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What is an Ed.D. Dissertation? Complete Guide & Support Resources

Wondering how to tackle the biggest doctoral challenge of all? Use our guide to the Ed.D. dissertation to get started! Learn about the purpose of a Doctor of Education dissertation and typical topics for education students. Read through step-by-step descriptions of the dissertation process and the 5-chapter format. Get answers to Ed.D. dissertation FAQs . Or skip to the chase and find real-world examples of Doctor of Education dissertations and websites & resources for Ed.D. dissertation research.

What is an Ed.D. Dissertation?

Definition of an ed.d. dissertation.

An Ed.D. dissertation is a 5-chapter scholarly document that brings together years of original research to address a problem of practice in education. To complete a dissertation, you will need to go through a number of scholarly steps , including a final defense to justify your findings.

Purpose of an Ed.D. Dissertation

In a Doctor of Education dissertation, you will be challenged to apply high-level research & creative problem-solving to real-world educational challenges. You may be asked to:

  • Take a critical look at current educational & administrative practices
  • Address urgent issues in the modern education system
  • Propose original & practical solutions for improvements
  • Expand the knowledge base for educational practitioners

Topics of Ed.D. Dissertations

An Ed.D. dissertation is “customizable.” You’re allowed to chose a topic that relates to your choice of specialty (e.g. elementary education), field of interest (e.g. curriculum development), and environment (e.g. urban schools).

Think about current problems of practice that need to be addressed in your field. You’ll notice that Ed.D. dissertation topics often address one of the following:

  • Academic performance
  • Teaching methods
  • Access to resources
  • Social challenges
  • Legislative impacts
  • System effectiveness

Wondering how others have done it? Browse through Examples of Ed.D. Dissertations and read the titles & abstracts. You’ll see how current educators are addressing their own problems of practice.

Ed.D. Dissertation Process

1. propose a dissertation topic.

Near the beginning of a Doctor of Education program, you’ll be expected to identify a dissertation topic that will require substantial research. This topic should revolve around a unique issue in education.

Universities will often ask you to provide an idea for your topic when you’re applying to the doctoral program. You don’t necessarily need to stick to this idea, but you should be prepared to explain why it interests you. If you need inspiration, see our section on Examples of Ed.D. Dissertations .

You’ll be expected to solidify your dissertation topic in the first few semesters. Talking to faculty and fellow Ed.D. students can help in this process. Better yet, your educational peers will often be able to provide unique perspectives on the topic (e.g. cultural differences in teaching methods).

2. Meet Your Dissertation Chair & Committee

You won’t be going through the Ed.D. dissertation process alone! Universities will help you to select a number of experienced mentors. These include:

  • Dissertation Chair/Faculty Advisor: The Chair of the Dissertation Committee acts as your primary advisor. You’ll often see them referred to as the Supervising Professor, Faculty Advisor, or the like. You’ll rely on this “Obi Wan” for their knowledge of the field, research advice & guidance, editorial input on drafts, and more. They can also assist with shaping & refining your dissertation topic.
  • Dissertation Committee:  The Dissertation Committee is made up of ~3 faculty members, instructors and/or adjuncts with advanced expertise in your field of study. The Committee will offer advice, provide feedback on your research progress, and review your work & progress reports. When you defend your proposal and give your final defense , you’ll be addressing the Dissertation Committee.

3. Study for Ed.D. Courses

Doctor of Education coursework is designed to help you: a) learn how to conduct original research; and b) give you a broader perspective on your field of interest. If you take a look at the curriculum in any Ed.D. program, you’ll see that students have to complete credits in:

  • Practical Research Methods (e.g. Quantitative Design & Analysis for Educational Leaders)
  • Real-World Educational Issues (e.g. Educational Policy, Law & Practice)

When you’re evaluating possible Ed.D. programs, pay attention to the coursework in real-world educational issues. You’ll want to pick an education doctorate with courses that complement your dissertation topic.

4. Complete a Literature Review

A literature review is an evaluation of existing materials & research work that relate to your dissertation topic. It’s a written synthesis that:

  • Grounds your project within the field
  • Explains how your work relates to previous research & theoretical frameworks
  • Helps to identify gaps in the existing research

Have a look at Literature Review Guides if you’d like to know more about the process. Our section on Resources for Ed.D. Dissertation Research also has useful links to journals & databases.

5. Craft a Dissertation Proposal

During the first two years of your Doctor of Education, you’ll use the knowledge you’ve learned from your coursework & discussions to write the opening chapters of your dissertation, including an:

  • Introduction  that defines your chosen topic
  • Literature Review of existing research in the field
  • Proposed Research Methodology for finding the answer to your problem

When you’re putting together these elements, think about the practicals. Is the topic too big to address in one dissertation? How much time will your research take and how will you conduct it? Will your dissertation be relevant to your current job? If in doubt, ask your faculty advisor.

6. Defend Your Dissertation Proposal

About midway through the Ed.D. program, you will need to present your proposal to your Dissertation Committee. They will review your work and offer feedback. For example, the Committee will want to see that:

  • Your research topic is significant.
  • Your research methodology & timeline make sense.
  • Relevant works are included in the literature review.

After the Committee approves your proposal, you can get stuck into conducting original research and writing up your findings. These two important tasks will take up the final years of your doctorate.

7. Conduct Original Research into Your Topic

As a Doctor of Education student, you will be expected to conduct your own research. Ed.D. students often use a qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods (quantitative/qualitative) approach in this process.

  • Quantitative Research: Collection & analysis of numerical data to identify characteristics, discover correlations, and/or test hypotheses.
  • Qualitative Research: Collection & analysis of non-numerical data to understand & explain phenomena (e.g. questionnaires, in-depth interviews, focus groups, video artifacts, etc.).

Your Ed.D. coursework will ground you in research methods & tools, so you’ll be prepared to design your own project and seek IRB approval for any work involving human subjects.

Note: Occasionally, universities can get creative. For example, the Ed.D. program at San Jose State University asks students to produce a documentary film instead of conducting traditional research.

8. Write the Rest of Your Dissertation

Once you have written up the first few chapters of your dissertation (Intro, Literature Review & Proposed Methodology) and completed your research work, you’ll be able to complete the final chapters of your dissertation.

  • Chapter 4 will detail your research findings.
  • Chapter 5 is a conclusion that summarizes solutions to your problem of practice/topic.

This is where you and your faculty advisor will often have a lot of interaction! For example, you may need to rework the first few chapters of your dissertation after you’ve drafted the final chapters. Faculty advisors are extremely busy people, so be sure to budget in ample time for revisions and final edits.

9. Defend Your Dissertation

The final defense/candidacy exam is a formal presentation of your work to the Dissertation Committee. In many cases, the defense is an oral presentation with visual aides. You’ll be able to explain your research findings, go through your conclusions, and highlight new ideas & solutions.

At any time, the Committee can challenge you with questions, so you should be prepared to defend your conclusions. But this process is not as frightening as it sounds!

  • If you’ve been in close contact with the Committee throughout the dissertation, they will be aware of your work.
  • Your faculty advisor will help you decide when you’re ready for the final defense.
  • You can also attend the defenses of other Ed.D. students to learn what questions may be asked.

Be aware that the Committee has the option to ask for changes before they approve your dissertation. After you have incorporated any notes from the Committee and addressed their concerns, you will finalize the draft, submit your dissertation for a formal review, and graduate.

Ed.D. Dissertation Format: 5 Chapters

Chapter 1: introduction.

Your Doctor of Education dissertation will begin with an introduction. In it, you’ll be expected to:

  • Provide an overview of your educational landscape
  • Explain important definitions & key concepts
  • Define a real-world topic/problem of practice
  • Outline the need for new studies on this topic

Chapter 2: Literature Review

The literature review is a summary of existing research in the field. However, it is not an annotated bibliography. Instead, it’s a critical analysis of current research (e.g. trends, themes, debates & current practices). While you’re evaluating the literature, you’re also looking for the gaps where you can conduct original research.

Sources for a literature review can include books, articles, reports, websites, dissertations, and more. Our section on Resources for Ed.D. Dissertation Research has plenty of places to start.

Chapter 3: Research Methodology

In the research methodology, you’ll be expected to explain:

  • The purpose of your research
  • What tools & methods you plan to use to research your topic/problem of practice
  • The design of the study
  • Your timeline for gathering quantitative & qualitative data
  • How you plan to analyze that data
  • Any limitations you foresee

Chapter 4: Results & Analysis

Chapter 4 is the place where you can share the results of your original research and present key findings from the data. In your analysis, you may also be highlighting new patterns, relationships, and themes that other scholars have failed to discover. Have a look at real-life Examples of Ed.D. Dissertations to see how this section is structured.

Chapter 5: Discussions & Conclusions

The final chapter of your Ed.D. dissertation brings all of your work together in a detailed summary. You’ll be expected to:

  • Reiterate the objectives of your dissertation
  • Explain the significance of your research findings
  • Outline the implications of your ideas on existing practices
  • Propose solutions for a problem of practice
  • Make suggestions & recommendations for future improvements

Ed.D. Dissertation FAQs

What’s the difference between a dissertation and a thesis.

  • Dissertation: A dissertation is a 5-chapter written work that must be completed in order to earn a doctoral degree (e.g. Ph.D., Ed.D., etc.). It’s often focused on original research.
  • Thesis: A thesis is a written work that must be completed in order to earn a master’s degree. It’s typically shorter than a dissertation and based on existing research.

How Long is a Ed.D. Dissertation?

It depends. Most Ed.D. dissertations end up being between 80-200 pages. The length will depend on a number of factors, including the depth of your literature review, the way you collect & present your research data, and any appendices you might need to include.

How Long Does it Take to Finish an Ed.D. Dissertation?

It depends. If you’re in an accelerated program , you may be able to finish your dissertation in 2-3 years. If you’re in a part-time program and need to conduct a lot of complex research work, your timeline will be much longer.

What’s a Strong Ed.D. Dissertation Topic?

Experts always say that Doctor of Education students should be passionate about their dissertation topic and eager to explore uncharted territory. When you’re crafting your Ed.D. dissertation topic , find one that will be:

  • Significant

See the section on Examples of Ed.D. Dissertations for inspiration.

Do I Have to Complete a Traditional Dissertation for an Ed.D.?

No. If you’re struggling with the idea of a traditional dissertation, check out this guide to Online Ed.D. Programs with No Dissertation . Some Schools of Education give Ed.D. students the opportunity to complete a Capstone Project or Dissertation in Practice (DiP) instead of a 5-chapter written work.

These alternatives aren’t easy! You’ll still be challenged at the same level as you would be for a dissertation. However, Capstone Projects & DiPs often involve more group work and an emphasis on applied theory & research.

What’s the Difference Between a Ph.D. Dissertation and Ed.D. Dissertation?

Have a look at our Ed.D. vs. Ph.D. Guide to get a sense of the differences between the two degrees. In a nutshell:

  • Ed.D. dissertations tend to focus on addressing current & real-world topics/problems of practice in the workplace.
  • Ph.D. dissertations usually put more emphasis on creating new theories & concepts and even completely rethinking educational practices.

How Can I Learn More About Ed.D. Dissertations?

Start with the section on Examples of Ed.D. Dissertations . You can browse through titles, abstracts, and even complete dissertations from a large number of universities.

If you have a few Doctor of Education programs on your shortlist, we also recommend that you skim through the program’s Dissertation Handbook . It can usually be found on the School of Education’s website. You’ll be able to see how the School likes to structure the dissertation process from start to finish.

Ed.D. Dissertation Support

University & campus resources, dissertation chair & committee.

The first port of call for any questions about the Ed.D. dissertation is your Dissertation Chair. If you get stuck with a terrible faculty advisor, talk to members of the Dissertation Committee. They are there to support your journey.

University Library

An Ed.D. dissertation is a massive research project. So before you choose a Doctor of Education program, ask the School of Education about its libraries & library resources (e.g. free online access to subscription-based journals).

Writing Center

Many universities have a Writing Center. If you’re struggling with any elements of your dissertation (e.g. editing), you can ask the staff about:

  • Individual tutoring
  • Editorial assistance
  • Outside resources

Mental Health Support

It’s well-known that doctoral students often face a lot of stress & isolation during their studies. Ask your faculty advisor about mental health services at the university. Staff in the School of Education and the Graduate School will also have information about on-campus counselors, free or discounted therapy sessions, and more.

Independent Dissertation Services

Dissertation editing services: potentially helpful.

There are scores of independent providers who offer dissertation editing services. But they can be expensive. And many of these editors have zero expertise in educational fields.

If you need help with editing & proofreading, proceed with caution:

  • Start by asking your Dissertation Chair about what’s permitted for third party involvement (e.g. you may need to note any editor’s contribution in your dissertation acknowledgments) and whether they have any suggestions.
  • The Graduate School is another useful resource. For example, Cornell’s Graduate School maintains a list of Editing, Typing, and Proofreading Services for graduate students.

Dissertation Coaches: Not Worth It

Dissertation coaches are defined as people who offer academic & mental support, guidance, and editorial input.

  • That means the person who should be your coach is your Dissertation Chair/Faculty Advisor. Remember that faculty members on the Dissertation Committee can also provide assistance.
  • If you’re looking for extra support, you might consider consulting a mentor in your line of work and collaborating with fellow Ed.D. students.

But hiring an independent Ed.D. dissertation coach is going to be an absolute waste of money.

Dissertation Writing Services: Just Don’t!

Universities take the dissertation process  very seriously . An Ed.D. dissertation is supposed to be the culmination of years of original thought and research. You’re going to be responsible for the final product. You’re going to be defending your written work in front of a phalanx of experienced faculty members. You’re going to be putting this credential on your résumé for everyone to see.

If you cheat the process by having someone else write up your work, you will get caught.

Ed.D. Dissertation Resources

Examples of ed.d. dissertations, dissertation databases.

  • Open Access Theses and Dissertations
  • ProQuest Dissertations & Theses
  • EBSCO Open Dissertations

Ed.D. Dissertations

  • USF Scholarship Repository: Ed.D. Dissertations
  • George Fox University: Doctor of Education
  • UW Tacoma: Ed.D. Dissertations in Practice
  • Liberty University: School of Education Doctoral Dissertations
  • University of Mary Hardin-Baylor: Dissertation Collection

Ed.D. Dissertation Abstracts

  • Michigan State University: Ed.D. Dissertation Abstracts

Ed.D. Dissertation Guides & Tools

General ed.d. guides.

  • SNHU: Educational Leadership Ed.D./Ph.D. Guide

Dissertation Style Manuals

  • Chicago Manual of Style

Style manuals are designed to ensure that every Ed.D. student follows the same set of writing guidelines for their dissertation (e.g. grammatical rules, footnote & quotation formats, abbreviation conventions, etc.). Check with the School of Education to learn which style manual they use.

Examples of Ed.D. Dissertation Templates

  • Purdue University: Dissertation Template
  • Walden University: Ed.D. Dissertation Template

Each School of Education has a standard dissertation template. We’ve highlighted a couple of examples so you can see how they’re formatted, but you will need to acquire the template from your own university.

Literature Review Guides

  • UNC Chapel Hill: Writing Guide for Literature Reviews
  • University of Alabama: How to Conduct a Literature Review

Resources for Ed.D. Dissertation Research

Journal articles.

