Understanding the Different Types of Dissertations

Understanding the Different Types of Dissertations

When it comes to completing a dissertation, there are various approaches that can be employed. Dissertations are complex and lengthy research projects that typically consist of several parts. Depending on the field of study and the topic being researched, different types of dissertations may be more appropriate. Understanding the different types of dissertations and knowing how to choose the most suitable one is essential for successfully completing this academic milestone.

Another type of dissertation is the non-empirical or professional dissertation. This type of dissertation does not involve collecting primary data from participants but instead relies on analyzing events, theories, or existing data. Non-empirical dissertations may be more suitable for students who are researching something beyond the scope of gathering data from participants. It allows for a more flexible approach to the research process while still making use of appropriate theories and methodologies.

Whether you choose an empirical or non-empirical dissertation, it is important to develop a clear understanding of the type of research you are conducting. This will guide your actions in collecting and analyzing data, as well as the variables you will be considering. By carefully planning and structuring your dissertation, you can ensure that your research is of high quality and meets the requirements of your field of study.

In the article, “Understanding the Different Types of Dissertations,” we will provide guidance on how to choose the most suitable type of dissertation for your research topic. We will also discuss the key elements that should be included in each type of dissertation, including the methodology, data analysis, and the presentation of findings. While dissertations can be a challenging task, understanding the different types and their requirements can help you navigate this hurdle with confidence. So, whether you’re an aspiring researcher or a professional in the field, this article will provide you with valuable insights on how to approach your dissertation and produce a research work that is both credible and impactful.

Descriptive Dissertations: Paint a Picture of the Research Subject

When conducting a descriptive dissertation, there are several considerations to keep in mind. Firstly, the choice of research design is important, and a positivist or traditional quantitative approach is often used. This allows the researcher to collect numerical data from various sources, which can then be analyzed using statistical processes.

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However, collecting quantitative data is not the only option in a descriptive dissertation. Qualitative methods, such as interviews, focus groups, observations, and document analysis, can also be utilized to gather rich and detailed narratives about the research subject.

One of the main uses of collecting descriptive data is to assist in developing a better understanding of a particular phenomenon or subject. It helps to determine the similarities and differences between cases or events and provides a broader perspective on the research topic.

Dr. Mark Saunders and Dr. Philip Thornhill have explained that a descriptive dissertation does not aim to test explicit hypotheses or establish causal relationships. Instead, it aims to provide a detailed and comprehensive account of the research subject.

When writing a descriptive dissertation, the author should provide a clear and concise abstract that outlines the key aspects of the research subject and the main findings. The author should also take into account the guidelines for proofreading and editing the manuscript to ensure that it is free from errors and mistakes.

Experimental Dissertations: Testing Hypotheses through Controlled Experiments

Experimental dissertations are often used in scientific, social science, and psychological research, where the researcher aims to identify cause-and-effect relationships between variables. These dissertations follow a structured research methodology that involves manipulating independent variables and observing the effects on dependent variables.

Methods Used in Experimental Dissertations

The methods used in experimental dissertations heavily rely on theory-driven research designs. Researchers start by formulating a clear hypothesis, which is a testable statement about the relationship between variables. They then design experimental procedures to systematically manipulate the independent variables while keeping other conditions controlled.

The experimental procedures may include selecting a sample of participants, randomly assigning them to different groups (experimental and control groups), implementing the intervention or treatment in the experimental group, and collecting data through various measurements or observations. These data are then analyzed using statistical techniques to determine the effects of the independent variables on the dependent variables.

Considerations for Choosing Experimental Dissertation

When choosing to conduct an experimental dissertation, there are several important considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Ensure that your research question is suitable for experimental research. Experimental dissertations are most appropriate when you want to establish causality or determine the effects of specific interventions.
  2. Consider the resources and time required. Experimental dissertations typically require more resources and time compared to other types of dissertations due to the complex nature of conducting controlled experiments.
  3. Critically analyze and update relevant theories. Experimental dissertations heavily rely on existing theories to guide the research design and interpretation of results. Therefore, it is crucial to thoroughly analyze and update theories to ensure the validity of the research.
  4. Use mixed-method approaches. While experimental dissertations are primarily quantitative in nature, incorporating qualitative methods such as interviews or surveys can provide a more comprehensive understanding of the research topic.
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Support and Proofreading for Experimental Dissertations

As experimental dissertations involve complex research designs and analyses, it is highly recommended to seek support and proofreading assistance to ensure the quality and accuracy of the study.

At LinkedIn, we provide various resources, such as academic editing and proofreading services, that can assist you in structuring and analyzing your experimental dissertation. Our team of experts understands the distinct requirements of experimental dissertations and can provide valuable insights to enhance the credibility of your research.

Whatever method you choose for your dissertation, it is important to consider the specific requirements of your research topic and align them with the appropriate research design. By understanding the different types of dissertations and their uses, you can make informed decisions to effectively carry out your research and contribute to academic knowledge.

Comparing the 3 Main Types of Dissertations: Differences and Similarities

1. Qualitative Dissertations

Qualitative dissertations focus on exploring and understanding phenomena and processes. They go beyond mere facts and figures and delve into the underlying reasons and motivations behind them. These dissertations typically involve in-depth interviews, focus groups, or observations to gather rich and detailed data.

In a qualitative dissertation, the emphasis is on describing and analyzing the data collected rather than formal hypothesis testing. The findings are often presented through narratives, themes, or quotations that capture the essence of the research. This type of dissertation is suitable for research that aims to gain insights into complex social or behavioral phenomena.

2. Empirical Dissertations

3. Non-Empirical Dissertations

Non-empirical dissertations are different from the other two types because they do not involve the collection of primary data. Instead, they are based on existing literature, theories, or personal experiences. These dissertations focus on critically reviewing and synthesizing the relevant literature in a specific field.

In a non-empirical dissertation, the author usually takes a theory-driven approach to analyze and explain the phenomena under investigation. This type of dissertation may also include interviews or questionnaires, but only as secondary sources to support the arguments. Non-empirical dissertations are suitable for research that aims to provide a broad understanding of a topic or to explore theoretical issues in a specific field.


What are the different types of dissertations?

The different types of dissertations include empirical studies, theoretical papers, mixed-method studies, and meta-analyses.

What is an empirical study dissertation?

An empirical study dissertation is a type of dissertation that involves collecting and analyzing data to answer a research question or test a hypothesis.

What is a theoretical paper dissertation?

A theoretical paper dissertation is a type of dissertation that focuses on developing new theories or frameworks in a particular field of study.

What is a mixed-method study dissertation?

A mixed-method study dissertation is a type of dissertation in which both qualitative and quantitative research methods are used to collect and analyze data.

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What is a meta-analysis dissertation?

A meta-analysis dissertation is a type of dissertation that involves analyzing data from multiple studies to draw conclusions and make recommendations.

Alex Koliada, PhD

By Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for studying aging, genetics, and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics. His scientific research has been published in the most reputable international magazines. Alex holds a BA in English and Comparative Literature from the University of Southern California, and a TEFL certification from The Boston Language Institute.