Analysis of the Differences and Similarities of Coursework and Dissertation – Literature review Example

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The paper "Analysis of the Differences and Similarities of Coursework and Dissertation" is a  remarkable example of a literature review on education. The experience of an undergraduate student is enriched by attaining a research experience. According to Richardson (2015), research enables students to advance their knowledge regarding disciplines including and not limited to biological sciences, medicine, neuroscience and psychology that are acquired during course work. Research allows undergraduate students to have a better understanding of published work, learn to balance the individual and collaborative work and determine an area of interest since research is a process that can be learned and understood every student is able to achieve competence in the chosen career.

By virtue of experience, undergraduates perform capability in courses are aware of the ways in which research is different from course work. the ability to recognize these differences can remarkably improve the success of a student and enjoyment when carrying out a research Brown 2014(). Differences The major difference between course work and dissertation is that dissertation writing requires the application of logistics and use of time (Gilmore, et al. 2015).

While writing a dissertation, I am faced with the responsibility of defining goals, obtaining materials, and carrying out the actual work. Regarding time, I have to gauge how long I will take to outline the details of my dissertation. In course work, the outline is provided by tutors or lecturers. The course syllabus, course topics, assignments, and reading texts and other materials are developed by the lecturer before the start of the semester. With these come a timetable and a work schedule that guides all the activity of the semester.

During the semester, I have to read numerous pages and tackle work and assignments every week, prepare for and take exams. However, success in the course is my responsibility. Course work occurs over a span of 15 weeks and what I have during the course is over. In contrast, the dissertation of mu graduate studies requires that I produce almost everything for myself. Rather, I produce this requirement with the help of my supervisor and director. Dissertation writing and research is not an altogether orderly process that involves step by step procedure.

Research is characterized by false leads, insufficient evidence, goal changes, frustrations, and contradictory findings that forms part of the process Lunenburg & Irby (2008). As argued by Bridges, et al. (2002), these factors have a significant role as they bear witness that the researcher actually conducted the research and engaged in significant thought and work. Therefore, due to this argument, the lack of external structure and the absence of a formal assignment or syllabus results in difficulties in predicting the duration of the project. Despite the fact that the duration of nine months is allocated to the actual carrying out of the project, there is no specific amount of time allocated for the preparation leading to the research activities Varney (2010).

To successfully complete the dissertation, I have to begin with thesis planning and noting down the overall research process before the actual nine months, at least seven to six months prior. During this period, I have to undertake preliminary research, findings and develop my research problem. Also, I have to conduct bibliographic research and identity the literature that I would use in the dissertation.

Moreover, the period involves reading the materials that are necessary to write a research proposal. According to Brown (2014), research work calls for samples during a specific season or the research is centered on particular events and missing the window of opportunity at the initial steps of the research would add more time to the research.


Bridges, P, Cooper, A, Evanson, P, Haines, C, Jenkins, D, Scurry, D, Woolf, H, & Yorke, M 2002, 'Coursework Marks High, Examination Marks Low: discuss', Assessment & Evaluation In Higher Education, 27, 1, pp. 35-48

Brown, S 2014, 'What are the perceived differences between assessing at Masters level and undergraduate level assessment? Some findings from an NTFS-funded project', Innovations In Education & Teaching International, 51, 3, pp. 265-276

Gilmore, J, Vieyra, M, Timmerman, B, Feldon, D, & Maher, M 2015, 'The Relationship between Undergraduate Research Participation and Subsequent Research Performance of Early Career STEM Graduate Students', Journal Of Higher Education, 86, 6, pp. 834-863.

Lunenburg, F, & Irby, B 2008, Writing A Successful Thesis Or Dissertation: Tips And Strategies For Students In The Social And Behavioral Sciences, Thousand Oaks, Calif: Corwi.

Richardson, JT 2015, 'Coursework versus examinations in end-of-module assessment: a literature review', Assessment & Evaluation In Higher Education, 40, 3, pp. 439-455

Varney, Jj 2010, 'The Role of Dissertation Self-Efficacy in Increasing Dissertation Completion: Sources, Effects and Viability of a New Self-Efficacy Construct', College Student Journal, 44, 4, pp. 932-947

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