  • EBSCO Education Research Databases
  • Education Resources Information Center (ERIC)
  • Emerald Education eJournal Collection
  • Gale OneFile: Educator’s Reference Complete
  • Google Scholar
  • NCES Bibliography Search Tool
  • ProQuest Education Database
  • SAGE Journals: Education

Useful Websites

  • Harvard Gutman Library: Websites for Educators
  • EduRef: Lesson Plans

Educational Data & Statistics

  • Digest of Education Statistics
  • Education Policy Data Center (EPDC)
  • ICPSR Data Archive
  • National Assessment of Educational Progress
  • National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
  • UNESCO Institute for Statistics
  • More from M-W
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dissertation

Definition of dissertation

Examples of dissertation in a sentence.

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dissertation.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

1651, in the meaning defined above

Dictionary Entries Near dissertation

dissertative

Cite this Entry

“Dissertation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dissertation. Accessed 19 Feb. 2024.

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  • Knowledge Base
  • Dissertation

What Is a Dissertation? | Guide, Examples, & Template

Structure of a Dissertation

A dissertation is a long-form piece of academic writing based on original research conducted by you. It is usually submitted as the final step in order to finish a PhD program.

Your dissertation is probably the longest piece of writing you’ve ever completed. It requires solid research, writing, and analysis skills, and it can be intimidating to know where to begin.

Your department likely has guidelines related to how your dissertation should be structured. When in doubt, consult with your supervisor.

You can also download our full dissertation template in the format of your choice below. The template includes a ready-made table of contents with notes on what to include in each chapter, easily adaptable to your department’s requirements.

Download Word template Download Google Docs template

  • In the US, a dissertation generally refers to the collection of research you conducted to obtain a PhD.
  • In other countries (such as the UK), a dissertation often refers to the research you conduct to obtain your bachelor’s or master’s degree.

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Table of contents

Dissertation committee and prospectus process, how to write and structure a dissertation, acknowledgements or preface, list of figures and tables, list of abbreviations, introduction, literature review, methodology, reference list, proofreading and editing, defending your dissertation, free checklist and lecture slides.

When you’ve finished your coursework, as well as any comprehensive exams or other requirements, you advance to “ABD” (All But Dissertation) status. This means you’ve completed everything except your dissertation.

Prior to starting to write, you must form your committee and write your prospectus or proposal . Your committee comprises your adviser and a few other faculty members. They can be from your own department, or, if your work is more interdisciplinary, from other departments. Your committee will guide you through the dissertation process, and ultimately decide whether you pass your dissertation defense and receive your PhD.

Your prospectus is a formal document presented to your committee, usually orally in a defense, outlining your research aims and objectives and showing why your topic is relevant . After passing your prospectus defense, you’re ready to start your research and writing.

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The structure of your dissertation depends on a variety of factors, such as your discipline, topic, and approach. Dissertations in the humanities are often structured more like a long essay , building an overall argument to support a central thesis , with chapters organized around different themes or case studies.

However, hard science and social science dissertations typically include a review of existing works, a methodology section, an analysis of your original research, and a presentation of your results , presented in different chapters.

Dissertation examples

We’ve compiled a list of dissertation examples to help you get started.

  • Example dissertation #1: Heat, Wildfire and Energy Demand: An Examination of Residential Buildings and Community Equity (a dissertation by C. A. Antonopoulos about the impact of extreme heat and wildfire on residential buildings and occupant exposure risks).
  • Example dissertation #2: Exploring Income Volatility and Financial Health Among Middle-Income Households (a dissertation by M. Addo about income volatility and declining economic security among middle-income households).
  • Example dissertation #3: The Use of Mindfulness Meditation to Increase the Efficacy of Mirror Visual Feedback for Reducing Phantom Limb Pain in Amputees (a dissertation by N. S. Mills about the effect of mindfulness-based interventions on the relationship between mirror visual feedback and the pain level in amputees with phantom limb pain).

The very first page of your document contains your dissertation title, your name, department, institution, degree program, and submission date. Sometimes it also includes your student number, your supervisor’s name, and the university’s logo.

Read more about title pages

The acknowledgements section is usually optional and gives space for you to thank everyone who helped you in writing your dissertation. This might include your supervisors, participants in your research, and friends or family who supported you. In some cases, your acknowledgements are part of a preface.

Read more about acknowledgements Read more about prefaces

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The abstract is a short summary of your dissertation, usually about 150 to 300 words long. Though this may seem very short, it’s one of the most important parts of your dissertation, because it introduces your work to your audience.

Your abstract should:

  • State your main topic and the aims of your research
  • Describe your methods
  • Summarize your main results
  • State your conclusions

Read more about abstracts

The table of contents lists all of your chapters, along with corresponding subheadings and page numbers. This gives your reader an overview of your structure and helps them easily navigate your document.

Remember to include all main parts of your dissertation in your table of contents, even the appendices. It’s easy to generate a table automatically in Word if you used heading styles. Generally speaking, you only include level 2 and level 3 headings, not every subheading you included in your finished work.

Read more about tables of contents

While not usually mandatory, it’s nice to include a list of figures and tables to help guide your reader if you have used a lot of these in your dissertation. It’s easy to generate one of these in Word using the Insert Caption feature.

Read more about lists of figures and tables

Similarly, if you have used a lot of abbreviations (especially industry-specific ones) in your dissertation, you can include them in an alphabetized list of abbreviations so that the reader can easily look up their meanings.

Read more about lists of abbreviations

In addition to the list of abbreviations, if you find yourself using a lot of highly specialized terms that you worry will not be familiar to your reader, consider including a glossary. Here, alphabetize the terms and include a brief description or definition.

Read more about glossaries

The introduction serves to set up your dissertation’s topic, purpose, and relevance. It tells the reader what to expect in the rest of your dissertation. The introduction should:

  • Establish your research topic , giving the background information needed to contextualize your work
  • Narrow down the focus and define the scope of your research
  • Discuss the state of existing research on the topic, showing your work’s relevance to a broader problem or debate
  • Clearly state your research questions and objectives
  • Outline the flow of the rest of your work

Everything in the introduction should be clear, engaging, and relevant. By the end, the reader should understand the what, why, and how of your research.

Read more about introductions

A formative part of your research is your literature review . This helps you gain a thorough understanding of the academic work that already exists on your topic.

Literature reviews encompass:

  • Finding relevant sources (e.g., books and journal articles)
  • Assessing the credibility of your sources
  • Critically analyzing and evaluating each source
  • Drawing connections between them (e.g., themes, patterns, conflicts, or gaps) to strengthen your overall point

A literature review is not merely a summary of existing sources. Your literature review should have a coherent structure and argument that leads to a clear justification for your own research. It may aim to:

  • Address a gap in the literature or build on existing knowledge
  • Take a new theoretical or methodological approach to your topic
  • Propose a solution to an unresolved problem or advance one side of a theoretical debate

Read more about literature reviews

Theoretical framework

Your literature review can often form the basis for your theoretical framework. Here, you define and analyze the key theories, concepts, and models that frame your research.

Read more about theoretical frameworks

Your methodology chapter describes how you conducted your research, allowing your reader to critically assess its credibility. Your methodology section should accurately report what you did, as well as convince your reader that this was the best way to answer your research question.

A methodology section should generally include:

  • The overall research approach ( quantitative vs. qualitative ) and research methods (e.g., a longitudinal study )
  • Your data collection methods (e.g., interviews or a controlled experiment )
  • Details of where, when, and with whom the research took place
  • Any tools and materials you used (e.g., computer programs, lab equipment)
  • Your data analysis methods (e.g., statistical analysis , discourse analysis )
  • An evaluation or justification of your methods

Read more about methodology sections

Your results section should highlight what your methodology discovered. You can structure this section around sub-questions, hypotheses , or themes, but avoid including any subjective or speculative interpretation here.

Your results section should:

  • Concisely state each relevant result together with relevant descriptive statistics (e.g., mean , standard deviation ) and inferential statistics (e.g., test statistics , p values )
  • Briefly state how the result relates to the question or whether the hypothesis was supported
  • Report all results that are relevant to your research questions , including any that did not meet your expectations.

Additional data (including raw numbers, full questionnaires, or interview transcripts) can be included as an appendix. You can include tables and figures, but only if they help the reader better understand your results. Read more about results sections

Your discussion section is your opportunity to explore the meaning and implications of your results in relation to your research question. Here, interpret your results in detail, discussing whether they met your expectations and how well they fit with the framework that you built in earlier chapters. Refer back to relevant source material to show how your results fit within existing research in your field.

Some guiding questions include:

  • What do your results mean?
  • Why do your results matter?
  • What limitations do the results have?

If any of the results were unexpected, offer explanations for why this might be. It’s a good idea to consider alternative interpretations of your data.

Read more about discussion sections

Your dissertation’s conclusion should concisely answer your main research question, leaving your reader with a clear understanding of your central argument and emphasizing what your research has contributed to the field.

In some disciplines, the conclusion is just a short section preceding the discussion section, but in other contexts, it is the final chapter of your work. Here, you wrap up your dissertation with a final reflection on what you found, with recommendations for future research and concluding remarks.

It’s important to leave the reader with a clear impression of why your research matters. What have you added to what was already known? Why is your research necessary for the future of your field?

Read more about conclusions

It is crucial to include a reference list or list of works cited with the full details of all the sources that you used, in order to avoid plagiarism. Be sure to choose one citation style and follow it consistently throughout your dissertation. Each style has strict and specific formatting requirements.

Common styles include MLA , Chicago , and APA , but which style you use is often set by your department or your field.

Create APA citations Create MLA citations

Your dissertation should contain only essential information that directly contributes to answering your research question. Documents such as interview transcripts or survey questions can be added as appendices, rather than adding them to the main body.

Read more about appendices

Making sure that all of your sections are in the right place is only the first step to a well-written dissertation. Don’t forget to leave plenty of time for editing and proofreading, as grammar mistakes and sloppy spelling errors can really negatively impact your work.

Dissertations can take up to five years to write, so you will definitely want to make sure that everything is perfect before submitting. You may want to consider using a professional dissertation editing service , AI proofreader or grammar checker to make sure your final project is perfect prior to submitting.

After your written dissertation is approved, your committee will schedule a defense. Similarly to defending your prospectus, dissertation defenses are oral presentations of your work. You’ll present your dissertation, and your committee will ask you questions. Many departments allow family members, friends, and other people who are interested to join as well.

After your defense, your committee will meet, and then inform you whether you have passed. Keep in mind that defenses are usually just a formality; most committees will have resolved any serious issues with your work with you far prior to your defense, giving you ample time to fix any problems.

As you write your dissertation, you can use this simple checklist to make sure you’ve included all the essentials.

Checklist: Dissertation

My title page includes all information required by my university.

I have included acknowledgements thanking those who helped me.

My abstract provides a concise summary of the dissertation, giving the reader a clear idea of my key results or arguments.

I have created a table of contents to help the reader navigate my dissertation. It includes all chapter titles, but excludes the title page, acknowledgements, and abstract.

My introduction leads into my topic in an engaging way and shows the relevance of my research.

My introduction clearly defines the focus of my research, stating my research questions and research objectives .

My introduction includes an overview of the dissertation’s structure (reading guide).

I have conducted a literature review in which I (1) critically engage with sources, evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of existing research, (2) discuss patterns, themes, and debates in the literature, and (3) address a gap or show how my research contributes to existing research.

I have clearly outlined the theoretical framework of my research, explaining the theories and models that support my approach.

I have thoroughly described my methodology , explaining how I collected data and analyzed data.

I have concisely and objectively reported all relevant results .

I have (1) evaluated and interpreted the meaning of the results and (2) acknowledged any important limitations of the results in my discussion .

I have clearly stated the answer to my main research question in the conclusion .

I have clearly explained the implications of my conclusion, emphasizing what new insight my research has contributed.

I have provided relevant recommendations for further research or practice.

If relevant, I have included appendices with supplemental information.

I have included an in-text citation every time I use words, ideas, or information from a source.

I have listed every source in a reference list at the end of my dissertation.

I have consistently followed the rules of my chosen citation style .

I have followed all formatting guidelines provided by my university.

Congratulations!

The end is in sight—your dissertation is nearly ready to submit! Make sure it's perfectly polished with the help of a Scribbr editor.

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What is a thesis and dissertation.

The masters thesis and doctoral dissertation are written documents that describe the graduate student's research. The subject of the thesis/dissertation is chosen by mutual agreement between the student and major adviser, and must be approved by the student's Supervisory Committee. There is no fixed length for the thesis/dissertation, although the Supervisory Committee should provide guidance on format and content.

Masters theses should reveal a capacity to carry on independent study or research and should demonstrate the student's ability to use the techniques employed in their field of investigation. Doctoral dissertations should demonstrate technical mastery of the student's field and advance or modify current knowledge. Dissertations should treat new material, find new results, or draw new conclusions; or it should interpret old material in a new light. It is expected that the research contained in the thesis/dissertation will be worthy of publication in appropriate peer-reviewed journals. Students are expected to prepare the manuscript(s) for publication prior to, or soon after, completion of their graduate program.

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What is a Dissertation? Everything You Need to Know 

meaning of dissertation in education

Your dissertation, the final piece of the puzzle that stands between you and the completion of your doctoral degree . Okay, so that’s not the actual definition of the word “dissertation,” but when you’re writing one, that can feel true at times! Keep reading to learn the academic definition and take a more in depth look at what a dissertation is and how to navigate writing one. So, let’s go!  

Related : Top fully funded PhD programs

Dissertation vs. thesis  

While dissertation and thesis are sometimes used interchangeably, they actually refer to two different pieces of writing. A thesis is traditionally completed at the end of a masters program . It is based on pre-existing research and showcases your ability to understand the information you have been learning about in your program.   

A dissertation is much longer than a thesis and is completed at the end of a PhD or doctorate program . It is the last thing you need to complete in order to earn your doctorate in your chosen field. It will be about a topic of your choosing that is within your field of study. Instead of using all pre-existing information though, you will conduct a portion of your own research and propose new ideas.

See also : Top scholarships for graduate students   

What do you write about when completing a dissertation?

What you write about will depend on what field of study you are in. A dissertation is designed to be your own. Meaning that what you write about should be a new idea, a new topic, or question that is still unanswered in your field. Something that you will need to collect new data on, potentially interview people for and explore what information is already available.  

Generally, an idea will need to be approved or at least discussed with whoever is overseeing your dissertation before you begin writing. It’s important to put time and effort into choosing a topic that you will be able to find either existing research for and add to, or a topic that you will be able to establish your own methods of data collection for. Again, the goal of your dissertation is to add to your field.   

How long does a dissertation need to be?  

Your dissertation length will vary, but you can generally count on it to be around 2-3 times the length of your thesis. A standard thesis is roughly 80 to 100 pages. So, on the short end you’re looking at a 200 pages dissertation, while the longer end can reach as high as 400 pages.  

How long does it take to write?  

The page count for a dissertation is enough to scare even the best writers away, but take a breath and rest easy knowing that this is not something you complete in just one semester or even two. On the short end you will have a year to write your dissertation, while the longer end can offer as much as two years to complete your dissertation. During this time, you will work with an advisor who can watch over you and help you along the way.  

The parts of a dissertation   

A dissertation is not just one long paper you must write. Thankfully, it is broken down into manageable pieces that you complete over time.  

