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How to Create an Effective Thesis Statement in 5 Easy Steps

Creating a thesis statement can be a daunting task. It’s one of the most important sentences in your paper, and it needs to be done right. But don’t worry — with these five easy steps, you’ll be able to create an effective thesis statement in no time.

Step 1: Brainstorm Ideas

The first step is to brainstorm ideas for your paper. Think about what you want to say and write down any ideas that come to mind. This will help you narrow down your focus and make it easier to create your thesis statement.

Step 2: Research Your Topic

Once you have some ideas, it’s time to do some research on your topic. Look for sources that support your ideas and provide evidence for the points you want to make. This will help you refine your argument and make it more convincing.

Step 3: Formulate Your Argument

Now that you have done some research, it’s time to formulate your argument. Take the points you want to make and put them into one or two sentences that clearly state what your paper is about. This will be the basis of your thesis statement.

Step 4: Refine Your Thesis Statement

Once you have formulated your argument, it’s time to refine your thesis statement. Make sure that it is clear, concise, and specific. It should also be arguable so that readers can disagree with it if they choose.

Step 5: Test Your Thesis Statement

The last step is to test your thesis statement. Does it accurately reflect the points you want to make? Is it clear and concise? Does it make an arguable point? If not, go back and refine it until it meets all of these criteria.

Creating an effective thesis statement doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With these five easy steps, you can create a strong thesis statement in no time at all.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.


meaning of dissertation and examples

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  • Dissertation

What Is a Dissertation? | Guide, Examples, & Template

Structure of a Dissertation

A dissertation is a long-form piece of academic writing based on original research conducted by you. It is usually submitted as the final step in order to finish a PhD program.

Your dissertation is probably the longest piece of writing you’ve ever completed. It requires solid research, writing, and analysis skills, and it can be intimidating to know where to begin.

Your department likely has guidelines related to how your dissertation should be structured. When in doubt, consult with your supervisor.

You can also download our full dissertation template in the format of your choice below. The template includes a ready-made table of contents with notes on what to include in each chapter, easily adaptable to your department’s requirements.

Download Word template Download Google Docs template

  • In the US, a dissertation generally refers to the collection of research you conducted to obtain a PhD.
  • In other countries (such as the UK), a dissertation often refers to the research you conduct to obtain your bachelor’s or master’s degree.

Table of contents

Dissertation committee and prospectus process, how to write and structure a dissertation, acknowledgements or preface, list of figures and tables, list of abbreviations, introduction, literature review, methodology, reference list, proofreading and editing, defending your dissertation, free checklist and lecture slides.

When you’ve finished your coursework, as well as any comprehensive exams or other requirements, you advance to “ABD” (All But Dissertation) status. This means you’ve completed everything except your dissertation.

Prior to starting to write, you must form your committee and write your prospectus or proposal . Your committee comprises your adviser and a few other faculty members. They can be from your own department, or, if your work is more interdisciplinary, from other departments. Your committee will guide you through the dissertation process, and ultimately decide whether you pass your dissertation defense and receive your PhD.

Your prospectus is a formal document presented to your committee, usually orally in a defense, outlining your research aims and objectives and showing why your topic is relevant . After passing your prospectus defense, you’re ready to start your research and writing.

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The structure of your dissertation depends on a variety of factors, such as your discipline, topic, and approach. Dissertations in the humanities are often structured more like a long essay , building an overall argument to support a central thesis , with chapters organized around different themes or case studies.

However, hard science and social science dissertations typically include a review of existing works, a methodology section, an analysis of your original research, and a presentation of your results , presented in different chapters.

Dissertation examples

We’ve compiled a list of dissertation examples to help you get started.

