Doing Your Undergraduate Social Science Dissertation: A New Approach

To look at a new approach for writing your undergraduate social science dissertation, first think of the shape of a funnel. It is very broad at the top and narrow at the bottom. The introduction should give a broad or general view of your topic, and then the next few sentences should move to more focused or specific details leading into your thesis statement or question you are investigating.

As you move into the methods and results sections of your dissertation, they are more of a rectangular shape. In other words, they are just a presentation of the details you are using to support your thesis. They don’t go from general to specific.

The summary looks like an inverted funnel. You are going from the details in the body to a general overview of the issue, summarizing the points you presented.

4 parts of your social science dissertation

The four parts described here are the parts of your paper’s body.

  1. The introductory section. This includes any pertinent background information. It’s important to know who your audience is so you know how much of explanatory information to include. It also includes the literature review. It provides the rationale for writing the paper. Goes from general to specific.

  2. The methods section. Here you will describe the methodology, any materials you may have used, and subjects if people were involved for example in a survey,, and the procedures utilized.

  3. The results section. These are your findings. You present them in detail as well as your commentary.

  4. The discussion. This is like the conclusion. It represents a generalized or summarized account of what was discovered in the study.

Fields within social sciences you may choose from

Selecting your topic may prove to be the most challenging part of your writing project. The key is to move from general issues to more detailed, focused ones. This is the way to being able to adequately cover your topic within the guidelines of your paper. You may want to first choose a sub-category within your field, such as politics, sociology, anthropology, criminology, social work or social policy.

Next, look at questions or issues that are of interest. You may search in local newspapers, libraries, magazines, school textbooks and so on. Or think back to a topic that struck a chord of interest to you at some point in your academics. Use this idea to form your thesis statement.

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