Choosing a topic  

The first thing you will do is come up with your topic. Again, your topic will need to be approved by whoever is overseeing your dissertation. If they think that it may not be a strong topic, they will let you know. Even if a topic is approved though, you’ll need to do research around that topic first to make sure that it has not already been covered, or if it has that you take into consideration what has been done and add to the topic in a new way.  

Research  

Research can mean looking at what already exists, as well as conducting your own research to add to a proposed idea of yours. Your research can take many different forms depending on what field you are in. Research can be costly at times, so be sure to check out what funding opportunities are available for doctoral research. There are even post PhD research grants you should be familiar with if you intend to continue researching.  

Chapter break down  

A dissertation generally consists of five chapters. We’ve written them out below with a brief description of each and what they include.   

Introduction – Just as you would expect, this is where you will introduce your topic and what you plan to discuss  

Literature review – This section will address the research you have found that has already been done, or found has not been done, that pertains to your topic  

Methodology – How you go about collecting information for your dissertation, whether it be conducting your own research or delving deep into what has already been done, will be discussed in the methodology section 

Results – Your results will analyze the information you gathered  in regard to your topic 

Discussion – Finally, your discussion section will assess the meaning of your results and it is also where you will add your own ideas, rooted in research, about what those results mean in a broader context in regard to your field 

There will be more parts of your dissertation that are not included in the chapters, but the bulk of your dissertation will be made up by these five chapters. Things like title pages, references, appendices, and table of contents will also be included.  

Defending your dissertation  

Believe it or not, it’s not enough just to write your dissertation–you also have to defend your dissertation. This is another reason why taking a thorough amount of time to choose your topic is so important. You’ll likely need to propose your initial dissertation idea, but that will be much simpler and shorter. Your final defense will be much lengthier and in depth.  

During your defense, you will present your dissertation to a committee. It’s likely that you’ll be at least somewhat familiar with those on the committee; they are not just randomly picked. They will ask you questions about your research, and you will need to respond to each question. A defense generally takes around two hours. The point of a defense is not to have people try to undermine your work, but for you to exemplify your expertise in your field.  

Failing your dissertation  

Nobody wants to think about failing, but unfortunately, you can fail your dissertation. However, let’s talk about a few things before we just leave it at that. First, if you are afraid of failing your dissertation, this is something that you should speak to your advisor about. They can help you determine if there should be legitimate concerns or if you are getting in your own head.  

Second, even if you do fail your dissertation, you are usually allowed to resubmit one time. This of course is not ideal, but it does give you a little room to breathe. Your goal is to do great from the start, but remember this is not an easy task. You’ll likely have plenty of bumps along the way! 

Again, if you have concerns about failing, address them sooner rather than later and seek help. There are bound to be plenty of people and services around you, as well as additional services that you can pay for which will help review your materials and guide you along.

Key Takeaways

  • Dissertations are completed as the last step of your PhD or doctorate degree 
  • Your dissertation will be related to a topic or question in your field of study that you choose 
  • Dissertations take anywhere from one to two years to complete and can be upwards of three hundred pages long 
  • Your dissertation is designed to showcase your expertise in your field and your addition of new ideas to the field about a particular question or area 

Frequently asked questions about dissertations  

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What Exactly Is A Dissertation (Or Thesis)?

If you’ve landed on this article, chances are you’ve got a dissertation or thesis project coming up (hopefully it’s not due next week!), and you’re now asking yourself the classic question, “what the #%#%^ is a dissertation?”…

In this post, I’ll break down the basics of exactly what a dissertation is, in plain language. No ivory tower academia.

So, let’s get to the pressing question – what is a dissertation?

A dissertation (or thesis) = a research project

Simply put, a dissertation (or thesis – depending on which country you’re studying in) is a research project . In other words, your task is to ask a research question (or set of questions) and then set about finding the answer(s). Simple enough, right?

Well, the catch is that you’ve got to undertake this research project in an academic fashion , and there’s a wealth of academic language that makes it all (look) rather confusing (thanks, academia). However, at its core, a dissertation is about undertaking research (investigating something). This is really important to understand, because the key skill that your university is trying to develop in you (and will be testing you on) is your ability to undertake research in a well-structured structured, critical and academically rigorous way.

This research-centric focus is significantly different from assignments or essays, where the main concern is whether you can understand and apply the prescribed module theory. I’ll explain some other key differences between dissertations or theses and assignments a bit later in this article, but for now, let’s dig a little deeper into what a dissertation is.

A dissertation (or thesis) is a process.

Okay, so now that you understand that a dissertation is a research project (which is testing your ability to undertake quality research), let’s go a little deeper into what that means in practical terms.

The best way to understand a dissertation is to view it as a process – more specifically a research process (it is a research project, after all). This process involves four essential steps, which I’ll discuss below.

The research process

Step 1 – You identify a worthy research question

The very first step of the research process is to find a meaningful research question, or a set of questions. In other words, you need to find a suitable topic for investigation. Since a dissertation is all about research, identifying the key question(s) is the critical first step. Here’s an example of a well-defined research question:

“Which factors cultivate or erode customer trust in UK-based life insurance brokers?”

This clearly defined question sets the direction of the research . From the question alone, you can understand exactly what the outcome of the research might look like – i.e. a set of findings about which factors help brokers develop customer trust, and which factors negatively impact trust.

But how on earth do I find a suitable research question, you ask? Don’t worry about this right now – when you’re ready, you can read our article about finding a dissertation topic . However, right now, the important thing to understand is that the first step in the dissertation process is identifying the key research question(s). Without a clear question, you cannot move forward.

Step 2 – You review the existing research

Once the research question is clearly established, the next step is to review the existing research/literature (both academic and professional/industry) to understand what has already been said with regard to the question. In academic speak, this is called a literature review .

This step is critically important as, in all likelihood, someone else has asked a similar question to yours, and therefore you can build on the work of others . Good academic research is not about reinventing the wheel or starting from scratch – it’s about familiarising yourself with the current state of knowledge, and then using that as your basis for further research.

Simply put, the first step to answering your research question is to look at what other researchers have to say about it. Sometimes this will lead you to change your research question or direction slightly (for example, if the existing research already provides a comprehensive answer). Don’t stress – this is completely acceptable and a normal part of the research process.

Step 3 – You carry out your own research

Once you’ve got a decent understanding of the existing state of knowledge, you will carry out your own research by collecting and analysing the relevant data. This could take to form of primary research (collecting your own fresh data), secondary research (synthesising existing data) or both, depending on the nature of your degree, research question(s) and even your university’s specific requirements.

Exactly what data you collect and how you go about analysing it depends largely on the research question(s) you are asking, but very often you will take either a qualitative approach (e.g. interviews or focus groups) or a quantitative approach (e.g. online surveys). In other words, your research approach can be words-based, numbers-based, or both . Don’t let the terminology scare you and don’t worry about these technical details for now – we’ll explain research methodology in later posts .

Step 4 – You develop answers to your research question(s)

Combining your understanding of the existing research (Step 2) with the findings from your own original research (Step 3), you then (attempt to) answer your original research question (s). The process of asking, investigating and then answering has gone full circle.

A dissertation's structure reflect the research process

Of course, your research won’t always provide rock-solid answers to your original questions, and indeed you might find that your findings spur new questions altogether. Don’t worry – this is completely acceptable and is a natural part of the research process.

So, to recap, a dissertation is best understood as a research process, where you are:

  • Ask a meaningful research question(s)
  • Carry out the research (both existing research and your own)
  • Analyse the results to develop an answer to your original research question(s).

Dissertation Coaching

Depending on your specific degree and the way your university designs its coursework, you might be asking yourself “but isn’t this just a longer version of a normal assignment?”. Well, it’s quite possible that your previous assignments required a similar research process, but there are some key differences you need to be aware of, which I’ll explain next.

Same same, but different…

While there are, naturally, similarities between dissertations/theses and assignments, its important to understand the differences  so that you approach your dissertation with the right mindset and focus your energy on the right things. Here, I’ll discuss four ways in which writing a dissertation differs substantially from assignments and essays, and why this matters.

Difference #1 – You must decide (and live with) the direction.

Unlike assignments or essays, where the general topic is determined for you, for your dissertation, you will (typically) be the one who decides on your research questions and overall direction. This means that you will need to:

  • Find a suitable research question (or set of questions)
  • Justify why its worth investigating (in the form of a research proposal )
  • Find all the relevant existing research and familiarise yourself with the theory

This is very different from assignments, where the theory is given to you on a platter, and the direction is largely pre-defined. Therefore, before you start the dissertation process, you need to understand the basics of academic research, how to find a suitable research topic and how to source the relevant literature.

You make the choices

Difference #2 – It’s a long project, and you’re on your own.

A dissertation is a long journey, at least compared to assignments. Typically, you will spend 3 – 6 months writing around 15,000 – 25,000 words (for Masters-level, much more for PhD) on just one subject. Therefore, successfully completing your dissertation requires a substantial amount of stamina .

To make it even more challenging, your classmates will not be researching the same thing as you are, so you have limited support, other than your supervisor (who may be very busy). This can make it quite a lonely journey . Therefore, you need a lot of self-discipline and self-direction in order to see it through to the end. You should also try to build a support network of people who can help you through the process (perhaps alumni, faculty or a private coach ).

Difference #3 – They’re testing research skills.

We touched on this earlier. Unlike assignments or essays, where the markers are assessing your ability to understand and apply the theories, models and frameworks that they provide you with, your dissertation will be is assessing your ability to undertake high-quality research in an academically rigorous manner.

Of course, your ability to understand the relevant theory (i.e. within your literature review) is still very important, but this is only one piece of the research skills puzzle. You need to demonstrate the full spectrum of research skills.

It’s important to note that your research does not need to be ground-breaking, revolutionary or world-changing – that is not what the markers are assessing. They are assessing whether you can apply well-established research principles and skills to a worthwhile topic of enquiry. Don’t feel like you need to solve the world’s major problems. It’s simply not going to happen (you’re a first-time researcher, after all) – and doesn’t need to happen in order to earn good marks.

Difference #4 – Your focus needs to be narrow and deep.

In your assignments, you were likely encouraged to take a broad, interconnected, high-level view of the theory and connect as many different ideas and concepts as possible. In your dissertation, however, you typically need to narrow your focus and go deep into one particular topic. Think about the research question we looked at earlier:

The focus is intentionally very narrow – specifically the focus is on:

  • The UK only – no other countries are being considered.
  • Life insurance brokers only – not financial services, not vehicle insurance, not medical insurance, etc.
  • Customer trust only – not reputation, not customer loyalty, not employee trust, supplier trust, etc.

By keeping the focus narrow, you enable yourself to deeply probe whichever topic you choose – and this depth is essential for earning good marks. Importantly, ringfencing your focus doesn’t mean ignoring the connections to other topics – you should still acknowledge all the linkages, but don’t get distracted – stay focused on the research question(s).

Keep a narrow focus

So, as you can see, a dissertation is more than just an extended assignment or essay. It’s a unique research project that you (and only you) must lead from start to finish. The good news is that, if done right, completing your dissertation will equip you with strong research skills, which you will most certainly use in the future, regardless of whether you follow an academic or professional path.

Wrapping up

Hopefully in this post, I’ve answered your key question, “what is a dissertation?”, at least at a big picture-level. To recap on the key points:

  • A dissertation is simply a structured research project .
  • It’s useful to view a dissertation as a process involving asking a question, undertaking research and then answering that question.
  • First and foremost, your marker(s) will be assessing your research skills , so its essential that you focus on producing a rigorous, academically sound piece of work (as opposed to changing the world or making a scientific breakthrough).
  • While there are similarities, a dissertation is different from assignments and essays in multiple ways. It’s important to understand these differences if you want to produce a quality dissertation.

In this post, I’ve gently touched on some of the intricacies of the dissertation, including research questions, data types and research methodologies. Be sure to check out the Grad Coach Blog  for more detailed discussion of these areas.

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32 Comments

Micheal Fielies

Hello Derek

Yes, I struggle with literature review and am highly frustrated (with myself).

Thank you for the guide that you have sent, especially the apps. I am working through the guide and busy with the implementation of it.

Hope to hear from you again!

Regards Micheal

Derek Jansen

Great to hear that, Michael. All the best with your research!

Pheladi

Thank you. That was quite something to move forward with. Despite the fact that I was lost. I will now be able to do something with the information given.

That’s great, Pheladi. Good luck!

Tara

Thank you so much for your videos and writing research proposal and dissertation. These videos are useful. I was struggling, but now I am starting to write. I hope to watch your more videos to learn more about the dissertation.

James Otim

Before this post, I didn’t know where to start my research, today I have some light and do certain % of my research. I may need for direction on literature review. Big thanks to you.

abd

Very very good Derek

NWUNAPAFOR ALOTA LESLIE

Thanks immensely Derek

Derek Jansen

You’re welcome 🙂 Good luck with your dissertation/thesis.

Samson Ladan

Thank you Derek for widening my scope on research, this can be likened to a blind man whose eyes can now see.

Remain bless sir🙏

Goutami

You guys are doing really great… I am extremely grateful for your help… Keep going.. Please activate that research help for indian students as well I couldn’t access it being an indian.

Edric

Hello Derek,

I got stuck in the concept paper because I changed my topic. Now I don’t know where to pick up the pieces again. How can I focus and stay on track. I am getting scared.

JONATHAN OTAINAO

Thank you so much Derek, I am a new comer, learning for the first time how to write a good research. These in information’s to me is a mind opener, I hope to learn more from you in the future, Thanks and God bless.

Toluwani T. David

Thanks Guys this means so much to me

Yusuf Danmalam Ishaya

A pretty good and insightful piece for beginners like me. Looking forward to more helpful hints and guide. Thanks to Derek.

Spencer-Zambia

This is so helpful…really appreciate your work.

Great to hear that

Akanji Wasiu

On cybersecurity Analytics research to banking transactions

Faith Euphemia

This was of great help to me and quite informative .

Jude

Thank you so much GradCoach,

This is like a light at the end of the tunnel. You are a lifesaver. Thank you once again.

mweemba

hello, I’m so grateful for such great information. It appears basic, but it is so relevant in understanding the research process.

Toyosi

Your website is very helpful for writing thesis. A big well done to the team. Do you have a website for paper writing and academic publishing or how to publish my thesis, how to land a fully funded PhD, etc. Just the general upward trajectory in the academia. Thank you

Hasibullah Zaki

I have learned a lot from the lectures, it was beneficial and helped me a lot in my research journey. Thank you very much

Agboinedu John Innocent

Thank you for your gifts of enlightenment to a person like me who’s always a student. May your ‘well’not dry out.

Izhar kazmi

It’s quite a fun and superb, now I have come to believe that the way one teach can have an impact in understanding and can change one’s assumption and position about a subject or a problem, before I came here and learn I consider research methodology a hard thing because, I wasn’t taught by a mentor like this one. Thanks so much who ever have make this effort to make this something easy and engaging

Amir

I can’t imagine that world has achieved major aspects of every field of study

ZAID AL-ZUBAIDI

Thank you very much for all the valuable, wonderful and comprehensive amount of information… I highly appreciate your support, 100% I recommend you

Douglas Owusu

This topic is intended for my MPhil. Work (The perception of parents on Technical and Vocational Education, the impact on educational policy). May you consider the suitability of the topic for me and refine if the need be. Thank you,

EMERSON FISCHER

Hello here…

i have gone through the notes and it is interesting. All i need now is a pdf file that contain a whole dissertation writing inclusive of chapter 1 to 5 on motivation as a topic… thanks

Selasi

Remarkable!!! You made it sound so simple

Aisyah

I got stuck in my writing because I need to change my topic. I am getting scared as I have a semester left 🙁

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The Education Dissertation

The Education Dissertation A Guide for Practitioner Scholars

  • Dan W. Butin - Merrimack College, USA, Cambridge College
  • Description

"With each turn of the page I found myself nodding 'exactly!' Whether as a class text assigned by faculty or as a self-study resource used by students, this book will resonate with readers." —Doug Leigh, Associate Professor of Education Pepperdine University

Use these focused guidelines to help you through every stage of the dissertation process!

