How To Structure A Dissertation?

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How To Structure A Dissertation?

Writing a dissertation is kind of like writing any other article in the way that the author has quite a bit of freedom in deciding its structure. Although it may seem reasonable to rely on established structures, you need to keep in mind that in writing dissertations, having even some flexibility can make the difference between work which stands out, and work which fades into the background. The structure of a dissertation also has a lot to do with the way it’s written, which is dependent on the topic, area, and approach you are going to be taking.

For instance, dissertations which tend to cover topics such as the humanities are usually long and winding, featuring paragraph after paragraph of text. These paragraphs aim to develop a detailed argument in support of a core thesis. The chapters are usually arranged in order of perspectives and may cover different aspects of the argument in question. This may include any research works into the topic, and case studies that help explain your view through reputable data and statistics.

The structure may also be dependent on any local customs universities may decide to follow. Some universities claim that the conclusion should be the final section of the dissertation, while others claim that the discussion comes after it. These rules need to be taken into account for your dissertation to conform. In case you are not aware of such regulations, it is a good idea to look through the guidelines, and in case you haven’t received any, ask your instructors and advisors about them. While most conventions can be added in after the writing process, some variations need to be accounted for before writing for the work to be structured accordingly.

Regardless, the vast majority of dissertations are likely the same, consisting of the same sections and formats. While this task can be offloaded to a Dissertation Writing Services, it is your work, and it helps to attempt it before you delegate the task to someone else. Therefore, you can take a look below to see each section, along with a description of how you are supposed to be structuring them. 

Title page

The first page anyone should be seeing when they open your dissertation is the title page. This page needs to contain your name, the title of your dissertation, institution, program title, and department. Additionally, you also need to write down the date of submission, as well as your student number in case you are needed to. Also, there may be a requirement to add your university logo, along with the name of your supervisor too. Then again, in case you have any issues, get in touch with your supervisors, and they will guide you appropriately.


Although the acknowledgements page is mostly optional, it is good to place if you want to extend your gratitude to any individual. This may include your supervisors, teaching staff, peers, or even friends and family members for their encouragement to complete your dissertation. Keep the words concise and brief to keep things formal.


The abstract section needs to include a brief summary of your dissertation. This needs to be written concisely, and a good word count to aim for is between 150-300 words. As it is a summary, you need to write it at the end of your dissertation, preferably after a proper reading. The abstract needs to contain the main subject and the goals of your research. You also need to cover the tools and methods used, and the results of the research. Finally, you need to end your abstract with your conclusions. As the abstract is supposed to be a summary of your work, it would be the most read part of your dissertation. This makes it important for you to write it as well as you possibly can.

Table of content

In this table, you are supposed to be listing down all of your chapters, making sure to mention their subheadings, and page numbers. This list will provide an easy way for any reader to skip to certain pages, and to get an idea of the sections contained within. Now, your table of contents needs to feature every part of your dissertation, and it’s worth making a checklist of all the chapters to ensure that.

If you are using Microsoft Word, you can automatically generate a table of content if you write headings and subheadings down with heading styles. This is a convenient way of making the table, without the need for any additional work.


After your table of contents, there needs to be a list which states the following aspects:


In case your dissertation has a lot of abbreviations, it makes sense to include a list of them in alphabetical order to simplify looking them up. 


If you have used complex and technical terms in your dissertation, it is great to include a glossary which has definitions and descriptions for each term. Again, this list also needs to be sorted in alphabetical order.

Figures and Tables:

If your dissertation has a lot of tables and figures for data and statistics, you need to make a numbered table mentioning them neatly. Using the Insert Caption feature in Microsoft Word, this task is a breeze.


The introduction to your dissertation needs to set up the theme for your paper. This includes the topic, motivation, and relevance behind you writing it. In it, you would need to establish your topic properly, along with information to form a foundation. You would then need to focus on a certain point which you would be addressing ion your work, and discuss the present state of the research done. Then, you need to state your research objectives and questions, followed by a brief explanation of your paper structure.

Literature review

Prior to writing the dissertation, you must evaluate and corroborate all the academic work done on the topic at hand. All manner of journals, books, and online sources you collect need to be sorted based on relevancy and stated clearly. As there is a probability that existing research might have limitations, you need to address any gaps, unresolved issues, reinforcing points, and logical debates.


The methodology needs to mention the following areas:

  • The type of research (qualitative, quantitative, etc.)
  • Data collection methods
  • Research settings and directives
  • Analysis methods
  • Used tools and materials
  • Research limitations and obstacles
  • Assessment and reasoning behind your research methods

This section aims to report the optimal method taken to perform the research in your own experience. You would need to present compelling evidence, and well-structured sentences to prove your objectives.


You now need to state the results of your dissertation. This could be done using graphs and tables in the case of statistical research and analytical paragraphs if the research was qualitative. Instead of repeating information mentioned in the previous sections, it is best to offer a newer perspective and a proper layout.  


The discussion chapter discovers the meaning behind the research and needs to have your opinions on whether the research went in the intended direction or not. You can also invite future research into the topic, and provide references to show how your work fits in with existing research.


This section is the penultimate chapter of your dissertation, which needs to have your final thoughts and ideas on the research performed. However, it may also precede the discussion chapter, in which you provide discussions to your conclusions. In this chapter, you would need to highlight the innovation you have made to the relevant field, as well as how the new outlook adds to the overall topic.


All the sources and materials you have used in your research need to be referenced and added to a reference list. As per your citation style, this may vary, and if you aren’t sure, ask your supervisor.

By | 2019-11-09T06:53:31+00:00 November 9th, 2019|Dissertation Writing|0 Comments

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