Dissertation Structure – Definition, Parts and other Guidelines

Dissertation structure

Definition: Dissertation Structure

A dissertation structure is the arrangement of the contents of a research. It contains numerous parts which are also divided into paragraphs. It is important in navigation and flow of ideas in a research.

Different academic disciplines require a certain dissertation structure, hence the need to verify the flow with the department one is under.

Dissertation Structure – FAQs

How do I start my dissertation?Pick a topic of interest and determine the issue to be explored. Previous research is sufficient in preparation since gaps identified in the previous dissertations are targeted. Talk to supervisors or fellow students to help you get a rough idea of the whole dissertation structure. Narrow down the topic to a specific issue to be tackled, it increases the chances of topic acceptance by the board. Read broadly on the topic and keep the notes. By doing so, the next steps are easy to follow and keep the dissertation structure intact.
How to reduce plagiarism in my dissertation?Ensure all works written by other authors is well-paraphrased and cited. Plagiarism is an academic offence which can lead to discontinuation in some universities.
What is the acceptable dissertation structure? Dissertation structures are similar but they differ in relation to the discipline. One needs to consult their supervisor and their department to receive the acceptable dissertation structure. Health and social sciences are examples of disciplines with completely different dissertation structures.
What is a dissertation’s word count? The word count is dependent on the institution. Most institutions ask for 6000 word limit which is either 10% more or less. Some parts of the dissertation structure do not account for the word count of a dissertation.
What are the main components of a dissertation structure?The main dissertation structure features that need to be present include title, introduction, headings, conclusion and a bibliography. Dissertation structure main features need to be present in any dissertation presented for bachelors, masters or doctorate program.

Parts of a dissertation structure

A dissertation structure starts with a title page. It contains the research title and the institution the research is submitted. Different disciplines require different arrangement of the title page, prompting one to inquire from the department.

Dissertation Structure Title Page Example

It is the research summary. An abstract gives the overall goal of the research in a page or less. Anyone reading an abstract should have a rough idea of the whole research since it contains a stand-alone thesis. Some institutions have a word limit of the abstract that need to be adhered to the latter. Despite its location in the dissertation structure, an abstract is often written last after the whole research is done. Although some people prefer to write it first since it provides a framework for writing the dissertation. An abstract is short but concise.

Individuals who helped through the research are mentioned. Individuals mentioned include supervisors, parents, spouses, children and friends among others.

The dissertation structure is well-written and it includes sub-sections. In Microsoft word, the table of contents is clicked and automatically takes one to a specific section.

In case your research has figures and tables, number them and insert caption such that when one clicks on it the figure or table opens.

Abbreviations used in the dissertation are written with what they represent. They are arranged in an alphabetical order.

The introduction explains more on the abstract. As earlier stated, the abstract is short and concise hence an introduction broadens its contents. A reader can identify how, what and why of the specific research after reading the introduction.

To write a literature review one needs to read previous work and research on the topic. Journals, books and research articles are used in collection of information which is later analysed, then connections are made from the different information collected. Gaps are identified, hence finding ways to build more on what is present.

It explains how the research will be conducted. The type of research to be used is presented, the method used to collect data, the research area is stated, data analysis is described, any tool used, limitations and the justification of the choices made when collecting data. The methodology needs to be convincing to meet the research goals.

The findings give the results of the methodology. In some departments, findings and discussions may be explained together, while in others they are different entities. Charts, histograms and tables are useful in showing the findings.

The findings are explained in detail forming different relationships from the literature review. Recommendations are presented to help improve the issue being discussed.

It brings all the dissertation together to explain the findings and research questions. Contribution to the current literature is highlighted in the conclusion section.

A reference list includes all the sources used in the research. Most dissertation is written in either APA or MLA citation.

It is the last part of a dissertation structure, and it includes questionnaires, surveys, or transcripts.

Other guidelines in a dissertation structure

The most allowed font is Times New Roman, font 12 double spaced. The margins for bottom, top and right are 1 inch while the left is 1.5 inches. Figures and tables need to get into a page, if they do not one is allowed to use landscape. Table of contents needs to be updated with the headings in Microsoft word.

In a nutshell

  • Always consult with your supervisor and instructor regarding the dissertation structure since they vary. Ensure the dissertation structure to be used is followed.
  • Proofread and edit the document to reduce the grammatical errors. A dissertation structure with few grammatical errors increases the chances of success.
  • Be clear and direct when writing a dissertation. It ensures it passes through the examination board. When an institution does not have a guideline on the dissertation structure, ensure the earlier stated components of a dissertation structure are met.
  • Ensure the dissertation structure specifications are followed to the latter. The specifications include the font and paper size among others.
  • Abbreviations are a part of the dissertation structure which should include all abbreviated words in the dissertation.
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