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What's in the book?
Phew! That is a question that would take a long time to answer fully.
The short answer is: Pretty much everything you need to know to conceptualise, research, structure, write and pass a dissertation, with lots of practical suggestions along the way.
The longer answer is: For an overview, click here. The full table of contents is here (PDF, 38 KB). Click here to read the introduction, and various articles drawn from the book. If you want to see the cover, click here.
If you still have any questions after that, feel free to send me an !
What's the difference between a Thesis and Dissertation workshop and the book?
It's the difference between taking a class and simply buying the books on the reading list. When you take a class, the work is customised to your needs; your questions are answered, your particular problems are dealt with, and the lecturer takes responsibility to make sure that you understand and can apply the material. You also get to practice key skills, and get feedback on your work. Without the class, the information is still there, but you take responsibility for absorbing it and applying it to your work.
How much does the book cost, and where can I get it?
The price of the book is R299.00 when ordered from Exactica (including shipping to any postal address in South Africa). It is also available from online retailers. Their precise links may change (then you will need to search) but at the time of writing were found here at takealot.com (international delivery only while it remains a UNISA prescribed textbook), at loot.co.za (delivery in South Africa only) and at exclusivebooks.co.za, whose international delivery options were found on this page. You can convert South African rands to any other currency here. Constructing a Good Dissertation is also available in bookshops nationwide at a recommended retail price of R349.00.
Why is it cheaper to buy the book directly from Exactica?
Exactica has an agreement with the distributors, and that lets us sell the book at the price on the website.
You don't get the convenience of dropping by and picking it up as you would in the bookstore, but you do get a discounted price, and free delivery to any postal address South Africa.
Why do I need Constructing a Good Dissertation?
Simply put, because you'll finish your dissertation more quickly, and with better results. It's an indispensable guide for dissertation writers. It not only explains exactly what to do and how to do it, but it is also full of practical tips, any one of which could save you untold grief.
It covers the entirety of the dissertation project, and that's quite a bit more than the actual researching or writing of a dissertation. Get it before you're stuck, and you'll be able to strategise your way to a successful dissertation without false starts. Use it while you're researching and writing, and you'll do both more effectively. Use it when you're editing or checking your work, and your dissertation will have far fewer flaws.
What makes this book different from all the other books on dissertations?
It's practical. It's practical, comprehensive, and written in such a way that you will understand how to go about creating a good dissertation. And there are diagrams, scoring sheets and checklists throughout, so you will stay on track.
Constructing a Good Dissertation is based on the Exactica's successful Thesis and Dissertation workshops. It contains the methods that have worked for many, many workshop attendees, and it incorporates their experiences and questions. To read some workshop attendees comments on the workshop, click here.
All that remains is for you to apply the material to whatever you are writing about.
Can I write a good dissertation purely by following the instructions in the book?
Yes, you can. Obviously you need to apply the information to your particular circumstances, and you need to have a copy of (and stick to) your institution's guidelines. Equally obviously, as recommended in the book, you still need to get feedback from your supervisor. Supervisors are content experts in your field, and you really need to work closely with them if you want to produce the best dissertation you can.
Why did you decide to write Constructing a Good Dissertation?
Many students struggle to complete their dissertations and, all too often, this leads to their taking far too long, getting hopelessly frustrated with the whole academic world, and handing in work of questionable quality, to say the least. Some even give up entirely, and drop out. This is an absolute shame, and an unnecessary one at that. It causes personal disappointments and costs the country much-needed skills. I started Exactica to address the matter.
Many people have successfully passed their dissertations after taking the workshop. Many of them have also suggested that I write the book. But writing a book is (as you know) quite a job. I put it off while Exactica extended its offerings by providing professional dissertation editing services, and this website. Writing Constructing a Good Dissertation was the next logical step to take.
It doesn't take the place of the workshops, but it has the advantage of being cheap, highly portable, and accessible to anyone doing a dissertation, no matter where in the world they may be. It's another tool to make sure that Exactica's mission is realised.
I can't hope to reach everybody with our workshops, but I can with Constructing a Good Dissertation.
Will Constructing a Good Dissertation really work for Master's, MBA and PhD degrees?
Absolutely, yes. It will also work for an honours thesis and a mini-thesis, and help you perform better in any postgraduate coursework. The reason for this is that the difference between a master's and a doctoral dissertation is one of degree (pun intended!), but not of kind.
All dissertations, regardless of level or field, need to arrive at some non-obvious conclusion about a worthwhile problem, and do so using rational arguments and strong evidence. Then those findings need to be presented in an academically acceptable way. In order to do this, regardless of whether you're working at master's or doctoral level, you need the same knowledge and skills. And Constructing a Good Dissertation will provide you with those skills.
It is true that doctoral dissertations tend to tackle broader issues, go into more depth, and have a heavier theoretical component than master's dissertations do. They also tend to be longer, better researched and make a larger contribution, but the principles of good academic work remain the same.