Writing a dissertation
Don't worry if you haven't got a clue, Paul Stephenson and David Brigden present a step by step guide to completing one successfully
- By: Paul Stephenson, David Brigden
The dissertation forms the cornerstone of most undergraduate degree programmes. It provides the student with an opportunity to develop research skills and critical thinking techniques; it is also often the first real test of a student's report writing skills. Given its importance, it is perhaps surprising that many students do not know what a dissertation actually entails—that is, of course, until they've done one. Unfortunately, many students get to grips with the process only through experience, and the first one can therefore be an uncomfortable and steep learning curve.
The dissertation has played an increasingly important part in undergraduate medical education. This is a direct consequence of the General Medical Council's recommendations set out in Tomorrow's Doctors, which says that the GMC “expects” between 25% and 33% of a standard five year course to include student selected components. These components should give the student the opportunity tow1: Learn about and