How to Structure a Dissertation

A common question that can occur in the mind of the students and the professionals is what would the appropriate structure of a dissertation. Generally, a dissertation consists of several significant chapters which are stuffed with valuable information about a specific subject matter. The dissertation must be well structured. After the approval of the research proposal by the professors of university or college, you must place an emphasis on the preparation of the dissertation. Generally, a dissertation consists of 5-6 chapters. These chapters have been presented below:

  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • Chapter 2: Literature Review
  • Chapter 3: Research Methodology
  • Chapter 4: Data Analysis and Interpretation
  • Chapter 5: Conclusion and recommendations
  • Chapter 6: Reflective report (Optional)

It should be pointed out here that a dissertation must possess a suitable title according to research topic. You must incorporate an abstract and acknowledgement. These two things must be placed just after the Title. The abstract implies a brief summary or a synopsis of the overall dissertation. If anyone assist you in conducting the research successfully, you may acknowledge it in the acknowledge section.  You would have taken the help from the librarians or from the teachers, supervisors, professors or the colleagues in order to carry out the research work. You also need to provide the table of contents.

Introduction : This chapter depicts a brief introduction of the research topic. This chapter first provides a brief introduction of the background of the study. Then you can write the rationale of the study. The rationale of the study contains certain questions about the purpose of the research. In this chapter you need to discuss the aim, objectives and hypothesis of the research study. You should also mention the research questions.

Literature review: In the literature review section, you should discuss the relevant theories and models. You must discuss certain previous research journals in order to clarify the concept of the research topic. It should be pointed out here that you need to explain the relationship and the gap between the previous research journals and the present research work.


Research methodology: In the methodology chapter, you have to discuss all the methods and techniques you have used in order to carry out the research successfully.  You should describe the research philosophy, research design, research approach, data analysis method, data collection method, research limitations, ethical considerations etc. You need to provide the justification of why you select these research methods, tools and techniques.

Data analysis and interpretation: In this chapter, you must analyse the data and information which have been collected from the survey or the interview. You can present the data through graphs, charts and tables. You need to critically evaluate the data and information of the respondents.


Conclusion and recommendation: In this section, you need to reach a conclusion and have to provide your own recommendations which can be utilised by the individuals to resolve the encountered issues relevant to the research topic. You must incorporate the future scope of the study in this section.

Reflective report: Sometimes a dissertation possesses a reflective report which depicts your own reflection about the research. At last you need to provide the reference list and appendix.


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