How to structure a great dissertation

A dissertation is a detailed piece of academic writing that requires original research and is submitted as part of a doctoral, master, or bachelor’s degree. A dissertation is probably the most extended piece of academic writing students undertake. It’s probably one of the most challenging projects students write. The aim of the project is to test the research and analysis skills used by the students.

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The structure of a dissertation                                                                                                  

The following is the structure of a dissertation:

Title page

The title page is crucial since it introduces the research topic and focuses on the reader. The subject of the research includes the general area of research, while the focus specifies the item of your research. A good title should be clear, specific, descriptive, and relevant to the research you have done. It’s crucial to format the claim according to the set guidelines of your respective field.


The acknowledgment section usually not more than one page appears after the title page and before the abstract. This is where you recognize those who have contributed and supported you directly or indirectly during the research and writing process. The acknowledgments could be both personal and professional. However, you should follow the rules and guidelines concerning the acknowledgments to include.


An abstract is a summary of the whole paper that highlights the purpose, main ideas, methods used, conclusion, and the significance of the research. The best way to come up with an excellent abstract is by writing it last once you are sure of what you are summarizing. You can also start by writing an abstract to help you highlight the main points in your research, the outcome, and the purpose of the research. Moreover, beginning with an abstract will potentially act as a guide in the structuring of your dissertation.

Table of contents

Table of contents section where you list the chapters and major sections of your dissertation as well their page numbers. A good table of content should be clear, concise and well-formatted to guide the reader about the contents of each section of the paper

List of figures and tables

A list of figures and tables is used if your dissertation contains several figures and tables. It allows the reader to find various illustrations, figures, and tables quickly. You should make sure the list of figures and tables lists all the tables and figures in a clear and well-organized format.

List of abbreviations

A list of abbreviations section is used if you have used many abbreviations in your dissertations. You should create a list of all abbreviations and their definitions in alphabetical order.


A glossary is a list of all technical terms that an average reader may not be familiar with or understand. Make a list of all the technical terms in alphabetical order and provide a short explanation.


The primary introduction’s purpose is to expand on the material summarized in the abstract. A good introduction provides background information and specifies the aim of the research. You should make sure focus and stretch of your research problem are balanced not too narrow or too broad to ensure its clarity. Your introduction should also demonstrate the relevance and significance of the research. All the information in the introduction should be clear, engaging, and relevant.

The literature review and theoretical framework

A literature review is an overall overview of previous research on a topic. It involves a collection of the most relevant and crucial sources on that particular topic to provide a comprehensive overview. Make sure your sources are undisputed and current. Provide an analysis of the information collected from the various sources. It’s crucial to make sure you justify the reasons for your research.


This is where all the methods and techniques used to collect data on the research topic are discussed in a detailed report. You will need to be clear and precise on how you conducted the research and how the findings have helped you address the research problem. It’s also important to state when and where the research was conducted.


In this section, you provide your research outcomes that are relevant to your research questions or problems. It should not include any interpretation of the data.


This is where you interpret and explain the results or outcomes of your study. Use clear statements that address your research question or problem. Discuss the implications of your research in and show new insights and the significance they have in the respective field. It’s essential to show your reader the contributions of your research and why they should care. The discussion should also acknowledge the obstacles that were encountered during the research process and evaluate the impact they had in achieving the aim of the study.


Your conclusion should provide a summary of the main points made in your arguments to ensure the reader has a clear understanding of the research. The conclusion should identify possible gaps in the study and offer relevant solutions. In this section, it’s crucial to show the importance of your research in the field and also provide recommendations for future research on the particular field.


Full details of all the sources you cited must be included here. It’s crucial to list all your references using a consistent citation style.


In this section, documents that you have used but are not included in the main body of your essay can be added as appendices. The documents can be interview transcripts or survey questions.