Londontermpapers free ebook  on how to write a good dissertation

What is a dissertation?  A piece of written work submitted for a degree

  • An independent research on a  topic that you have chosen yourself
  • An important, exciting, interesting stage in your learning process
  • Something to put on your CV

CHOOSING an appropriate topic

Focus – to have a clearly defined area to investigate

  • Marketing – which specific      area of marketing? (Too big and too vague)
  • The marketing strategies of British companies,
  • Is E-commerce the future of business?
  • Advertising: still too broad

The impact of advertising on consumers                    

  • The industry/sector

The impact of mobile phone advertising on teenage users. (A well-defined topic)

  • One company or two companies

A comparative study of customer satisfaction at Tesco and Sainsbury’s


  • Are you genuinely interested      in the topic?
  • Do you already know a      lot about the topic or have experience in the area? e.g. E-marketing, luxury car branding
  • How do you carry out the research /data collection?
  • Do you have the resources to carry out the research? e.g. time, money, skills, equipment, etc..
  • Can you complete the dissertation within the deadline?

Be innovative.

Find an original topic or do the same thing differently but don’t be too ambitious. “Cut your cloth to suit your purse” The topic should be well defined, practical and manageable.


  • Read around: newspapers, journals
  • Watch TV, the Money programme, Trouble at the top etc.
  • Have a chat with someone, brainstorming
  • Thesis collection in the Library


  • To have a better understanding of the subject area:To help you identify /clarify the topic focus
  • what is already known and  what is still unclear
  • To provide analytical framework for analysing your research findings

A good review should be relevant, specific and critical

A poor one reads like the content page of a text

Need to distinguish

  • academic articles (e.g. Journal of Marketing Management) – theories, research, analysis etc.
  • journalistic articles (e.g. Marketing  Weekly, FT) – facts, data. opinions etc..


Do I have to do primary research? No, but …

A dissertation based on secondary research only is more difficult to accomplish.

Define your need of data – What types of data do you need to address the research question?

Research question v survey questions

Research design  –

  • survey methods, sampling/      sample size, questionnaire design
  • Appropriate and justified.

How do you collect data?

“I have a friend whose father in law is working in that bank …”


Your thesis may have more or fewer chapters and you may use different /interesting titles. But it should contain similar contents as the following:

Chapter 1       Introduction

Why choose this topic, aims and objectives, organisation of thesis

Chapter 2       Literature Review (WHAT)

  • What is already known about your chosen area/ topic, what remains unknown/unclear –the Gap
  • To identify the research area and topic
  • To develop a theoretical framework

Chapter 3       The Setting (WHICH or WHERE)

Background information about the firm/brand to be investigated

Chapter 4       Research Methodology (HOW)

Research questions, research design, sampling, survey methods, questionnaire design

Justification for your chosen methodology, alternative methods considered

Chapter 5       Findings (WHAT)

Report your survey findings, use tables and diagrams if necessary

Chapter 6       Discussion and Analysis (WHY)

To apply theory to analyse your findings, to test your hypothesis, to compare with previous studies, to explain the difference, to challenge common wisdom and models

Chapter 7       Conclusion

Have you achieved your objectives? Limitations of your research, direction for future research, recommendations



  • Check your spelling, grammar, page numbers etc.
  • But do not waste your time and money on glossy color photos.
  • What really matters is the quality of your content.



  1. What is your research about?

Title /Abstract /Introduction

  1. What are your objectives?
  2. What are your research questions?
  3. What concept or theory do you want to study?

Literature review, concepts /models, gaps

  1. Be specific: FOCUS! FOCUS! FOCUS!


  1. Why are you interested in this study?
  2. Why is this topic important?
  3. How much do you know about the topic area?


  • Country/ Region/ City


  • Industry/ Sector/ Company /
  • Product(s)/ Brand (s)


  • Customers /Managers
  • General public
  • Others


What types of data: quantitative versus qualitative

  • How to collect data: research design
  • How to analyse data


  • Time planning
  • Timetable

Structure of Research Proposal

  1. Introduction

Background, context and WHY

  1. Problem Statement

Aim/Objectives (3-5), Research Questions (4-8)

  1. Theoretical Framework

Literature review: concepts / models to be applied

  1. Empirical Investigation

Methodology: sampling, survey methods etc

  1. Timetable

Resources and time constraints

  1. References



  • Purpose and objectives
  • Rationale
  • Organisation

Literature Review -critical

  • The subject field
  • The topic /issue
  • What is already known?
  • What is the gap?

