There are some cases in which students will have to write an undergraduate dissertation in order to complete a course or an undergraduate program. While the term "dissertation" generally refers to the final document that a learner will create in order to graduate from a PhD program, an undergraduate dissertation may be very similar in that dissertations are lengthy articles that focus on one particular area of study.
In most cases, when students have to complete undergraduate dissertations, they are enrolled in special courses of study. For example, if a student attends James Madison University and is selected to participate in the Media Arts and Design program, the student may have to complete an undergraduate dissertation in order to graduate from the program with a Media Arts and Design degree.
In other cases, students may be require to write undergraduate dissertations as part of one course. Often, if the student has to complete the work as part of a course, the professor has simply assigned a lengthy project that he or she wishes to call a "dissertation."
Regardless of the purpose of the undergraduate dissertation or level of study, all reports should follow similar formats: cover page, abstract, acknowledgements, introduction, methodology, body, conclusion, references, and appendix. Many students will be required to include all of these sections. However, each professor may have his or her own requirements for what sections need to be included.
When a student is required to create an undergraduate dissertation, the student needs to take time to decide what subject he or she wishes to write about. The student should be aware that this subject is one that he or she will need to spend a great deal of time with over the course of the semester. Therefore, the subject should, ideally, interest the pupil.
Once the student has decided on a subject, the student should perform as much research as possible about that subject. Research may include analyzing primary and secondary resources, conduction experiments and interviews, and more. The student should outline these research steps in a methodology section of the report, in which he or she also states why he or she chose to take those steps.
After the research has been completed, the pupil can begin work on the undergraduate dissertation by drafting an outline. Over a period of weeks or months, the learner will fill in the outline with information obtained through his or her prior research.
Students should be aware that there is a difference between an undergraduate dissertation and a PhD reference project. Undergraduate dissertations are not likely to stick with a student throughout his or her career. Undergraduate students also might not perform ground-breaking research. However, when PhD students create their documents, they are often pioneering research in a particular subject. In most cases, their documents will be archived in public dissertation databases. Therefore, PhD dissertations tend to be more involved than undergraduate dissertations.
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