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Structuring a Dissertation & Thesis

How to structure a dissertation?

❶Determine which material should be included or excluded.

Title page

Structure of a dissertation
dissertation structure for a dissertation proposal

This part of the dissertation discusses the results in a wider context, and links with themes drawn out during the literature review are considered. Further, you will have to critique the theses and theories discussed in the literature review section based on the results of the study. You need to state whether the evidence provides support for the research hypothesis. Each research question is discussed with reference to the evidence. This section also provides a brief recapitulation of the literature review and methodology.

This dissertation section summarises the study. No new material is to be introduced here, but drawbacks of the study can be included, and recommendations for future research can be made.

These must be listed in the format approved by your university. This important part of the dissertation includes questionnaires, tables, transcripts of interviews and statistical outputs. The main purpose of the dissertation structure is to present your research and ideas in a logical way. If you know how to structure a dissertation the correct way, you are more likely to get it right the first time, instead of being asked to make amendments for months before it can be accepted by your institution.

The literature review shows your institution that you have completed the required background studies. To state your methodology, you must be aware of different research approaches and methods in your selected academic field. The Results section of the dissertation must be structured in a way that the outcomes are easily interpreted by the reader.

You can voice your criticism and reflect on the findings and theories in the Discussion section. In the Conclusion and Recommendations section of the dissertation , you must show that your research has delivered important knowledge for a certain industry or field of study. In this section, you need to compare and contrast the views of different authors on the issue you are researching, highlight the gaps and contradictions in current literature, and demonstrate how your study is related to current and past research.

If you are confused about what to include in this dissertation section , ask our WritePass experts on structuring your literature review. Not all theses have a separate theory section. In the IMRaD format the theory section is included in the introduction, and the second chapter covers the methods used. What kind of theory should you choose? Since the theory is the foundation for your data analysis it can be useful to select a theory that lets you distinguish between, and categorise different phenomena.

Other theories let you develop the various nuances of a phenomenon. In other words, you have a choice of either reducing the complexity of your data or expanding upon something that initially looks simple. How much time and space should you devote to the theory chapter?

This is a difficult question. Some theses dwell too long on theory and never get to the main point: But it is also important to have read enough theory to know what to look for when collecting data. The nature of your research should decide: Some studies do not require much theory, but put more emphasis on the method, while other studies need a rich theory section to enable an interesting discussion. In a scholarly research article, the section dealing with method is very important. The same applies to an empirical thesis.

For students, this can be a difficult section to write, especially since its purpose may not always be clear. For example, if you have carried out interviews, you do not need to list all the different types of research interview. You also do not need to describe the differences between quantitative and qualitative methods, or list all different kinds of validity and reliability. What you must do is to show how your choice of design and research method is suited to answering your research question s.

Demonstrate that you have given due consideration to the validity and reliability of your chosen method. This way, the method section is not only able to tie the different parts of your thesis together, it also becomes interesting to read! Your analysis, along with your discussion, will form the high light of your thesis. This is where you report your findings and present them in a systematic manner.

The expectations of the reader have been built up through the other chapters, make sure you fulfill these expectations. To analyse means to distinguish between different types of phenomena — similar from different. Importantly, by distinguishing between different phenomena, your theory is put to work. Precisely how your analysis should appear, however, is a methodological question. Finding out how best to organise and present your findings may take some time.

In this case it will be important to choose analytical categories that correlate to your chosen theory. Engaging emotions is not the main point, but a way to elucidate the phenomenon so that the reader understands it in a new and better way. In many thesis the discussion is the most important section. Make sure that you allocate enough time and space for a good discussion. This is your opportunity to show that you have understood the significance of your findings and that you are capable of applying theory in an independent manner.

The discussion will consist of argumentation. In other words, you investigate a phenomenon from several different perspectives. To discuss means to question your findings, and to consider different interpretations.

Here are a few examples of formulations that signal argumentation:. The final section of your thesis may take one of several different forms.

Some theses need a conclusion, while for others a summing up will be appropriate. Open research questions cannot always be answered, but if a definite answer is possible, you must provide a conclusion. Despite this fact, general structure has many aspects in common. The structure of the scholarly argumentation is very similar to the structure of a scientific article. It usually consists of several dissertation sections, including a preface to subject matter of the research, experimental part or methodology, core chapters that represent a confirmation of the data preferred for analysis, obtained results and discussion of an initial hypothesis of the study, and final conclusions.

The title page is different for every university. Your committee should provide you with its format and ordinary requirements. It might include your name, student ID, department and university name, degree level, thesis title and date of submission. A dissertation title should be eye-catching and represent main subject matter of study in several words. Your abstract is a compressed summary of your academic writing.

It is one separate page that includes from to words. Despite its length, an abstract is difficult to compose you have to put all your achievements on one page. A good summary enables a reader to learn the problems you investigate, why and how you have conducted research, what you have discovered, and what your findings mean without reading the whole dissertation. It is written last when you are aware of outcomes and relevance of your study. Every dissertation structure contains a content page placed on the title page that lists the starting pages for different chapters.

Sometimes young scientists name this section as historical too. It should force the reader to gets interested in your investigation and suggest all questions you will explain in the next chapters. The introduction represents the background of your study.

It gives the answers to questions related to the subject matter of your issue; the methodological approach used in your investigation, topicality of your research for development of science in general.

Also, this chapter displays your awareness of the problem you are going to investigate, how you are planning to structure your dissertation, why you have chosen this area of study. A thorough literature review must be done and shown what other scientists have done on this issue, how research is related to other contemporary scientific investigations.

Most undergraduate dissertation structure requires separating literature review as a separate section. If you are obliged to prepare it as an individual chapter, you need to introduce the current state of studies related to your topic, find out whether they agree or disagree with your research, and explain importance of your experiment. Mostly this part is completed first. A gap that identifies where further investigation is expected should be defined in this part. This part is frequently included in the introduction.

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Top 10 dissertation tips: structuring a dissertation We can't emphasis enough how important it is to plan a strong and thorough dissertation structure. When you've completed your research and planning, the next step is preparing to write your dissertation – dissertation writing is arguably the most daunting step of all, and a strong dissertation structure will help you in two ways.

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Designing your detailed structure. If your dissertation is well-structured, easy to follow, logical, and coherent, your examiners will probably enjoy reading it, and will be able to listen to your argument without the distraction of trying to make all the links themselves.

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Dissertations are normally expected to be original research of scholarly quality, but the meanings of "original" and "scholarly" can vary with discipline and level. Some dissertations contain primary research such as laboratory studies, surveys or a case-study conducted by the author. The structure of thesis is crucial as it influences the general quality of paper and helps the graduate complete it successfully. Each college or another higher educational institution sets its own demands on the dissertation structure.

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Below you will find an easy to follow guide to structure a dissertation. It is recommended that you create the titles and subtitles before you fill the dissertation with content, and determine how long each chapter will be to make up the required dissertation word count. THE LAYOUT OF THE DISSERTATION OR THESIS Before starting your dissertation or thesis you should start by setting out each chapter, section and sub-sections. The logical structuring of chapters, sections and sub-sections help to introduce the reader systematically to the necessary background and makes him/her receptive to the new ideas and.