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Dissertations, theses and research projects

Dissertations, PhD theses, systematic reviews and final year projects are extended pieces of research where you focus on a central question or problem.

Girl in the library looking for a bookA research project can be a different challenge to other assignments. It brings together a range of skills that you will have developed in your studies including: finding and evaluating literature, critical analysis, developing an argument, academic writing and referencing. It will be more in-depth and can be over a longer period of time than other assignments.

Your project might also include things that you have not done before, for example developing a research question, analysing data or writing an abstract.

Your research project might be a dissertation completed over a few months or a PhD which you work on over a number of years. The key to all research projects is breaking them down into the different stages, approaching each section of the planning, researching and writing process in turn. You then need to bring the stages together into a single piece of research.

Online resources

Downloadable resources

Student support

You will be given a supervisor for your project by your academic school or institute. Your supervisor is there to give you advice and guidance about all aspects of your research project.

There is also support and advice available to you at each stage of your project from:

The Library

The Library can help you to:

  • plan your search strategy
  • find and evaluate information sources and use these effectively in your literature search
  • manage your references and create your bibliography

Go to the Library page.

The Writing Development Centre

The Writing Development Centre tutors can help you:

  • reflect on the research questions and focus of your project
  • plan and manage your project
  • develop a clear authorial voice
  • critique and review literature
  • develop a critical argument in your writing
  • plan and structure your writing
  • develop effective editing and proofreading strategies

Go to the Writing Development Centre page.


Maths-Aid tutors can help undergraduate and postgraduate taught (PGT) students who are:

  • having issues with SPSS
  • need help with elements of data analysis

They cannot help with assessed work but can work through similar examples. Maths-Aid will not help with the design of your project.

Go to the Maths-Aid page.