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How to write a Dissertation on social issues?

The simplest way to define a dissertation on a Social Issue is as,“a literature-based long essay providing an analysis of a specific research question of relevance to a social policy” given by London School of Economics.

Since dissertations are written mainly for academic purposes, the before research and writing process begins, it is very important to select an appropriate topic.A topic that can be well managed should be chosen – one that hasn’t been researched so extensivelyand nor so unexplored that the relevant literature is unavailable to study in detail. Then, a research question/research questions should be picked up. The research question(s) will assist with structuring of your dissertation.

Just as the contents of any dissertation, this one must include introduction, methodology, analysis and the conclusion as well. A special element in this kind of dissertation is the discussion, which is very opinion based.

The introduction should focus on cause of interest in the research, the gaps are knowledge, value addition by this dissertation to previous research. It should give an overview of the research question and the dissertation itself.

The methodology is a short section containing information on types of material you have used, books, peer-reviewed articles, grey literature, press reports, internet based materials. It will also highlight any limitations that occurred due to the source of research. The analysis forms the bulk of the dissertation. Not just findings from the current research are presented but earlier work in the field is also evaluated, paying due attention to its contributions, and to any methodological problems and limitations involved.

Three kinds of evidence are used in the research analyses for a dissertation; Empirical, Interpretive and Critical. Empirical evidences are mainly used in research involving natural sciences. Interpretivism is a stance that characterises the research within the social sciences. It is concerned to understand the nature or meaning of the social world from the subjective standpoint of the people involved. A critical(ist) approach isis onewhere the usage of evidence is rooted in the evaluation of social conflict or power determined relationships.

A dissertation on a social issue uses the following elements in its analysis structure as evidences.

  • policy documents
  • legislation
  • statistics – from reliable sources and surveys
  • research studies
  • relevant theory

The discussion links your analysis with the research question. It also includes personal suggestions and comments related to the issue. It is a direct indication of the learning that took place during the preparation of the dissertation. It propagates ideas that can work as solutions to the social issue.

The conclusions drawn should be substantiated from the analysis within the body of the dissertation. Their relevance and order of presenting depends on the way the discussion has directed. For example, Cause-Effect-Solution or Effect-Solution-Cause.

It is suggested to proof-read and verify the dissertation several times, since it is a very long written piece, for structuring and grammatical errors tend to happen. Despite of it being a long composition, it must be ensured that it contains only relevant and precise information that can be put to productive use. All sorts of information provided should directly or indirectly be answering the research question.

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