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Doing Your Master's Dissertation

Doing Your Master's Dissertation
From Start to Finish

First Edition
Additional resources:

April 2013 | 176 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
'From finding a research topic through to the final write up, this clear guide takes the mystery out of graduate-level research. This book will help your project succeed' - James V. Spickard, Professor of Sociology, University of Redlands, US
Just starting your Master's? Worried about your dissertation? This book is an indispensible guide to writing a successful Master's dissertation. The book begins by addressing issues you'll face in the early stages of writing a dissertation, such as deciding on what to research, planning your project and searching for literature online. It then guides you through different aspects of carrying out your research and writing up, helping you to:
  • Write a research proposal
  • Choose one or more methods
  • Write the introduction and conclusion
  • Discuss the literature
  • Analyse your findings
  • Edit and reference
  • Formulate research questions
  • Build your argument

The book offers guidance that other books often miss, from dealing with emotional blocks, to ways of identifying your strengths and weaknesses, and improving your writing. It addresses the social aspects of the writing process, such as choosing and working with an advisor, using social media and forming student work groups for added help and inspiration. Each chapter ends with an action plan, which is a resource section that features exercises and reflection questions designed to help you apply what you've read to your own work.

Student Success is a series of essential guides for students of all levels. From how to think critically and write great essays to boosting your employability and managing your wellbeing, the Student Success series helps you study smarter and get the best from your time at university. 

Help! How Do I Find a Research Topic?
Overcoming Barriers and Getting Started
Basic Rules of Writing
Who Can Help You? Establishing Support Networks
A Guide for Searching the Literature
Reviewing Research Literature
How Do I Formulate Research Questions?
Easier Said Than Done - Choosing a Suitable Research Design and Method
The Art of Keeping a Steady Course - Structuring the Analysis
Beginning and End - Introduction and Conclusion
Chaos and Order - Editing and Referencing
When Is It Finished? Checklist Summary


SAGE Study Skills hub

Visit the SAGE Study Skills hub for tips, resources and videos on study success!

'From finding a research topic through the final write up, this clear guide takes the mystery out of graduate-level research. This book will help your project succeed'
-James V. Spickard, Professor of Sociology, University of Redlands, US

Helps to make sense of the academic nature of masters/BSc for progression discussions. Learners choose top-up or pre-reg courses. Helps to inform decisions.

Mrs Samantha Hodgkinson
Health & Social Care, Sheffield College
October 12, 2023

This text is actually what it says, from start to finish. From choosing your research topic all the way to the final piece, it gives clear direction and guidance through well-defined sections. A well-written text that any postgraduate would find helpful at any point through their research.

Miss Ella Malton
Department of Health & Social Studies, Grimsby Institute of HE And FE
November 5, 2018

The book offers very clear instructions and advise with regard to academic writing and setting up a master's thesis. It is very readable, accessable. It points out important issues that might be easily overlooked.

Miss Annemarie Kersten
Art & Culture, Erasmus University Rotterdam
June 21, 2016

This book is an invaluable study guide for Masters students. It provides pertinent support and guidance throughout the process of writing your dissertation. It is easily readable with summary sections and action plan points. Fully comprehensive, it starts with the basics, supported with examples to enable students to succeed at each step of the process.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is a must have for every masters student and University library.

Ms Lisa Vickerage-Goddard
Faculty of Education, Newman University
August 26, 2016

A detailed resource for students in exploring the complexities of a MA dissertation. Enables students to follow the journey from start to finish critically analysing the content.

Mr Ian Jones
Health, Community & Social Care, Bradford College
March 5, 2016

Good option to guide students' through their dissertation.

Mrs Lisa Wardle
Social Work and Professional Practice, Nottingham Trent University
September 2, 2015

An essential text for supporting the development of both undergraduate and postgraduate research skills critical to compiling valid and reliable research dissertation.

Miss Gillian Dickinson
School of Business, Law and Criminology, Blackburn College
October 26, 2015

Useful as a reference guide

Ms Sandra Ward
Access Summit, Univ. of Manchester
January 28, 2015

A good easy read to help with Masters level study.

Mrs Louise Boole
Nursing, Counselling & Psychotherapy, Derby University
January 6, 2015