  • Example dissertation #1: Heat, Wildfire and Energy Demand: An Examination of Residential Buildings and Community Equity (a dissertation by C. A. Antonopoulos about the impact of extreme heat and wildfire on residential buildings and occupant exposure risks).
  • Example dissertation #2: Exploring Income Volatility and Financial Health Among Middle-Income Households (a dissertation by M. Addo about income volatility and declining economic security among middle-income households).
  • Example dissertation #3: The Use of Mindfulness Meditation to Increase the Efficacy of Mirror Visual Feedback for Reducing Phantom Limb Pain in Amputees (a dissertation by N. S. Mills about the effect of mindfulness-based interventions on the relationship between mirror visual feedback and the pain level in amputees with phantom limb pain).

The very first page of your document contains your dissertation title, your name, department, institution, degree program, and submission date. Sometimes it also includes your student number, your supervisor’s name, and the university’s logo.

Read more about title pages

The acknowledgements section is usually optional and gives space for you to thank everyone who helped you in writing your dissertation. This might include your supervisors, participants in your research, and friends or family who supported you. In some cases, your acknowledgements are part of a preface.

Read more about acknowledgements Read more about prefaces

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meaning of dissertation and examples

The abstract is a short summary of your dissertation, usually about 150 to 300 words long. Though this may seem very short, it’s one of the most important parts of your dissertation, because it introduces your work to your audience.

Your abstract should:

  • State your main topic and the aims of your research
  • Describe your methods
  • Summarize your main results
  • State your conclusions

Read more about abstracts

The table of contents lists all of your chapters, along with corresponding subheadings and page numbers. This gives your reader an overview of your structure and helps them easily navigate your document.

Remember to include all main parts of your dissertation in your table of contents, even the appendices. It’s easy to generate a table automatically in Word if you used heading styles. Generally speaking, you only include level 2 and level 3 headings, not every subheading you included in your finished work.

Read more about tables of contents

While not usually mandatory, it’s nice to include a list of figures and tables to help guide your reader if you have used a lot of these in your dissertation. It’s easy to generate one of these in Word using the Insert Caption feature.

Read more about lists of figures and tables

Similarly, if you have used a lot of abbreviations (especially industry-specific ones) in your dissertation, you can include them in an alphabetized list of abbreviations so that the reader can easily look up their meanings.

Read more about lists of abbreviations

In addition to the list of abbreviations, if you find yourself using a lot of highly specialized terms that you worry will not be familiar to your reader, consider including a glossary. Here, alphabetize the terms and include a brief description or definition.

Read more about glossaries

The introduction serves to set up your dissertation’s topic, purpose, and relevance. It tells the reader what to expect in the rest of your dissertation. The introduction should:

  • Establish your research topic , giving the background information needed to contextualize your work
  • Narrow down the focus and define the scope of your research
  • Discuss the state of existing research on the topic, showing your work’s relevance to a broader problem or debate
  • Clearly state your research questions and objectives
  • Outline the flow of the rest of your work

Everything in the introduction should be clear, engaging, and relevant. By the end, the reader should understand the what, why, and how of your research.

Read more about introductions

A formative part of your research is your literature review . This helps you gain a thorough understanding of the academic work that already exists on your topic.

Literature reviews encompass:

  • Finding relevant sources (e.g., books and journal articles)
  • Assessing the credibility of your sources
  • Critically analyzing and evaluating each source
  • Drawing connections between them (e.g., themes, patterns, conflicts, or gaps) to strengthen your overall point

A literature review is not merely a summary of existing sources. Your literature review should have a coherent structure and argument that leads to a clear justification for your own research. It may aim to:

  • Address a gap in the literature or build on existing knowledge
  • Take a new theoretical or methodological approach to your topic
  • Propose a solution to an unresolved problem or advance one side of a theoretical debate

Read more about literature reviews

Theoretical framework

Your literature review can often form the basis for your theoretical framework. Here, you define and analyze the key theories, concepts, and models that frame your research.

Read more about theoretical frameworks

Your methodology chapter describes how you conducted your research, allowing your reader to critically assess its credibility. Your methodology section should accurately report what you did, as well as convince your reader that this was the best way to answer your research question.

