How can you achieve a first class mark for your dissertation? A 1st class dissertation will typically display all or many of the following characteristics – make sure you incorporate them in your dissertation writing to improve your chances of success.


A dissertation constitutes your personal academic position, and should therefore by nature be substantially original in order to fulfil its basic requirement. Originality comes in shades and degrees, however, and for an upper 1st mark you must demonstrate in all aspects of your work an original critical stance and unique perspective, informed by your novel research aims.


The content of your upper 1st class dissertation must be gauged to relate meaningfully and appropriately with the existing literature. The scope of your work must be clearly delineated, its aims relevant, interesting and cognisant of significant trends in the field, and its findings compelling, persuasive and important.

Data collection

Your thorough understanding of the data collection methods applicable in your chosen field must be communicated unambiguously to the reader. Justify your chosen methodology through a rigorous comparative analysis of available alternatives and evaluate the advantages and drawbacks of the chosen approach.

Conceptual framework

Demonstrate a thorough and deeply engaged understanding of the tissue of ideas and theoretical paradigms surrounding your chosen area of research and remain mindful of this background conceptual framework when discussing your findings. To achieve the very highest marks you must appropriate these ideas to your own needs and use them to render your data intelligible.

Structure and organisation

Proper chapter development, subheadings, introductory and concluding sections: each should be employed seamlessly to provide for absolute clarity. Logical development of argument should be mirrored in – and facilitated by – coherent and intuitive organisation of material. Employ linking devices to guide the reader across chapters.

Quality of expression

For an upper 1st class dissertation, the quality of your written English should be consistent with expectations for any serious piece of academic research, which is to say absolutely impeccable. Your comfort with the academic register should be second nature, lending a consistent assured tone throughout. Total accuracy in usage of specialist vocabulary is required.


You will have an extremely wide first-hand knowledge of the relevant literature and the broad knowledge base which this brings. Reference material from an extensive variety of sources and demonstrate your expert scholarly acumen through citation of esoteric texts and unusual material alongside mastery of the core material.

Critical analysis

The material that you reference should be brought entirely under your command through a prodigious capacity to identify, draw out, critique, dissect and evaluate key concepts. In your analyses consider provenance as well as implications.


Ensure not only the relevance of your findings, but other attributes such as significance for the field, reproducibility, and the extent to which such findings can be generalised. Not only the nature of your findings but their position in relation to existing research must be thoroughly discussed.

Academic conventions

Demonstrate a total grasp of the appropriate use of referencing, abstracts, bibliographies and appendices. Remove all doubts as to your academic competence by completely eliminating errors in this area.