Dissertation Structure Bcu University

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Birmingham City UniversityReport structure

Title page

This should normally include the title, your name and the name of the tutor to whom it is beingsubmitted, date of submission, your course/department, and if applicable, the name of the personand/or organisation who has commissioned the report.

University of Central EnglandBA (Honours) Media and CommunicationModule 3 Assignment 2TITLESubmitted by : Colin Milburn (Student Number: 98765439)Submitted to: Prof. Eric HolliesDate of submission: 2 May 2003

Table of Contents page

(always included in reports of 4+ pages)A clear, well-formatted list of all the sections and sub-sections of the report. Don’t forget to put thepage numbers! If applicable, there should be a separate list of tables, figures, illustrations and/orappendices after the main index.Make sure that the headings in this list correspond exactly with those in your main body. It is best todo your list of contents right at the end.

Research Method /Procedure

How your research was carried out; how the information was gathered.


(usually included in longer reports; may be called Executive Summary, Abstract orSynopsis)This is a very brief outline of the report to give the potential reader a general idea of what it’sabout. A statement of:overall aims and specific objectives (unless included in terms of reference)method/procedure used (unless included in separate section)key findingsmain conclusions and recommendations


(always included)This should show that you have fully understood the task/brief and that you are going to covereverything required. Indicate the basic structure of the report.You should include just a little background/context and indicate the reasons for writing the report.You may include your terms of reference and procedure/research methods if not coveredelsewhere.Your introduction will often give an indication of the conclusion to the report.

Main body/findings

(always included)This is the substance of your report. The structure will vary according to the nature of the materialbeing presented, with headings and sub-headings used to clearly indicate the different sections(unlike an essay). A "situation>problem>solution>evaluation" approach may be appropriate.It is not sufficient to simply describe a situation. Your tutor will be looking for analysis and for acritical approach, when appropriate.Charts, diagrams and tables can be used to reinforce your arguments, although sometimes it may bebetter to include these as an appendix (particularly if they are long or complicated).Do not include opinions, conclusions or recommendations in this section.

Your research proposal will be the recipe for your dissertation. Your introduction should clearly state what the proposed research will be about. It is useful to start with a clear formulation of your research question and should include a short version of your literature review.

You will then need to expand on this by explaining:

  • Where this research question comes from
  • If it arises out of a debate in the literature, prior research or personal experience, introduce that in your proposal.
  • Why this research is important
  • Rationale is crucial as it aims to convince your supervisor that the research is worth doing. 

The literature review should state:

  • What is known on your topic
  • What is not known
  • Where the priorities for research lie

The literature review is an important part of your rationale as it provides a framework for the reader to understand the research question and methodology. It also demonstrates to the reader your awareness of the breadth and diversity of the literature relating to your research question. It is a carefully structured outline of what others have said and done. It also requires critical examination of the related literature including strengths, weaknesses and gaps.

Your supervisor will help you to understand about the breadth of the literature you need to consult.

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