The term Oxbridge is a portmanteau or a blend of two words - ox for the University of Oxford and bridge for the University of Cambridge, which are both located in England, and the term is usually used to describe collectively the two universities. As a postgraduate student taking up a MA in English at a new university in the city of Oxford, England, I could not help in thinking that I am a part of the superior social status that the term Oxbridge carries even if our university is separate and not part of the university systems of both Oxford and Cambridge. However, the attachment that my fellow students and I would feel for the city and Oxford are strong so that we would even call our dissertation task as the Oxbridge dissertation task.
I decided to take my MA in English on a part-time basis so that take me two years to finish my course and it would take as much time as that to research, write and complete my Oxbridge dissertation task. It has been several weeks since I started with my postgraduate studies and I even though I am in the initial process of my task, I have learned some basic writing guidelines for my dissertation document. I am sharing the basis guidelines so that anyone reading this would know the hard work involved in a dissertation task even in the initial process of researching and writing the document.
I learned that the basic guidelines on writing an Oxbridge dissertation is similar to the other general guidelines for other dissertation task regardless of the topic covered by the dissertation. The first step is the dissertation proposal to be submitted to the dissertation committee. I learned that the structure of the proposal consists of the introduction, the abstract, the aims or goals of the research study, the methodology of the investigation methods to be used for the study, the expected results and findings of the study, the conclusion, and the appendices and bibliography. I also made sure that I regularly consulted with my dissertation supervisor for any concerns that need to be verified before a I would write the final version of my proposal.
A sample dissertation is a previously written dissertation document that usually serves as a comparative template, informative guide, and reference tool that a student could use for comparing the sample to his own dissertation. The main sources of sample dissertations are from the student's supervisor or the department where the student belongs and the websites of academic writing companies.
A student could obtain copies of sample dissertations from his supervisor or his department on the condition that the samples should only be used as learning guides and tools for the student's own dissertation writing task. On the other hand, some websites of academic writing companies would provide free copies of dissertation samples as a way of helping other students in writing and completing their own dissertations.
A sample dissertation could be a good learning guide and tool for a student in writing and completing his own dissertation because of the advantages it would provide to him. The advantages in using sample dissertations:
A sample dissertation could be a source of ideas for research topics especially if the topic of the dissertation samples are related to the student's own research topic. Even if the sample dissertation read by the student is not directly related to his topic, reading a sample could give him the enthusiasm and effort he needs to come up with ideas for his own topic.
The basic structure of a sample dissertation is the same regardless of the topic of the dissertation. Reading and studying a sample would show the student on how the structure of an actual dissertation appears. The sample dissertation would show the structure of the major sections of the dissertation, which is the signature page, title, copyright, acknowledgements, abstract, table of contents, list of tables and list of illustrations, introduction or statement of problem, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, references, and appendices.
The dissertation samples show the formatting in terms of presentation and organisation of the sentences and paragraphs, the margins of the paper, the number of pages, the specific sizes and types of the fonts to be used, and other technical aspects of the written document.
Before the actual dissertation writing, the initial steps for the authors of the dissertations are having and applying the knowledge for writing a dissertation proposal, which is the document that presents and summarises the goals or objectives of the research study and the proposed research methodology or methods of investigation for the research. Hence, the dissertation proposal is very important because it is the document to be presented to the dissertation committee and convince them that your research study is worth pursuing and you are qualified to do it.
Therefore, it is important that you know and apply the general rules for writing a dissertation proposal. The first set of general instructions are the major parts or sections of the dissertation proposal. The major sections are:
Introduction – This section specifically states the problem, the reasons for the importance of the problem, and the particular research questions to be solved or answered. The introduction also has a brief and concise summary of the goals and major questions for the research study, and provide the context for those questions around a bigger academic framework.
Literature review – This section addresses the scope of research and the major finding or results of the study. The literature review specifically explains the importance of the findings within the context of the problem and the research question.
Research methodology – This section describes the methods of investigation for the study, the explanations on why you chose those specific methods, and the procedures you would do to achieve to carry successfully out those methods. You should mention the specific details of the methods of investigation and prove on how the methods are related to the research question.
Bibliography – This section lists down the source materials for research study, include the materials used for the literature review and methodology. The bibliography should be written in the format of the style guide specified by the dissertation committee.
Other instructions for writing a dissertation proposal include devoting enough time for the proposal writing process because it could take an average of six months to complete a final proposal, and you should also have regular communications with the dissertation committee.