Writing a dissertation requires focus and commitment. The Education Dissertation provides a step-by-step process for developing and completing an academically rigorous dissertation in a time-efficient manner.

Written for doctoral students in education who are also currently working in the field, this book provides specific and accessible guidance for the entire process, from finding a topic to conducting the literature review to writing and defending the dissertation. Grounded in adult learning theory, this volume:

  • Offers a clear, easy-to-follow approach that highlights key milestones with concrete goals and workable methods at each step
  • Discusses how practitioner scholars can apply their work experience to the dissertation
  • Includes organizational templates complete with detailed charts, checklists, a timeline, student examples, and rubrics
  • Provides tips throughout to help students think through situations
  • Covers both quantitative and qualitative research

Perfect for practicing educators at any stage of the dissertation process, this resource provides the "big picture" framework as well as the nitty-gritty details.

See what’s new to this edition by selecting the Features tab on this page. Should you need additional information or have questions regarding the HEOA information provided for this title, including what is new to this edition, please email [email protected] . Please include your name, contact information, and the name of the title for which you would like more information. For information on the HEOA, please go to http://ed.gov/policy/highered/leg/hea08/index.html .

For assistance with your order: Please email us at [email protected] or connect with your SAGE representative.

SAGE 2455 Teller Road Thousand Oaks, CA 91320 www.sagepub.com

"The book is rich with ideas and strategies for thinking about every phase of the dissertation and for undertaking each phase once it has been carefully thought out."

"The author does an excellent job of taking a serious, technical, overwhelming topic and making it fun and interesting to read."

"With each turn of the page I found myself nodding 'exactly!' Whether as a class text assigned by faculty or as a self-study resource used by students, this book will resonate with readers."

  • Guides the student through the entire process of writing a rigorous dissertation from selecting the research topic to defending the dissertation
  • Offers the student a road map complete with detailed charts, checklists, a timeline, many student examples and rubrics
  • Provides numerous "hints" throughout the book to help students think through situations before proceeding
  • Explores the various types of research and the implications of each for the particular research topic selected by the student
  • Incorporates "Try This!" activities at each stage of the process to help students understand important concepts, e.g., how to start a literature review correctly, how to focus research questions, and how to operationalize their ideas

Preview this book

Sample materials & chapters.

Butin_Educational_Dissertation_Preface

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Cambridge Dictionary

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  • essay question
  • peer review

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Dissertation Explained: A Grad Student’s Guide

Dissertation-Explained-A-Grad-Student's-Guide

Higher education is filled with milestones. When completing your PhD , you will be required to complete a dissertation. Even if you’ve heard this word thrown around before, you still may be questioning “What is a dissertation?” It’s a common question, especially for those considering to join or are already in a graduate program. As such, here’s everything you need to know about dissertations.

What is a Dissertation?

A dissertation is a written document that details research. A dissertation also signifies the completion of your PhD program. It is required to earn a PhD degree, which stands for Doctor of Philosophy.

A PhD is created from knowledge acquired from:

1. Coursework:

A PhD program consists of academic courses that are usually small in size and challenging in content. Most PhD courses consist of a high amount and level of reading and writing per week. These courses will help prepare you for your dissertation as they will teach research methodology.

2. Research:

For your dissertation, it is likely that you will have the choice between performing your own research on a subject , or expanding on existing research. Likely, you will complete a mixture of the two. For those in the hard sciences, you will perform research in a lab. For those in humanities and social sciences, research may mean gathering data from surveys or existing research.

3. Analysis:

Once you have collected the data you need to prove your point, you will have to analyze and interpret the information. PhD programs will prepare you for how to conduct analysis, as well as for how to position your research into the existing body of work on the subject matter.

4. Support:

The process of writing and completing a dissertation is bigger than the work itself. It can lead to research positions within the university or outside companies. It may mean that you will teach and share your findings with current undergraduates, or even be published in academic journals. How far you plan to take your dissertation is your choice to make and will require the relevant effort to accomplish your goals.

Moving from Student to Scholar

In essence, a dissertation is what moves a doctoral student into becoming a scholar. Their research may be published, shared, and used as educational material moving forwards.

Thesis vs. Dissertation

Basic differences.

Grad students may conflate the differences between a thesis and a dissertation.

Simply put, a thesis is what you write to complete a master’s degree. It summarizes existing research and signifies that you understand the subject matter deeply.

On the other hand, a dissertation is the culmination of a doctoral program. It will likely require your own research and it can contribute an entirely new idea into your field.

Structural Differences

When it comes to the structure, a thesis and dissertation are also different. A thesis is like the research papers you complete during undergraduate studies. A thesis displays your ability to think critically and analyze information. It’s less based on research that you’ve completed yourself and more about interpreting and analyzing existing material. They are generally around 100 pages in length.

A dissertation is generally two to three times longer compared to a thesis. This is because the bulk of the information is garnered from research you’ve performed yourself. Also, if you are providing something new in your field, it means that existing information is lacking. That’s why you’ll have to provide a lot of data and research to back up your claims.

Your Guide: Structuring a Dissertation

Dissertation length.

The length of a dissertation varies between study level and country. At an undergraduate level, this is more likely referred to as a research paper, which is 10,000 to 12,000 words on average. At a master’s level, the word count may be 15,000 to 25,000, and it will likely be in the form of a thesis. For those completing their PhD, then the dissertation could be 50,000 words or more.

Photo by  Louis Reed  on  Unsplash

Format of the dissertation.

Here are the items you must include in a dissertation. While the format may slightly vary, here’s a look at one way to format your dissertation:

1. Title page:

This is the first page which includes: title, your name, department, degree program, institution, and submission date. Your program may specify exactly how and what they want you to include on the title page.

2. Acknowledgements:

This is optional, but it is where you can express your gratitude to those who have helped you complete your dissertation (professors, research partners, etc.).

3. Abstract:

The abstract is about 150-300 words and summarizes what your research is about. You state the main topic, the methods used, the main results, and your conclusion.

4. Table of Contents

Here, you list the chapter titles and pages to serve as a wayfinding tool for your readers.

5. List of Figures and Tables:

This is like the table of contents, but for graphs and figures.

6. List of Abbreviations:

If you’ve constantly abbreviated words in your content, define them in a list at the beginning.

7. Glossary:

In highly specialized work, it’s likely that you’ve used words that most people may not understand, so a glossary is where you define these terms.

8. Introduction:

Your introduction sets up the topic, purpose, and relevance. It’s where readers will understand what they expect to gain from your dissertation.

9. Literature Review / Theoretical Framework:

Based on the research you performed to create your own dissertation, you’ll want to summarize and address the gaps in what you researched.

10. Methodology

This is where you define how you conducted your research. It offers credibility for you as a source of information. You should give all the details as to how you’ve conducted your research, including: where and when research took place, how it was conducted, any obstacles you faced, and how you justified your findings.

11. Results:

This is where you share the results that have helped contribute to your findings.

12. Discussion:

In the discussion section, you explain what these findings mean to your research question. Were they in line with your expectations or did something jump out as surprising? You may also want to recommend ways to move forward in researching and addressing the subject matter.

13. Conclusion:

A conclusion ties it all together and summarizes the answer to the research question and leaves your reader clearly understanding your main argument.

14. Reference List:

This is the equivalent to a works cited or bibliography page, which documents all the sources you used to create your dissertation.

15. Appendices:

If you have any information that was ancillary to creating the dissertation, but doesn’t directly fit into its chapters, then you can add it in the appendix.

Drafting and Rewriting

As with any paper, especially one of this size and importance, the writing requires a process. It may begin with outlines and drafts, and even a few rewrites. It’s important to proofread your dissertation for both grammatical mistakes, but also to ensure it can be clearly understood.

It’s always useful to read your writing out loud to catch mistakes. Also, if you have people who you trust to read it over — like a peer, family member, mentor, or professor — it’s very helpful to get a second eye on your work.

How is it Different from an Essay?

There are a few main differences between a dissertation and an essay. For starters, an essay is relatively short in comparison to a dissertation, which includes your own body of research and work. Not only is an essay shorter, but you are also likely given the topic matter of an essay. When it comes to a dissertation, you have the freedom to construct your own argument, conduct your own research, and then prove your findings.

Types of Dissertations

You can choose what type of dissertation you complete. Often, this depends on the subject and doctoral degree, but the two main types are:

This relies on conducting your own research.

Non-empirical:

This relies on studying existing research to support your argument.

Photo by  freddie marriage  on  Unsplash

More things you should know.

A dissertation is certainly no easy feat. Here’s a few more things to remember before you get started writing your own:

1. Independent by Nature:

The process of completing a dissertation is self-directed, and therefore can feel overwhelming. However, if you approach it like the new experience that it is with an open-mind and willingness to learn, you will make it through!

2. Seek Support:

There are countless people around to offer support. From professors to peers, you can always ask for help throughout the process.

3. Writing Skills:

The process of writing a dissertation will further hone your writing skills which will follow you throughout your life. These skills are highly transferable on the job, from having the ability to communicate to also developing analytical and critical thinking skills.

4. Time Management:

You can work backwards from the culmination of your program to break down this gargantuan task into smaller pieces. That way, you can manage your time to chip away at the task throughout the length of the program.

5. Topic Flexibility:

It’s okay to change subject matters and rethink the point of your dissertation. Just try as much as possible to do this early in the process so you don’t waste too much time and energy.

The Wrap Up

A dissertation marks the completion of your doctoral program and moves you from being a student to being a scholar. While the process is long and requires a lot of effort and energy, you have the power to lend an entirely new research and findings into your field of expertise.

As always, when in the thick of things, remember why you started. Completing both your dissertation and PhD is a commendable accomplishment.

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Definition of dissertation noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

  • dissertation
  • He wrote his Master's dissertation on rats.
  • Students can either do a dissertation or take part in a practical project.
  • hall of residence
  • Candidates are required to present a dissertation of between 8 000 and 12 000 words.
  • She is writing her dissertation on the history of the Knights Templar.
  • dissertation on

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What is a Dissertation? Meaning, Projects, Report Work

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  • Feb 26, 2022

What is a Dissertation (1)

A dissertation is a long academic piece of writing based on a student’s independent research . It is usually submitted in the final semester of UG, PG and PhD courses . It takes about 1-2 years to complete the dissertation as it requires a lot of research and written documentation . The aim of writing a dissertation is to test a student’s research skills. It allows students to develop their research, problem-solving, project management and numerical skills . During the course of writing a dissertation, students become able to present their research-based findings to the proposition they chose for themselves.

This Blog Includes:

Empirical dissertation, non-empirical dissertation, skills you need to show, how long is a dissertation, empirical dissertation structure, non-empirical structure, dissertation project example, checklist for dissertation, helpful tips for writing a dissertation, difference between a dissertation and essay, dissertation vs thesis, types of dissertation.

The type of dissertation you may be doing completely depends upon the field of your study. However, there are 2 types of dissertation mentioned below in the table:

If you are a student of sciences or social sciences, you’ll be required to write an empirical dissertation . Its focus is mainly on collecting original data and analysing every aspect of the data. Students can choose different research methods such as surveys, observation, laboratory experiments and interviews . Keeping in mind that the aim of an Empirical dissertation is to produce standardized scientific knowledge, students must consider the variables they will investigate, the reliability of their measurements, and choose the correct sampling method.

Non-empirical research is generally done for subjects such as arts and humanities . Choosing a particular topic and collecting the data from primary and secondary sources is the first step of starting with this type of dissertation. While working on non-empirical research, a student does the work with existing research or other texts, presents original analysis, argumentation, but there is no original data . The aim is to analyse theoretical texts and interpret the sources with your own understanding.

Regardless of the type of dissertation you write or the topic you pick, you’ll need to demonstrate the following abilities:

A dissertation’s length varies by study level and location, although it normally ranges from 10,000 to 12,000 words for undergraduates, 15,000 to 25,000 words for master’s students, and up to 50,000 words or more for PhD students.

Structure of a Dissertation

A dissertation is basically divided into chapters and sections . Both empirical and non-empirical dissertations have different kinds of structures that are supposed to be followed while writing a dissertation. Empirical dissertations usually have a more standardized structure than that of a non-empirical dissertation which is more flexible.

The structure may be slightly different but an empirical dissertation must include the following chapters:

  •   Introduction: Explanation of your topic and research questions
  •  Literature Review : Evaluation of your research topic
  •  Methodology: Description of the research method 
  • Results: Explanation of the found research
  •  Discussions: Interpret what your results have revealed
  • Conclusion: Final reflection of what you’ve found through the thesis

The structure or outline of a non-empirical dissertation is quite flexible as it involves existing research and texts . The aim of non-empirical research is to present original and independent analysis based on theoretical research . It is basically an extended essay but while writing a non-empirical thesis, the text must be presented precisely to serve your arguments in a logical manner. However, mentioned below is a general outline that must be followed while writing a non-empirical dissertation:

  •  Introduction: Explanation of your topic and Research Questions
  •  Main Body: Development of your analysis of the text or source
  •  Conclusion: Summarisation of what the analysis has contributed so far

*The main body is divided into 2-4 chapters.

Non-Empirical Dissertation Structure Example

Depending on the topic you’ve chosen, the main body can be divided into different types.  One of the most common topics of non-empirical research is history-based . The following mentioned is an example of a renaissance based topic:

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: Origins of the Renaissance in the Classical World
  • Chapter 2: Artists of the Renaissance
  • Chapter 3: The Spread of the Renaissance
  • Chapter 4: The Renaissance and the Reformation

Mentioned below is a checklist to make sure you’ve included all the required information:

  • Title page includes all the information
  • Acknowledgements
  • Concise summary of the dissertation 
  • Table of contents
  • Clear and precise introduction
  • Literature review that includes patterns, themes, and debates
  • Theoretical framework of the research
  • Description of the used methodology
  • Clear mention of the questions answered
  • Relevant recommendations for further research
  • Citations and bibliography
  • Reference list at the end of the thesis
  • Format provided by the university is followed
  • Start with time management . Make a proper daily schedule and set your deadlines Decide how much time you need to write a section or chapter . Choose the hours and start working on the it. In this way, you’ll be able to complete the this in the given time.
  • Remember that the first writing draft is not the final dissertation . Make sure to proofread your writing several times. This will make you present your augmentations in a more precise way,
  • Skip the introduction part and leave it for the end. Try to write the main body first, so that you get time to gather your thoughts. This way you will be able to present the introduction in a clear manner as you’ve been working on the this for a long period of time.
  • Don’t wait for the end time to get feedback from your supervisor . Try to share the research work more often and a lot earlier than the submission time, so that you get time to improve your mistakes. It may save you from rewriting several chapters and sections.
  • Use a reference manager to make it easier for you to mention the citations without taking much time.

PhD must include over  60,000 words and should not exceed the limit of 80,000 words.