A methodology section should generally include:

  • The overall research approach ( quantitative vs. qualitative ) and research methods (e.g., a longitudinal study )
  • Your data collection methods (e.g., interviews or a controlled experiment )
  • Details of where, when, and with whom the research took place
  • Any tools and materials you used (e.g., computer programs, lab equipment)
  • Your data analysis methods (e.g., statistical analysis , discourse analysis )
  • An evaluation or justification of your methods

Read more about methodology sections

Your results section should highlight what your methodology discovered. You can structure this section around sub-questions, hypotheses , or themes, but avoid including any subjective or speculative interpretation here.

Your results section should:

  • Concisely state each relevant result together with relevant descriptive statistics (e.g., mean , standard deviation ) and inferential statistics (e.g., test statistics , p values )
  • Briefly state how the result relates to the question or whether the hypothesis was supported
  • Report all results that are relevant to your research questions , including any that did not meet your expectations.

Additional data (including raw numbers, full questionnaires, or interview transcripts) can be included as an appendix. You can include tables and figures, but only if they help the reader better understand your results. Read more about results sections

Your discussion section is your opportunity to explore the meaning and implications of your results in relation to your research question. Here, interpret your results in detail, discussing whether they met your expectations and how well they fit with the framework that you built in earlier chapters. Refer back to relevant source material to show how your results fit within existing research in your field.

Some guiding questions include:

  • What do your results mean?
  • Why do your results matter?
  • What limitations do the results have?

If any of the results were unexpected, offer explanations for why this might be. It’s a good idea to consider alternative interpretations of your data.

Read more about discussion sections

Your dissertation’s conclusion should concisely answer your main research question, leaving your reader with a clear understanding of your central argument and emphasizing what your research has contributed to the field.

In some disciplines, the conclusion is just a short section preceding the discussion section, but in other contexts, it is the final chapter of your work. Here, you wrap up your dissertation with a final reflection on what you found, with recommendations for future research and concluding remarks.

It’s important to leave the reader with a clear impression of why your research matters. What have you added to what was already known? Why is your research necessary for the future of your field?

Read more about conclusions

It is crucial to include a reference list or list of works cited with the full details of all the sources that you used, in order to avoid plagiarism. Be sure to choose one citation style and follow it consistently throughout your dissertation. Each style has strict and specific formatting requirements.

Common styles include MLA , Chicago , and APA , but which style you use is often set by your department or your field.

Create APA citations Create MLA citations

Your dissertation should contain only essential information that directly contributes to answering your research question. Documents such as interview transcripts or survey questions can be added as appendices, rather than adding them to the main body.

Read more about appendices

Making sure that all of your sections are in the right place is only the first step to a well-written dissertation. Don’t forget to leave plenty of time for editing and proofreading, as grammar mistakes and sloppy spelling errors can really negatively impact your work.

Dissertations can take up to five years to write, so you will definitely want to make sure that everything is perfect before submitting. You may want to consider using a professional dissertation editing service or grammar checker to make sure your final project is perfect prior to submitting.

After your written dissertation is approved, your committee will schedule a defense. Similarly to defending your prospectus, dissertation defenses are oral presentations of your work. You’ll present your dissertation, and your committee will ask you questions. Many departments allow family members, friends, and other people who are interested to join as well.

After your defense, your committee will meet, and then inform you whether you have passed. Keep in mind that defenses are usually just a formality; most committees will have resolved any serious issues with your work with you far prior to your defense, giving you ample time to fix any problems.

As you write your dissertation, you can use this simple checklist to make sure you’ve included all the essentials.

Checklist: Dissertation

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 results or arguments.

I have created a table of contents to help the reader navigate my dissertation. It 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 research objectives .

My introduction includes an overview of the dissertation’s structure (reading guide).

