There is no better way to understand a particular theory or procedure, than to take a look at some samples. But if you are not careful, using a sample can become more hazardous than helpful. It is absolutely necessary to know and recognize your limits while you are referring to a dissertation sample for guidance while preparing your own dissertation.
It is very difficult to understand the lengthy procedure of dissertation writing by reading the guidelines alone. Even if someone explains it to you, it might still look confusing and incomprehensible, if you are new to the type of assignment. There is no doubt that the best way to get an idea, of what a dissertation should look like, is to take a look at some dissertation samples. It would help you judge the quality of your own paper to go through a successfully completed paper. But there are certain things which you should be cautious about while referring to samples.
The first thing you should realize is that samples are meant for reference only. It i alright to take a look at some samples to get a better understanding of the method. But if it goes beyond that, it might end up claiming the credit for your work as well. The point is, you should know where to draw the line between using it for your purpose and letting it take you over. Most people are vulnerable to getting influenced by the sources they use for guidance. It is natural to feel more confident about walking the same path which someone else has successfully traveled. But when it is the matter of a research and a dissertation, it becomes a different matter altogether.
While reading through samples, always remember that if you use any of the lines written by someone else, even accidentally, it will be termed as plagiarism. So, if you wish to refer to any of the points you found in the dissertation samples, remember to cite the sources, thus giving the due credit to the author. That will also ensure your safety from an accusation which can follow you through your academic life.
Another matter to be ensured while looking at samples is the credibility of the author of the sample. An incorrectly written sample will be misleading. Hence, make sure that the sample you refer to is one that was prepared by a reliable source.
Do not blindly follow a dissertation sample. Check if your guidelines agree with the method and style used in the sample. It is ideal to find a sample which is written in the same style as that which you are supposed to use for your dissertation. You should also confirm the formatting and categorizing suggested by your dissertation guidelines before following the sample.
Dissertation samples are very helpful as long as you don’t let it into your own assignment, accidentally or intentionally. Always remember that it is your dissertation. You do not want your dissertation to look like a twin of someone else’s work. So, use the samples wisely and carefully.