It takes around a year or two to complete a dissertation but if you manage time properly and catch up the speed you may be able to complete it in less than 8 months.

Hopefully, this blog assisted you in finding out what is Dissertation, its structure and more. If you require any assistance regarding your application process while enrolling for your further studies, our experts at Leverage Edu are just one click away. Call us anytime at 1800 572 000 for a free counselling session!

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ScholarWorks@UMass Amherst

Home > Education > EDUCATION_DISS

College of Education

College of Education Dissertations Collection

Current students, please follow this link to submit your dissertation.

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Heritage Language Learning in College: (Performing)(Becoming)(Belonging) Through Assemblages , Margaret A. Felis, Education

‘You Crazy’: Examination of Black Transnational Collegians’ Mental Health at` Historically White Institutions , Patricia Feraud-King, Education

FOR THE LOVE OF TEACHING: PRE-SERVICE TEACHERS’ EXPERIENCE OF MORAL EDUCATION , Anne Marie Foley Ruiz, Education

Black Male Trauma , Gerald D. Fonville, Education

Maintaining the Same Test Administration Time Across Translated Forms – Fairness and Validity Considerations , Alejandra Amador Garcia, Education

Conceptualizing Social Mathematical Empowerment: What is the Curricular Connection? , Alicia C. Gonzales, Education

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AN ASSESSMENT OF THE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHERS IN SAUDI ARABIA , Raja Almutairi, Education

THE EFFECTIVENESS OF POINT-OF-VIEW-VIDEO MODELING ON IMPROVING SOCIAL AND COMMUNICATION SKILLS , Beyza Alpaydin, Education

“In Our Very Flesh, (R)evolution”: An Exploration of Secondary Education Teachers, Otherness, and Embodiment , Ryan Ambuter, Education

TRADITIONAL VALUES AND LOCAL COMMUNITY IN THE FORMAL EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM IN SENEGAL: A YEAR AS A HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER IN THIES , Maguette Diame, Education

Teacher Interactions, Teacher Bias and Child Behavioral Health , Ellen E. Edge, Education

Locating Safe Spaces for Food Insecure Female Community College Students , Michelle Errington Nicholson, Education

Mobilities Through and Against Governance: Narratives from Lesvos, Greece and the Humanitarian Borderscapes of the EU , Jennifer Flemming, Education

The Institutional Pillars of China's National College Entrance Exam: A Case Study of Gaozhong High School and NCEE Reforms , Mei Lan Frame, Education

IT’S ALL THE RAGE: AN ANIMATED APPROACH TO SCREENING FOR POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION , Amanda Gorham, Education

“I Missed A Lot of Childhood Memories”: Trauma and its Impact on Learning for Formerly Incarcerated Adolescents in the Age of Zero Tolerance Policies , Alberto Guerrero, Education

How Are Online Homework Help Aids Affecting Student Learning in Undergraduate Applied Calculus , Erica Hagedorn, Education

AN INVESTIGATION OF FIT CRITERIA WITHIN MG-CFA FOR EXAMINING NON-NEGLIGIBLE MEASUREMENT INVARIANCE , Abdolvahab Khademi, Education

Are Some Horizons Broader than Others? Study Abroad, Inequality, and the Influence on Careers and Education. , Suzan Kommers, Education

LOST IN TRANSLATION? GEORGIAN PRINCIPALS’ PROFESSIONAL IDENTITY DEVELOPMENT IN THE CONTEXT OF INTENSE POLICY BORROWING , Tamar Lomiashvili, Education

Exploring Multiracial Consciousness: Voices of Multiracial Students at a Predominantly White Institution , Victoria K. Malaney Brown, Education

Teachers Co-Constructing Multilingual and Multimodal Digital Literacy Practices: Examining Critical Transnational Professional Development , Rosa A. Medina Riveros, Education

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Research Method

Home » Dissertation – Format, Example and Template

Dissertation – Format, Example and Template

Table of Contents

Dissertation

Dissertation

Definition:

Dissertation is a lengthy and detailed academic document that presents the results of original research on a specific topic or question. It is usually required as a final project for a doctoral degree or a master’s degree.

Dissertation Meaning in Research

In Research , a dissertation refers to a substantial research project that students undertake in order to obtain an advanced degree such as a Ph.D. or a Master’s degree.

Dissertation typically involves the exploration of a particular research question or topic in-depth, and it requires students to conduct original research, analyze data, and present their findings in a scholarly manner. It is often the culmination of years of study and represents a significant contribution to the academic field.

Types of Dissertation

Types of Dissertation are as follows:

Empirical Dissertation

An empirical dissertation is a research study that uses primary data collected through surveys, experiments, or observations. It typically follows a quantitative research approach and uses statistical methods to analyze the data.

Non-Empirical Dissertation

A non-empirical dissertation is based on secondary sources, such as books, articles, and online resources. It typically follows a qualitative research approach and uses methods such as content analysis or discourse analysis.

Narrative Dissertation

A narrative dissertation is a personal account of the researcher’s experience or journey. It typically follows a qualitative research approach and uses methods such as interviews, focus groups, or ethnography.

Systematic Literature Review

A systematic literature review is a comprehensive analysis of existing research on a specific topic. It typically follows a qualitative research approach and uses methods such as meta-analysis or thematic analysis.

Case Study Dissertation

A case study dissertation is an in-depth analysis of a specific individual, group, or organization. It typically follows a qualitative research approach and uses methods such as interviews, observations, or document analysis.

Mixed-Methods Dissertation

A mixed-methods dissertation combines both quantitative and qualitative research approaches to gather and analyze data. It typically uses methods such as surveys, interviews, and focus groups, as well as statistical analysis.

How to Write a Dissertation

Here are some general steps to help guide you through the process of writing a dissertation:

  • Choose a topic : Select a topic that you are passionate about and that is relevant to your field of study. It should be specific enough to allow for in-depth research but broad enough to be interesting and engaging.
  • Conduct research : Conduct thorough research on your chosen topic, utilizing a variety of sources, including books, academic journals, and online databases. Take detailed notes and organize your information in a way that makes sense to you.
  • Create an outline : Develop an outline that will serve as a roadmap for your dissertation. The outline should include the introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion.
  • Write the introduction: The introduction should provide a brief overview of your topic, the research questions, and the significance of the study. It should also include a clear thesis statement that states your main argument.
  • Write the literature review: The literature review should provide a comprehensive analysis of existing research on your topic. It should identify gaps in the research and explain how your study will fill those gaps.
  • Write the methodology: The methodology section should explain the research methods you used to collect and analyze data. It should also include a discussion of any limitations or weaknesses in your approach.
  • Write the results: The results section should present the findings of your research in a clear and organized manner. Use charts, graphs, and tables to help illustrate your data.
  • Write the discussion: The discussion section should interpret your results and explain their significance. It should also address any limitations of the study and suggest areas for future research.
  • Write the conclusion: The conclusion should summarize your main findings and restate your thesis statement. It should also provide recommendations for future research.
  • Edit and revise: Once you have completed a draft of your dissertation, review it carefully to ensure that it is well-organized, clear, and free of errors. Make any necessary revisions and edits before submitting it to your advisor for review.

Dissertation Format

The format of a dissertation may vary depending on the institution and field of study, but generally, it follows a similar structure:

  • Title Page: This includes the title of the dissertation, the author’s name, and the date of submission.
  • Abstract : A brief summary of the dissertation’s purpose, methods, and findings.
  • Table of Contents: A list of the main sections and subsections of the dissertation, along with their page numbers.
  • Introduction : A statement of the problem or research question, a brief overview of the literature, and an explanation of the significance of the study.
  • Literature Review : A comprehensive review of the literature relevant to the research question or problem.
  • Methodology : A description of the methods used to conduct the research, including data collection and analysis procedures.
  • Results : A presentation of the findings of the research, including tables, charts, and graphs.
  • Discussion : A discussion of the implications of the findings, their significance in the context of the literature, and limitations of the study.
  • Conclusion : A summary of the main points of the study and their implications for future research.
  • References : A list of all sources cited in the dissertation.
  • Appendices : Additional materials that support the research, such as data tables, charts, or transcripts.

Dissertation Outline

Dissertation Outline is as follows:

Title Page:

  • Title of dissertation
  • Author name
  • Institutional affiliation
  • Date of submission
  • Brief summary of the dissertation’s research problem, objectives, methods, findings, and implications
  • Usually around 250-300 words

Table of Contents:

  • List of chapters and sections in the dissertation, with page numbers for each

I. Introduction

  • Background and context of the research
  • Research problem and objectives
  • Significance of the research

II. Literature Review

  • Overview of existing literature on the research topic
  • Identification of gaps in the literature
  • Theoretical framework and concepts

III. Methodology

  • Research design and methods used
  • Data collection and analysis techniques
  • Ethical considerations

IV. Results

  • Presentation and analysis of data collected
  • Findings and outcomes of the research
  • Interpretation of the results

V. Discussion

  • Discussion of the results in relation to the research problem and objectives
  • Evaluation of the research outcomes and implications
  • Suggestions for future research

VI. Conclusion

  • Summary of the research findings and outcomes
  • Implications for the research topic and field
  • Limitations and recommendations for future research

VII. References

  • List of sources cited in the dissertation

VIII. Appendices

  • Additional materials that support the research, such as tables, figures, or questionnaires.

Example of Dissertation

Here is an example Dissertation for students:

Title : Exploring the Effects of Mindfulness Meditation on Academic Achievement and Well-being among College Students

This dissertation aims to investigate the impact of mindfulness meditation on the academic achievement and well-being of college students. Mindfulness meditation has gained popularity as a technique for reducing stress and enhancing mental health, but its effects on academic performance have not been extensively studied. Using a randomized controlled trial design, the study will compare the academic performance and well-being of college students who practice mindfulness meditation with those who do not. The study will also examine the moderating role of personality traits and demographic factors on the effects of mindfulness meditation.

Chapter Outline:

Chapter 1: Introduction

  • Background and rationale for the study
  • Research questions and objectives
  • Significance of the study
  • Overview of the dissertation structure

Chapter 2: Literature Review

  • Definition and conceptualization of mindfulness meditation
  • Theoretical framework of mindfulness meditation
  • Empirical research on mindfulness meditation and academic achievement
  • Empirical research on mindfulness meditation and well-being
  • The role of personality and demographic factors in the effects of mindfulness meditation

Chapter 3: Methodology

  • Research design and hypothesis
  • Participants and sampling method
  • Intervention and procedure
  • Measures and instruments
  • Data analysis method

Chapter 4: Results

  • Descriptive statistics and data screening
  • Analysis of main effects
  • Analysis of moderating effects
  • Post-hoc analyses and sensitivity tests

Chapter 5: Discussion

  • Summary of findings
  • Implications for theory and practice
  • Limitations and directions for future research
  • Conclusion and contribution to the literature

Chapter 6: Conclusion

  • Recap of the research questions and objectives
  • Summary of the key findings
  • Contribution to the literature and practice
  • Implications for policy and practice
  • Final thoughts and recommendations.

References :

List of all the sources cited in the dissertation

Appendices :

Additional materials such as the survey questionnaire, interview guide, and consent forms.

Note : This is just an example and the structure of a dissertation may vary depending on the specific requirements and guidelines provided by the institution or the supervisor.

How Long is a Dissertation

The length of a dissertation can vary depending on the field of study, the level of degree being pursued, and the specific requirements of the institution. Generally, a dissertation for a doctoral degree can range from 80,000 to 100,000 words, while a dissertation for a master’s degree may be shorter, typically ranging from 20,000 to 50,000 words. However, it is important to note that these are general guidelines and the actual length of a dissertation can vary widely depending on the specific requirements of the program and the research topic being studied. It is always best to consult with your academic advisor or the guidelines provided by your institution for more specific information on dissertation length.

Applications of Dissertation

Here are some applications of a dissertation:

  • Advancing the Field: Dissertations often include new research or a new perspective on existing research, which can help to advance the field. The results of a dissertation can be used by other researchers to build upon or challenge existing knowledge, leading to further advancements in the field.
  • Career Advancement: Completing a dissertation demonstrates a high level of expertise in a particular field, which can lead to career advancement opportunities. For example, having a PhD can open doors to higher-paying jobs in academia, research institutions, or the private sector.
  • Publishing Opportunities: Dissertations can be published as books or journal articles, which can help to increase the visibility and credibility of the author’s research.
  • Personal Growth: The process of writing a dissertation involves a significant amount of research, analysis, and critical thinking. This can help students to develop important skills, such as time management, problem-solving, and communication, which can be valuable in both their personal and professional lives.
  • Policy Implications: The findings of a dissertation can have policy implications, particularly in fields such as public health, education, and social sciences. Policymakers can use the research to inform decision-making and improve outcomes for the population.

When to Write a Dissertation

Here are some situations where writing a dissertation may be necessary:

  • Pursuing a Doctoral Degree: Writing a dissertation is usually a requirement for earning a doctoral degree, so if you are interested in pursuing a doctorate, you will likely need to write a dissertation.
  • Conducting Original Research : Dissertations require students to conduct original research on a specific topic. If you are interested in conducting original research on a topic, writing a dissertation may be the best way to do so.
  • Advancing Your Career: Some professions, such as academia and research, may require individuals to have a doctoral degree. Writing a dissertation can help you advance your career by demonstrating your expertise in a particular area.
  • Contributing to Knowledge: Dissertations are often based on original research that can contribute to the knowledge base of a field. If you are passionate about advancing knowledge in a particular area, writing a dissertation can help you achieve that goal.
  • Meeting Academic Requirements : If you are a graduate student, writing a dissertation may be a requirement for completing your program. Be sure to check with your academic advisor to determine if this is the case for you.

Purpose of Dissertation

some common purposes of a dissertation include:

  • To contribute to the knowledge in a particular field : A dissertation is often the culmination of years of research and study, and it should make a significant contribution to the existing body of knowledge in a particular field.
  • To demonstrate mastery of a subject: A dissertation requires extensive research, analysis, and writing, and completing one demonstrates a student’s mastery of their subject area.
  • To develop critical thinking and research skills : A dissertation requires students to think critically about their research question, analyze data, and draw conclusions based on evidence. These skills are valuable not only in academia but also in many professional fields.
  • To demonstrate academic integrity: A dissertation must be conducted and written in accordance with rigorous academic standards, including ethical considerations such as obtaining informed consent, protecting the privacy of participants, and avoiding plagiarism.
  • To prepare for an academic career: Completing a dissertation is often a requirement for obtaining a PhD and pursuing a career in academia. It can demonstrate to potential employers that the student has the necessary skills and experience to conduct original research and make meaningful contributions to their field.
  • To develop writing and communication skills: A dissertation requires a significant amount of writing and communication skills to convey complex ideas and research findings in a clear and concise manner. This skill set can be valuable in various professional fields.
  • To demonstrate independence and initiative: A dissertation requires students to work independently and take initiative in developing their research question, designing their study, collecting and analyzing data, and drawing conclusions. This demonstrates to potential employers or academic institutions that the student is capable of independent research and taking initiative in their work.
  • To contribute to policy or practice: Some dissertations may have a practical application, such as informing policy decisions or improving practices in a particular field. These dissertations can have a significant impact on society, and their findings may be used to improve the lives of individuals or communities.
  • To pursue personal interests: Some students may choose to pursue a dissertation topic that aligns with their personal interests or passions, providing them with the opportunity to delve deeper into a topic that they find personally meaningful.

