Skip to main content


a dissertation is an extended piece of research.

5 things you need to know...

Use guidelines from your tutor and/or on Blackboard in conjunction with that specific guidance. 

Features of a dissertation/final year project:

  1. An extended piece of detailed work - it is an investigation.
  2. Demonstrates skills in: planning, organising, researching, problem solving, time management as well as oral and written communication skills. Dissertations also demonstrate in-depth subject knowledge.
  3. Effective use of headings, bullet points, and a range of graphical illustrations.
  4. Written in the academic style: needs to be clear, concise, professional and referenced.
  5. Dissertations have sections, which as a general rule are:
  • Title page
  • Abstract
  • Aims and Objectives - what are you trying to achieve by doing this investigation?
  • Literature Review - what is current thinking about this subject?
  • Research Methodology -  what are you going to do to research this subject?
  • Ethical Issues - are there any ethical issues to be considered - eg: how is data going to be kept safe?   
  • Findings and Discussion  - from your investigations what have you found out? And what does it mean? Here you present findings (what you have found out from your investigation) and make comments about what those findings mean.
  • Recommendations (if requested) - after doing this investigation and research what do you recommend?  
  • References and/or Bibliography
  • Appendices

Need to know more...

We have produced resources to help you to develop your skills in this area.  You will find a factsheet on this topic below, plus others you may find useful.  See also the Online and Books tabs above.  

Related factsheets

HIGHER EDUCATION ACADEMY AND SHEFFIELD HALLAM UNIVERSITY (2013) Guide to undergraduate dissertations [online][Accessed: 2September 2019]

Look around Dewey number 808.  Dissertations are very different so we would suggest doing an advanced search for example Dissertations + Computing to ensure subject specific advise.

Need more advice?

You can also discuss your development of this skill with a member of the Academic Skills Team.

Make an appointment for an online discussion or email support  by using our online booking form.

Personalising your device and using assistive tools

There are many assistive technology tools which can help you choose how you want to access material and these can really improve your productivity.

The University has made some applications available on the student PCs within the library and IT Centres; others are free for you to download and use on your own devices (phone, tablet, laptop or computer) .  Find out more on our personalising standard software guide and our assistive tools and software guide.