertation.
A detailed list of chapters with titles for each
(Remember that though each chapter is a separate facet of the dissertation, they should be linked both with each other and the central argument, all supported by evidence, correctly cited.)
more important than you may think, particularly as you should include the limitations of the present work and possible future research.
containing a complete list of your reading, subdivided into primary and secondary texts. This must be in the required referencing style of your college or university.
these are usually essential in a business dissertation and you need to say how you have used them and what is contained within them, usually supplementary data which is referred to within the dissertation.
5. Final tips on writing your business dissertation
- Structure your work carefully, if you have a good idea, you will want to ensure that it is presented properly.
- Proof-read your final draft carefully to ensure that you have not made careless errors in spelling, punctuation or grammar.
- Redraft your thesis until both you and your supervisor are happy with it.
- Ensure that your bibliography and all referencing are completed in the style required by your academic institution.