Dissertation help needed

#1
I am currently looking to write a research proposal for a dissertation in the field of strategic studies.

Unfortunately, I am at a total loss for a topic to begin investigations, was wondering if anyone had any suggestions of an area that is relevant to the contemporary discourse of strategic studies?

My main interests lie in the uses of air power.
However, I have considered looking at the increased role of light armoured forces in recent times rather then the traditional, conventional armed forces. In your opinions, is this an area worthy of further research? Is there perhaps a better way of phrasing this?

I would be very grateful for any contributions, no matter how small!
Thanks in advance for any suggestions,

Fordingly
 
#2
How about "In the light of the current tendancy towards light, airmobile or peacekeeping operations, is the main battle tank still an effective part of the British Army's operational equipment?"
 
#3
Thats not a dissertation...its either Yes or No (personally its a No but thats just my opinion).

Military Writing (or Staff Duties) should be short, sharp and to the point!!!!
 
#4
CarpeDiem said:
How about "In the light of the current tendancy towards light, airmobile or peacekeeping operations, is the main battle tank still an effective part of the British Army's operational equipment?"
Thanks thats good, I certainly will consider it.

I want to attempt to steer clear from a narrow focus on particular military equipment and want to try and keep the research area broad and changeable at the moment until I meet with the dissertation tutor in September.

Short sharp and 10,000 words to the point :)
 
#5
theloggie said:
Thats not a dissertation...its either Yes or No (personally its a No but thats just my opinion).

Military Writing (or Staff Duties) should be short, sharp and to the point!!!!
And that's the difference between academic writing and service writing.

Cone.

Fordingly, check PMs.
 
#7
How about.......

"Is there a real role for the Royal Artillery in the British Army of today?"

Naturally, this would only be of use if you were writing a rather short dissertation and could be slightly hindered by the fact that it's a dead cert no-brainer with little scope for an alternative viewpoint (unless you happen to be a Gunner).
 
#8
Slightly off the topic but I am also interested in writing my dissertation along the lines of military stategy/modern military history. (Am in my first year so at the moment my dissertation is miles away)

However the problem I feel is that whilst I enjoy the subject in question, I feel that I will lack the support of my personal tutor and most of my uni tutors as they all seem to be lefties who generally have no affiliation with anything military in their studies.

I may be overexaggerating but when I wrote my history a-level coursework about monty and 21 army group, I recieved little help as:
1: no one had any interest in my topic area and 2: my teachers were again lefties who felt I was almost being immature writing about military matters as though wars were all about cowboys and indian stuff...not real subtantial historiographical debate.

Furthermore my personal tutor at the moment is not entirely impressed with the fact that I am an army bursar and tried to make a mockery of a career in the military when I asked him to clarify some details for Sandhurst. He even remarked that he was a pacifist and that he found it difficult to relate to people who choose to go for the military. (This really pissed me off as those who have no idea about the military think that those who go into it are gun totting war junkies who want to die for oil/bush/bliar bla bla bla)

Basically do you think this is a problem that I feel that I lack support from my tutor. I know that your dissertation is obviously the collaberation of ones own research but when it comes to needing help with structure and wording of my arguement, surely it is essential to have the support of your personal tutor.

Thanks in advance for any advice
 
#9
Make sure you pick a topic that you can easily get data for and you are actually allowed to ask questions about in your survey. When I done my dissertation for my management degree some of my classmates picked topics that sounded really interesting, and they were, but to do the job properly they needed to get information and market research data from private companies who were not prepared to give that info to anybody nevermind a spotty undergrad.

Also make it easy for yourself and focus in on something, no matter how irrelevant you initially think it may be in the grand scheme of things. Its very easy to try to be too broad and end up in knots with huge amounts of research to do and come out at the end with a load of rubbish.

Reference EVERYTHING you read and use. The format, presentation and referencing make up at least 10% of the marks. Worth getting perfect.

Make sure you can stay interested in and passionate about whatever you pick for the entire time you have to write it. It might not sound hard but when you have light armoured forces or battle tanks or whatever coming out of your arrse then its very easy to just lose interest. Its hard to get the momentum up again and pick up where you left off especially after a prolonged period of a few weeks or more.

The sooner you start the better

Good luck.
 
#10
Why not look at broader tri-service questions, as we're all moving to the 'one happy family' concept?
 
#11
I realise that you are making that statement as help to a fellow colleague, however to say that MBT’s are now no longer needed after their exemplary effect in both gulf wars recently, is I would say a premature assumption. Light and air mobile Warfare might be the future for most of the advanced Armies in the west, I would never negate the need for heavy armour. I am still to meet an infantry soldier who prefers Apache over Challenger 2, Say that the day when you need one.

I apologise for going off topic however this would be good for advancing a new point of view.
 
