How do I Choose the Best Dissertation Structure?

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  • Written By: Jillian Peterson
  • Edited By: Kathryn Hulick
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2019
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Writing a dissertation can be a confusing process, but your dissertation writing process will go much more smoothly if you follow an appropriate dissertation structure. A dissertation structure is composed of several parts: an executive summary or abstract, an introduction, the body of your paper that contains your research findings, conclusions and recommendations, a bibliography and appendices.

The first part of your dissertation structure is an abstract, which is simply a summary of your work. Abstracts and executive summaries are meant to sum up your research and findings so that colleagues won’t have to read your entire dissertation to understand your work. The abstract should be no longer than 500 words.

Like with any paper, your introduction should provide an overview of your work. Your introduction should give any background information relevant to your dissertation research and give your reader a basis to understand your work. Your introduction should also clearly state your objectives and key areas of research.


The bulk of your dissertation structure is the body, which consists of a literature review, your research methodology and your findings. The literature review chapter should synthesize the work of others in your field and show how your research connects with others. Research methodology is the part of your dissertation structure where you describe your research strategies and procedures, as well as any problems you encountered. The findings chapter discusses the results of your research. In this chapter, you should analyze your findings and discuss how your findings connect with the findings of others you mentioned in your literature review. The findings chapter should be the longest part of your dissertation structure.

In the conclusions and recommendations chapter, you should discuss how effective your research strategies were. You can also give recommendations for further study in the specific area of your dissertation research. You should give a final overview of your research process and link your findings to the objectives mentioned in your introduction.

The bibliography is the list of sources that you used to write your dissertation. The bibliography should contain any source you consulted in your research, including books, research articles, web sites or statistical data. Your dissertation adviser should tell you which citation style to use in your bibliography.

The appendices are a good place for charts or graphs or other visual representations of hard data to accompany your findings. You can refer to the appendices in the body of your paper with appropriate citation.


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