Advantage of Dissertation

Some advantages of writing a dissertation include:

  • Developing research and analytical skills: The process of writing a dissertation involves conducting extensive research, analyzing data, and presenting findings in a clear and coherent manner. This process can help students develop important research and analytical skills that can be useful in their future careers.
  • Demonstrating expertise in a subject: Writing a dissertation allows students to demonstrate their expertise in a particular subject area. It can help establish their credibility as a knowledgeable and competent professional in their field.
  • Contributing to the academic community: A well-written dissertation can contribute new knowledge to the academic community and potentially inform future research in the field.
  • Improving writing and communication skills : Writing a dissertation requires students to write and present their research in a clear and concise manner. This can help improve their writing and communication skills, which are essential for success in many professions.
  • Increasing job opportunities: Completing a dissertation can increase job opportunities in certain fields, particularly in academia and research-based positions.

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Education Dissertation Topics

Published by Grace Graffin at January 5th, 2023 , Revised On August 11, 2023

Introduction

Education as a subject helps in understanding the various learning approaches and different types of education. When you choose education as your major subject, you will be expected to develop a critical understanding of the issues surrounding education.

To choose an education dissertation topic, you can look into a wide array of topics, including public school education, holistic education, the role of ethnicity, gender and class on academic achievements, adult education, pre-school and primary school education, college and university education, child development, distance learning, politics and policy in education, teacher education, and curriculum.

To help you get started with brainstorming for education topic ideas, we have developed a list of the latest topics that can be used for writing your education dissertation.

These topics have been developed by PhD-qualified writers of our team , so you can trust to use these topics for drafting your dissertation.

Here is our selection of education topics we think can help you develop a truly valuable dissertation.

Topic 1: Investigating the impact of Covid-19 on the learning experience of the students

Topic 2: an analysis of the impact of classroom interaction and participation on the personality development and confidence of the students., topic 3: the potential use of virtual reality for educational assessment of the students., topic 4: an evaluation of the impact of the rising cost of academic education on the lower-income background students in the uk., topic 5: an investigation into the impact of interactions among students of multiple ethnicities on the cross-cultural communication and behaviour of the pupils..

You may also want to start your dissertation by requesting  a brief research proposal  from our writers on any of these topics, which includes an  introduction  to the topic,  research question ,  aim and objectives ,  literature review  along with the proposed  methodology  of research to be conducted.  Let us know  if you need any help in getting started.

Check our  dissertation examples  to get an idea of  how to structure your dissertation .

Review the full list of  dissertation topics for 2022 here.

Research Aim: The research aims to evaluate the impact of Covid-19 on the learning experience of the students.

Objectives:

  • To analyse the impact of Covid-19 on education delivery across schools.
  • To evaluate the impact of the pandemic on teaching delivery and learning outcomes of the students.
  • To investigate how the pandemic affected the learning experience of the students

Research Aim: The aim of the research is to analyse the impact of classroom interaction and participation on the personality development and confidence of the students.

  • To analyse the importance of classroom interaction for the students and how it contributes to personal development.
  • To investigate the impact of classroom participation on the confidence of the students.
  • To evaluate how classroom interaction and participation impact the personality development and confidence of the students.

Research Aim: The research aims to analyse the potential use of virtual reality for the educational assessment of students.

  • To analyse the technologies available for student assessment across higher educational institutions.
  • To evaluate the role of virtual reality in education delivery and assessment.
  • To investigate how virtual reality influences the educational assessment of the students for improvement in the learning experience and knowledge.

Research Aim: The aim of the research is to evaluate the impact of the rising cost of academic education on the lower-income background students in the UK.

  • To analyse the factors impacting the affordability of higher education in the UK.
  • To understand the challenges of lower-income background students in the UK.
  • To investigate the impact of the rising cost of academic education on the lower-income background students in the UK and how the meritorious students can be supported.

Research Aim: The aim of the research is to investigate the impact of interactions among students of multiple ethnicities on the cross-cultural communication and behaviour of the pupils.

  • To analyse the impact of student interactions among different ethnicities.
  • To determine the importance of cross-cultural communication and tolerance of the students.
  • To examine the impact of interactions among students of multiple ethnicities on the cross-cultural communication and behaviour of the pupils.

More Education Dissertation Topics

Topic 1: the need to use information and communication technology to study in public institutions in any country of your choice. a reflection on the impact of covid19 on the education sector in the chosen country..

Research Aim: This research will focus on the lack of good information and communication technology equipment in the public institutions of study and the need to find the education sector to meet the new standard of learning in work. It will also analyse the pandemic’s impact on the students in public institutions at home throughout the pandemic without any academic activities.

Topic 2: The fear of maintaining social distancing in schools

Research Aim: This research aims to evaluate the fear of maintaining social distancing in schools. It will also suggest possible solutions to minimise the fear of parents, educators, and students.

Topic 3: Online Education- Increased screen time or quality education

Research Aim: This research aims to identify whether online education exposes students to increased screen time or quality education.

Topic 4: The emergence of coding courses for young children and their cognitive development and age. A comparative study.

Research Aim: This research aims to identify how far is coding education beneficial for children? What sort of positive and negative consequences are concerned with the future of young children with their access to such kind of advanced technology?

Topic 5: Data science and growing opportunities for data scientists

Research Aim: This research will focus on identifying the emergence of degrees, courses in data science, their importance, and growing opportunities for data scientists. Who can become a data scientist? What is its career scope?

Covid-19 Education Topics 

Impacts of coronavirus on education.

Research Aim: This study aims to review the impacts of Coronavirus.

Online educational programs to educate students during COVID-19

Research Aim: The widespread Coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown have disrupted the education of many students, including school, college, and university levels. This study will identify the online programs offered through various platforms, schools, colleges, and universities. It will discuss how students can have access to these courses and how it will benefit them?

Impact of COVID-19 on educational institutes

Research Aim: This study will focus on identifying the impacts of COVID-19 on educational institutes. What steps can be taken to ensure a safe environment for the students and teaching staff?

Role of teachers and professors during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Research Aim: This study will focus on knowing about the contribution of teachers and professors and institutions in providing education. What challenges are they facing? What would be the possible ways to improve the current education system?

The future of education post Coronavirus pandemic.

Research Aim: This study will collect information about the current education methods during a pandemic and predict the future of education after Coronavirus.

Topic C1: How the Coronavirus pandemic is reshaping education?

Research Aim: Coronavirus has offered a stark reminder of the very human nature of schools. Students have leapt into online learning but cannot wait to get back into her building. Being online, I don’t think you really get a true sense of whether a student is really engaged and has proper understanding. This study will aim to understand the extent to which the coronavirus pandemic is reshaping education.

Topic C2: How Coronavirus could affect the well-being of people with intellectual disabilities

Research Aim: We are all feeling more anxious than usual. We may be worried about accessing food and services, going to work, enduring self-isolation, or catching COVID-19. While some anxiety is normal, some of us may be more resilient to changes in our routines and the general uncertainty the world is experiencing. But for the 1.5 million people in the UK with an intellectual disability, these effects may be much greater. This research will aim to establish how Coronavirus could affect the wellbeing of people with intellectual disabilities.

Topic C3: The impact of the 2019–20 Coronavirus pandemic on education

Research Aim: The 2019–20 Coronavirus pandemic has affected educational systems worldwide, leading to the widespread closures of schools and universities. As of 28 March 2020, over 1.7 billion learners were out of school due to school closures in response to COVID-19. According to UNESCO monitoring, over 100 countries have implemented nationwide closures, impacting nearly 90% of the world’s student population. This research will explore the impact of the 2019–20 Coronavirus pandemic on education.

Topic C4: What actions are being taken by universities in response to Coronavirus?

Research Aim: we have seen a growing number of decisions by universities to start implementing social distancing strategies, such as moving to more online delivery of teaching and increased home working by staff. At present, there is no government advice to universities about this. Therefore any operational decision by individual universities must be based on their local circumstances, which vary for various reasons. This research will examine some of the measures we see across the universities in response to the pandemic.

Topic C5: The impact of Coronavirus on international students and the response from universities

Research Aim: This research will explore the impact of Coronavirus on international students and the response from universities.

The Best Education Dissertation Topics

Topic 1: a comparison of wonderlic tests and standardised tests as means to assess academic performance..

Research Aim: Although there are many techniques and methods for assessing academic performance, this research will focus on the comparative analysis of Wonderlic and standardised tests. In the end, the research will conclude which approach would be better in different academic situations.

Topic 2: The theory and practice of educational games as a means to promote better learning.

Research Aim: In recent times, many pieces of research have focused on identifying different learning approaches to provide quality education. This research will analyse the concept of educational games for young children to promote and improvise the learning mechanisms.

Topic 3: The impact of learning ability of a child: A case study of kindergarten students

Research Aim: With the emergence of technological advancements, many organisations, including education institutes, have started embracing innovative technologies. The main purpose of these advancements is to improvise the different ways of education. This research will focus on how the use of smart technology has improved the learning ability of kindergarten students.

Topic 4: Comparing and analysing the teaching approaches and mechanism of privately owned schools and public school: Case of developing countries

Research Aim: Due to the rise of capitalist economies, many institutions have developed unique mechanisms to improve business operations and sales. The same is the case with educational institutes. However, the teaching mechanism and approach for private schools have been more effective than public schools. Therefore, this research will critically analyse the teaching approaches and mechanisms of privately owned schools and public schools and compare and analyse their teaching approaches.

Topic 5: Analysing the current curricular development of K12 students and how it can be linked with current economic issues

Research Aim: It has been found out that the curriculum of the majority of the educational institutes has become obsolete and monotonous. In other words, students are not being taught current affairs and the latest knowledge with respect to technology, etc. Therefore, the main aim of this research will be to analyse the current curricular development of K12 students and how it can be moulded to reflect the true economic conditions and issues of society.

Early Childhood Education Dissertation Topics

Early childhood education in the UK and many other countries refers to any form of education that children between 2 and 6 years obtain. Some early childhood education dissertation topics are listed below:

Topic 6: The effectiveness and implementation of early childhood education curriculum interventions

Research Aim: This research will discuss how effective curriculum interventions have been in early childhood education and how they can be effectively implemented.

Topic 7: Linking theory to practice and back again: The use of collaborative enquiry and video documentation to facilitate critical thinking in preservice teacher education

Research Aim: This research will provide theoretical and practical evidence to establish how collaboration inquiry and video documentation effectively affect critical thinking in preservice education.

Topic 8: Improving early childhood literacy development and English education through the use of multiple media tools

Research Aim: This research will analyse how effective medical tools are in early childhood education.

Topic 9: Supporting emergent literacy at the pre-school level through the use of technology.

Research Aim: This research will present how supportive technology can be for emergent literacy at the pre-school level.

Topic 10: Merging multimodality, technology, and literacy in the era of kindergarten digital storytelling

Research Aim: This research will explore the effectiveness of multimodality, literacy, and technology in today’s era of kindergarten storytelling.

Topic 11: Computer-based reading program with at-risk pre-kindergarten students

Research Aim: This research will discuss how computer-based reading programs are at risk with pre-kindergarten students.

Topic 12: Pre-school educational settings and the nature of children’s leadership

Research Aim: This research will analyse how educational settings in pre-school help develop leadership skills in children.

Topic 13: How urban students’ academic accomplishments can be influenced by a school district’s pre-school education policies

Research Aim: This research will discuss the academic accomplishments of children and how educational policies influence them.

Topic 14: Investigating the relationship between kindergarten achievement and classroom quality

Research Aim: This study will investigate the relationship between kindergarten students’ achievement and education quality.

Topic 15: Creating efficient learning environments to facilitate the process of early childhood education

Research Aim: This research will understand the learning environments that facilitate the process of childhood education.

Elementary Education Dissertation Topics

In the United Kingdom and other developed regions of the world, elementary education is the first level of compulsory education that children between the ages of 6 and 13 years obtain.

Primary or elementary education helps establish history, geography, mathematics, science, and other social sciences. In some countries, basic sexual education is also part of the elementary education curriculum. Some important primary education issues to explore are listed below:

Topic 16: Establishing the factors inhibiting and enhancing elementary school children’s creativity

Research Aim: This research will discuss the factors that help enhance children’s creativity in elementary school.

Topic 17: Developing life skills in elementary school pupils in the United Kingdom (or any other country of your choice)

Research Aim: This research will explore how life skills are developed in elementary school in the UK. (Country can be changed according to your choosing)

Topic 18: Monitoring and evaluating instruction in private elementary schools in China from the perspective of headteachers and teachers.

Topic 19: including children with special educational needs in a mainstream elementary educational institute – a case study of any elementary school.

Research Aim: This research will discuss inclusive education, i.e. including special needs students in elementary school. You are free to choose the school of your choice.

Topic 20: Implementing inclusive education in elementary/primary schools in Australia – The challenges and opportunities

Research Aim: This research will discuss the challenges and opportunities of implementing inclusive education in Australian elementary schools.

Topic 21: Classroom evaluation in England – Teachers’ practices and perceptions in Maths

Research Aim: This research will evaluate a typical classroom in England. It will assess the practices adopted by Math teachers teaching in elementary school.

Topic 22: Integrating outdoor learning activities with elementary curriculum in the United Kingdom

Research Aim: This research will analyse the results of integrating outdoor learning activities with curriculum activities.

Topic 23: Investigating the use of technology in elementary school physical education

Research Aim: This research will investigate and analyse the use of technology in elementary school physical education.

Topic 24: Investigating the impact of the age of information on current courses taught in primary school

Research Aim: This research will investigate the impact of information on courses taught in primary school.

Topic 25: Should primary schools allow their students to study more independently to achieve improved performance?

Research Aim: This research will assess whether elementary school students should be allowed to study independently or not and its impacts.

Read More About   Elementary Education / Primary Education

How Can ResearchProspect Help?

ResearchProspect writers can send several custom topic ideas to your email address. Once you have chosen a topic that suits your needs and interests, you can order for our dissertation outline service , which will include a brief introduction to the topic, research questions , literature review , methodology , expected results , and conclusion . The dissertation outline will enable you to review the quality of our work before placing the order for our full dissertation writing service !

Secondary Education Dissertation Topics

Secondary school education primarily covers formal education obtained by pupils between 13 years to 18 years. Secondary education is compulsory in most countries, including the United Kingdom, and it may be taught in the form of Ordinary Levels, Advanced Levels, and SSC and HSC exams.

There is a wide array of research areas to be explored under this field of study, and any of the following research topics could be selected for your education dissertation.

Topic 26: Investigating the impact of teacher education on secondary education in the European Union

Research Aim: This research will investigate how secondary education in the EU is impacted by teacher education.

Topic 27: Investigating the impact of secondary school dual enrolment course participation on pupils’ academic accomplishments

Research Aim: This research will investigate the impact of dual course enrolment and its impact on academic accomplishments in secondary school.

Topic 28: The role of sustainability in learning and teaching in secondary schools to transform the soul of education

Research Aim: This study will explore the role of sustainable learning and teaching in secondary school, and it helps transform the soul of education.

Topic 29: Investigating secondary school teachers’ thinking in a professional development project

Research Aim: This research will analyse the teachers’ thinking with the help of a professional development project.

Topic 30: Betraying the college dream: How student aspirations are undermined by the disconnected post-secondary and K-12 education systems

Research Aim: The post-secondary schooling and K-12 education systems are misaligned. Thus, this research will investigate how this adversely impacts students, and as a result, more and more students are giving up on their college dreams.