#13
windrush said:
Slightly off the topic but I am also interested in writing my dissertation along the lines of military stategy/modern military history. (Am in my first year so at the moment my dissertation is miles away)

However the problem I feel is that whilst I enjoy the subject in question, I feel that I will lack the support of my personal tutor and most of my uni tutors as they all seem to be lefties who generally have no affiliation with anything military in their studies.

I may be overexaggerating but when I wrote my history a-level coursework about monty and 21 army group, I recieved little help as:
1: no one had any interest in my topic area and 2: my teachers were again lefties who felt I was almost being immature writing about military matters as though wars were all about cowboys and indian stuff...not real subtantial historiographical debate.

Furthermore my personal tutor at the moment is not entirely impressed with the fact that I am an army bursar and tried to make a mockery of a career in the military when I asked him to clarify some details for Sandhurst. He even remarked that he was a pacifist and that he found it difficult to relate to people who choose to go for the military. (This really pissed me off as those who have no idea about the military think that those who go into it are gun totting war junkies who want to die for oil/bush/bliar bla bla bla)

Basically do you think this is a problem that I feel that I lack support from my tutor. I know that your dissertation is obviously the collaberation of ones own research but when it comes to needing help with structure and wording of my arguement, surely it is essential to have the support of your personal tutor.

Thanks in advance for any advice
windrush - which University are you at? that certainly shouldn't be occuring. PM me for further help.
 
#16
Fordingly said:
Short sharp and 10,000 words to the point :)
Is that all? You're right, it is short! :p

Regarding deciding on the title / subject matter, have you looked in your university library and / or any other university libraries to see what other people have written their dissertations about? It not only gives you a steer about what's common (and therefore worth avoiding!) but I'd be surprised if one of those titles didn't spark an idea for your own. One note of caution, be careful who you discuss your ideas with as I'd decided to write mine about terrorism in the nuclear age and happily chatted to my housemates (who were also coursemates) about it & lo, when it came to choose our dissertation tutors and present our ideas I suddenly found that one of them had decided to do practically the same, despite formerly whittering about writing about the Falklands Conflict... :evil: I quickly changed my course of study to the NPT and rogue states. (It was 1996 and before every man and his mate began talking about them, hurumph!) :roll: :D

windrush said:
...whilst I enjoy the subject in question, I feel that I will lack the support of my personal tutor and most of my uni tutors as they all seem to be lefties who generally have no affiliation with anything military in their studies.
I think I was lucky as whilst I had a couple of 1960s time-warp 'love and peace' lecturers, including my foreign policy professor who had a thing for Uncle Fidel, most of my tutors were quite hawkish and enjoyed the more 'blood and guts' parts of the course. Did you choose your tutor and is there any chance of changing? I know that sometimes having an 'anti' dissertation tutor is a good thing – I chose the hardest marker of the lot not only because he was the senior lecturer for the part of the course I enjoyed most but I decided that if I wrote well enough to please him I could please anyone! - but if you think that their attitude to you will influence the quality of their advice then you need to do something about it.

If you have an on-side tutor, see if they can give you some off-the-record advice, including possibly writing you a letter of introduction to academics at other universities / institutions. Thanks to one of my tutors being a former lecturer there, I spent a very enjoyable day at RMAS going over my study plan, having a one-on-one tutorial with one of the lecturers and using the library.

Back to your relationship with your personal tutor, one thing that you need to bear in mind is that your dissertation is the show-case of your talents, proving how well you've learned to not only research but to construct your arguments and regulate your writing, so my tutor explained to us that whilst we were welcome to bounce ideas off him, the time for him to teach us how to do the work was over.

Laury said:
Reference EVERYTHING you read and use.
Seconded! Charge up your photocopying card and invest in highlighters, colour co-ordinated post-it notes and file dividers!! I spent about a year collecting information and reading it, then wrote the thing in 5 days flat. I handed it in on the morning of my birthday and then proceeded to get very, very drunk! :D

PS If your personal tutor has ever written a book, find something to quote him on and don't forget to thank him in your introduction! :wink:
 
#17
How about is there a need for airborne forces in the modern world??

Lets face it, there's more chance of England winning the World Cup than the need for an operational jump.

(waits for inbound!)
 
#18
Are "Effects-Based Operations" just discredited strategic airpower theory with a new, budgetful, jacket?

Pity about the tutor. Are you near London?
 
#20
Fordingly said:
I am currently looking to write a research proposal for a dissertation in the field of strategic studies.

Unfortunately, I am at a total loss for a topic to begin investigations, was wondering if anyone had any suggestions of an area that is relevant to the contemporary discourse of strategic studies?

My main interests lie in the uses of air power.
However, I have considered looking at the increased role of light armoured forces in recent times rather then the traditional, conventional armed forces. In your opinions, is this an area worthy of further research? Is there perhaps a better way of phrasing this?

I would be very grateful for any contributions, no matter how small!
Thanks in advance for any suggestions,

Fordingly
Hello Fordingly. I would say this is definately an area worthy of further research and could do with rephrasing. When are you hoping to have your research proposal complete?
 

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