How to Write a Dissertation
A dissertation is a structured and organized piece of academic writing that develops a clear line of thought in response to a thesis (proposal or question). As each statement must be supported by an original work or by reference to published scientific literature, before writing a dissertation on a particular thesis one must do extensive research and collect the evidence that supports or denies it.
Although there is no set word limit, the average length of the dissertation is typically ten thousand words. It is usually divided into chapters, wherein each chapter is well-researched and comprehensive. The dissertation usually contains some or all of the following elements:
- Table of contents
- Literature Review
- Results & Discussion
This section should be concise, specific, clear, and should be representative of the undertaken research. It should be formatted according to the instructions provided by the college or university.
It is a concise summary of the research undertaken. It briefly describes the aim, procedure, results and implications. Thus, it is a very important element in the dissertation. In terms of length, it is generally less than one page long.
This section is usually a record of individuals who have been helpful while writing a dissertation. It is important to give credit to all the stakeholders as this not only develops an author’s credibility, but is also helpful in getting rid of plagiarism claim.
Table of contents
Since a dissertation is divided into different chapters and sections, the Contents page will help in navigating the entire report.
It provides simple and clear information about the topic and explains the importance of the chosen area. It also contains methodology and sources, which are helpful in establishing credibility of the author.
In this section, an author describes the present status of the whole field, what are the gaps in this area and how the he plans to attend a particular gap with the research.
Each subject has its own methodology and each methodology has a different point of focus or emphasis. This section describes different methods utilized to conduct the research; it also discusses the types of equipment or materials used.
Here, an author presents the results from the research. There are different formats for reporting these findings and it is important to follow the format recommended by your university.
Results & Discussion
It is the most interesting part of the dissertation. In this section, an author discusses how the research results fill the existing gap in the topic area. The author also tries to draw some useful conclusions from the research. In addition to observations and findings, the author should also explain the inherent limitations in the chosen study. Also, the author should explain clearly if and how these limitations affect the importance of findings.
This section discusses the main points that have come from the undertaken research and how these points influence the field of study.
Primary sources are generally used as references; however, secondary sources can also be used. Academic institutions have different referencing style guides, so exact instruction from the academic department should be followed.
Generally, items which are required but take more space and can be regarded as a hindrance to the main idea are moved to Appendices.
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