Topic 31: Analysing supply & demand in light of the rising cost of secondary education

Research Aim: This research will assess and analyse the rising cost of education and its impact on the supply and demand for education.

Topic 32: To study the use of instructional and information technologies in teacher training in secondary schools and colleges in the United Kingdom

Research Aim: This research will study the use of technologies in teacher training and how it impacts secondary education in the UK.

Topic 33: Should secondary school teachers emphasise today’s demanding issues such as energy conservation, sustainability, and environmental protection?

Research Aim: This research will study whether or not teachers should emphasize current issues like energy preservation, sustainability, and environmental protection.

Topic 34: How can religious and racial tolerance increase among pupils by reintroducing religious education in the secondary schooling system?

Research Aim: This research will explore whether introducing religious education in secondary education help decrease religious and racial intolerance.

Topic 35: To investigate the benefits of teaching business management and entrepreneurship related courses to secondary school students over social science courses?

Research Aim:  This research will study the uses and benefits of teaching business management and entrepreneurship at the secondary schooling level.  Read More About   Secondary Education

Higher Education Dissertation Topics

Higher education or college/university education covers the formal education available to college, undergraduate and postgraduate students. Some interesting higher education dissertation topics are listed below.

Topic 36: International mobility of graduate and undergraduate students of mathematics, engineering, technology and science; Push and Pull Factors

Research Aim: This research will study and analyse the push and pull factors that impact the graduate and undergraduate students’ choice of university.

Topic 37: International graduate students and their decisions to stay or leave the US; The decisive factors

Research Aim: This study will explore the factors that lead students to decide whether they should stay or leave their universities in the US.

Topic 38: Aligning higher education to labour market requirements in the UK

Research Aim: This research will assess whether higher education in the UK should be aligned with the labor market requirements or not.

Topic 39: Internationalisation drivers, obstacles and rationales: A case study of any higher education institute in the UK

Research Aim: This research will analyze the internationalisation drivers, obstacles, and rationales of higher education institutes in the UK.

Topic 40: An investigation into the governance systems of academic planning in both private and public sector higher education institutes

Research Aim: This research will investigate the governance systems of academic planning in both, private and public higher education institutes.

Topic 41: Higher education system: Should all universities follow the same education pattern?

Research Aim: This research will explore if every university should follow the same educational pattern.

Topic 42: Evaluating teaching quality in higher education schools from students’ perspective

Research Aim: This research will evaluate the performance of teachers based on students’ perspectives. Suggestions will be provided as to how it should be improved.

Topic 43: Identify the factors affecting student mobility in Europe – The quality aspect

Research Aim: This research will explore the factors that impact student mobility in Europe.

Topic 44: Assessing and Evaluating the Impact of Hiring, Firing and Retiring Professors in Higher Education System on Students

Research Aim: This research will evaluate the various impacts of hiring, firing and retiring professors in the higher education system on students.

Topic 45: Do university graduates perform better than those who do not obtain formal education but have practical work experience?

Research Aim: This research will evaluate and assess the performance of two sets of students. First, university graduates, second, will be those who have no formal education but have practical work experience.  Also Read:   Fashion and Culture Dissertation Topics

Teaching Method Dissertation Topics

The role of primary, secondary or higher education teachers is highly important, particularly considering the ever-increasing need to provide a growth-oriented academic environment to students. Some interesting teaching methods dissertation research topics are listed below.

Topic 46: The influence of teaching methods on students’ academic success and achievements

Research Aim: This research will explore the influence of teaching methods on students’ academic success and achievements.

Topic 47: A transactional method to learning and teaching in an English language arts methodologies conference

Research Aim: This study will explore the transactional learning and teaching method in an English language arts methodologies conference.

Topic 48: How the effect of constructivist teaching methods can largely influence the algebraic understanding of primary and secondary school students

Research Aim: This research will understand how constructivist teaching methods affect primary and secondary school students.

Topic 49: Student learning of DNA and the effect of teaching methods

Research Aim: This research will study the impact of various teaching methods on students.

Topic 50: Teaching English through conventional and direct approaches – A qualitative study

Research Aim: This will be a qualitative study that will help assess the teaching of English as a subject through direct and conventional approaches.

Topic 51: Investigating the relationships of teachers’ pedagogical beliefs, knowledge and efficiency: A multimethod approach

Research Aim: This research will investigate the relationship between teacher’s pedagogical beliefs, efficiency, and knowledge.

Topic 52: Exploring the benefits of employing the Socratic methodology as an approach to learning

Research Aim: This research will investigate the benefits of the Socratic method learning approach.

Topic 53: The benefits of introducing mathematics software to higher education mathematics teachers

Research Aim: This study will explore the benefits of introducing mathematics software to higher education math teachers.

Topic 54: The increasing importance of teachers training taking into consideration various threats to students such as weapons and drugs

Research Aim: This research will understand the importance of teachers’ training with respect to threats such as drugs and weapons.

Topic 55: Are the teachers more prone to violence at the hands of their students as compared to the past: How the profession of teaching has evolved over the last twenty years

Research Aim:  Purpose: This research will conduct a comparison of the teacher’s profession in the past twenty years and will conclude how it has changed.  Read More About:   Teaching Methods in the UK

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Education Leadership and Policy Studies Dissertation Topics

The role of leadership, politics, and policies cannot be overlooked. Education leadership and policy studies have two main roots, including organisational theory and political science. This may be an interesting area of research for your educational dissertation.

Topic 56: Implementing educational change in failing middle schools through examination of one’s fundamental leadership procedures and processes

Research Aim: This research will explore the impact of implementing educational change in failing middle schools by examining leadership procedures at the institutes.

Topic 57: Historical background and development of co-curricular transcripts

Research Aim: This research will date back to history and explore how co-curricular transcripts were developed, and will compare them to today’s processes.

Topic 58: Evaluating the self-efficiency of high performing first-generation university students

Research Aim: This research will evaluate the self-efficiency of high performing university students.

Topic 59: The influence of spiritual growth on leadership development of college and university students

Research Aim: This research will explore the influence of spiritual growth on the leadership skills development of university students.

Topic 60: The peril and power of globalisation: The Higher education, the World Bank, and the Global Knowledge Economy

Research Aim: This research will focus on the globalisation aspect of education and will talk about how it has been impacted.

Topic 61: The self-reported impact of instructional coaching on middle school teachers’ practices

Research Aim: This research will investigate the impact of instructional coaching on middle school teachers’ practices.

Topic 62: An investigation into the policies designed to address bullying in schools of the UK: The beliefs, opinions and perceptions of teachers and principals

Research Aim: This research will explore in-depth the policies that are designed to address and eliminate bullying in UK schools.

Topic 63: Investigating the causes of under-representation of black students in advanced placement courses in the USA

Research Aim: This research will explore the racial issues in the educational system of the US, i.e. underrepresentation of black students.

Topic 64: Lecture note-taking skills of adolescents with and without learning disabilities

Research Aim: This research will understand the note-taking skills of adolescents and how they differ with respect to learning.

Topic 65: A qualitative study to evaluate the educational policies in the UK

Research Aim:  This study will assess and evaluate the various educational policies in the UK.  Read More About:  Courses About International Education Leadership And Policy

Adult Education Dissertation Topics

Vocation-based or professional adult education has gained tremendous popularity in the academic world over the last couple of decades. Here is a wide range of research topics within this field of study to base your dissertation on.

Topic 66: Investing social and personal benefits and costs of basic adult education from students’ perspective

Research Aim: This research will investigate the social and personal benefits and costs of basic adult education.

Topic 67: The perception of adult learners regarding their satisfaction with their educational experiences

Research Aim: This research will explore the perception of adult learners regarding their educational experiences.

Topic 68: Use of bounded agency approach to promoting participation in adult education programmes

Research Aim: This research will discuss the bounded agency approach to promote participation in adult education programs.

Topic 69: A psychoanalytic investigation to explore adult teaching and learning theory

Research Aim: This research will conduct a psychoanalytic investigation in order to explore adult teaching and learning.

Topic 70: Comparing perception of adult learners in face to face and online courses

Research Aim: This research will compare the perception of adult learners in online and face to face courses.

Topic 71: Use of Hatcher-Assagioli Synthesis to analyse practices, principles, and goals for community-based adult education

Research Aim: This research will utilise Hatcher Assagioli Synthesis to analyse community-based education practices, principles, and goals.

Topic 72: A review of the UK government spending on adult education over the last two decades

Research Aim: This research will review the UK government spending on adult education for two decades.

Topic 73: The relationship between unemployment and government funding for adult education – A quantitative analysis

Research Aim: This research will explore the relationship between government funding and unemployment for adult education.

Topic 74: The impact of entrepreneurship, wealth building and personal finance-related courses in adult education

Research Aim: This study will study the impact of courses like entrepreneurship, personal finance et. For adult education.

Topic 75: Frequent career changes over working life and the increasing importance of adult education in today’s world

Research Aim: This research will assess the importance of adult education and how it influences students to change their career choices frequently.

Private School Education Dissertation Topics

Private schools have become a large profit-making industry in both the developed and developing world. More and more parents want to send their children to private schools even though the expenses associated with private education are constantly on the rise. Following are some suggestions for your education dissertation research:

Topic 76: Evaluating the effectiveness of management in private schools in the UAE

Research Aim: This research will evaluate the effectiveness of private school management in the UAE.

Topic 77: To study the level of cooperation between home schools, public schools and private schools in the United Kingdom

Research Aim: This research will explore the cooperation level in home schools, private and public schools in the UK.

Topic 78: A qualitative analysis to determine the causes why parents choose to send their children to private schools in south Asian countries

Research Aim: This research will conduct qualitative analysis to determine why parents send their children to private schools in Asia.

Topic 79: Investigating the policies concerning the fee structure of private schools in Shanghai

Research Aim: This research will investigate the various policies that concern the fee structure of private Shanghai schools.

Topic 80: An empirical analysis of the impacts of the universal primary education policies on educational performances in South Asia

Research Aim: This research will conduct an empirical analysis to understand the impact of universal primary education policies on educational performance in the South Asian region.

Topic 81: Use of information technology and teaching tools in private schools in the UK

Research Aim: This research will explore the use of technology in private schools and assess its effectiveness.

Topic 82: Schooling for money – The impact of the profit motive on Swiss educational reform

Research Aim: This research will study the Swiss educational reform and its impact on the system.

Topic 83: Challenges and experiences of children with disabilities in private schools of India

Research Aim: This research will evaluate the challenges and experiences of children with disabilities in Indian schools.

Topic 84: Why are private school students considered to have the edge over public schools – A qualitative study

Research Aim: This will be a qualitative study on why private school students are preferred over public school students.

Topic 85: Emphasis on personality formation and character in private schools – Are private school students more competitive than public school students?

Research Aim:  This research will study the personality formation and character building of private school students.  Read More About   Private School Fee Increase for First Time.

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Public School Education Dissertation Topics

Most schools in the developed world are publicly funded, offering elementary, secondary, and higher education. There is a wide array of topics of research under this field of study that can be explored. Some of them are suggested below:

Exploring the Funding of Public Schools – How they can be improved. This research will explore the ways through which public schools are funded and will study what can be done to improve them.

Topic 86: Investigating the impact of teacher leadership in public schools in the UK

Research Aim: This research will study the impact of teacher leadership in UK public schools.

Topic 87: Is it true that public schools are better able to prepare their students to face the challenges of the real world as compared to the private schools

Research Aim: This research will explore a common misconception that public school students are better prepared to face real-world challenges than private school students.

Topic 88: Can publicly-funded religious schools help to counter radicalisation and terrorism?

Research Aim: This study will explore an important topic, i.e. can terrorism and radicalisation be countered with public funding of schools.

Topic 89: Encouraging values and morals in the younger generation by reintroducing religious education in public schools in the UK

Research Aim: This research will study how reintroducing religious education help encourage values and morals in the younger generation in the UK.

Topic 90: Healthy eating habits and the role of public schools offering courses such as meal choice, cooking and home economics

Research Aim: This research will explore the benefits of cooking and home economic courses and promote healthy eating.

Topic 91: How public school students can be encouraged to participate in sporting activities?

Research Aim: This research will assess how public school students can be encouraged to participate in sporting activities.

Topic 92: The perception of special education administrators on the use of paraprofessionals in the education of students with disabilities

Topic 93: the perception of special education administrators on the use of paraprofessionals in the education of students with disabilities.

Research Aim: This research will discuss special education administrators and how they help offer quality education to disabled students.

Topic 94: Educating students with disabilities and the beliefs of public school principals

Research Aim: This research will explore the beliefs of public school principals and how these beliefs help offer quality education to disabled students.

Topic 95: Advanced teaching tools in public school classrooms – How they Help Improve Quality Education

Research Aim:  This research will explore how quality education is provided by implementing innovative technology in classrooms.

Read More About   Public School in the UK

Home Schooling Dissertation Topics

Homeschooling is a highly growing educational phenomenon in developed countries. Any form of education that children obtain within their home setting under the supervision of their parents/adults is classified as homeschooling. Some interesting home school dissertation topics are suggested below:

Topic 96: A qualitative study to understand the significance of the role of information technology in homeschooling

Research Aim: This research will assess the importance of information technology for homeschooling through qualitative research.

Topic 97: The advantages and disadvantages of home schooling – Do home children perform with the top private and public school students?

Research Aim: This research will assess the pros and cons of home schooling. It will also assess the performance of home schooled students as compared to private and public school students.

Topic 98: A qualitative analysis on socialisation and academic accomplishments among home schooled university students

Research Aim: This research will be a qualitative analysis with respect to socialization and academic accomplishments with respect to home schooled university students.

Topic 99: Factors motivating students to choose home schooling over conventional schooling systems

Research Aim: This study will explore the factors that motivate students to opt for homeschooling over the conventional schooling system.

Topic 100: A qualitative study to understand parental motivation to home schooling

Research Aim: This will be a qualitative study to assess the parental motivation to home school their children.

Topic 101: Are partnerships available in homeschooling? Exploring their Effectiveness

Research Aim: This research will explore whether partnerships are available in homeschooling or not and how beneficial do they prove to be.

Topic 102: A qualitative analysis to understand the educational beliefs of home schooled pupils and their parents

Research Aim: This research will conduct a qualitative analysis to assess the educational beliefs of homeschooled students and their parents.

Topic 103: A qualitative analysis on the relationship between financial literacy and homeschooling

Research Aim: This research will assess whether there is a relationship between homeschooling and financial literacy or not.

Topic 104: The duties and responsibilities of parents concerning the homeschooling of their children

Research Aim: This research will explore the duties and responsibilities of parents with respect to the homeschooling of their children.

Topic 105: Do Homeschool Children Develop Personalities and Characters like Private and Public Schooled Children?

Research Aim: This research will explore whether homeschooled children build strong character and confident personalities just like private and public schooled students or not.

Read More About   Public Schools in the UK

Simple Ordering Process

A system that works for everyone, important notes:.

As a student of education looking to get good grades, it is essential to develop new ideas and experiment with existing education theories – i.e., to add value and interest to your research topic.

The field of education is vast and interrelated with so many other academic disciplines. That is why creating an education dissertation topic that is particular, sound, and actually solves a practical problem that may be rampant in the field is imperative.