I have conducted a literature review in which I (1) critically engage with sources, evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of existing research, (2) discuss patterns, themes, and debates in the literature, and (3) address a gap or show how my research contributes 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 data and analyzed data.

I have concisely and objectively reported all relevant results .

I have (1) evaluated and interpreted the meaning of the results and (2) acknowledged any important limitations 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.

I have provided relevant recommendations for further research or practice.

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 listed every source in a reference list at the end of my dissertation.

I have consistently followed the rules of my chosen citation style .

I have followed all formatting guidelines provided by my university.


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.

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Definition of 'dissertation'

  • dissertation

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  • American English : dissertation / dɪsərˈteɪʃən /
  • Brazilian Portuguese : dissertação
  • Chinese : 论文 学位
  • European Spanish : tesina
  • French : mémoire
  • German : Dissertation
  • Italian : tesi
  • Japanese : 学位論文
  • Korean : 논문 학위
  • European Portuguese : dissertação
  • Latin American Spanish : tesina

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  • boilerplate
  • composition
  • essay question
  • peer review

dissertation | American Dictionary

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  • dissertation

a written essay, treatise, or thesis, especially one written by a candidate for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

any formal discourse in speech or writing.

Origin of dissertation

Other words from dissertation.

  • dis·ser·ta·tion·al, adjective
  • dis·ser·ta·tion·ist, noun

Words that may be confused with dissertation

  • dissertation , thesis

Words Nearby dissertation

  • dissenting opinion
  • dissentious
  • dissepiment

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use dissertation in a sentence

Thirteen years ago, while working on her PHD dissertation in Madagascar’s Masoala Peninsula, Borgerson encountered a problem.

At Harvard, he received a PhD in government and wrote his dissertation under Henry Kissinger, who became a lifelong friend.

I planned to go back to physics after a couple of years and then return to wrap up my dissertation .

My buba’s lived experience helped shape me into the girl who wrote her college dissertation on the gender pay gap, arguing for equal parental leave for dads and moms, almost 20 years before any major employer implemented any such thing.

My PhD dissertation was a highly theoretical model representing computer systems that were framed as a mathematical model, and if they were interconnected in such a way that these interconnected computers would communicate like cells in the body.

A terrific cultural studies dissertation awaits on how the fortunes of the Cheneys provide a mirror on a changing America.

Today, he visits online forums and bombards them with dissertation -length comments.

In her dissertation , McFate had asked whether ‘good anthropology’ might lead to ‘better killing.’

Heritage has distanced itself from Richwine and his dissertation .

No single dissertation will alter the status quo on its own.

I've never had time to write home about it, for I felt that it required a dissertation in itself to do it justice.

Dr. Pitcairn, published at Leyden his dissertation on the circulation of the blood through the veins.

Start not, reader, I am not going to trouble you with a poetical dissertation ; no, no!

dissertation sur les Assassins, Académie des Inscriptions, tom.

This dissertation , which is illustrated by several plates, will repay for the time spent in reading it.

British Dictionary definitions for dissertation

/ ( ˌdɪsəˈteɪʃən ) /

a written thesis, often based on original research, usually required for a higher degree

a formal discourse

Derived forms of dissertation

  • dissertational , adjective
  • dissertationist , noun

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

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Definition of dissertation

Examples of dissertation in a sentence.

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dissertation.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

1651, in the meaning defined above

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Cite this Entry

“Dissertation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dissertation. Accessed 14 Nov. 2023.

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A dissertation is a lengthy written project prepared at the end of an academic program. There are two types of dissertations: those that are partially taught and partially researched, and those that are completely researched by the student. A dissertation’s structure typically includes an introduction, a main body and conclusion. What sets a taught and research dissertation apart is that with the latter, students must choose a topic on their own and deepen research in a selected area.

