Different Types of Dissertations

While working on your dissertation, you are likely to take a theoretical or practical approach; even these two methods are equally important in the social sphere of research. Considering an undergraduate dissertation, you must conduct research based on a theoretical or practical approach to your chosen subject.

While conducting original research, you are expected to have a valid theoretical background, and any theoretical study you undertake must relate to something happening in the world. Usually, theoretical research is abstract, simply highlighting the subject's ethical, philosophical, and cultural aspects. Besides, you may investigate your subject using an applied theoretical approach emphasizing social, political, or economic issues.

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Considering a mainly practical research approach in the social sphere, one usually explores the subject with the help of case studies, surveys, observations, action research or a review of already conducted studies and their results.

Therefore, when writing a dissertation, its type completely depends on the topic you have to research. Look at the following table providing a few examples of different methods to approach a topic to get an understanding of it:


Empirical Dissertations

When working on an empirical dissertation, you are expected to collect data. For instance, to gather the opinions of translators in a police service, patients at a GP's surgery, children in a play center, or volunteers in a refugee camp, you have to come up with ways of interviewing the individuals involved regarding their reflection or review of their current activity. You may collect your data differently, from interviews and observations to questionnaires and focus groups.

However, you may prefer to gather necessary information by undertaking another approach, such as reviewing and analyzing existing data from other standpoints, drawing necessary comparisons, or making striking parallels.

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Non-Empirical Dissertations

Deciding to work on a non-empirical dissertation should not be considered an easier process. Supporting your argument throughout the whole piece of writing is a difficult challenge. However, it will be the right choice if you enjoy spending time in the library reading, evaluating, and discussing theory.

If you feel that making the university library your home for weeks is quite challenging, you should opt for a more empirical research subject to explore.

The most important theories in your discipline, such as gender or feminism, maybe a solid basis for an abstract discussion of your dissertation. Often, subjects like psychology and sociology focus on a particular type of theory, putting it at the center of their work. Thus, you may easily discuss the peculiarities of gender theory perfectly as your dissertation topic, for instance.

As a rule, a dissertation based on major theories, such as education, often follows an applied approach. However, when working on a piece of writing, one may use solely theoretical methods, especially if it is research in the educational philosophy.

Narrative Dissertations

You are likely to choose this type of dissertation if you are proceeding with an empirical or non-empirical study. However, different disciplines may require you to use different approaches and methods to write a narrative dissertation.

Many science subjects expect you to focus on a laboratory report while writing a dissertation, including the details of organizing, planning, doing, and analyzing a complex experiment. For example, in physical geography, a researcher has to spend some time in the wild and windswept gathering necessary data for analysis. Students will do some laboratory work and undertake field trips as an essential part of the dissertation research process. Moreover, you can even include a biography passage of a piece of classic writing to illustrate the examples in your dissertation.



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