Dissertation Structure

How to structure a dissertation

Dissertations summarize a student’s research in a specific area of study. A vital element of consideration is the structure of the dissertations. Depending on the institutional directives, every student needs to structure their documents to the expectations. However, the standard structure of these documents is as highlighted below;

Title Page

This is the first page of a dissertation document containing details such as the work’s title, student’s name, department, institution, program, and the date of submission. These are crucial pieces of information needed on the title page. In other cases, a student may need to include their number, supervisor’s name, and the institutional logo. It is always essential to ensure the title page correlates with the university’s requirements.


This section recognizes and appreciates everyone who had a positive contribution and impact during the research process. Some of the notable persons include supervisors, professional contacts, family members and friends.


All dissertations include a summary of the piece of work. It is usually approximately 150-300 words and always written as the last part after completing the rest of the dissertation. It incorporates the main topic, rationale of the research, methods used, a summary of the results, and states the conclusion.

Table of Contents

This part includes a list of the chapters, utilized sub-headings, and their page numbers. The key benefit of this part is to facilitate easy navigation.

List of Figures and Tables

In case the research has utilized figures and tables, this section contains a numbered list of these items. The author can automatically generate a list in the Word document “Insert Caption Feature.”

List of Abbreviation

The dissertation should contain an alphabetical list of abbreviations so ensure the reader has an easy time looming for their respective meanings.


Research pieces contain words and terms that are unfamiliar to the readers. The glossary segment contains specialized terms and their meanings. These terms are listed alphabetically with a description.


This segment sets the foundation of the research since it informs the readers about the researcher’s intention. It highlights the topic, rationale and relevance of the dissertation. A general description of the critical areas of concern is vital and is usually around 3-4 paragraphs. In the significance of the problem segment, the research argues the importance of conducting the study. Notably, the introduction part integrates the theoretical basis, problem statement, and research questions and hypothesis. The theoretical part integrates the research variables and definition of the important terms of the theoretical model. It is also imperative to state the problem statement, include the research questions and the hypothesis to inform the audience about the broader view of the research.

Literature Review

            This is the largest piece of a dissertation containing relevant information that already exists about the topic at hand. Materials such as books, journals, official statistics among other credible sources help the student to connect the existing themes and patterns with the research at hand to make a key point. Elements such as existing research gaps, theoretical approach, a proposal to the problem, and building the existing knowledge should be highlighted.


The methodology section integrates the participants, research design, procedures, and data analysis. It should help the reader to establish how the research was conducted to assess its validity. An evaluation and justification of the methods should be possible.


            This segment analyzes the obtained data where the results to the research questions are further explained. Tables and figures are needed to provide a better understanding of the results.


The discussion part entails an interpretation of the results in line with the research questions and the available literature. A summary, conclusion, limitations of the study, and recommendations for future research are included in this segment.

Reference List

            An alphabetical list of all the utilized and credible research contents should be availed in the right format.


            Any essential information that supports the research questions is included in this part.

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