How should I structure a dissertation?
When students are assigned a task to write a dissertation, they are pretty much confused on how or where they should begin writing their dissertation. Some institutes provide sample, distinction bearing, dissertations as samples for review, but that doesn’t always solve the problem.
The major problem in dissertation writing is the “logic” behind it. Like a tall building being constructed, everything has a process, from laying down the foundation to the final paint job, everything is planned and in sequence. Similarly, a dissertation requires proper planning and structure before you can submit it. Accordingly, understanding how a dissertation is written is important and what is more important, why the dissertation is structured the way it is. A dissertation is long, based on the requirements, it can be as little as 10,000 words or as long as 30,000 words. Usually the requirements are in between 10,000-15,000 words or as assigned by your instructor.
Our team’s winning dissertation structure is discussed below and what process our professional writers follow when they write a dissertation. As a general procedure, academic staff usually asks students to write their dissertations in chapters, usually 6 main chapters. It is highly recommended that when writing in chapters, they should state what the chapter is about in the beginning of each chapter and when finishing the chapter, they should tell whether the purpose of the chapter was met or not. The content of each chapter can vary bust usually based on the following few main points:
This is the first chapter where you explain to the reader what this dissertation is about; the context of the dissertation is discussed. This is usually around 10% of your total dissertation, so let’s say you have a 10,000 word dissertation, so your introduction should be around 1000 words. Some points that can be of importance include the reason for such a study, what you aim to discover from this study and the “Why’s” of the dissertation.
Since chapter 1 takes you into the dissertation, it is the most important chapter and should catch the reader’s interest from the word GO. A good way to complete the introduction chapter is to answer the following questions (in sequence if possible) to get a good introduction. These can be used as sub-headings as well. Scenario that created the problem?
What is the problem? Why should this be solved? Hypothesis (Scientific Guess) on how to solve this? Who will benefit from your investigation? How will they benefit? How does your contribution add to solving the problem? What methods will be used to solve this problem? What were the constraints to this research? It is considered to be a good approach to ending the introduction by mentioning the aims of the dissertation.
The dissertation starts with the understanding of past problems by reviewing literature. This is important as tutors or instructors need to know how you came up with a problem to solve. This chapter is completed with the help of different articles in journals, newspapers, books, etc.
A good way to write a literature review is by summarizing the different literature you have read which will lead you to the problem statement. This chapter is the heard of the dissertation and covers around 25% of the total word count. This chapter needs to be drafted early in the dissertation process. As more and more literature is found, make sure you maintain a reference log. Highlight all the findings that are applicable to your dissertation. You need to maintain a critical approach of the literature – just reporting it is not a very good approach, discuss it as well. It is considered to be a good approach to ending the introduction by mentioning the aims of the dissertation.
This chapter is about “how it was done”. This will include all the elements that were used to research the data and complete the research. This includes the survey questions, practical experiments, interviews, software applications etc. This chapter is usually between 15-20% of the total word count. Justify the approach.
Describe the evaluation of the methods, techniques and procedures used.
This chapter is based on the presentation of the data. The data collected in the previous chapter will be represented here. This is approximately 15% of the total word count that is required. This chapter of the dissertation is used for representing the data. This area of the dissertation is not for discussion. This is only used for representing the data that is available in the form of tables, charts, etc. These tables and other figures should come under appropriate headings and captions.
5.Discussion, Analysis & Data Interpretation
This is the chapter that will discuss the findings from the previous chapter. The chapter will be talking about the discoveries made during the research. In addition to that, this chapter will critically analyse the collected data. This chapter is again around 15%-20% of the entire word count. You need to show what you have understood from the discovered data. Explain the significance of the data you have collected and compared to previous data (if any) collected by others. In case a similar research was conducted previously, discuss their opinions of the data they collected with your own.
6.Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations
This is usually the final chapter that includes the summary of the entire research and all the discoveries made. This chapter is what the readers are mostly interested in and plan to see if you have been able to achieve what you have planned out to research on. In addition to the above, this chapter will also provide the conclusion of your research in the form of a new question or an answer to the problem at hand. In the case the topic of choice was large, and you have planned to answer only a part of it, you can express your opinion on how other researchers can use your data in their research. This chapter is around 15% of the total word count. Express the main findings as statements. Where possible, Conclusions should direct readers towards further research. Include your recommendations which will help readers in understanding what to do next. Once you have completed this chapter, you are free to include any or all of the following:
Appendices (tables, figures, textual results, survey question paper, etc)
Bibliography (all the material you read but did not reference in the paper directly)
References (material read for study and directly referenced in the paper)
This will complete your dissertation and you can expect to get an excellent grade based on the proper process and structure.