The Structure Of A Dissertation

What do you need to include in your dissertation? Where do you start? With previous essays you will probably have worked on a beginning, a middle and an end and perhaps a section on referencing. Here we outline the different sections within a dissertation to help you when planning yours. It will be useful at this point to write each of the headings down and make notes against each one. You may want to scribble down possible titles for example.


It may come to you straight away or you may decide you go with a working title. You may even change the title several times before you decide on the final one


The abstract is a summary of the thesis in a short paragraph that includes the issues you researched and why, the research methods used and why and results and conclusions.

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It is important to acknowledge anyone that helped you like your dissertation supervisor, colleagues and library staff that may have helped you source material.


The introduction should be brief and not rambling, it should not be anecdotal and written like a story and it is important to create a good impression as this is really where your dissertation starts. Use examples of other introductions to help you articulate yours if you need to and don’t commit the common mistake of leaving it until the end. If you are rushed for time and need to hand it in your introduction could be rushed and substandard.

Literature Review

This is a crucial part of your research and there is simply too much to include here but you will find information from other sources that offer help and guidance. It is important to critically review past research in order to give your view compellingly. Your review should be comprehensive, critical and informative and you should make it clear how it relates to your research proposal.

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When completing your dissertation one of the key parts that you will need to include will be the methodology and analysis where you explain the procedures, methods and techniques you used when gathering data. To help you decide on your approach there is a whole host of dissertation methodology examples available online which should enable you to make a more informed choice about how you will proceed.

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Results and Discussion

Here you will describe, display, interpret and evaluate results. You must identify limitations and discuss your reported research.

Bibliography and References

It is useful to keep a note as you go of articles you have referenced or books you have used in your research rather than getting to the end and then trying to remember where you got everything from. You will also need to reference your sources as you include them.


This is where you will add items that you used to gather research like questionnaires, statistical tables and letters etc. You will need to number it accordingly and make sure it is clearly labelled and organised comprehensively.

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