How to Structure a Dissertation
The first question that arises in students minds when writing a dissertation
is How to write a Dissertation? How to Structure Dissertation : 5000, 6000, 7000, 10000, 12000, 15000, 20000 Word Dissertation Structure in UK.
An excellent dissertation should present the
objectives, narrate the research methods you have used and shown some results. It
does have a particular structure unless suggested otherwise by your institution.
Here the structure commonly used
in educational institutes.
How to write dissertation - step by step dissertation structure guide
The dissertation comprises of various segments, chapters, tables and so on. Once
could not predict the optimal numeral of chapters. Moreover, the highest or lowest
level of requirement could never be predicted. However, the dissertation is generally
made up of:
In the title section, you have to include:
The Title: The amount of Sodium required daily by humans
Student’s Full name and qualification: Sara Parker LLB (Hons)
The degree dissertation is submitted for Dissertation submitted for the completion
of Bachelors of Law
Institution: University of West Virginia
Date of submission: 2nd January 2018
Supervisor’s Name: John Smith
An abstract, is the synopsis of the dissertation in one paragraph. In this paragraph, you should
include that what issues you have researched, by what methods and why you choose
these methods. What were the results and your conclusions?
The Introduction in Dissertation Structure, must immediately grab the attention of the reader.
Hence, it is best to avoid the actual dissertation results in the initial part of the thesis
and in fact, even at the end when you are adding bits and parts to enhance the study,
you should always pretend that the research is yet to be conducted.
The first focus of an examiner is mostly the INTRODUCTION (specifically objectives)
and CONCLUSION part. So, the writer must pay special attention to these parts while
writing the essay. It is common for a researcher to undertake a number of revisions,
additions or eliminations of different portions of various chapters in the due course
of writing the essay. This makes the final dissertation richer and more meaningful.
Hence, an introduction is provided a number of polishes to help it attain its individual
shine. Hence, the Introduction in Dissertation must comprise of following :
1) Comprehensive viewpoint of the overall thesis segment here you try to
establish the significance of this particular dissertation to the concerned people
and the world in general.
2) Justification of your study with regards to this comprehensive viewpoint
here you try to establish the way your research would contribute in this specific
segment. Hence, you try to justify the purpose of your research.
3) The questions of the study or postulations along with the precise goals of your
study generally below a distinct sub-heading to allow the reader along with
the examiner to take particular note of them.
4) Direction for remaining segments A few paragraphs (3 to 4) must be devoted
to expounding the content and reasons for included chapters. Here you must
clarify the reasons for inclusion of specific segments in your study, rather than
what chapters are included.
You should unfold your dissertation topic and also describe
your aim, objectives and an outline of the whole dissertation. The introduction
is your chance to show that you have command over the language, grammar, and style
required to write a scholarly piece of work.
If you need to collect certain primary data, then it may be revealed that on analysis, this data could
change the focus of your study, and you could have to go back to other academic
sources to look for pertinent studies that either disagrees or backs up the outcomes
attained in your study. Hence, it could be perceived that the researcher
must wait till the completion of the dissertation to begin writing this segment.
However, it is inadvisable due to numerous reasons :
1) The process of writing down notes on the available academic materials is the
only way to confirm that you have comprehended the texts and absorbed the important
materials from it. Hence, for this reading and reviewing of literature is very important.
2) In the MSc dissertations, the examiners give you marks on the basis of
the progress made by you. This progress could be deduced by the compilation of the
chapters. Hence, your literature survey could be the single proof of the progress
of your dissertation. Hence, it is essential to write up the literature review earlier
rather than later. This is specifically significant Ñ–f you desire to have an upgradation
from PhD to MSc registration and here your supervisor would help you only if he/she
is convinced of your progress evidenced through the literature review.
