How to Structure a Dissertation Step-By-Step

July 15, 2020

Writing dissertation is quite an important stage in your education. It means a lot, so it has numerous requirements. In general, this kind of academic paper is created to demonstrate your deep skills in your education field, an ability to hold researches, and make conclusions. Dissertation is the last task for Ph.D. candidates to execute before their graduation or getting the doctoral degree. So this is like a presentation of your knowledge, skills, and abilities in a chosen discipline.

In case this paper is so important, many students don’t know how to execute such a task. Even if they start with positive ideas, they usually face numerous troubles. And lack of time or knowledge is not the worst thing. If you can’t make a proper dissertation structure, then your paper is failed since the beginning.

But do not panic, because the authors have prepared this guide for you, and we will tell you step-by-step how and why to structure your dissertation and get an excellent result.

You can click on a category below to go to a specific section.

What is a Dissertation Structure?

Dissertation structure is a basic plan of the whole paper. It contains numerous parts which are also divided into paragraphs. Comparing the average essay or research, the structure of dissertation is more complex. And the main difficulty is not in the quantity of rules, but in the structure of this paper. It should be divided into exact titles, subtitles, and paragraphs. What about personal opinions? Yes, the dissertation must be an original research with unique ideas, and usually it is structured according to exact fields and disciplines.

Why is the dissertation structure plan so important? On the one hand, it is a key to organize your work and get ability to demonstrate all your skills and ideas. Student won’t forget to mention any thought in a paper, if he makes proper plan and notices. On the other hand, the structure helps to improve the process of writing and keep all requirements.

So if you need to write a brilliant dissertation, then start with making a proper structure. Use the following advice and you will make it absolutely perfect!

How Should a Dissertation Be Structured?

How to structure a dissertation? Use our expert recommendations and pay enough time for writing. Here are awesome tips in dissertation structure writing:

  1. choose the problem. The topic is wide, so student should also focus on the main problems. Explain its meaning, observe how you can improve the situation. Remember, that each dissertation should have constructive sense. Besides the problem definition, you should also explain its value for audience and scientists;
  2. describe the methodology. This part must contain a quick overview of the approaches you are going to use during your research. Thanks to methodology explanation, you can ensure your readers in your research value and own knowledge in this field;
  3. explain your results. The heart of every dissertation is its research, which should also be in your structure. But it is not enough to hold an investigation, you also need an ability to express your results and present your achievements in dissertation layout;
  4. make priorities. The author has a lot of tasks to do with dissertation structure, but he can’t complete any of them without precedence. Make notices about the list of literature, references, previous researches, etc. Such an approach allows making the best structure for dissertation;
  5. draw the conclusion. The essential part of every dissertation is your justification. Thanks to your approaches and current problem, you can consider final thoughts and share your ideas with readers;
  6. add a logical validation. In each dissertation no matter its type the rationale side is important. The author should defend his methodology and describe both advantages and disadvantages of them. To make it real the writer uses philosophical predispositions during structuring a dissertation;
  7. use recapitulation. This is an important part to demonstrate how far information obtained through your methods can be generalized.

This is an important part to demonstrate how far information obtained through your methods can be generalized.

Main Parts of a Dissertation

Each part of dissertation has its value. When you write the structure, you need to add the right elements in the right manner. Among the essential parts in dissertation structure are the following:

  • title page. The first page of your dissertation must contain your name and supervisor’s name, the title, date and special statement. Usually it is the same for all students and looks like that:
    ‘This research is submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of … by …’;
  • declaration. In this part it is also used the common sentence, which explains copyright. The author should notice, that he respects all mentioned borrowed ideas and creates a proper list of references. Besides, you need to say, that you have permissions for using all illustrations, images, etc.;
  • abstract. This is a short paragraph with the summary of your thesis. The requirement for its length usually depends on your university and department. In general, the abstract should let readers understand your main points of interest;
  • acknowledgments. This is a short part dedicated to saying ‘thank you’ to all people, who helped you during writing dissertation. You can mention there both small and big helpers no matter the size of their contribution;
  • contents. It includes titles and numbers for all pages. Usually this part is written at the end of your research:
    1. chapter 1: introduction. You must explain your outline, including goals, plans, reasons, and desires. Remember, that introduction is important, but it should explain your thoughts very briefly;
    2. chapter 2: literature review. Most writers have no problem with this part, because they just need to make a quick overview of primary and secondary sources. But all mentioned materials should be connected to your topic and problem. And don’t forget to add them to literature list in a proper way;
    3. chapter 3: requirements and analysis. You must make this part in more detailed way. The main aim is to divide your problem into several parts, so you can investigate it step by step. Remember, that analysis will be one of the greatest parts in the dissertation structure;
    4. chapter 4: design. This part must describe that design technique which has been pitched up. Besides, it has to select a proper type of things used in the analysis part and develop a design;
    5. chapter 5: implementation and testing. This part demonstrates the real value of your research. The particularities of testing depend on the type of papers (practical or theoretical);
    6. chapter 6: results and discussion. Make sure, you present the result of your investigation on the highest level to show you do a constructive job. This part will include your findings, current achievements, and plans for further work;
    7. chapter 7: conclusions. This chapter usually includes 2-3 pages to describe the summary of whole research. Provide your readers with the most important information about your research and let them understand your intentions;
  • references. Each borrowed thought and citation should be mentioned there. But notice, that the style of reference formatting may differ according to used terms (MLA, APA, etc);
  • appendices. This is not an obvious part in papers, but dissertations will be more expert with additional materials. You can use images, graphics, lists, scales, etc. Thanks to such elements you will be able to make a spectacular presentation of your research.

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Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

This is a hard task for students, but it happens, and they must do it. So it is not surprising, that authors haven’t enough enthusiasm and joy during writing dissertations. Sometimes you may feel a desire to leave it all and threw the draft in the trash. Of course, the planning, preparing, doing research, and writing text are difficult, but the paper is vitally important for you at the moment.

Among the most common and devious issues are the following:

  • procrastination. In the beginning you have a huge amount of time, but day by day you do nothing and lose precious time. So don’t delay your writing and use all your free hours to write, rewrite, and proofread your dissertation structure;
  • lack of skills. Even if you have almost graduated from university, it doesn’t mean you are an expert in writing complex papers. Students need two types of skills for dissertation writing: research skills and writing talent. The absence of one of them means underwhelming dissertation in the end. So pay great attention to making research and checking the grammar;
  • ignoring professional advice. It is great to believe in own powers, but you should listen to recommendations. The experience of other writers will make a great advantage for you no matter the field and dissertation topic.
Michelle Brown

Michelle Brown

Professor Michelle Brown received her Ph.D. Degree in Education Arts from Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Every year the writer improves his knowledge in English literature, linguistics, history, psychology, sociology. Over the years, the author has gained experience writing online articles and is happy to share her knowledge with students. Also, the writer helps students cope with academic assignments and learn the secrets of education, about which the teachers are silent.

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