Organizing a Dissertation: In this exercise you will learn the different ways to structure a dissertation or thesis. You will learn how to choose the best organization method of writing for your dissertation or thesis.
There are four broad types of organization methods, called modes of argument, for a dissertation or thesis:
(1) Comparative - Two or more aspects of a topic are compared.
(2) Discursive - The topic is explained and developed with reasons and examples.
(3) Argumentative - The writer explains why a topic deserves more attention or why it should be viewed from a different perspective.
(4) Chronological - Historical developments in a topic are explained or explored in chronological order.
Once you have broadly decided what the subject matter of your dissertation or thesis will be, you need to choose the focus for the subject matter and the modes of argument you will adopt.
Exercise: Below is a list of dissertation/thesis titles. For each title, first decide what the subject matter is and then discuss possible modes of argument.
a) A comparison between the role of French and British caricature during the French revolution (1789-1795)
b) The text and the reader: Constructions of meaning in advertising texts
c) Undervalued achievement: The contribution of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man to the development of African-American fiction.
d) The reclaimed city: A comparative history of post World War II housing policy in New York, Singapore and London.
e) A policy of strictest neutrality? The Times, slavery and the American civil war.
f) Renaissance writing of history: British national identity in the late sixteenth century