- In what manner is this journal related to my goals of the dissertation structure and could
I utilize it to further theories? This must be followed with a
written explanation of the manner the journal helped you in the progress of your
- In what manner does this journal add to my previously accumulated knowledge on the
subject and hÐ¾w is it comparable to the academic materials provided by different
academics on the same subject? You must further clarify Ñ–n your study the way this
info compares (or differs) wÑ–th published works on similar subjects.
Try to combine/compare/contrast the ideas Ð°nd views from different authors –
don’t just repeat what one author says, then follow it with a summary of / work of another author.
Further guidance of undertaking your literature review will
be provided in thÐµ Research Methods (ReMe) module.
In this section, you should critically review the past research done in your relevant
field. A good and up to the mark literature review is written thoroughly, analyzed
critically and essentially informative. And it should also demonstrate your contribution
to the existing research.
A Defense for the Research Method Utilized
This part of your study could either be included in the introductory section itself
or could also be established as a distinct chapter (on the basis of the review of
the literature chapter). The purpose of this chapter is to clarify to the readers
the manner in which the study was undertaken. This section seeks to supply pertinent
answers to the below mentioned questions:
- What was the fundamental study philosophy ?
- What investigative methods were utilized?
- What was the method of data collection?
- What was the manner of data analysis?
The selected method must be stated in your study along with a justification of the
underlying reasons for selecting them.
For the survey sheets and interviews :
- Determine the rationality for Ñ–ndividual queries – the reasons for the requirement
of the data and the manner they would be utilized.
- Justify the rationale for selecting the responders – how would they supply
dependable, unbiased and true data?
This represents the progress and evaluation of your research dissertation structure. This is
section of your structure where you illustrate
your research, data collection and assessment methods you have used and why you
find these methods appropriate for your research.
In a research that gathered huge quantity of quantitative data, the result
section would be a simple and straightforward representation. Begin by describing
your unit of evaluation and model and the representation of the data would comprise
In a phenomological research it becomes difficult to isolate analysis from the
result part. Hence, here you must try to explain and justify the utilized data.
Here illustrations and diagrams could help in providing a clearer picture.
The Research Analysis
Analysis is the procedure of representation and interpretation of data. Qualitative
data which is also known as non-numeric data, is usually attained by minimizing
the data, giving it a structure. The analysis
of quantitative data is centered on mathematical interpretation and utilizes regular
a) Descriptive Statistics
There are 30 questions for the research which may produce huge amount of data. The
questionnaire will be answered by 100 people generating 3000 stuff of raw data.
This raw data will be processed to a readable format for better understanding to
all interested audience who would be reading it. The summary or descriptive statistics
which includes which are regularly utilized to illustrate and present the
synopsis of the data.
b) Inferential Statistics
The assumptions from the populations viewpoint, as of the information generated
from the sample. The assumptions are done since its impractical to interview each
and every person individually for the data.
For the statistics to be recorded, the sample will only represent the population,
and a proper justification must be done on the choice of the sample considered.
What ever said and done, the sample which we take as consideration will not give
the exact viewpoint of the people of ebery characteristic. There are methods in
Statistics to measure such uncertainties. They can be documented for your dissertation.
Always it is a good habit to discuss about the reason behind your research to the
readers. They must also have some introduction on the research questions and discussion
on the methodology adopted on the research done on the unanswered questions. You
must bear in mind one thing that this chapter is going to give you the much of the
opportunity to reveal your scholarly skills. You will be your own critic to measure
the reliability and validity of the findings. Ponder on the learning you have acquired
while doing this research, also think on how would you improve your research work
and do it differently than the first time. From the results of the research do you
really think that you have come out with the required result, with the available
sample data? How challenging is your statements and claims on the outcome of the
research, in your verbal presentation?
- The synopsis of the most important findings from the research work
- The reflection of the results seen in the present study
- Cautious inspection of the results which may be a failed attempt to support the
hypothesis or they might partially do so.
- The limits of the research work which can cause concerns to the legitimacy of the
Under this section, you need to discuss strengths and weaknesses of your research
and also identify limitations.
