Structure of your dissertation – Provided by Reputed UK University

December21

 Address everything that is asked for in the assessment guidelines, Tips :

 • Structure and clarity is very important –

 • Have clear headings that ‘signpost’ each chapter & section

 • Start each Chapter on a new page 

• Take note of the weighing (% of marks) for each section to guide word length

 • Pay great attention to referencing, formatting, spelling, grammatical and typographical errors 

Abstract 

■   This is a brief summary of the literature review that identifies the

topic area, research approach and summary of main findings

 ■It should be 250 – 300 words (not included in the word count)

 ■Look at published literature reviews in your topic area for guidance on the structure (it can be a paragraph or with headings, no right or wrong way to do an abstract) 

■Write it towards the end of writing the literature review 

Chapter 1: Introduction/Background (10%)

 ■Provide an introduction to your topic 

■What is the wider health context of the topic (international, national, local)

 ■Define your key terms 

■Why is this topic important/relevant? 

■Clearly state your research question

 ■Make sure it is actually a question 

■ Clearly state your aim(s) and objective(s) 

Note differences between a topic/title, question, aim & objective 

Topic: Mental health service users’ experiences of psychiatric inpatient care 

Research question: What are mental health service users’ experiences of psychiatric inpatient care?

 ■Aim: To understand mental health service users’ experiences of psychiatric inpatient care

 ■Objective: To improve psychiatric inpatient care for mental health seservice users 

Chapter 2: 

Method / search strategy(15%) 

■Clearly describe your search strategy, including: 

■Databases used 

■Search terms/key words 

■Boolean operators 

■Hand searches (of reference lists and/or specific journals) 

■Clearly state your inclusion & exclusion criteria with the rationale for their usage

 ■Produce a flow chart of your search process 

Chapter 2: Method (cont.)

 ■Clearly describe the critical appraisal tool(s) used to appraise the research articles:

 ■Identifying which tools/checklists were used for each research article 

■The rationale for use (e.g. the CASP RCT checklist was used to appraise two of the articles (Smith & Jones, 2011; Jones et al 2013) because both studies have RCT designs) 

■Include the critical appraisal tool table in the appendix 

Chapter 3: Findings (35%) 

■Start this chapter with an introductory paragraph that describes the key characteristics of the research articles in your review (identified in your article summary table) e.g.

 ■The different types of designs/methods (e.g. four Quantitative studies & four qualitative, the different research designs used) 

■The different countries where the research studies were conducted (if applicable) 

 Chapter 3 continues: Article summary table

 ■Develop an article summary table, that extracts the key features of the review articles, for example:

 ■Article reference (or authors & date) 

■Country where research conducted 

■Design of study/method(s) 

■Measures/questionnaires used (if any)

 ■Sampling/sample size

 ■Key findings 

Chapter 3 continues: Findings (themes)

 ■Identify the main findings from the research studies in your literature review

 ■Include the summary table in the main body of the Chapter 

■Assign themes to the main findings of each of the research studies, you may have 2-6 main findings from each research study

 ■Identify common themes across the research studies, e.g. patients’ experiences; nurses’ attitudes; management of pain; training needs 

Chapter 3 continues: Findings (synthesis of findings)

 ■Structure the rest of the chapter according to the common themes identified, using the theme titles as sub-headings 

■You may have 3-6 themes 

■Compare & contrast the findings of the research studies within these thematic sections as a synthesis of the findings from ALL the studies

 ■Demonstrate your critical appraisal of the research studies within this synthesis 

Chapter 3 continues: Findings (critical evaluation) 

■Discuss the findings critically, demonstrating you have critically appraised the studies, e.g.

 ■‘Three of the studies (refs) used a RCT design to assess the effectiveness of this intervention, which is an appropriate design for the focus of these studies. However, in the study by (ref) it was not stated whether the data collectors and patients were blinded to the intervention, therefore there could be potential bias in how the intervention was conducted that could affect the validity of the study. Thus the results should be treated with caution. 

Chapter 4: Discussion /Implications (20%)

 ■Critically discuss the findings of your literature review in relation to other literature and your area of practice ■Critically evaluate the findings of your review and how they answer your research question

 ■Discuss your findings in relation to other literature/research studies/guidelines and relate your findings to contemporary evidence-based practice 

Chapter 4: continues Recommendations (10%)

 ■Critically explore the implications of the findings from your literature review and make relevant recommendations for:

 ■Practice 

■Further research 

■Education 

■Health care delivery 

Chapter 5: Conclusions 

■This can be relatively short (2-3 paragraphs) 

■Summarise: 

■ the main findings of the literature review 

■how it has answered your research question 

■Implications for practice 

■Do not introduce new ideas or information here 

References 

■List all your references after the conclusion in one list

 ■Ensure that you use Harvard referencing 

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