Dissertation Writing for Engineers & Scientists

By Mark Breach
January 2009
Financial Times/ Prentice Hall
Distrubuted by Trans-Atlantic Publications Inc.
ISBN: 9781405872782
160 pages
$39.50 Paper Original

Dissertation Writing for Engineers and Scientists is the must-have book for preparing students at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels for the dissertation writing process.


1  What is a dissertation?

1.1 Why do we do projects?

1.2 What is a project?

1.3 What happens when?

1.4 Planning the project

1.5 Your tutor, friend or foe?


2  Making a start

2.1 Choosing and defining the project

2.2 Motivation and added value

2.3 What type of project?

2.4 What is the question?

2.5 The aim

2.6 The objectives

2.7 Methodology

2.8 Hypothesis and key questions

2.9 Resources

2.10 Timetable

2.11 Example project proposal


3  Hard work or pleasure?

3.1 Getting stuck in

3.2 The science and engineering context

3.3 Health, safety and risk assessment


3.5 Ethics

3.6 Proving your point.

3.7 Quantitative or qualitative methods

3.8 Quantitative methods

3.9 Qualitative methods

3.10 Getting the data

3.11 Questionnaires

3.12 Interviews


4  Meaning from numbers

4.1 The nature of uncertainty

4.2 Data types

4.3 Previewing your data

4.4 Statistical methods

4.5 Parametric methods

4.6 Non-parametric methods


5  Paperwork, paperwork

5.1 Writing up

5.2 Introduction chapter

5.3 Literature review chapter(s)

5.4 Citing references

5.6 Results chapter

5.7 Analysis chapter

5.8 Conclusions and recommendations chapter

5.9 Abstract

5.10 Tops and tails


6  Tips and hints

6.1 What can go wrong?

6.2 Recovering from disaster

6.3 How to make it go right from the start: prevention, better than cure


7  Assessment and beyond

7.1 Project proposal

7.2 Preliminary literature review

7.3 Progress presentation and the viva voce

7.4 Preparing your presentation

7.5 Poster presentations

7.6 Marking the dissertation

7.7 Preparing for publication

7.8 Copyright


8  Plagiarism – avoidance and detection

8.1 What is plagiarism?

8.2 Why people plagiarise

8.3 How you are likely to be caught

8.4 What happens when you get caught?

8.5 How to avoid accidental plagiarism

8.5 How to avoid accidental plagiarism


9  Questions and answers



This lively and student-friendly guide takes into account the specific needs of engineers and scientists by providing plenty of examples from their respective fields and approaching them in a friendly and informal manner. This book covers all aspects of the dissertation writing process, including:

·  What is a dissertation?

·  How to start your dissertation

·  Time management

·  Project proposals

·  Ethics

·  Collecting and understanding your data

·  Writing up your dissertation


Dr Mark Breach is Principal Lecturer in Engineering Surveying at Nottingham Trent University. As Programme Leader for the MSc Civil and Geotechnical Engineering degrees he manages all its postgraduate dissertations and he also performs a similar function for undergraduate Civil Engineers.

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