6th Chapter - The Conclusion
Usually all the examiners will go through the Introduction first and then go through
other chapters. Therefore your concluding portion must be rechecked thoroughly to
see whether the objectives are achieved or not. If they are not achieved you must
state an explanation. It is a good practice to utilize the similar texts used in
the Objectives for showing the consistency. The focus needs to be on the study first,
and then widen out for the discussion on suggestions on the study sections and also
for future studies. The summary of the study is the most challenging. One must avoid
the repetitions and better to use bullet points, for better clarity. The Analysis
section will anyway carry the options for further studies, but it is better you
also mention in the concluding part, in detail, the potential methods of research
that can be implemented.
The below mentioned suggestions are given :-
Refer to the OBJECTIVES
- Present the synopsis of the most important points to depict the methods to tackle
the research queries
- Show the directions of proposition of the study undertaken; tell who can have an
effect of the results and what can be the influence on them.
- Just remember not to give any fresh opinions. Introduce them in the Discussion and
Analysis lesson of the Dissertation.
- Spot out the weaknesses in the research work done and also the research work’s
- State suggestions on the future research work that can be done and how can your
research work help
- Similarly you must be spending good time in coming out with an impressive introductory
opening to get a convincing end to any dissertation.
Here you should integrate all the aspects of your argument to come up with a convincing
answer to the question you initially presented. Your answer should also justify
your conclusion. You should also picture the possible future development of your
research topic. Moreover, you also need to mention if your findings are applicable
in real life or have any practical implications.
Just remember to use the names of any book or article just once, when adopting the
numbering or Vancouver system for mentioning references. Otherwise the reference
section will become too lengthy. So this lengthy list will be a threat to you, when
the examiner will find it very tedious to check for legitimacy of your research.
He or she will have to go through the lengthy list and can get confused or miss on
any valid reference.
Better to use the Harvard System. The references format is much short in length
and it is mandatory to list alphabetically, according to the originator’s
name, to avoid confusions and repetitions. So this will lessen the requirement of
Bibliography, however can be utilized to point out any other source which may not
be cited in the real dissertation and consequently not mentioned in the reference
listings. Most of UK univerities prefer Harvard Style Referencing.
A Bibliography contains all the list of all the sources of the documentation discussed
while preparing the dissertation. They are listed alphabetically according to the
author’s surname. Those that have not been cited in the dissertation.
You must mention the resources from where you have collected the information. If
you don’t cite the references correctly, it could result in an accusation
of plagiarism resulting a failure in your dissertation. So, it is important to cite
the references accurately.
To avoid any overlook, the appendix list must be clearly referred in the main body
of the thesis. This section can be considered as a dump of referenced material which
are not fitted in the thesis. Quality is rewarded against quantity. So any reference
material given here should be of use, it may be in detailed or just in brief but
adequately relevant to the subject for the core thesis. Now if you are doing a study
which involves survey questions then the Appendices can hold the copy of the questionnaire
to show the proof of the research. To tell that this is way the data was collected,
In this section, you should include how you have collected the data for your research.
For instance, surveys, questioners, etc.
You need to acknowledge all the persons who helped you in any manner whatsoever.
They could be your lecturer, library staff or the people who contributed with their
time to be interviewed.
Detailed Dissertation Structure Tips from Most UK Universities
Address everything that is asked for in the assessment guidelines, Tips :
‣Structure and clarity is very important
‣Have clear headings that signpost each chapter & section
‣Start each Chapter on a new page
‣Take note of the weighing (% of marks) for each section to guide word length
‣Pay great attention to referencing, formatting, spelling, grammatical and typographical errors
‣ This is a brief summary of the literature review that identifies the
topic area, research approach and summary of main findings
‣It should be 250 - 300 words (not included in the word count)
‣Look at published literature reviews in your topic area for guidance on the structure (it can be a paragraph or with headings, no right or wrong way to do an abstract)
‣Write it towards the end of writing the literature review
Chapter 1: Introduction/Background (10%)
‣Provide an introduction to your topic
‣What is the wider health context of the topic (international, national, local)
‣Define your key terms
‣Why is this topic important/relevant?
