Dissertation Chapters

To reiterate, a dissertation’s composition and style represent the flow of the overall study phase. This is critical to comprehend and once you grasp this idea, each chapter will make a lot of sense. Before continuing, read this article to get a better understanding of the testing methodology.

That’s accurate. Let’s get a bit further through the specifics of and segment and chapter now that we’ve addressed the big picture.

Title Page

Since the title page of your dissertation is the first experience the reader will get of your thesis, it is worthwhile to spend some time considering it. What, on the other hand, makes a great title? Three qualities must be included in a compelling title:

  • Short and attractive (not overly lengthy or verbose)
  • Particular (not vague or ambiguous)
  • It should be representative of the study you’re doing (clearly linked to your research questions).

A decent title would usually contain the following elements:

  • The investigation’s wider reach (i.e. the overarching topic)
  • Your research’s basic emphasis (i.e. your specific context)
  • Indication of the test methodology (e.g. quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods).

Consider the including scenario:

The antecedents of corporate confidence [broader area] in the UK retail forex trading sector [specific context/area of focus] are the target of a quantitative inquiry [research design].

Again, certain colleges might have unique criteria for the style and arrangement of the title, so it’s worth double-checking standards for your university (if the brief or research materials don’t address it).

The title of your dissertation is important.


This page offers you the chance to show thanks to those who supported you with your studies. It’s usually voluntary (and won’t affect the grades), so it’s good academic practice to have it.

So, to whom do you express your gratitude? While there are no clear criteria, it is popular to list the following individuals:

  • Supervisor or jury on the dissertation.
  • Any teachers, lecturers, or scholars who aid you in comprehending the subject or methodologies.
  • Tutors, coaches, and advisors of every sort are welcome.
  • Family and friends, especially your spouse (for adult learners studying part-time).

There’s no reason to ramble on for a long time. Simply state who you’re grateful to and what you’re thankful for (e.g., thank you to my boss, John Doe, for his relentless diligence and attentiveness) – and be sincere. You should limit it to one page or fewer in terms of length.

The acknowledgements section of a dissertation is extremely significant.

The executive summary (also known as an abstract) is a short summary

The dissertation abstract (or executive summary for certain degrees) helps to offer a big-picture overview of the thesis proposal to the first-time reader (and marker or moderator). It should be able to provide them with a basic understanding of the research’s core observations and observations without requiring them to read the remainder of the study – in other terms, it should be self-contained.

  • Your abstract should have (at a minimum) the following main points in order for it to stand alone:
  • Your research concerns and objectives – what main question (s) did you hope to address with your study?
  • How did you investigate the subject and find answers to your study question (s) using your methodology?
  • What did you learn as a result of your own investigation?
  • Your assumptions – what conclusions did you draw based on your findings? What responses did you come up with in response to your study question (s)?

So, in the same sense as the dissertation framework reflects the study method, the thesis or executive summary can mirror the research process, from the beginning of asking the original query to the end of addressing it.

In practice, it’s best to finish this segment last, once you’ve finished the rest of your main chapters. Otherwise, you’ll spend a lot of time writing and editing this part (just wasting time). Check out this article for a step-by-step tutorial about how to compose an effective executive summary.

Table of Contents

This part is easy to understand. The table of contents (TOC) is usually shown first, accompanied by the two lists – figures and columns. To make your table of contents, I suggest using Microsoft Word’s automated table of contents generator. If you’re unfamiliar with this function, the video below will help you understand it:

Try withdrawing one level of depth from your table of contents if it seems to be too long. This can also be achieved without detracting from the TOC’s utility.

Introduction (first chapter)

It’s time to pass back to the main chapters now that the “main” parts are out of the way. These chapters are the meat of your dissertation, and they’re where you’ll get your grades. The first step is the introduction chapter, which is where you can introduce your studies…

Even if your abstract offers an outline of your studies, your introduction should be written as though the reader has not read it (remember, the abstract is essentially a standalone document). As a consequence, your introduction chapter should begin at the beginning and answer the following questions:

  • What are you going to look at (in layman’s terms, at a high level)?
  • What makes you think it’s important to look into it? What role does it play in academics or the workplace? What makes it sufficiently unique?
  • What are the objectives of your study and what are your research question (s)? It’s worth noting that the study issues will be raised at the conclusion of the literature review (next chapter).
  • What exactly is the scope of your research? To put it another way, what are you going to protect and what are you not going to cover?
  • What technique would you use to perform your research? To put it another way, what technique would you use?
  • What is your dissertation’s layout going to be? What are the main chapters, and what would you be doing in each one?

These are the very minimum criteria for your introduction part. Any university needs additional bells and whistles in the introduction chapter, so read your brief carefully or contact your study supervisor.

Your dissertation’s introduction portion, if completed correctly, will offer a strong direction for the rest of your work. It will make it plain to the reader (and marker) precisely what you’ll be looking at, why it’s relevant, and how you’ll go about conducting the investigation. If your introduction part, on the other hand, leaves a first-time reader asking what you’ll be investigating, you still have some work to do.

The second chapter is devoted to the study of literature.

The literature review is the next move after you’ve established a consistent path for your introduction portion. In this segment, you’ll look at current literature (mostly scholarly journal papers and high-quality industry publications) to figure out how to answer the following questions:

  • What is the latest state of the literature on the subject you’re looking into?
  • Is there a dearth of literature or is it well-established? Is it fragmented or at odds with itself?
  • What role do your studies play in the larger scheme of things?
  • How can your studies add anything new to the table?
  • What role does prior research approach play in the creation of your own?

Depending on the nature of your study, you may also present a conceptual framework (or theoretical framework) towards the end of your literature review, which you will then test in your actual research.

