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Whilst it is possible for dissertations to be entirely literature-based, the most common form of dissertation takes the form of a case study.Here the focus of attention is on a particular community, organisation or set of documents.
You need to be able to justify why you have chosen to use such data.
Quantitative data is particularly useful when you wish to discover how common particular forms of behaviour such as illegal drug use are for a particular age group.
Think about the different kinds of studies you have read for other modules.
There is plenty of scope to use the approaches and methods that you are most comfortable with.
Quantitative dissertations are likely to be nearer to the lower end of the range of approved lengths for the dissertation (e.g.
if the length is to be 5,000-8,000 words, dissertations based on quantitative analysis are likely to be closer to 5,000 words in length).If you do this, it is important to review the literature from an explicit angle and identify some themes to make the review distinctive.You might, for example, explore empirical debates in your chosen field across different countries or time periods.A major challenge in case study dissertations is connecting your own primary research or re-analysis with the broader theoretical themes and empirical concerns of the existing literature.Most dissertations demand either primary or secondary research. These questions demand primary or secondary analysis of data.The attraction of this kind of dissertation is that it stems from empirical curiosity but is at the same time practical.You may be interested in a wider question but a case study enables you to focus on a specific example.Watch video on approaching methodologies (.wmv) Your approach, research design, and research question are all connected.'Approach' means something more than the type of data you use – it refers to your overall orientation to research and the type of claims you will make for your study.You might ask how useful certain concepts or theories are for understanding particular patterns of behaviour. Here, the focus of attention is not so much to discover something about the social world, for example virtual communities, as to reach a judgement about the value of key concepts or theories in understanding that world.How the study is approached and how contrasting approaches are drawn upon needs to be stated very clearly.