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The process of having to describe your study in detail, in a logical sequence of written words, will inevitably highlight where more thought is needed, and it may lead to new insight into connections, implications, rationale, relevance, and may lead to new ideas for further research.Barras (196) suggests that you ‘think of your report as part of your investigation, not as a duty to be undertaken when your work is otherwise complete’, and this Study Guide suggests that: writing is an integral part of the research process.This may be one of the shortest sections of your thesis or dissertation, but it is worthwhile taking great care to write it well.
It will also provide you with a framework to refer back to in your discussion chapter, when you reflect on the extent to which your research has achieved what it set out to do.
In these chapters a straightforward description is required of how you conducted the research.
It is certainly an academic exercise, but perhaps not too different from the concise explanations of your research you may have had to give to relatives and neighbours over the last few years, in terms of its brevity, accessibility, and comprehensiveness.
This is your opportunity to mention individuals who have been particularly helpful.
The Abstract is an important element of the thesis, and will become a document in its own right if the thesis is registered within any database.
The examiners will therefore assess your Abstract both as part of your thesis, and as a potentially independent document.If you used particular equipment, processes, or materials, you will need to be clear and precise in how you describe them.You must give enough detail for another researcher to replicate your study.Attending to the very restrictive word / space limit, while at the same including all the relevant material is quite a challenge.It might be useful to look at how others have managed.It can be best to write the Abstract last, once you are sure what exactly you are summarising.Alternatively it can be useful to write the abstract earlier on, as an aid to identifying the crucial main thread of your research, its purpose, and its findings, which could then guide the structure of the dissertation.“I know I’m good at writing so I can leave it to later”.“I want to get everything sorted out in my mind before I start writing or I’ll just end up wasting my time re-writing”.Any imbalance in space devoted to different sections of content will become apparent.This is a useful check on whether amalgamation of sections, or creation of further sections or sub-sections is needed.