A dissertation or thesis is a long academic work based on original research and submitted as part of a doctoral, master’s, or bachelor’s degree. So in order to complete your program, you are required to write a Thesis or Dissertation.
A dissertation or thesis is probably the longest and most difficult work a student has ever completed. However, it can also be a very rewarding job because unlike essays and other assignments, the student is able to choose a topic of particular interest and work on his own.
The length and structure of a dissertation vary greatly depending on the study level and subject. However, there are some important questions that can help you understand the requirements and start your dissertation project.
In this piece, we shall explore valuable information on how to write a powerful thesis or Dissertation and provide for you a few samples of well-written Dissertations.
- What is a Dissertation?
- Thesis vs Dissertation: Are they the same?
- How do I structure a Powerful Dissertation?
- How much words do a Dissertation or Thesis take?
- Why is a Dissertation important?
- How do I write a Thesis or Dissertation?
- #1 Title page
- #2 Acknowledgments
- #3 Abstract
- #4 Table of Contents
- #5 List of Figures and Tables
- #6 List of abbreviations
- #7 Glossary
- #8 Introduction
- #9 Literature Research / Theoretical Framework
- #10 Methodology
- #11 Results
- #12 Discussion
- #13 Conclusion
- #14 Reference List
- #15 Attachments
- #16 Editing and proofreading
- Dissertation samples
- How to write a Dissertation – FAQs
- Writer’s Recommendation
What is a Dissertation?
A dissertation is a large research project that is carried out at the end of a degree. It involves in-depth examination of a problem or question chosen by the student. It is usually the largest (and last) written work that was produced during a degree.
A dissertation, sometimes referred to as a thesis, ends at the end of a bachelor’s or postgraduate course. It is a larger project than the other essays you wrote, which requires more words and more depth of research.
In the last year of your studies, you usually work on your dissertation for a longer period than for a standard article.
Is Writing A Dissertation Hard?
Well, writing a dissertation though not hitch free is one that demands a detailed approach to study, research and pattern. That is to say, you don’t just wake up and start writing a dissertation.
In order to write a good dissertation and have a smooth ride all through the process, the processes to follow are listed in few lines to come.
Thesis vs Dissertation: Are they the same?
The words “dissertation” and “thesis” both refer to a large written research project that was carried out to complete a degree, but are used differently depending on the country:
- In the UK, at the end of a bachelor’s or master’s degree, you will write a dissertation and write a thesis to complete a doctorate.
- In the US, it’s the other way around: at the end of a bachelor’s or master’s degree, you can write a thesis and write a dissertation to complete a doctorate.
Typically, a dissertation is the most extensive independent work in the bachelor’s program, while a thesis is usually associated with master’s degrees, although these terms can be interchangeable and can vary between countries and universities.
How do I structure a Powerful Dissertation?
The most common dissertation structure in the sciences and social sciences includes:
- An introduction to your topic
- A literature review that examines relevant sources
- An explanation of your methodology
- An overview of the results of your research
- A discussion of the results and their effects
- A conclusion that shows what your research has contributed
As already mentioned, your approach to your dissertation depends on your field of study. The first thing to do is to check whether you are performing empirical studies that collect original data or not empirical studies that are analyzing sources.
Empirical Dissertations (Sciences)
An empirical dissertation focuses on collecting and analyzing original data. You usually write this type of dissertation when you study a subject in the natural or social sciences.
There are many different empirical research methods that you can use to answer these questions – for example, experiments, observations, surveys and interviews.
For example, in empirical investigations you have to take into account the variables to be examined, the reliability and validity of your measurements and your sampling method. The goal is to deliver robust, reproducible scientific knowledge.
Examples of empirical research questions
- How do airline workers feel about the challenges that climate change poses for their industry?
- How effective is cognitive-behavioral therapy in treating depression in young adults?
- What are the short-term health effects of switching from smoking cigarettes to e-cigarettes?
Non-empirical Dissertations (Humanities)
A non-empirical dissertation works with existing research results or other texts and presents original analyzes, criticism and arguments, but no original data. This approach is typical of art and humanities subjects.
Dissertations in the humanities are often structured more like a long essay that builds an argument by analyzing primary and secondary sources. Instead of the standard structure described here, you can organize your chapters according to different topics or case studies.
Examples of non-empirical research questions
- What was the attitude of commentators in the British press towards the French Revolution in 1789-1792?
- How do gender and inheritance overlap in Shakespeare’s Macbeth?
- How did Plato’s Republic and Thomas More’s utopia influence the utopian socialist thinking of the 19th century?
The first steps in this type of dissertation are to decide on your topic and start collecting your primary and secondary sources.
Primary sources are the direct objects of your research. They give you first-hand evidence of your topic.