We can’t stress how important it is to develop a logical research topic; it is the basis of your entire research. There are several significant downfalls to getting your topic wrong; your supervisor may not be interested in working on it, the topic has no academic creditability, the research may not make logical sense, and there is a possibility that the study is not viable.

This impacts your time and efforts in  writing your dissertation , as you may end up in the cycle of rejection at the very initial stage of the dissertation. That is why we recommend reviewing existing research to develop a topic, taking advice from your supervisor, and even asking for help in this particular stage of your dissertation.

While developing a research topic, keeping our advice in mind will allow you to pick one of the best education dissertation topics that fulfil your requirement of writing a research paper and add to the body of knowledge.

Therefore, it is recommended that when finalizing your dissertation topic, you read recently published literature to identify gaps in the research that you may help fill.

Remember- dissertation topics need to be unique, solve an identified problem, be logical, and be practically implemented. Take a look at some of our sample education dissertation topics to get an idea for your own dissertation.

How to Structure your Education Dissertation

A well-structured   dissertation can help students   to achieve a high overall academic grade.

  • A Title Page
  • Acknowledgements
  • Declaration
  • Abstract: A summary of the research completed
  • Table of Contents
  • Introduction : This chapter includes the project rationale, research background, key research aims and objectives, and the research problems. An outline of the structure of a dissertation can also be added to this chapter.
  • Literature Review :  This chapter presents relevant theories and frameworks by analysing published and unpublished literature available on the chosen research topic in light of research questions to be addressed. The purpose is to highlight and discuss the relative weaknesses and strengths of the selected research area while identifying any research gaps. Break down of the topic, and key terms can positively impact your dissertation and your tutor.
  • Methodology: The  data collection  and  analysis methods and techniques employed by the researcher are presented in the Methodology chapter, which usually includes  research design, research philosophy, research limitations, code of conduct, ethical consideration, data collection methods, and  data analysis strategy .
  • Findings and Analysis: Findings of the research are analysed in detail under the Findings and Analysis chapter. All key findings/results are outlined in this chapter without interpreting the data or drawing any conclusions. It can be useful to include  graphs ,  charts, and  tables in this chapter to identify meaningful trends and relationships.
  • Discussion and  Conclusion: The researcher presents his interpretation of the results in this chapter and states whether the research hypothesis has been verified or not. An essential aspect of this section is to establish the link between the results and evidence from the literature. Recommendations with regards to implications of the findings and directions for the future may also be provided. Finally, a summary of the overall research, along with final judgments, opinions, and comments, must be included in the form of suggestions for improvement.
  • References:  Make sure to complete this in accordance with your University’s requirements
  • Bibliography
  • Appendices: Any additional information, diagrams, and graphs used to complete the dissertation  but not part of the dissertation should be included in the Appendices chapter. Essentially, the purpose is to expand the information/data.

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  • Investigate teaching methods.
  • Analyze student learning challenges.
  • Consider policy or technology impacts.
  • Select a topic aligning with your passion and research goals.

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Education Level Meaning: What Does Each Level Of Education Mean?

Understanding formal educational journey can be like exploring a vast, multi-layered map, with each level of education marking a distinct territory of knowledge, skills and abilities.

From the initial steps taken in elementary education to the specialised heights reached in doctoral studies, understanding the meaning behind each educational level is crucial.

This article aims to explore these levels and the significance they hold in an individual’s academic and professional journey. By unraveling the essence of each educational stage, we provide a clearer path for learners to chart their course through the world of academia and beyond.

Elementary Education

Elementary education is the foundational stage in the formal education system, typically covering kindergarten through fifth or sixth grade, depending on the country and region.

Completing this level equips students with basic skills in:

  • writing, and
  • mathematics.

Students also have an introduction to sciences, social studies, and often a second language. This phase is crucial as it lays the groundwork for all future learning, fostering critical thinking and problem-solving abilities from a young age. 

In the U.S., for instance, a strong emphasis is placed on creating a supportive learning environment that caters to the developmental needs of children.

Successfully completing elementary education means a child is prepared to transition to secondary education, where they will build on this foundational knowledge.

It signifies the end of the initial compulsory phase of schooling, setting the stage for more specialised and advanced learning in high school and beyond.

Secondary Education

Secondary education, often spanning from sixth or seventh to twelfth grade, bridges the gap between elementary schooling and higher education. Completing this level means you’ve acquired a high school diploma, a key milestone in formal education.

meaning of dissertation in education

This stage introduces more specialised subjects, often allowing students to choose electives based on their interests. These may include subjects like:

  • advanced sciences,
  • mathematics,
  • literature, and
  • social studies
For many, it’s a time to explore potential career paths, with schools offering vocational training alongside traditional academic courses.

In the U.S., for instance, secondary education includes various programs like AP courses or dual enrollment options, which can earn college credit.

Successfully graduating from high school prepares students for the next steps in their educational journey, whether it’s:

  • enrolling in a college or university for an undergraduate degree,
  • entering a vocational program, or
  • jumping straight into the workforce.

It signifies a level of education that equips individuals with both the academic and social skills needed to navigate the complexities of adult life and the professional world.

Undergraduate / Bachelor Degree

An undergraduate degree marks a significant milestone in higher education, typically following secondary education. It’s the first level of university education, leading to a bachelor’s degree.

This achievement indicates that you’ve successfully completed a program of study in a specific field, like science, arts, or engineering, at a college or university.

meaning of dissertation in education

For many, it’s a passport to professional careers or a stepping stone to advanced degrees.

In the U.S., obtaining an undergraduate degree usually involves a mix of general education courses and major-specific classes. This structure ensures a well-rounded education while allowing deep dives into areas of interest.

For example, a bachelor’s in science might require courses in:

  • physics, and
  • electives in humanities or social sciences.

Completing this level of education means you’ve developed critical thinking, problem-solving, and specialized knowledge in your field.

The journey to an undergraduate degree varies, typically taking four years, but can extend depending on the program or if you’re pursuing a double major.

Graduating with this degree opens doors to various career paths, qualifies you for certain professional certifications, or can be the prerequisite for entering graduate programs, such as a master’s or doctoral degree.

It’s a significant step that prepares you for the challenges and opportunities of the professional world or further academic pursuits.

Masters Degree

A master’s degree represents an advanced level of education that follows an undergraduate degree. It signifies a deeper specialization in a particular field, whether it’s in the arts, sciences, business, or another area.

Completing this degree means you’ve engaged in intensive study and possibly research, culminating in a thesis or comprehensive examination.

meaning of dissertation in education

For instance, someone with a bachelor’s in psychology might pursue a Master of Science (M.Sc.) to specialize in clinical psychology. This path typically involves:

  • coursework,
  • practical training, and
  • a research project or thesis that contributes new insights to the field.

Similarly, an MBA (Master of Business Administration) prepares graduates for leadership roles in business, combining theoretical knowledge with practical business skills.

Earning a master’s degree can change your career trajectory, opening doors to higher-level positions, increased earning potential, and in some cases, a prerequisite for doctoral studies.

It usually takes one to two years to complete, but this can vary depending on the program and whether you study full-time or part-time.

Graduating with a master’s degree not only enhances your expertise but also demonstrates a commitment to personal and professional development. It’s a significant achievement that sets you apart in the job market, equipping you with advanced knowledge and skills in your chosen field.

Doctoral Degree – Highest Level Of Education

Achieving a doctoral degree is the pinnacle of academic success, representing the highest level of education in various fields, from science to humanities.

meaning of dissertation in education

This degree signifies not just years of study but a significant contribution to your field through original research.

Completing a doctorate means you’ve conducted a comprehensive study, culminating in a dissertation that presents new knowledge or insights, capable of influencing future research and practice.

For instance, in the U.S., a doctoral candidate in environmental science might spend years studying the impacts of climate change on coastal ecosystems, contributing valuable data and strategies for conservation.

Similarly, a doctoral program in education could lead to groundbreaking methodologies in teaching and learning, shaping future educational practices.

Earning a doctoral degree is a rigorous process, typically involving:

  • examinations, and
  • a lengthy dissertation process.

It requires a deep commitment to research and scholarship, often under the guidance of experienced mentors and advisors. This journey not only hones your expertise in a specific area but also develops a wide range of skills, from critical thinking to problem-solving.

Graduates with a doctoral degree often pursue careers in academia, research, or high-level industry positions, where they can continue to influence and innovate within their fields.

Completing this degree opens doors to opportunities for leadership, teaching, and advanced research, making it a transformative step in both personal and professional development.

Education Level Meaning Explained

Each level of education serves as a building block in the vast architecture of learning, marking significant milestones in an individual’s academic and professional journey.

From the foundational knowledge gained in elementary education to the specialised skills acquired through secondary schooling, and the advanced insights developed during undergraduate and postgraduate studies, each stage prepares learners for the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Understanding the meaning and significance of these educational levels not only helps in appreciating the journey but also in making informed decisions about one’s career path and life goals, ultimately shaping a more informed, skilled, and adaptable society.

meaning of dissertation in education

Dr Andrew Stapleton has a Masters and PhD in Chemistry from the UK and Australia. He has many years of research experience and has worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Associate at a number of Universities. Although having secured funding for his own research, he left academia to help others with his YouTube channel all about the inner workings of academia and how to make it work for you.

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meaning of dissertation in education

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Leading research, practice, and education in the science of psychology

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Congratulations to Dr. Rao on her successful defense!

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Rao on the successful defense of her dissertation, entitled  Healthcare Experiences of U.S. Sexual Minority Women and Gender Diverse People of Color: Understanding Stigma, Satisfaction, and Sequelae ! 

Many thanks fo the following faculty members for their valuable guidance and insight throughout the dissertation process:

Dr. Lisa Bowleg (committee member)

Dr. Maria Cecilia Zea (committee member)

Dr. Sherry Molock (examiner)

Dr. Bianca Wilson (examiner)

Special thanks also to Dr. Sharon Lambert for chairing the defense.

Great work, Sharanya 🥳🥳🥳🥳

meaning of dissertation in education

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How technology is reinventing education

Stanford Graduate School of Education Dean Dan Schwartz and other education scholars weigh in on what's next for some of the technology trends taking center stage in the classroom.

meaning of dissertation in education

Image credit: Claire Scully

New advances in technology are upending education, from the recent debut of new artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots like ChatGPT to the growing accessibility of virtual-reality tools that expand the boundaries of the classroom. For educators, at the heart of it all is the hope that every learner gets an equal chance to develop the skills they need to succeed. But that promise is not without its pitfalls.

“Technology is a game-changer for education – it offers the prospect of universal access to high-quality learning experiences, and it creates fundamentally new ways of teaching,” said Dan Schwartz, dean of Stanford Graduate School of Education (GSE), who is also a professor of educational technology at the GSE and faculty director of the Stanford Accelerator for Learning . “But there are a lot of ways we teach that aren’t great, and a big fear with AI in particular is that we just get more efficient at teaching badly. This is a moment to pay attention, to do things differently.”

For K-12 schools, this year also marks the end of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding program, which has provided pandemic recovery funds that many districts used to invest in educational software and systems. With these funds running out in September 2024, schools are trying to determine their best use of technology as they face the prospect of diminishing resources.

Here, Schwartz and other Stanford education scholars weigh in on some of the technology trends taking center stage in the classroom this year.

AI in the classroom

In 2023, the big story in technology and education was generative AI, following the introduction of ChatGPT and other chatbots that produce text seemingly written by a human in response to a question or prompt. Educators immediately worried that students would use the chatbot to cheat by trying to pass its writing off as their own. As schools move to adopt policies around students’ use of the tool, many are also beginning to explore potential opportunities – for example, to generate reading assignments or coach students during the writing process.

AI can also help automate tasks like grading and lesson planning, freeing teachers to do the human work that drew them into the profession in the first place, said Victor Lee, an associate professor at the GSE and faculty lead for the AI + Education initiative at the Stanford Accelerator for Learning. “I’m heartened to see some movement toward creating AI tools that make teachers’ lives better – not to replace them, but to give them the time to do the work that only teachers are able to do,” he said. “I hope to see more on that front.”

He also emphasized the need to teach students now to begin questioning and critiquing the development and use of AI. “AI is not going away,” said Lee, who is also director of CRAFT (Classroom-Ready Resources about AI for Teaching), which provides free resources to help teach AI literacy to high school students across subject areas. “We need to teach students how to understand and think critically about this technology.”

Immersive environments

The use of immersive technologies like augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality is also expected to surge in the classroom, especially as new high-profile devices integrating these realities hit the marketplace in 2024.

The educational possibilities now go beyond putting on a headset and experiencing life in a distant location. With new technologies, students can create their own local interactive 360-degree scenarios, using just a cell phone or inexpensive camera and simple online tools.

“This is an area that’s really going to explode over the next couple of years,” said Kristen Pilner Blair, director of research for the Digital Learning initiative at the Stanford Accelerator for Learning, which runs a program exploring the use of virtual field trips to promote learning. “Students can learn about the effects of climate change, say, by virtually experiencing the impact on a particular environment. But they can also become creators, documenting and sharing immersive media that shows the effects where they live.”

Integrating AI into virtual simulations could also soon take the experience to another level, Schwartz said. “If your VR experience brings me to a redwood tree, you could have a window pop up that allows me to ask questions about the tree, and AI can deliver the answers.”

Gamification

Another trend expected to intensify this year is the gamification of learning activities, often featuring dynamic videos with interactive elements to engage and hold students’ attention.

“Gamification is a good motivator, because one key aspect is reward, which is very powerful,” said Schwartz. The downside? Rewards are specific to the activity at hand, which may not extend to learning more generally. “If I get rewarded for doing math in a space-age video game, it doesn’t mean I’m going to be motivated to do math anywhere else.”

Gamification sometimes tries to make “chocolate-covered broccoli,” Schwartz said, by adding art and rewards to make speeded response tasks involving single-answer, factual questions more fun. He hopes to see more creative play patterns that give students points for rethinking an approach or adapting their strategy, rather than only rewarding them for quickly producing a correct response.

Data-gathering and analysis

The growing use of technology in schools is producing massive amounts of data on students’ activities in the classroom and online. “We’re now able to capture moment-to-moment data, every keystroke a kid makes,” said Schwartz – data that can reveal areas of struggle and different learning opportunities, from solving a math problem to approaching a writing assignment.

But outside of research settings, he said, that type of granular data – now owned by tech companies – is more likely used to refine the design of the software than to provide teachers with actionable information.

The promise of personalized learning is being able to generate content aligned with students’ interests and skill levels, and making lessons more accessible for multilingual learners and students with disabilities. Realizing that promise requires that educators can make sense of the data that’s being collected, said Schwartz – and while advances in AI are making it easier to identify patterns and findings, the data also needs to be in a system and form educators can access and analyze for decision-making. Developing a usable infrastructure for that data, Schwartz said, is an important next step.

With the accumulation of student data comes privacy concerns: How is the data being collected? Are there regulations or guidelines around its use in decision-making? What steps are being taken to prevent unauthorized access? In 2023 K-12 schools experienced a rise in cyberattacks, underscoring the need to implement strong systems to safeguard student data.

Technology is “requiring people to check their assumptions about education,” said Schwartz, noting that AI in particular is very efficient at replicating biases and automating the way things have been done in the past, including poor models of instruction. “But it’s also opening up new possibilities for students producing material, and for being able to identify children who are not average so we can customize toward them. It’s an opportunity to think of entirely new ways of teaching – this is the path I hope to see.”

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