‣Clearly state your research question
‣Make sure it is actually a question
‣Clearly state your aim(s) and objective(s)
Note differences between a topic/title, question, aim & objective
Topic: Mental health service users experiences of psychiatric inpatient care
Research question: What are mental health service users' experiences of psychiatric inpatient care?
‣Aim: To understand mental health service users' experiences of psychiatric inpatient care
‣Objective: To improve psychiatric inpatient care for mental health seservice users
Method / search strategy(15%)
‣Clearly describe your search strategy, including:
‣Search terms/key words
‣Hand searches (of reference lists and/or specific journals)
‣Clearly state your inclusion & exclusion criteria with the rationale for their usage
‣Produce a flow chart of your search process
Chapter 2: Methodology
‣Clearly describe the critical appraisal tool(s) used to appraise the research articles:
‣Identifying which tools/checklists were used for each research article
‣The rationale for use (e.g. the CASP RCT checklist was used to appraise two of the articles (Smith & Jones, 2011; Jones et al 2013) because both studies have RCT designs)
‣Include the critical appraisal tool table in the appendix
Chapter 3: Findings (35%)
‣Start this chapter with an introductory paragraph that describes the key characteristics of the research articles in your review (identified in your article summary table) e.g.
‣The different types of designs/methods (e.g. four Quantitative studies & four qualitative, the different research designs used)
‣The different countries where the research studies were conducted (if applicable)
Chapter 3 continues: Article summary table
‣Develop an article summary table, that extracts the key features of the review articles, for example:
‣Article reference (or authors & date)
‣Country where research conducted
‣Design of study/method(s)
‣Measures/questionnaires used (if any)
Chapter 3 continues: Findings (themes)
‣Identify the main findings from the research studies in your literature review
‣Include the summary table in the main body of the Chapter
‣Assign themes to the main findings of each of the research studies, you may have 2-6 main findings from each research study
‣Identify common themes across the research studies, e.g. patients' experiences; nurse'â€™ attitudes, management of pain, training needs
Chapter 3 continues: Findings (synthesis of findings)
‣Structure the rest of the chapter according to the common themes identified, using the theme titles as sub-headings
‣You may have 3-6 themes
‣Compare & contrast the findings of the research studies within these thematic sections as a synthesis of the findings from ALL the studies
‣Demonstrate your critical appraisal of the research studies within this synthesis
Chapter 3 continues: Findings (critical evaluation)
‣Discuss the findings critically, demonstrating you have critically appraised the studies, e.g.
‣Three of the studies (refs) used a RCT design to assess the effectiveness of this intervention, which is an appropriate design for the focus of these studies. However, in the study by (ref) it was not stated whether the data collectors and patients were blinded to the intervention, therefore there could be potential bias in how the intervention was conducted that could affect the validity of the study. Thus the results should be treated with caution.
Chapter 4: Discussion /Implications (20%)
‣Critically discuss the findings of your literature review in relation to other literature and your area of practice
‣Critically evaluate the findings of your review and how they answer your research question
‣Discuss your findings in relation to other literature/research studies/guidelines and relate your findings to contemporary evidence-based practice
Chapter 4: continues Recommendations (10%)
‣Critically explore the implications of the findings from your literature review and make relevant recommendations for:
‣Health care delivery
Chapter 5: Conclusions
‣This can be relatively short (2-3 paragraphs)
‣the main findings of the literature review
‣how it has answered your research question
‣Implications for practice
‣Do not introduce new ideas or information here
‣List all your references after the conclusion in one list
‣ Ensure that you use Harvard referencing
This piece of advice is priceless; we have experimented over 18 years before we
have invented a success formula a guaranteed thumb rule for scoring.
Dissertation Structure Plan For 10000, 12000, 15000, 20000, 30000 Word Dissertation
% of total number of words of complete Dissertation
Conclusion & Recommendations