This is a guide accompanied with samples on how to complete your final year research project which is also referred to as dissertation. In this guide you will find a lot of useful information on how to start and complete your project/dissertation. The guide might differ a little bit from the specific requirements provided by your lecturer or department.
What is a dissertation or final year project?
Dissertation or final year project is in simple terms defined as research based learning. In broader definition, final year project is a piece of research undertaken during a student’s final year of learning in university or college. A dissertation is considered as a tool that showcases your academic achievements throughout the years of learning.
How to plan and prepare for your final year project
The first step to get started with your final year project involves choosing your topic or title as some refer it. This is if you are not assigned one. Choosing an appropriate final year project is one of the most challenging task that finalists face.
What consider before choosing your project topic
- Chose a topic that you have an interest in
- Chose a topic that has sufficient Background Literature
- Chose a topic that has a gap which needs to be filled
- Chose a topic that you can clearly identify the aims and objectives.
- Chose a topic that is not too broad. You have a short time to complete your project
- Chose a topic that will add some value to your CV
How to divide your time
Time management is a very important aspect if you want to complete your project successfully. You should be able to think of the different chapters or sections that need to be completed. For each chapter, you need to have a timeline.
Finding and Using Literature Review
What is a literature review?
A literature review is a critical analyses and evaluation summary of previous research in the topic of discussion. It is meant to show what research has been done in the topic of discussion. A literature review should also be able to show main areas of agreement or controversy.
You should be aware that a literature review is not a summary or description of sources.
All final year projects or dissertations require a literature review. A literature review normally comes under its different chapter. This is one of the most important chapters in your project. It demonstrates in-depth understanding of your topic of research.
Where do I get Literature Review?
One of the most useful places to get or identify relevant sources for your topic is Online Libraries. The most common one is ProQuest. It contains millions of Journals. You however need a password from your university library to access Proquest Data. You can also use Google Books. Google books are free and are credible.
Avoid using Wikipedia as your source of information. Also, if you must use blog post then use blogs or websites that end with org (e.g tabakasoapstone.org).
Your literature review should be well cited according to the format or citing style recommend by your university. If you are given the freedom to choose then pick APA Style. It is simple to use (APA Guide).
At the end of your literature review you should be able to answer the following
- What is your point here?
- Is there any correlation between your topic and literature review?
- What is your evidence?”
- Where are the references?
- Are there any spelling or grammatical errors?
- Does the literature review illustrate clearly the gap in the topic that you are researching?
- What makes you think so?
This post is getting too long. I will have to stop it here. In my next post I will be discussing about the Research Methodology. Other topics that I will be covering that you should not miss include Editing, Proofreading, Plagiarism and Referencing.
You can download sample final year project at the end of this post (sample final year research project paper)