Secondary sources provide information that informs your analysis. They describe, interpret or evaluate information from primary sources.
How much words do a Dissertation or Thesis take?
The number of dissertation words varies greatly in different areas, institutions and educational levels:
- A diploma thesis usually consists of 8,000 to 15,000 words
- A master’s thesis usually consists of 12,000 to 50,000 words
- A doctoral thesis usually has a book length of 70,000 to 100,000 words
However, none of these guidelines is strict – your word count may be lower or higher than the numbers given here. Always check your university’s guidelines to determine how long your own dissertation should last.
Why is a Dissertation important?
The dissertation is a test of your ability to do independent research. You have a lot of autonomy when writing your dissertation: you develop your own ideas, do your own research, and write and structure the text yourself.
This means that whether you continue in the academic field or not is an important preparation for your future: it teaches you to manage your own time, generate original ideas and work independently.
The aim of the dissertation is to create original research work on a clearly defined topic.
How Do I Write A Thesis Or Dissertation?
Writing a dissertation requires planning and research skills that are of great value for your future career and within organizations.
The topic and question of the dissertation should be focused so that you can gather all of the required data within a relatively short period of time, usually about six weeks for Bachelor’s programs.
You should also choose a topic you already know something about so that you already have a frame of reference for your literature search and some understanding and interest in the theory behind your topic.
There are many ways to write a dissertation or thesis. Most universities and colleges offer their students very specific instructions on their preferred approach. However, we will examine a more general structure and approach to writing a dissertation.
You can then write each of the different sections of your dissertation without or in addition to specific instructions from your university.
#1 Title page
The very first page of your document contains the title of your dissertation, your name, your department, your institution, your study program and your submission date.
Sometimes it also includes your student number, the name of your supervisor and the university logo. Many programs place strict requirements on the formatting of the title page of the dissertation.
The Acknowledgments section is usually optional and gives you space to thank everyone who helped you write your dissertation. These can be your superiors, participants in your research, and friends or family members who have supported you.
The abstract is a short summary of your dissertation, usually about 150-300 words long. You should write it at the very end when you have completed the rest of the dissertation. In the summary, make sure that:
- State the main topic and objectives of your research
- Describe the methods you use
- Summarize the most important results
- State your conclusions
Although the abstract is very short, it is the first part (and sometimes the only part) of your dissertation that people will read. It is therefore important that you do it correctly. If you’re struggling to write a strong abstract, see our guide to writing an abstract.
#4 Table of Contents
List all your chapters and sub-headings and their page numbers in the table of contents. The page with the content of the dissertation gives the reader an overview of your structure and facilitates navigation in the document.
All parts of your dissertation should be included in the table of contents, including the appendices. You can automatically create a table of contents in Word if you have used heading styles.
#5 List of Figures and Tables
If you have used many tables and figures in your dissertation, you should list them in a numbered list. You can create this list automatically using the “Insert label” function in Word.
#6 List of abbreviations
If you have used many abbreviations in your dissertation, you can include them in an alphabetical list of abbreviations so that the reader can easily look up their meaning.
If you have used many highly specialized terms that your reader is unfamiliar with, it may be a good idea to include a glossary. List the terms alphabetically and explain each term with a brief description or definition.
In the introduction you determine the topic, the purpose and the relevance of your dissertation and tell the reader what to expect in the rest of the dissertation. The introduction should:
- Determine your research topic and provide the necessary background information to contextualize your work
- Limit the focus and define the scope of the research
- Discuss the status of existing research on this topic and show the relevance of your work to a broader problem or a broader debate
- Clearly state your research questions and goals
- Give an overview of the structure of your dissertation
Everything in the introduction should be clear, engaging and relevant to your research. In the end, the reader should understand what your research is, why and how. If you need further help, read our guide to writing a dissertation introduction.
#9 Literature Research / Theoretical Framework
Before you start your research, you should have done a literature search to get a thorough understanding of the academic work that is already available on your subject. This means:
- Collect sources (e.g. books and magazine articles) and select the most relevant
- Critical evaluation and analysis of each source
- Draw connections between them (eg topics, patterns, conflicts, gaps) to create an overall point
In the chapter or section on reviewing the dissertation literature, you should not only summarize existing studies, but develop a coherent structure and reasoning that leads to a clear basis or justification for your own research. For example, it could show how your research:
- Fixed a gap in the literature
- Pursues a new theoretical or methodological approach to the topic
- Proposes a solution to an unsolved problem
- Promotes a theoretical debate
- Builds on existing knowledge and strengthens it with new data
Literature research often becomes the basis for a theoretical framework in which you define and analyze the most important theories, concepts and models that determine your research. In this section you can answer descriptive research questions about the relationship between concepts or variables.