Research Questions

  • The key issues
  • Definition of research questions
  • The framework /model(s)

Research Setting

  • Industry/firm Background
  • Other related issues: environment

Research Methodology

  • Research design
  • What types of data: qualitative v quantitative
  • Sampling and data collection
  • Survey questions –questionnaire design
  • Field work, time table


  • Reporting and presentation
  • Analysis: any statistical techniques?


  • Answers to your questions
  • Significance of findings
  • Links to the literature
  • Have you achieved your objectives?


  • Contributions –theoretical and methodological
  • Managerial implications
  • Limitations
  • Future research

Order a custom dissertation or thesis from us now! 

Another approach to dissertation/thesis writing

How to Write a Successful Thesis or Dissertation Proposal

A Manual Guide to College Students

Londontermpapers free ebook  on how to write a good dissertation

How to Write a Successful Thesis or Dissertation Proposal

Prior to beginning working on any research project a student is always required to write a proposal which is a tentative guideline of how the research activities will be carried out. Therefore, since any dissertation or thesis is a report of a research which has already been carried out, a thesis/dissertation proposal provides a map of how all the activities in the research will be carried out. However, many students and even experienced researchers consider writing the thesis/dissertation proposal as one of the most daunting or hardest part of the entire process of thesis or dissertation preparation. This necessitates the need for the student to have a firm grasp of all aspects of the process of thesis/dissertation proposal writing.

In addition, what intimidates most of the students as they undertake the process of developing their thesis or dissertation proposals is the fact that they have to spend countless hours conducting literature review in order to come up with their individual perspective or view on the particular topic which they select to carry out their research. This is followed by submission of the proposal for approval prior to beginning the actual process of writing thesis or dissertation. This is undoubtedly a difficult task since it requires immeasurable efforts in order to come up with an effective thesis or dissertation proposal which will ensure the actual research is carried out in a smooth way.

Therefore, a thesis/dissertation proposal is undoubtedly the most essential step prior to beginning the research project itself.  This is mainly because a proposal which has been hastily prepared without proper planning makes the research activities very difficult to implement due to lack of logical flow and coherence. Moreover, whenever the need for external funding for a research project is necessary the need to develop a thesis/dissertation proposal is inevitable. This is due to the fact that the feasibility of a research project is evaluated from thesis/dissertation proposal since it outlines all the activities to be carried out and how they will be carried out and within how much duration. This implies that an excellent thesis/dissertation proposal is the key to an exceptional research project. Hence this development of thesis/dissertation proposal should take a considerable amount of time to make sure it is perfectly and appropriately prepared.

Despite the difficulty involved in developing a thesis/dissertation proposal, this manual provides guidelines to prospective thesis/dissertation proposal writers with the relevant information that they require to make the process a bit easier. This is mainly because this manual covers all areas involved in proposal development in a step-by-step guide of all steps involved in thesis/dissertation proposal preparation as outlined below;

Thesis/Dissertation Proposal Length

Varied ideas are usually given out concerning the length of a thesis/dissertation proposal. However, considering that all the significant parts the proposal need to covered, the proposal generally becomes about 20 pages.  However, custom-written proposals for research projects in different academic fields may be a bit less or more; the most essential thing is to ensure that all important points are succinctly addressed.

A Guide to Writing Major Parts a Thesis/Dissertation Proposal


A thesis/dissertation proposal introduction provides a short summary of all the main questions of your research, while at the same time providing the context of the identified questions on a broader academic framework. Thus, anyone reading your introduction should be in a position to understand the issues you are trying to discern.

Problem statement

In this section you should provide an in-depth description of your research issue, as well as providing the background of the problem from the perspective of your particular academic field.


The background should capture the interest of the reader by convincing him/her how significant the problem is. You should at least give three reasons to justify the importance of the problem you have chosen by providing succinct examples of the problem.


This states the goal of your thesis in totality and it should be an investigative activity. Hence this should clearly outline the activity to be undertaken such as to understand, evaluate, change, interpret, or analyze the problem.


In the significance section of your thesis/dissertation proposal should strive to focus on the benefits of your study without necessarily talking about anything about the research problem. Therefore, you are supposed to provide a persuasive rationale of why you are undertaking that particular research project. This is mainly aimed at providing the benefits that will accrue from the research project.


