Next, you report the results of your research. You can structure this section around sub-questions, hypotheses, or themes. In some disciplines, the results section is strictly separated from the discussion, while in others the two are combined. For example, in qualitative methods like ethnography , the presentation of the data will often be woven together with discussion and analysis. However, in quantitative and experimental research, the results should be presented separately before you discuss their meaning:.
Additional data including raw numbers, full questionnaires, or interview transcripts can be included as an appendix. The discussion is where you explore the meaning and implications of your results in relation to your research questions. Here you should interpret the results in detail, discussing whether they met your expectations and how well they fit with the framework that you built in earlier chapters. If any of the results were unexpected, offer explanations for why this might be.
The discussion should refer back to relevant sources to show how your results fit with existing knowledge. The dissertation conclusion should concisely answer the main research question, leaving the reader with a clear understanding of your central argument and emphasizing what your research has contributed. In some academic conventions, the conclusion refers to a short section that comes before the discussion: first you directly state your overall conclusions, then you discuss and interpret their meaning.
In other contexts, however, the conclusion refers to the final chapter, where you wrap up your dissertation with a final reflection on what you found. This type of conclusion often also includes recommendations for future research or practice. What have you added to what was already known? You must include full details of all sources that you have cited in a reference list sometimes also called a works cited list or bibliography.
Each style has strict and specific requirements for how to format your sources in the reference list. To save time creating the reference list and make sure your citations are correctly and consistently formatted, you can use the Scribbr Citation Generator. Your dissertation itself should contain only essential information that directly contributes to answering your research question.
Documents you have used that do not fit into the main body of your dissertation such as interview transcripts, survey questions or tables with full figures can be added as appendices. Making sure all the sections are in the right place is only the first step to a well-written dissertation. Leave plenty of time for editing and proofreading.
Grammar mistakes and sloppy formatting errors can drag down the quality of your hard work. You should plan to write and revise several drafts of your thesis or dissertation before focusing on language mistakes , typos and inconsistencies. My title page includes all information required by my university.
I have included acknowledgements thanking those who helped me. My abstract provides a concise summary of the dissertation, giving the reader a clear idea of my key findings or arguments. I have created a table of contents to help the reader navigate my dissertation. The table of contents includes all chapter titles, but excludes the title page, acknowledgements, and abstract. My introduction leads into my topic in an engaging way and shows the relevance of my research. My introduction clearly defines the focus of my research, stating my research questions and objectives.
I have reviewed the most important literature to show the current state of knowledge on my topic. My literature review does not just summarize but engages critically with sources, evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of existing research. My literature review shows how my dissertation addresses a gap or contributes something new to existing research. I have clearly outlined the theoretical framework of my research, explaining the theories and models that support my approach.
I have thoroughly described my methodology , explaining how I collected and analyzed data. I have concisely and objectively reported all relevant results. I have evaluated and interpreted the meaning of the results in my discussion. I have clearly stated the answer to my main research question in the conclusion. I have clearly explained the implications of my conclusion, emphasizing what new insight my research has contributed.
If relevant, I have included appendices with supplemental information. I have included an in-text citation every time I use words, ideas, or information from a source. I have consistently followed the rules of my chosen citation style. The end is in sight—your dissertation is nearly ready to submit! Make sure it's perfectly polished with the help of a Scribbr editor.
Download and adapt these slides to teach your students about structuring a dissertation. Have a language expert improve your writing. Check your paper for plagiarism in 10 minutes. Do the check. Generate your APA citations for free! APA Citation Generator. Both dissertations and master's theses must be submitted electronically as PDF files. However, the processes for submitting them differ.
Search the Support Center. Browse by Topic. Choose some basic formats, then use them for everything: A common 10 or 12 point font Times New Roman is good. Margins: 1. Paragraphs for chapters: double-spaced, first line indented 0. Block quotes: indent the left margin of your paragraph. Use the Spelling checker.
The use of color should be reserved primarily for tables, figures, illustrations, and active website or document links throughout your thesis or dissertation. The format you choose for these components must be consistent throughout the thesis or dissertation.
Ensure each component complies with margin and pagination requirements. Refer to the List of Tables, Figures, and Illustrations section for additional information. You are required to list all the references you consulted. For specific details on formatting your references, consult and follow a style manual or professional journal that is used for formatting publications and citations in your discipline.
