Many young people are determined to get higher education to grow as professionals in their sphere and improve their chances of getting hired. SAT scores for undergraduate students at Key Stage 2 level show the extent of one’s preparation for challenges that universities have in store. But in the end, everything depends on how thorough you’re going to be in your studies. Whether you’re a student at Barnsley College or Oxford University, you’ll have to write dissertations.
They help show your level of knowledge and perspectives. Developing the well-thought-out dissertation plan structure, conducting your unique research, and summarising all you’ve explored are crucial as they influence how you will be viewed professionally. Dissertations are a great chance to demonstrate your potential to those who might provide you with useful connections. Few people know what it entails, though. So, what is the dissertation structure, and what sections does it have?
Basic Dissertation Layout
The essential thing you should know about the layout is that rules vary for different UK universities. How long is a dissertation? Some unis ask for more sections, others might be interested in breaking bigger parts into smaller, but overall, basic rules stay the same. The general structure of the dissertation includes three sections.
The first one has smaller elements like cover page, acknowledgements, abstract, table of contents, lists of figures, graphs, or abbreviations, and glossary if needed. The second one is the text itself, the most significant and relevant section of the work. The third part comprises the reference list and appendix. To get a deeper understanding of each element of academic assignments, discover the dissertation structure example in detail.
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Before writing, it’s crucial to plan everything thoroughly. For example, you should have a detailed dissertation introduction outline that could help you remember what section should contain what piece of information. Having a clear dissertation layout will make the whole writing process much more manageable.
- Cover page. This is the first page revealing the most crucial data to the audience, such as your name, your educational institution, the department you’re writing for, the name of your supervisor, and of course, the title. Be attentive here, though! Check the template of your university to see what the front pages should look like. At some universities, they may require you to indicate word count or include additional lines. To avoid retyping the cover page over and over again, ask for a sample in advance and replicate it. The cover page is not an element where you can deviate from rules and show creativity.
- Acknowledgments. In this section, you can express your gratitude to all who supported you, helped, encouraged you while writing a dissertation. Though this part comes after the front page, it is better to write it last because your feelings may change. Speak about your loved ones, teachers, God, supervisor — anyone who affected the writing process one way or another.
- Abstract. It should be about
200-300words depending on the length and requirements presented by the university. An abstract is pretty short; it is still a crucial part of the structure where you give your work summary. People determine whether they’re interested in a dissertation based on the abstract. Briefly describe your topic, what you explored, what for, which methods you used and what result you achieved.
- Table of contents. The dissertation structure involves chapters instead of usual sections. Mention each chapter, its title, and its subtopics, along with page numbers. The appendix should be present as well. Ensure that page numbers in the table correspond to those in the text, as it is a common problem leading to reprinting over and over again.
- Tables. Being a complex work, a dissertation is likely to involve figures and tables. They are used to enhance presented material and summarise data sets with a perfect structure. Check the page numbers to be correct again because any mistake may confuse and frustrate your audience. If any abbreviations are used, include them after tables and graphs.
- Glossary. It is optional and depends on the complexity of your research. Clarify with your supervisor whether the glossary should be included in the structure. Make an alphabetical list of complex terms that the audience will not be able to understand, and provide concise explanations of their meaning.
- Introduction. In the dissertation introduction, you should explain the topic and its relevance. It should present the research objectives, the ways to achieve them, and their overall and individual significance — for example, their meaning for the target audience. Then, you should mention existing sources related to your topic and overview the structure. Don’t be too detailed here, as the introduction shouldn’t be overly long. Include all the elements but do it briefly.
- Literature review. It’s the backbone of the structure. First, pick only credible sources that are truly useful in research. But don’t make a mistake by just summarising them. Evaluate them critically by pointing out their strengths, weaknesses, and objectives. Tell about their relevance for your work, synthesise them by drawing parallels, comparisons, etc. Most importantly, mention the gap of all these sources and explain how you have used them in your research.
- Methodology. The dissertation methodology structure isn’t complicated, but it has to be detailed. Write how you conducted your research and prove it is valid and trustworthy. Mention the type of research (for example, qualitative or quantitative, which are most common), how data were collected (questionnaires, physical interviews, etc.), what methods and tools were used. Explain problems you faced and justify all significant decisions you’ve taken, such as why a specific population group was chosen as a sample, why this type of research was selected, and why the data-collecting process was conducted like this.
- Results. Report your findings in this chapter. What did the obtained data indicate? How did it support or refute your hypotheses? Include some graphs here, so the audience could see what you achieved. Make the description of your results clear.
- Conclusion and discussion. Many students often wonder how to write dissertation conclusion without being repetitive. The solution is simple: you should focus on the implications. Present the results of your research and explain how they fit into the existing research structure. Were your hypotheses confirmed? What does it mean in terms of this topic now? Provide recommendations and admit limitations of your work that future research could consider. Conclude by emphasising your study’s relevance.
- Reference list. Depending on the formatting style (APA, Oxford, MLA, etc.), list all sources you’ve mentioned in the text at least once. Remember, if a source isn’t mentioned in any chapter, it cannot count as used, so it’ll be marked as fake referencing. Write down all the info so everyone could immediately identify these sources’ credibility.
- Appendix. Typically, this includes survey questions or interviews transcripts. Mention parts that helped in composing research but which aren’t enough to include them in the main text. Detailed figures could also be present here.
Top Five Writing Tips
- Select an interesting topic. True, you might be indifferent toward numerous academic issues, but there has to be something you like. Twist it until it fits general research criteria and structure. You’ll be writing a dissertation for a long time, so to avoid being bored and poor quality, research something you would genuinely like to know more about.
- Ask for help when needed. You might not know how to write a methodology or literature review. Google, consult with your supervisor, look for a dissertation plan template. Be sure you understand all rules correctly before writing something. It will save time considerably. Always focus on reliability. It is not a school essay where you could make up some bits or mix references with a sloppy structure in the hopes to be done sooner. Every word you write here must be valid, so research thoroughly, use credible sources and be attentive when gathering data.
- Be realistic. Don’t pick goals you won’t be able to complete. Travelling and conducting physical interviews would be impressive, but in most cases, it’s simply impossible due to the complexity of such a process. Being ambitious is great, but harness your imagination and stay grounded.
- Remember about relevance. This principle is crucial in every dissertation stage. Make sure the research topic is relevant in modern times. Justify every decision by proving its significance for a study. Constantly emphasise what new insights your work brings into a selected field and how it enriches the existing literature sources on the topic. Follow the needed structure.
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