The Structure of a Thesis Explained

Many students freak out when they see the requirements that that they need to meet when writing a dissertation or thesis. A length requirement alone may make one’s blood run cold! Of course, dissertation lengths differ from a university to university, but usually a student has to compose the original text of 30,000-50,000 words. It looks daunting and undoable; however, if to write a section or a chapter at a time, the process will be less tiring and more realizable. For this reason, a student aspiring to create a paper of such volume should know the dissertation chapter structure.

A structure of a thesis is usually similar in different schools, but it may vary depending on the discipline. Nevertheless, there is a set of elements that constitute the basis of such paper and will be present regardless the subject. In other words, be it the chapters of a dissertation in education or physics, the paper should definitely include an abstract, introduction, literature review, methodology, results section, analysis, conclusion, and most probably, an appendix. However, depending on the discipline, one chapter might be more developed than others.

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What is our secret to a speedy completion of such complicated tasks? The answer is quite simple. It is a systematic approach that is based on profound knowledge about the dissertation chapters structure. To assist you in your endeavor to create an excellent thesis, we are ready to share own experience and tips regarding each section of a dissertation. Here is what you should know.

  1. Abstract

Think of film trailers. Although many people prefer not to watch them to avoid spoilers, their usefulness is undeniable. They give us an idea of a movie and allow to decide for ourselves whether the time and money are worth spending on this film. In the sphere of academic research, an abstract performs the role of a trailer. It is a brief informative piece of writing that contains the data about the purpose of the research, its methodology, and main findings. It follows dissertation title page and a table of content. Surely, it gives away what the paper will be about and what the outcome of the study is, but it is incredibly helpful in making a good impression on a reader.

  1. Introduction

A dissertation introduction is an opening section of the paper. It is crucial as it sets context and tone for the rest of the paper. In addition, it is more developed, longer, and more detailed than an abstract, but it does not cover the thesis in its entirety. Still, it does serve as a foundation for the whole paper by presenting the purpose of the study, the objectives that you establish to reach, hypotheses that are to be tested, and questions that you want to answer. Beyond doubt, it contains a lot less analytical data as compared with other sections, but it should have the same scholarly and formal nature inherent in the rest of the text.

  1. Literature Review

The second chapter is, as its title suggests, is about making an overview of literature that discusses the subjects relevant to your topic. The section is vital for the research as it serves as a basis for developing own vision and perspective of the problem under consideration. Any kind of conclusion you will make about your results should be supported by the evidence from literature. You will have to confirm the discoveries of others, oppose them, or fill in the gap in their conclusions, etc. In other words, in the end, you will have to find a place your work occupies in the global debate over the issue, and the procedure that you will make in order to write this section will help you to do it.

  1. Methodology

In this chapter of a thesis, you will have to provide an explanation of a method, which you use to conduct the research, and justification of this choice. For instance, if you decide to apply an open-ended interview as a tool, it is not enough to state this fact. You will have to say why it is the best method to be used in this situation, and the articles that you read while making a literature review will assist you in providing solid reasons. In addition, you will have to elaborate on sample, participants, their selection, a design of instruments if any, the chosen timeframe and setting for the study, and limitations of the methodology among other crucial pieces of information. Afterwards, you will have to present the results obtained upon the application of the methodology.

  1. Discussion/Analysis

This part of a dissertation is like a body of an essay since it is the place where you should demonstrate your critical thinking and analytical skills to the fullest extent. You will have to analyze the data that you have received in the process of its collection and make conclusion that are in line with the information gathered in the literature review. In other words, you need to bring all threads of your dissertation together and tie them up to demonstrate that there is a sort of pattern, principle, or a regularity. It is a massive work, and accordingly, you might need to divide the chapter in smaller subsections. Moreover, this part differs lot depending of a discipline. For example, in a dissertation in science, an emphasis will be laid on the data itself, whereas a scholar studying humanities will have to concentrate on conclusion that may be drawn from the data.

  1. Conclusion

A dissertation conclusion is a brief overview of the thesis and the discussion of significance that the work done has for the field. It is a place to make final statements, focus on the merits and drawbacks of own research, and think of improvements of the study. Thus, a conclusion is a kind of personal reflection about oneself as a scholar and own achievement in the form of a dissertation. So, when writing it, keep it simple and with no flowery language or meaningless clichés. Besides, be sure to include a suggestion regarding the future research of the same or closely related issue.

  1. Bibliography and Appendices

Finally, you should compile a list of literature that you used in the process of a dissertation and give credit to the authors by adding in-text citations. Then, this list or a bibliography should be formatted in a style prescribed by your institution. In addition, you may provide appendices with supplementary materials in the form of questionnaires samples, tables, graphs, etc., if they are necessary to grasp the complexity and scope of your work.

The components described constitute a skeleton of thesis regardless of a discipline or an institution where you study. If you follow it and complete the chapters in phases, the research will not be a challenge but rather an enjoyable experience. In the end, you will be proud of yourself and the degree obtained!