In writing your dissertation you will draw on some of this earlier writing to produce a longer and more comprehensive account. Before embarking on any substantial writing for your dissertation you will need to check the exact requirements regarding:. There are some conventions that guide the structuring of dissertations in different disciplines. You should check departmental and course regulations. The title itself is an important opportunity to tell the potential reader what your research is about.
You will need it to be succinct, specific, descriptive, and representative of the research you have done. There is likely to be a required format for the title page in your discipline, so you need to check what that is. This may be one of the shortest sections of your thesis or dissertation, but it is worthwhile taking great care to write it well. Essentially, the Abstract is a succinct summary of the research. It should be able to stand alone in representing why and how you did what you did, and what the results and implications are.
It is often only one page long, and there may be a word limit to adhere to. The Abstract is an important element of the thesis, and will become a document in its own right if the thesis is registered within any database.
The examiners will therefore assess your Abstract both as part of your thesis, and as a potentially independent document. It can be best to write the Abstract last, once you are sure what exactly you are summarising.
Alternatively it can be useful to write the abstract earlier on, as an aid to identifying the crucial main thread of your research, its purpose, and its findings, which could then guide the structure of the dissertation.
It might be useful to look at how others have managed. It is certainly an academic exercise, but perhaps not too different from the concise explanations of your research you may have had to give to relatives and neighbours over the last few years, in terms of its brevity, accessibility, and comprehensiveness.
This is your opportunity to mention individuals who have been particularly helpful. Reading the acknowledgements in other dissertations in your field will give you an idea of the ways in which different kinds of help have been appreciated and mentioned.
The contents pages will show up the structure of the dissertation. This is a useful check on whether amalgamation of sections, or creation of further sections or sub-sections is needed.
Although this is the first piece of writing the reader comes to, it is often best to leave its preparation to last as, until then, you will not be absolutely sure what you are introducing.
The introduction has two main roles:. The purpose of this chapter is to show that you are aware of where your own piece of research fits into the overall context of research in your field. To do this you need to:. This can lead logically into a clear statement of the research question s or problem s you will be addressing.
In addition to the research context, there may be other relevant contexts to present for example:. It can be difficult to identify the best order for sections in this chapter because the rationale for your choice of specific research question can be complicated, and there may be several inter-linked reasons why the research is needed. It is worth taking time to develop a logical structure as this will help to convince examiners of the relevance of your research, and that you understand its relevance.
It will also provide you with a framework to refer back to in your discussion chapter, when you reflect on the extent to which your research has achieved what it set out to do. In these chapters a straightforward description is required of how you conducted the research. If you used particular equipment, processes, or materials, you will need to be clear and precise in how you describe them.
You must give enough detail for another researcher to replicate your study. You will need to check which style of reporting is preferred in your field. For example a scientific dissertation would probably have very clear separation between the results and the discussion of those results; whereas a social science dissertation might have an overall chapter called Findings, bringing the results and their discussion together.
This is where you review your own research in relation to the wider context in which it is located. You can refer back to the rationale that you gave for your research in the literature review, and discuss what your own research has added in this context.
It is important to show that you appreciate the limitations of your research, and how these may affect the validity or usefulness of your findings. Given the acknowledged limitations, you can report on the implications of your findings for theory, research, and practice. This chapter tends to be much shorter than the Discussion. This section needs to be highly structured, and needs to include all of your references in the required referencing style. As you edit and rewrite your dissertation you will probably gain and lose references that you had in earlier versions.
It is important therefore to check that all the references in your reference list are actually referenced within the text; and that all the references that appear in the text appear also in the reference list. You need to check whether or not the appendices count within the word limit for your dissertation.
Items that can usefully go in the appendices are those that a reader would want to see, but which would take up too much space and disrupt the flow if placed within the main text. Again, make sure you reference the Appendices within the main text where necessary. 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.
The only way to achieve a consistent argument throughout a piece of writing is by creating some kind of plan or map of what you want to say. It can be useful to think of the research question or topic going like a strong thread throughout the dissertation: Moving from doing the research to writing a comprehensive account of it is not necessarily easy.
It can be helpful to break the task down into smaller, more easily accomplished elements. The process of producing your writing plan could go as follows. The verso back of the title page is where you find the copyright notice, the publisher, the ISSN number, etc.
This may look like this:. Your university might not have a standard for a copyright page. If this is the case, you could put here the names of your supervisor s and evaluation committee members instead. On the dedication page the author names the person s for whom the book is written.
It is for the author to decide whether to have a dedication or not. It is not necessary to identify the person s to whom the work is dedicated.
Examples of a dedication are:. Patribus a pueris semper parendum est. The epigraph is a short quotation or a poem, which usually serves to link the book to other, usually well-known, published works. The source of the quotation is given on the line following the epigraph and is usually aligned right, often preceded by a dash. The table of contents should contain the title and beginning page number of everything that follows it: If some chapter titles are too long, consider choosing alternative short titles to be used in the table of contents.
