Different Types Of Dissertation

As you are working on your dissertation, you will need to decide if you want it to be theory- or practice-oriented. You may want to use both theory and practice in your study, because both are equally valuable in research. However, if you are an undergraduate student, you will have to focus on any of these two approaches.

However, even if you choose to write a practice-oriented dissertation, you will still rely on some sound theory or conceptual framework. It is with the help of theory that you will be able to place the results of your study in a broader research and social context. You can emphasize one single aspect of theory or use theory as a whole. In any case, you are the one to decide what you want to do to accomplish your academic goals.

If you are more about doing practice research, then one of the critical tasks will be choosing an appropriate framework, design, and instrument. You can do your research as a case study or a longitudinal observational project. The exact type of dissertation will have to be selected based on the topic, research questions, purpose, and expected outcomes.

A few examples of theory- and practice-oriented approaches to dissertation writing



Study type





Human respondents





Perspective or viewpoint

Self-analysis or reflection

Theoretical and observational

Empirical Research In Dissertation Writing

If you choose to do an empirical research project, then you will have to collect primary data. For instance, you will survey a group of patients to measure their satisfaction with the quality of healthcare services provided to them. Then you will analyze the data using either quantitative or qualitative approaches. You may use a variety of instruments such as surveys or personal narrative interviews. You may also want to use the data that were previously collected by other researchers. You will need to compare your results to those reported by other researchers.

Non-Empirical Research

If you decide not to do empirical research, you will still have to be serious and thorough in every aspect of writing. You will need to outline a problem or argument, and your dissertation will still be focused on this argument or issue. It is not that easy to make up a large document such as dissertation without delivering some primary data. You will have to gather volumes of information to prove your point. If you are not the one who is ready to spend hours and days in the university library, it is better to turn your head to an empirical study.

At the same time, you are the one who chooses an appropriate theoretical framework, depending on the subject and purpose of your study. In sociology, you will revolve around the study of human subjects. In culture, you will explore social and cultural theories. You choose a topic for your dissertation and proceed with it. You choose theories and bring them together to create a strong and compelling argument. Your dissertation advisor monitors your progress and offers recommendations to improve your dissertation outcomes.

Writing A Narrative Dissertation Project

Most likely, you will still focus on doing an empirical study. Non-empirical dissertations are rare. Besides, they are often much more boring than empirical ones. However, if you study science as your major, you will conduct a laboratory experiment and defend its results in your dissertation. This way you will include a large narrative body, which will become the most salient component of your project. If you study anthropology, then the biggest part of your dissertation will be made of field notes. In any case, you make the final decision and you do your part of the job. At the same time, you always know where you can find some relevant dissertation help and advice.