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Expert Tips to Structure a Dissertation

UserMark time13 June,2016

Ph.D. is considered to be the highest level of hierarchical structure of education system. Ph.D. courses are generally dissertation-oriented. The main objective of Ph.D. courses is to nurture students’ research aptitude. A Ph.D. holder has some responsibility towards the nation as his or her research paper contributes to the growth of education sector of that particular nation. As the education system is continuously evolving, the task of writing a thesis or dissertation has been introduced at the Master’s level too. The terms thesis and dissertation are mostly used as synonyms though there exists a minor distinction between them. In other words, it can be stated that thesis is a small version of the dissertation. In the dissertation, one has to include statements in support of the proposed hypothesis.

Expert Tips to Structure a Dissertation

If you think that you can easily write your dissertation proposal, you are wrong. A dissertation or a thesis paper follows a particular structure. If you will not follow that specific structure, your paper may get rejected. Therefore, before starting your dissertation assignment become well-acquainted with the standard format.  An ideal research paper consists of various chapters.

The standard format of a thesis/dissertation is mentioned below. A research paper can be divided into two sections: First section and the main body.

1. Format of First Section

• A Title page

• A convincing abstract or summary

• Acknowledgement section

• Author’s declaration

• Content

• A List of tables

• A List of figures

• List of the material used

• An efficient list of Definitions


Title page

You need to include the following aspects in the title page of your dissertation.

  • The title of the thesis
  • Candidate’s name
  • Name of the Institution or University
  • Guide’s name
  • Academic level.


Abstract or summary

The origin of the term abstract can be traced back to the Latin word abstractum that means a summarized form of an extended text. There are chiefly two kinds of abstract: informative and descriptive. Your research topic determines whether you have to write an informative abstract or a descriptive one. First, read your dissertation paper thoroughly and then write this section. In the abstract chapter, you have to write a satisfied summary of the research paper. Follow these tips to compose a well-written abstract.

  • Do not make the abstract of your research paper repetitive
  • Try to mention every perspective that you have considered while conducting the research
  • Use a straightforward language
  • The standard word limit is 350
  • Avoid any irrelevant point.


Acknowledgement page

You must have taken help from some people to carry out your research. You have to write their name in this section as a gesture of acknowledgment. This part is considered as an essential section. An example is quoted below.

“I would like to express my gratitude towards my family for the encouragement…….. I am highly indebted to my college administration…. I would like to thank my supervisor Ms. Brown…”


Declaration of the author

In the author’s declaration page, you have to officially state that you are aware of all the Constitutional rules and regulations regarding copyright.  It also should be mentioned that you have followed University’s rules.



Content is a list of all the chapters included in the dissertation paper. A sample format is given below.

Dissertation Table of Content


List of figures, tables and definitions   

You have to include lists of figures and tables considered by you while drafting the dissertation paper. The dissertation paper must contain a list of the definitions of the important terms mentioned in the text.

2. Standard format of Main Body

The main body of a thesis/dissertation paper contains the given chapters.

  • An Introductory chapter
  • A readable Literature review
  • A chapter on the research methodology
  • Results
  • Analysis
  • Discussion
  • A conclusion
  • Future work
  • References
  • Bibliography

 An introductory chapter

It is recommended to write the introduction last as this is recognized as one of the crucial chapters. The main function of the introduction of a dissertation paper is to lead the examiners or the readers from a wide subject field to a specific topic. It is instrumental in establishing the significance and context of your research. An error-filled and disorganized introduction can create a negative impact on your examiner. Always try to write a well-organized introduction. Apply these tricks to writing a good introduction.

  • Use a simple and smart language while writing this section
  • Do not forget to state the objective of your research
  • Justify your proposed hypothesis
  • Focus on each essential perspective
  • This chapter should be an overview of your dissertation
  • Include general statements about the topic
  • Highlight a particular research niche
  • Place your area of research within that specific research niche
  • Reveal a flaw in the earlier works.


A well-explained Literature review

This chapter requires a well-explained description of the existing works that have helped you to establish the main base of the dissertation paper. This part is very important as it helps a researcher in gaining and synthesizing a new aspect. Existing Literature guides one to discover the major variables of the chosen research area. Writing a faulty literature review can derail a dissertation. So implement the given tips.

  • Do not copy paste from the original work
  • Explain the notions in your own words
  • Adopt a comparative approach
  • Analyze the aspects
  • Relate those notions with your research hypothesis.