State succinctly and clearly what you envisage to be shown by the results of your study. However, more focus should be given to the substantive nature of your expectations in the research findings.


In every study the activities to be undertaken should be clearly outlined. Hence this constitutes the objectives of the study that you must state prior to beginning the study itself. Objectives are directly developed from the hypotheses, and in this section you should clearly and succinctly specify the specific activities you expect to carry out in your research. For instance, there are about three objectives in every thesis/dissertation proposal that specifies particular activities to be carried out in order to test the stated hypotheses.

Literature review

This section of thesis/dissertation proposal is aimed a addressing your research’s scope as well as listing your major findings. However, it is actually upon you to determine whether or not to include literature review in your proposal, but it is highly advisable to ensure that you include it. This portion of the proposal is essential since it provides an overview of what has so far being done on the topic you are conducting your research on. However, the most significant point when presenting the literature review is to ensure that you provide a description of why your literature review findings are important to your area of research.


In this section you provide a description of what you exactly plan to do, how you plan to do it and why you plan to do it. This section provides all the details of the methods you are planning to include in your research as well as demonstrating the relationship between your methods to your research question. In addition, the methods to be used in collection of data as well as analysis should also be included. In the methodology section you should include all the activities you intend to carry out in the course of your research project and how they will be carried out, where, when and for how long. Moreover, whether the research will be qualitative or quantitative the number of participants or sample population will be provided in this section as well as how they will be selected. In addition, you are also required to provide a description of the environment in which you intend to carry out the study.


You should describe untested as well as un-testable positions, world views, basic values, or beliefs to be assumed in the study. You should extend your examinations to the methodological assumptions; this includes the attitude you have toward the use of various distinct data-gathering methods and analytic approaches. In this section you usually make sure that the reader becomes aware of your own biases. This helps the people who may be reading your proposal be able to know justification of the gaps that may exist in your proposal.

Scope & Limitations

This section of a thesis/dissertation proposal discloses any methodological and conceptual limitations. The scope of the study involves your evaluation to the entire coverage of your study to determine the overall issues that will be covered. Moreover, there are several questions that may used to guide you in identifying your study’s limitations: What kind of sampling, design, measurement, and analysis would be used in the study. How do they compare with the ideals if at all they exist and if no ideal which exist how do they compared with the best possible methods available.

Time plan for research activities

A time plan also referred to as Gantt chart is a schedule for all activities to be undertaken in the entire period of the project. The time plan is essential because it ensures that the overall time for the research project is approximated. However, not all activities take the same amount of time, but through time plan durations for every research project activity are estimated in order to evaluate the overall time needed to complete the entire research project. Therefore, the time plan acts as a guide to show when a certain activity needs to begin and end thereby controlling the progress of the research project by strictly regulating time needed for every activity.


This section is aimed at providing a tentative budget of the amount of money intended to be used to complete the research project. The budget outlines all the activities that involve use of money. In order to ensure that the budget caters for all expenses the rate of inflation should be factored out as well as other factors that may affect the budget. Thus, when making predictions of the estimated amount of money to be used it is necessary to account for every activity which will involve use of money. This is essential because underestimation may comprise successful completion of the overall project due to increase in expenses. However, efficient budgeting will ensure that adequate resources are allocated to every activity to ensure they are appropriately implemented.


By the end of every thesis/dissertation proposal always ensure that you make a list of all source of materials used. This is done by formatting the properly according to the required academic style. For instance, there are various referencing styles that you may use when writing the bibliography. These include the APA, MLA, Harvard, Chicago, oxford, Vancouver, and so on. However, the referencing style used to write down the bibliography should be the one used in formatting the entire proposal.


Sample References page

Booth, W.C., Colomb, G.G. & Williams, J.M. (2008). The craft of research. New York, NY: University of Chicago Press.

Kumar, R. (2005). Research methodology: A step-by-step guide for beginners. New York, NY: SAGE Publications.

Mouton, J. & Marais, H.C. (1988). Basics concepts in the methodology of the social sciences. London: HRSC Press.

Pequegnat, W., Stover, E. & Beyonce, C.A. (2010). How to write a successful grant application: A guide for social and behavioural scientists (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Springer.

Londontermpapers free ebook  on how to write a good dissertation