A dissertation usually builds on an existing theory and includes a research question, research choices and a literature review, methodology, analysis of results and a discussion. A dissertation adviser will guide students through the research process and can help students find resources if they’re stuck. Writing a dissertation allows students to show their excellence in a field.

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Dissertation Overview — Guide With Examples

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A dissertation (a.k.a. a thesis or final year project ) is a long-form academic essay on a niche subject that requires original, primary research alongside an extensive discussion of existing topical secondary works. Your dissertation grade will usually weigh heavily (40%~70%) on your final award. Ideally, your dissertation needs to be your masterpiece.


  • 1 Dissertation Overview – In a Nutshell
  • 2 Definition: Dissertation overview
  • 3 Dissertation overview: Research proposal
  • 4 Dissertation overview: The structure
  • 5 Dissertation overview: Title page
  • 6 Dissertation overview: Preface
  • 7 Dissertation overview: Abstract
  • 8 Dissertation overview: Tables and lists
  • 9 Dissertation overview: Introduction
  • 10 Dissertation overview: Literature review
  • 11 Dissertation overview: Methodology
  • 12 Dissertation overview: Results
  • 13 Dissertation overview: Discussion
  • 14 Dissertation overview: Conclusion
  • 15 Dissertation overview: The final pages
  • 16 Dissertation overview: Proofreading and editing
  • 17 Dissertation overview: Dissertation defense

Dissertation Overview – In a Nutshell

The following article covers:

  • Dissertation overview – General help and guidance
  • Dissertation overview – Components, layouts, and structure
  • Special features, proofreading , referencing, and polish of a dissertation overview
  • Example of dissertations

Definition: Dissertation overview

  • The overwhelming majority of undergraduate and postgraduate taught courses require the submission of a dissertation to pass.
  • A dissertation will take ca. 6~18 months to complete, usually covering ca. 5000-15,000 words . You can expect to receive your assignment and deadline during the last third of your timetable.
  • What you study (within reason) is up to you. Pre-made questions and projects might also be available if sources and inspiration are lacking.
  • Your assigned dissertation supervisor will provide valuable input, insight, and advice on structure and substance . Make sure to update them regularly.
  • Your deadline will likely coincide with the end of your last academic year . Extensions may be allowed to account for personal setbacks, travel, or complex research projects .

Dissertation research plans are kept deliberately formulaic. Every dissertation develops as so:

  • Initial research Potential areas of interest are shortlisted.
  • Establishing a question What exactly will the dissertation ask?
  • Initial proposal Viability testing and hypothesis fine-tuning.
  • Source analysis Collection, exploration, and discussion of sources.
  • Writing A dissertation overview begins to form.
  • Development Content, polish, detail, and nuance.
  • Editing Trimming, referencing, and error checking.
  • Submission The dissertation is marked.

There are also slight differences in how British and US academia use the word dissertation. Remember that:

Dissertation overview: Research proposal

Before you start with the dissertation overview, write a draft dissertation research proposal , refine it, and get it approved by your supervisor(s).

Your draft will broadly cover why you want to research your topic , your plan or methodology , and why your dissertation would benefit academia.

Academic discussion at this stage is critical. Considering constructive advice and ideas from your tutors and field experts helps highlight productive questions.

Better planning usually results in a better end mark.

In practice, your research proposal will be a short paper (ca. 500~2000 words) explaining your ambitions. It contains:

  • Introduction: A dissertation overview.
  • Background review : A guide to your area of study.
  • Literature review : An overview of Existing Sources.
  • Methodology : Your main question(s) and research plan.
  • Implications : How your research will contribute.
  • Conclusion:  A summary recap.

Dissertation overview: The structure

Now you can start filling out the skeletal structure of your dissertation overview. Depending on your style, you may find it productive to create extensive notes before ordering them.

Your research will segment by topic, area, purpose, and theme. Your structure will also vary to match your discipline.