The methodology chapter or section describes how you did your research so your reader can judge its validity. In general, you should include the following:
The overall approach and type of research (e.g. qualitative, quantitative, experimental, ethnographic)
- Your data collection methods (e.g. interviews, surveys, archives)
- Information about where, when and with whom the research was carried out
- Your methods for data analysis (e.g. statistical analysis, discourse analysis)
- Tools and materials, you use (e.g. computer programs, laboratory equipment)
- A discussion of all the obstacles you faced when conducting the research and how you overcame them
- An evaluation or justification of your methods
Your aim in the methodology is to accurately report what you did, as well as convincing the reader that this was the best approach to answering your research questions or objectives.
Next, report on the results of your research. You can structure this section according to subqueries, hypotheses or topics. Only report results that are relevant to your goals and research questions.
In some disciplines, the outcome area is strictly separated from the discussion, while in others the two are combined.
In the results pane, it can often be helpful to include tables, graphics, and charts. Think carefully about how best to present your data, and don’t add tables or figures that just repeat what you wrote. You should provide additional information or visualize the results in a way that adds value to your text.
Full versions of your data (e.g. interview minutes) can be attached.
In the discussion, you examine the meaning and implications of your results in relation to your research questions. Here you should interpret the results in detail and discuss whether they meet your expectations and how well they fit the framework that you created in previous chapters.
If any of the results were unexpected, explain why this could be. It is a good idea to consider alternative interpretations of your data and to discuss any limitations that could have affected the results.
The discussion should refer to other academic papers to show how your results match the existing knowledge. You can also make recommendations for future research or practical measures.
The conclusion of the dissertation should answer the main research question precisely and give the reader a clear understanding of your key argument.
In some academic conventions, the conclusion refers to a short section that precedes the discussion: first state your general conclusions directly, then discuss and interpret their meaning.
In other contexts, however, the conclusion relates to the last chapter, in which you conclude your dissertation with a final reflection on what you did and how you did it. This type of conclusion often includes recommendations for research or practice.
In this section it is important to show how your results contribute to knowledge in the field and why your research is important. What did you add to what was already known?
#14 Reference List
You must include all details of all sources that you have cited in a reference list (sometimes referred to as a work list or bibliography). It is important to follow a consistent citation style.
Each style has strict and specific requirements for formatting your sources in the reference list.
Common styles include APA and MLA. However, your program often specifies which citation style you should use. Check the requirements and ask your manager if you are unsure.
Your dissertation itself should only contain essential information that directly helps answer your research question. Documents you use that do not fit into the main part of your dissertation (e.g. interview transcripts, survey questions or tables with complete illustrations) can be added as attachments.
#16 Editing and proofreading
It is only the first step to a well-written dissertation, ensuring that all sections are in the right place. Leave enough time for editing and proofreading. Grammatical errors and sloppy formatting errors can affect the quality of your hard work.
You should plan to write and revise several drafts of your thesis or dissertation before you focus on language errors, typing errors, and inconsistencies.
Below are some of the available samples of well written and best dissertation papers which you can download to study before commencing yours. Click on the links to download any of them.
- Is NHS implementing job evaluation to follow principles of pay equity?
- The Impact of Internet Marketing on Business Management in Dubai
- Evaluation of a Creative Curriculum in Preschool Literacy Readiness
- Middle School Education: Examining the Effectiveness of an Inclusion Program
- Risk Management in Automation and Power Industries
How to write a Dissertation – FAQs
How do you write a Thesis?
The thesis statement tells your view of the presented problem, directly and explicitly, in a sentence or two. Your paper then builds an academic argument to support the thesis. When you’re developing your thesis statement, it’s important to determine what type of paper you are writing.
How do you write the introduction chapter thesis or dissertation?
As a general rule, your dissertation introduction should generally do the following things:
Provide preliminary background information that puts your research in context.
Clarify the focus of your study.
Point out the value of your research.
Specify your specific research aims and objectives.
How is a dissertation different from an essay?
The main difference is in terms of scale – a dissertation is usually much longer than the other essays you complete during your degree.
Another key difference is that you are given much more independence when working on a dissertation. You choose your own dissertation topic, and you have to conduct the research and write the dissertation yourself (with some assistance from your supervisor).
As you prepare to conclude your studies and receive your long-awaited degree, writing a dissertation or Thesis is one of the requirements for the fulfilment of your studies.
Hence, understanding how to write a powerful thesis and dissertation is one of the skills you need to take very seriously. As you follow the tested and proven approaches, you are sure to have one of the best Thesis or Dissertation that will earn you a good score for your degree program.
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- Dissertation introduction, conclusion, and abstract | Oxbridge …
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