It has long been agreed by many people in the world of education that studying samples of excellent work is a great way to learn. You look at all the good points that can be found in a well written sample, you take note of these things, and then hopefully you apply them to your own work. It's called rote learning. You learn by copying the good work of others.
But this is a two edged sword. This can backfire on you if the samples you study to try and gain expertise and learn such things as written expression, layout and format and structure are not of sufficient high-quality. It's far worse if they are lacking in quality altogether. What happens here is that the student is acquiring bad habits. Unless they can tell the difference of course, there is a very good chance they may copy one or more of these incorrect aspects of the work.
One of the first pieces of advice you get from both the teaching faculty and even from fellow students is that you should read sample dissertations to glean all sorts of positive information. But if the samples you choose are poor you could be led in the wrong direction. You should be looking at a sample dissertation along the lines of the following categories.
You need to understand about the various formats including APA and MLA etc. If the sample dissertation you are studying is required to be in a particular format, you need to be sure that it sticks to the requirements. If it doesn't, you may acquire bad habits and make the same mistakes. Avoid this at all costs.
Sticking to the topic is a foundation requirement for all dissertation writing. You cannot afford to wander off on a tangent no matter how interesting that tangent may be. You must answer the question being asked or stick to the topic or both. If the sample dissertation you are reading fails to do those things, you are in danger of copying that routine and suffering the consequences.
Finding spelling and grammatical errors and any other typographical mistakes is a major no-no. The mistakes should stand out like a sore thumb. Do not allow this sloppy proofreading to become the norm for you when you write your dissertation and then come to do your own proofreading.
Repetition is a common failing with many essay writing students. It should never occur and certainly not with somebody producing a dissertation. One of the best ways to pick up repetition is to read aloud your writing or that of the sample you are studying and thus become more acutely aware when repetition occurs. But remember a sample is never helpful if it is poorly written.
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