Again, some universities will want you to focus on some of these areas more than others, some will have additional or fewer requirements, and so on. Therefore, as always, it is important to review your brief and/or discuss with your supervisor, so that you know exactly what’s expected of your literature review chapter.

Methodology is covered in Chapter 3.

It’s time to design your own study now that you’ve investigated the current state of science in your literature review chapter and are acquainted with the existing primary hypotheses, and structures. The technique chapter is the most “technical” of the set…

A dissertation’s technique chapter is an important component of the overall framework.

Two crucial questions must be addressed in this chapter:

This is right. WHAT Form Would YOU USE TO Perform YOUR Study (i.e., what research style would you use)?

WHY have you decided to do it in this manner (i.e., how do you explain your design)?

Keep in mind that the dissertation portion of your degree is all about honing and showing your research abilities. As a result, the markers want to see that you know which approaches to use, can easily explain why you choose them, and can successfully deploy them.

This segment, in particular, necessitates specificity; don’t skimp on the information. Describe what you’ll be doing, who you’ll be doing it with, where you’ll be doing it, how long you’ll be doing it, and so on. Furthermore, be sure that any design decision you make is justified.

In practice, you’ll probably return to this chapter once you’ve completed all of the data collection and research to revise it based on the improvements you created during the review process. This is completely acceptable. It’s normal to incorporate another research strategy, scrap an old one, and so forth, depending on where the data leads you. Of course, I’m talking about minimal improvements here, not a total transition from qualitative to quantitative, which will undoubtedly throw the manager into a tailspin.

Results, Chapter 4

You’ve completed the data collection and analysis, whether qualitative, quantitative, or mixed approaches. You’ll present the raw results of your study in this chapter. In a quantitative analysis, you could present demographic stats, descriptive statistics, inferential statistics, and so on.

Chapter 4 is usually just a summary and explanation of the data, not a discussion of the data’s purpose. In other words, it’s descriptive rather than analytical, as explained in Chapter 5. Some colleges, however, will require you to merge Chapters 4 and 5 so that you can present and analyze the data at the same time. Check with your institution to see what they want.

5th Chapter: Discussion

It’s time to interpret and analyze the data analysis findings now that you’ve viewed them. To put it another way, it’s time to talk about what they mean, especially in light of your research question (s).

What you talk about here is heavily influenced by the approach you use. If you go the quantitative path, for example, you might talk about the relationships between variables. If you went the qualitative way, you could talk about main themes and their meanings. It all depends on the research design you choose.

Above all, you must address your findings in light of your research questions and objectives, as well as current literature. What do the findings say about the study questions you’ve posed? Are they consistent with current research or contradictory? If that’s the case, why is that? Look at your observations and clarify what they mean in plain English.

Remember to respond to your research questions to complete your dissertation.

Conclusion, Chapter 6

You’ve made it to the last chapter! It’s time to go back to the beginning now that you’ve discussed about your understanding of the data. To put it another way, it’s time to (try to) answer your research questions (from way back in chapter 1). In terms of your research questions, explicitly state your conclusions. While you may have discussed this in the previous chapter, it is crucial to bring the discussion full circle and articulate your answer (s) to the research question (s).

Following that, you’ll typically talk about the consequences of your findings? To put it another way, you’ve answered your study questions, but what does this mean in the real world (or even academia)? With the new perspective you’ve gained, what can be done differently now?

Finally, talk about the study’s limitations and what this means for future research in the field. No thesis, particularly one at the master’s level, is without flaws. Talk about the research’s flaws. Perhaps your methodology was restricted, or your sample size was small or unrepresentative, or something else entirely. Don’t be afraid to criticize your own work; the markers want to see if you can spot flaws. This is a benefit, not a flaw. Be ruthless!

This concludes your main chapters – yay! It’s all smooth sailing from here on out.


The bibliography is easy. It should include a list of all tools referenced in your dissertation, formatted in the appropriate style, such as APA or Harvard.

For your dissertation, you could use reference management tools. Do not attempt to manage the referencing manually; it is just too risky. You’ll find a mistake on a multi-page reference list. To that end, I recommend Mendeley or Zotero. Both are free and have a simple interface that ensures your referencing is right. Below is a quick tutorial for the Mendeley app (my personal favorite):

Some universities may need a bibliography rather than a reference list. These are not the same thing. A bibliography is similar to a reading list, but it also contains materials that influenced your thoughts but were not referenced in your dissertation. So make sure you double-check your brief and use the correct one.


The appendix (or collection of appendices) is the final piece of the puzzle. Any supporting data and evidence should be included here. The word “service” is crucial here.

Appendices should provide “nice to know” material that isn’t vital to the core research. Appendices should not be used to minimize the word count (see this post which covers how to reduce word count). To put it another way, don’t put content that is crucial to the core research here just to save space. You will not get credit for anything in the appendices, so don’t try to cheat!

Let’s review…

That’s it, from A to Z, the conventional dissertation structure and style. To summarize, the basic structure of a dissertation or thesis is as follows:

Page 1 of 2

  • Page of Appreciation
  • Thesis (or executive summary)
  • List of figures and charts, as well as a table of contents
  • The dissertation’s main chapters (or “meat”)
  • Introduction (chapter 1)
  • Literature analysis (Chapter 2)
  • Methodology, Chapter 3
  • Results, Chapter 4
  • 5th Chapter: Discussion
  • Conclusion, Chapter 6
  • Bibliography
  • Addendum

The core chapters, above all, should represent the research method (asking, investigating and answering your research question). Furthermore, the study question (s) should run through your dissertation like a golden thread. All should revolve around the research questions, which, as you can see, should serve as both the beginning (i.e. the introduction chapter) and the end (i.e. the conclusion chapter) (i.e. conclusion chapter).

I hope this article has clarified the conventional dissertation/thesis framework and layout for you.

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