  • Dissertations in the humanities often read like lengthy essays, building to a central, final argument.
  • Dissertations in the sciences tend to divide mechanically. Methodology, experiments, results, and implications place into different, unique chapters.


The University of Leeds (UK) maintains an online public archive of award-winning dissertations. You can browse excellent dissertation overview examples here .

Try these pieces to start:

An Investigation into the Relationship between Early Exposure and Brand

Loyalty (Psychology)

Image Processing and Analysis of Porous Materials (Material Sciences)

Faith, Selfhood and the Blues in the Lyrics of Nick Cave (English and Media)

Dissertation overview: Title page

Every dissertation overview starts with a title page. The front cover provides vital information about who you are and what you’re about.

A dissertation title page includes:

  • Your full name
  • Your student and submission numbers (If relevant)
  • Your course and projected award (e.g., BSc Hons. Biology)
  • A full dissertation title
  • Your university (or awarding institution)
  • Your department and supervisor
  • A university logo
  • Your date of final submission

Your dissertation title should always be placed at the top.

Dissertation overview: Preface

The preface of a dissertation overview is a special place to acknowledge crucial institutions, individuals, or experts who helped you. You can also dedicate the work to a loved one.

You should always politely acknowledge your supervisor, your personal tutor, and any labs, libraries, or archives used extensively.

Dissertation overview: Abstract

The abstract is a ca. 150~500-word paragraph dissertation overview briefly summarizing your topic, questions, methodology, and conclusions. It reads as a dissertation overview and a formal blurb for your work that advertises it to new readers. An effective abstract requires a complete and flowing thesis to draw on. Writing your abstract should be your absolute last task.

Dissertation overview: Tables and lists

Good direction, collation, and indexing help keep your dissertation easy to read, reference, and check for errors. An effective dissertation overview consists of the outline of chapters, inserts, and technical terms.

Dissertation overview: Table of contents

The table of contents tells readers which numbered pages link to which segments. It always appears before the main text. This section helps simplifying your dissertation overview.

Your contents table should cover all chapter headings, major subheadings, and other exceptional points of interest. Page numbers should always follow each entry.

Avoid citing every individual subheading, paragraph, or change of topic. Careful curation of milestones is best.

You can easily use Microsoft Word to autogenerate a table of contents. Remember to activate automatic page numbering.

List of Figures and Tables

Likewise, you should cite all relevant figures, tables, and illustrations here. A table list is optional but highly advisable for a dissertation overview.

Write your items in a numbered list in order of appearance. Again, Microsoft Word can autogenerate this via the Insert Caption feature.

List of Abbreviations

Abbreviations help save space in a packed manuscript. However, unexplained, obscure acronyms can confound even experienced readers.

If your dissertation references unusual, new, or technical abbreviations, include an alphabetical guide that explains their exact meanings. Avoid including commonplace abbreviations (e.g. a.k.a.).

You can also add an explanatory glossary of complex technical names and terms to your dissertation overview. Scientific dissertations may find some (optional) exposition particularly useful.

Again, order your entries by first alphabetical initial and avoid common words. Term descriptions should be 1-3 sentences long.

Dissertation overview: Introduction

Your introduction gives a first glance at your topic, purpose, and impact. Think of it as an expanded abstract. Stay clear, relevant, and assertive – this is your first chance to hook the reader.

Your introduction is also a great chance to make the relevant initial points needed to set up discussion, exploration, and argument. In the dissertation overview, you should:

  • Clearly state your research question and objectives
  • Set your focus and topical limits
  • Detail all necessary background information and context
  • Argue why your dissertation is relevant
  • Outline your broad structure and methodology

Dissertation overview: Literature review

A topical literature review briefly tells the reader about existing material, comments on relevance, and demonstrates gaps in our collective knowledge.

Your literature review often forms the backbone of your broader theoretical framework in the dissertation overview. Primary, secondary, and meta sources (e.g. commentaries) count as literature.