Do not include the contents in the table of contents unless you want to make a joke. The list of illustrations contains all illustrations in the dissertation and the page numbers where they can be found. If there are various kinds of illustrations, the list can be divided into parts, such as Figures, Maps , etc. The titles of the illustrations need not correspond exactly to the captions printed with the illustrations themselves; you can use shortened titles.
The list of Illustrations is usually titled simply Illustrations , but appears as List of Illustrations in the table of contents.
A list of tables usually titled just Tables but entered in the table of contents as List of Tables contains all tables and their page numbers.
The titles of the tables may be shortened if needed. The abstract includes a concise description of the thesis — the problems discussed in it and their proposed solution. The abstract must focus on the result of the scientific investigation, rather than giving the background and methodology for the investigation. This is why people read the abstract: The abstract is a self-contained text and should not contain references.
If this is needed, then you can include the whole reference in the abstract. The abstract is best written towards the end of the dissertation writing process. The abstract will be the most widely read and published part of your thesis: In the acknowledgement you thank the people who have contributed to your doctoral degree by providing academic supervision, administrative support, food and shelter, friendship, etc.
First and foremost, you should thank your main supervisor, followed by the co-supervisor s and the people who have helped you shape your academic profile. It is a good idea to thank the administrative staff at the Faculty, who will have most likely helped you sort out some problems during your postgraduate studies. You can then continue with thanking your close colleagues, friends, spouse, kids, parents, and optionally God. The acknowledgements are the only place in the dissertation where you may reveal personal information about yourself and your life.
It is less formal than the rest of the dissertation and can include jokes, sentences in foreign language, etc. Keep in mind though that a lot of people who do not know you personally will read this part, so you should not be too personal and revealing. It is a good idea to prepare a list of people to include in the acknowledgements before one has started writing them. You can begin with this list months before you submit your dissertation; stick a post-it note on your desk and add the names of people to thank as you remember them.
The acknowledgements of a dissertation are the only part that everyone will read I believe that by the end of a defense event, everybody in the audience has read the acknowledgements in the dissertation copy before them. Make time to write it well and include all people you want to thank to. Be aware that the acknowledgements of your dissertation can form the basis for the selection of your defense committee.
Sometimes, the author may need to add a list of the transliterations used in the book. This is best done in the front matter and can include a table specifying the conversion of each symbol of the source alphabet into a symbol of the target alphabet.
The list of abbreviation contains all the abbreviations used in the body text of the dissertation, listed in an alphabetical order. If the list is less than a page, it can be places on the left-hand page next to the first page of text. The body matter contains the main text of the dissertation. It is commonly divided into chapters, which are often but not necessarily of approximately the same length.
Each chapter title should provide a reasonable clue to the contents of the chapter. Choose short title chapters; in case this is not possible, consider having shorter versions to be used in the Table of Contents and as running heads. The Introduction often includes a literature overview, where the author provides short summaries of works relevant for the topic. The goal with this exercise is twofold: The exact structure of the middle chapters may vary, depending on the scientific field.
Dissertations in other fields may include one or more chapters on the theory and data. In some dissertations, the middle chapters are journal articles where the doctoral candidate is a first author. This model has certain disadvantages. Firstly, the dissertation cannot be easily published as a book later on. It summarizes the conclusions of the scientific investigation, the solutions to the problems stated in the beginning, suggestions for future research, and practical implications of the findings.
This chapter should be relatively short and preferably written in a way that it can stand alone. Avoid copy-pasting sentences from the Abstract and the Introduction.
Long chapters can be divided into sections, which can be further divided into subsections and sub-subsections. When a chapter is divided in sections, there should be at least two of them. Just one section in a chapter is illogical and asymmetric — you should not have any sections at all in such case. The same applies to subsections and sub-subsections.
Abstracts cannot exceed words for a thesis or words for a dissertation. Number the abstract page with the lower case Roman numeral iii (and iv, if more than one page) centered with a 1/2″ margin from the bottom edge.
Some dissertation writing guidelines suggest students to name different sections of their thesis as chapters. But there are other guidelines that ask students to leave the sections as they are. That means you may name the first part as Introduction, the second part as Literature Review and the last part as Methodology.
Dissertations in other fields may include one or more chapters on the theory and data. In some dissertations, the middle chapters are journal articles where the doctoral candidate is a first author. This model has certain disadvantages. A chapter-wise format of the dissertation is the universal requirement that facilitates the paper dissemination and recognition throughout different research fields. The First Chapter Here we’ll dwell in detail upon the paper body.
Dissertation Proposal Outline Most universities offer comprehensive guidelines in their dissertation manuals about how to set up and organize the dissertation and the proposal. In the Social Sciences, most dissertations are organized into four or five chapters. For example a scientific dissertation would probably have very clear separation between the results and the discussion of those results; whereas a social science dissertation might have an overall chapter called Findings, bringing the .