In some cases, students gain approval from their academic program to include in their thesis or dissertation previously published or submitted, in press, or under review journal articles or similar materials that they have authored. For more information about including previously published works in your thesis or dissertation, see the section on Use of Your Own Previously Published Materials and the section on Copyrighting.
If your academic program has approved inclusion of such materials, please note that these materials must match the formatting guidelines set forth in this Guide regardless of how the material was formatted for publication. Previous: Order and Components. Print complete guide Introduction I.
Non-Traditional Formats Non-traditional theses or dissertations such as whole works comprised of digital, artistic, video, or performance materials i. Spacing and Indentation Space and indent your thesis or dissertation following these guidelines:. Close Move. Previous: Order and Components Next: Distribution.
Perhaps your methodology was limited, perhaps your sample size was small or not representative, etc, etc. This is a strength, not a weakness. Be brutal! This marks the end of your core chapters — woohoo!
The reference list is straightforward. It should contain a list of all resources cited in your dissertation, in the required format, e. APA, Harvard, etc. Do NOT try handle your referencing manually — its far too error prone. To this end, I suggest considering either Mendeley or Zotero. Some universities may ask you to include a bibliography, as opposed to a reference list. These two things are not the same.
A bibliography is similar to a reference list, except that it also includes resources which informed your thinking but were not directly cited in your dissertation. So, double-check your brief and make sure you use the right one. The very last piece of the puzzle is the appendix or set of appendices.
Importantly, supporting is the keyword here. Appendices should not be used as a way to cut down word count see this post which covers how to reduce word count. And there you have it — the traditional dissertation structure and layout, from A-Z. To recap, the core structure for a dissertation or thesis is typically as follows:. Most importantly, the core chapters should reflect the research process asking, investigating and answering your research question.
Moreover, the research question s should form the golden thread throughout your dissertation structure. If you have any questions or comments, please leave a comment below, or feel free to get in touch with us. Also, be sure to check out the rest of the Grad Coach Blog. Very helpful and accessible. Many times Clarity and vision of destination of dissertation is what makes the difference between good ,average and great researchers the same way a great automobile driver is fast with clarity of address and Clear weather conditions.
Your email address will not be published. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. The literature review chapter assesses what the current research says about this question. The methodology, results and discussion chapters go about undertaking new research about this question.
The conclusion chapter attempts to answer the core research question. Title page The title page of your dissertation is the very first impression the marker will get of your work, so it pays to invest some time thinking about your title. Acknowledgements This page provides you with an opportunity to say thank you to those who helped you along your research journey. Any professors, lecturers or academics that helped you understand the topic or methodologies.
Any tutors, mentors or advisors. Your family and friends, especially spouse for adult learners studying part-time. Abstract or executive summary The dissertation abstract or executive summary for some degrees serves to provide the first-time reader and marker or moderator with a big-picture view of your research project. For it to stand alone, your abstract should cover the following key points at a minimum : Your research questions and aims — what key question s did your research aim to answer?
Your methodology — how did you go about investigating the topic and finding answers to your research question s? Your findings — following your own research, what did do you discover? Your conclusions — based on your findings, what conclusions did you draw?
What answers did you find to your research question s? Need a helping hand? Table of contents This section is straightforward. So, your introduction chapter needs to start from the very beginning, and should address the following questions: What will you be investigating in plain-language, big picture-level?
Why is that worth investigating? How is it important to academia or business? How is it sufficiently original? What are your research aims and research question s? Note that the research questions can sometimes be presented at the end of the literature review next chapter.
What is the scope of your study? How will you approach your research? In other words, what methodology will you adopt? How will you structure your dissertation? What are the core chapters and what will you do in each of them? Is the literature lacking or well established? Is it divided or in disagreement? How does your research fit into the bigger picture? How does your research contribute something original? How does the methodology of previous studies help you develop your own? In this chapter, you need to address two critical questions: Exactly HOW will you carry out your research i.
Exactly WHY have you chosen to do things this way i. Reference list The reference list is straightforward. Appendices The very last piece of the puzzle is the appendix or set of appendices. Time to recap… And there you have it — the traditional dissertation structure and layout, from A-Z.
Derek Jansen on July 8, at am. Glad to hear that, Arun. Good luck writing your dissertation.