Dissertation overview: Methodology

In the dissertation overview, your methodology section describes the methods you used to collect and process your research data . Stating your methodology keeps your research credible, verifiable , and transparent.

Your methodology section should cover how and why you made your choices (e.g. longitudinal-isolated, qualitative-quantitative ), your collection methods, and how, where, and when you collected your primary data. Make a solid case for why this was the best technical approach available and address ethical concerns.

You should expect to write a far lengthier methodology for dissertations in the sciences over literary subjects (e.g. History).

Dissertation overview: Results

The results in the dissertation overview is where you list what you (objectively) discovered. Discuss all results – even if the data didn’t match your expectations.

Tables, graphics, and prose summaries relevant to your hypothesis can all be displayed. Make sure to differentiate between sections with labels and subheadings.

Careful selection and curation are good ways to keep text flowing. If your datasets are too extensive, abridge and move them to an appendix . Likewise, it’s usually worth trimming down transcripts to highlights .

Make sure to stick to the facts here. Discussion, speculation, and context will come later. However, feel free to add referenced secondary context (e.g. Reprinted data tables from earlier papers).

Dissertation overview: Discussion

The penultimate section in the dissertation overview should cover your thoughts on your discoveries and how your results fit into your theoretical framework. It’s also a place to discuss any potential implications in depth.

Include thorough but concise callbacks alongside your commentary. Using questions to self-interrogate works well. Ask:

  • Why are these results relevant?
  • Where do they apply?
  • Are they replicable?
  • How do they fit existing secondary literature?
  • Are there any limitations or drawbacks?

Dissertation overview: Conclusion

In the dissertation overview, the conclusion is your dissertation’s final answer. In 500~1000 words, you’ll respond directly to your initial question(s).

Don’t include any further speculation, results, or analysis here. Other segments can house last-minute additions.

Include your overall impressions of your results and how your findings change our understanding. Briefly reflect too on any further study you think is advantageous. Try to end on a suitably optimistic yet punchy note.

Dissertation overview: The final pages

Dissertation overview done? It’s time to cite all of your sources. Include a blank end page for the back cover, too.

Dissertation overview: References

Make sure to fully reference all sources used in the footnotes and your bibliography. Clear referencing helps researchers and avoids plagiarism.

Stick to one referencing style (e.g. APA style , Chicago style , MLA ) for the entire dissertation. You can find style guides and reference generators online. Your supervisor can recommend a “best practice” referencing style for your project.

Is anything vital left over that would take up too much room? Use an appendix.

Essential methodological work (such as questionnaire templates) and full data tables too bulky for the main text can always be stored here.

Dissertation overview: Proofreading and editing

Once you’ve created your final draft, read it back and edit it. You’ll likely need to trim and refine your text to showcase your best work.

It’s also essential to remove grammatical, style, factual, or spelling errors before submission. Presentation counts heavily towards your final mark.

Set aside at least 10% of your dissertation schedule for checking and polishing. You can use online checkers or pay professional proofreading and editing services (as long as they don’t write for you) to help.

Dissertation overview: Dissertation defense

You may also have to attend a dissertation defense . The defense is a meeting in which you give a closed presentation to a supervisory panel and your peers. It’s also a chance to reveal exciting discoveries.

You’ll be prepared well in advance by your supervisor to defend any contentious points, arguments, or methodological approaches made. Defenses can be rerun with modifications if you fail the first attempt.

Once the panel accepts your argument, you’ve officially passed your dissertation. Congratulations!

How do you start the dissertation introduction?

Cover your topic’s what, why, where, how, and when. Establishing a foundation for your research is crucial.

How should I format my dissertation?

Stick to uniform, commonly known, and easy-to-read black fonts, font sizes, and graphics. Ring or book binding your finished work is advisable.

Why is proper referencing so important?

Unreferenced dissertations may be accused of plagiarism and annulled – wrecking years of hard work. Always cite where and whenever you can.

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