Research methodology

The task of applying research methods completely depends on the collected data. You have to employ qualitative research methods for subjective topics whereas quantitative method is appropriate for statistical data.  The research methodology must refer to the issues and problems which were predicted, and the necessary steps that you have taken for preventing them. For any sort of issues that arise, you have to mention the methods that you have adopted in order to minimize the problems. Interpretive, analytical and empirical methods can be employed.  Employ the following tricks:

  • First, identify the nature of the data
  • Then choose research method
  • You can use more than one research method if required
  • A good interpretation of the data has to be incorporated
  • Do cross-cultural analysis if your research field permits
  • Collect data from authentic sources
  • Check the reliability and validity of the research methods that you have selected
  • You have to mention how you have collected the data
  • Avoid unnecessary explanation
  • This section must not include any irrelevant detail.



You have to state the outcomes of your research clearly. Otherwise, your dissertation or thesis paper will be considered as an ambiguous work. These five tips will surely prove helpful for you.

  • Justify the outcomes
  • Interpret and compare the outcomes
  • Sometimes one may not get defined results. In such situations, an elaborate analysis is needed
  • Do not miss any point
  • Avoid ambiguous statements.



A discussion chapter should be there in your thesis or research paper. You have to discuss every major and minor point in this chapter. Follow the expert tips given below:

  • First, discuss your hypothesis
  • Then mention the objective of your research
  • After that try to compare the outcomes of the research with the already existing Literature
  • Include a paragraph on the validity of the newly invented aspects.



Writing the conclusion of a thesis is not as simple as people generally think. This chapter should be well-organized and well-written. This chapter should concentrate on the following issues.

  • This section must reaffirm your dissertation statement
  • Discuss the major issues
  • It is not just a summary
  • It should conclude a new level of perception
  • You need to end this part logically
  • Highlight the limitations of your study
  • Try to make it brief
  • This chapter must not contain new information
  • This chapter must have a perfect introduction
  • The first sentence of this section should refer to the main subject of your dissertation paper
  • Indicate why your dissertation topic is important.

Now, Let us go through some easy tricks to structure a dissertation-

1. Do not rush; first, have a clear idea about the format of a dissertation

Most of the students start composing their dissertation proposals without having adequate information about the structure of a dissertation paper. This is the first mistake they make. The success of a thesis depends largely on its format. If you do not structure your research paper appropriately, it may get rejected. Therefore, your thesis or dissertation needs to be well-structured. Arrange your proposal paper in the given format.

2. Avoid superficiality

The second mistake that can ruin all your efforts is to compose a whimsy content or text. Many students do not do sufficient research work and it leads to this consequence. An essential characteristic of a dissertation paper is more depth of knowledge and interpretation. You have to go through the following steps if you do not want to commit this mistake.

  • Do an adequate research work
  • Collect data from authentic sources
  • Always give priority to in-depth knowledge
  • Analyze and interpret each aspect of your research topic appropriately
  • Do not adopt any short cut methods.

This mistake leads to another consequence and that is stating undefined and ambiguous research question or questions. The research question is considered to be the most important part of a research paper. In other words, it can be stated that the outcome of a research solely depends on the proposed research questions and statements. If you want to draft a perfect thesis or dissertation, do avoid this mistake.

3. Do not select a complicated research topic

Many students think that choosing a complicated topic is the best way to convince the examiner. As every coin has another side, this mantra often fails. Choosing a complex topic can make the task of writing a dissertation paper more complicated and this can make the content of a research paper very mediocre. Often students go for contentious topics in order to show their ability. Always remember that confidence is good but overconfidence can lead one to destruction. This common phrase is applicable for choosing a dissertation topic also. A complicated research topic creates several loopholes in the proposed hypothesis. It is always recommended to choose a simple topic so that it becomes easy to find out the new aspects that have not been dealt with before.

4. Avoid tedious topics

Nobody likes tedious texts. When you are choosing the topic for your dissertation, always try to select interesting topics. If you choose an uninteresting topic, you may lose interest in writing your dissertation paper. A tedious topic leads to a tedious text. You cannot convince your examiner by writing a long uninteresting research paper. Therefore, choose an attractive topic for composing a catchy thesis paper.

5. Try to maintain a balance

An unorganized research paper may not be accepted. You have to maintain a consistency throughout the entire dissertation. You have to keep it in mind that a particular chapter of the dissertation must lead to the consequent chapters.

6. Do not paraphrase from the already existing works

An ideal paper must be 100 percent original.  You have to find out new ideas and new perspectives of the research field selected.  Do not copy someone else’s idea.

7. Do not hesitate to ask for help

Proper guidance is required to conduct the research properly. Always consult your guide for drafting an error-free dissertation. You ask your peers for help regarding your thesis paper.

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