Make a timeline and stay committed to it. The point of the research stage is to show you have read around the topic and you understand the previous research that has been conducted, but you've also understood its limitations. The Internet is a good starting place during the research stage. However, you have to realize that not everything you read on the Internet is absolutely true.
Double-check the information you find and make sure it comes from a trustworthy resource. Use Google Scholar to locate reliable academic sources. Wikipedia is not a reliable source, but it can take you to some great publication if you check out the list of references on the pages of your interest. Librarians are really helpful at this point of the project development. Don't avoid the actual library and ask the librarian to provide you with some interesting publications. You have to take notes; otherwise you'll end up seriously confused and you won't know where you located a certain important argument that you plan to use.
Use Evernote , Penzu , or another online tool to write down notes about your impressions, as well as the sources you plan to reference. Now, you're left with the most important stage of the dissertation writing process: composing the actual project, which will be the final product of all your efforts. It's surprising to see that many students have some level of confidence during the previous two stages of the process, but they crack when they realize they don't really know how to write a dissertation.
Remember: you already did a great job up to this point, so you have to proceed. Everything is easier when you have a plan. You already have the dissertation proposal, which is a preliminary outline for the actual dissertation. However, you still need a more detailed outline for the large project. Did the research stage lead you in an unexpected direction? Make sure to include the new points in your outline.
To understand how to write a dissertation introduction you need to know that this chapter should include a background of the problem, and a statement of the issue. Then, you'll clarify the purpose of the study, as well as the research question. Next, you'll need to provide clear definitions of the terms related to the project. You will also expose your assumptions and expectations of the final results.
In this chapter of the dissertation, you will review the research process and the most important acknowledgements you've come down to. This part of the dissertation is focused on the way you located the resources and the methods of implementation of the results. If you're writing a qualitative dissertation, you will expose the research questions, setting, participants, data collection, and data analysis processes.
If, on the other hand, you're writing a quantitative dissertation, you will focus this chapter on the research questions and hypotheses, information about the population and sample, instrumentation, collection of data, and analysis of data. This is the most important stage in the whole process of dissertation writing, since it showcases your intellectual capacity.
At this point, you'll restate the research questions and you will discuss the results you found, explaining the direction they led you to. In other words, you'll answer those questions. In the final chapter of the dissertation, you will summarize the study and you'll briefly report the results. Don't forget that you have to explain how your findings make a difference in the academic community and how they are implied in practice.
Explain why you suggest this research and what form it should take. Use the recommended citation style for your field of study, and make sure to include all sources you used during the research and writing stages. You'll need another timeline, but this one will be focused on the writing process. Plan how to complete your dissertation chapter by chapter.
When you have attainable goals, it will be easier for you to write the project without getting overwhelmed by its length and complexity. There is no life-changing advice to give at this point. You just need to stay away from distractions, stick to your timeline, follow the outline, and complete the first draft. You already have what it takes; now you're ready to do the real work.
Once you figure out how to write a dissertations, you may think you are done with efforts. Students assume that editing is an easy step they cover right before they hand out their project. Don't do that. Now that you've completed the first draft of the paper, you can relax.
Don't even think about dissertation editing as soon as you finish writing the last sentence. You need to take some time away from the project, so make sure to leave space of at least few days between the writing and editing stage. When you come back to it, you'll be able to notice most of its flaws. There is a substantial difference between editing and proofreading : editing is focused on the essence, and proofreading is focused on the form of the paper.
You need to deal with the essence first, since it would be silly to proofread the dissertation to perfection and then start getting rid of unnecessary parts and adding more details. Pay attention to the logical connection between each argument. Are there any gaps in information? Fill them in with more details you collected through the research stage. Maybe you got carried away with the explanations at some point? Make sure to reduce the volume of those parts and clarify them as much as possible.
The point is not in quantity; it's in quality and clarity. Finally, it's time to do the final few readings and catch all spelling, grammar, and style errors you made. Read word by word, sentence by sentence, and consult a dictionary or thesaurus if you have any doubts. The discussion is where you explore the meaning and implications of your results in relation to your research questions. Here you should interpret the results in detail, discussing whether they met your expectations and how well they fit with the framework that you built in earlier chapters.
If any of the results were unexpected, offer explanations for why this might be. The discussion should refer back to relevant sources to show how your results fit with existing knowledge. The dissertation conclusion should concisely answer the main research question, leaving the reader with a clear understanding of your central argument and emphasizing what your research has contributed.
In some academic conventions, the conclusion refers to a short section that comes before the discussion: first you directly state your overall conclusions, then you discuss and interpret their meaning. In other contexts, however, the conclusion refers to the final chapter, where you wrap up your dissertation with a final reflection on what you found.
This type of conclusion often also includes recommendations for future research or practice. What have you added to what was already known? You must include full details of all sources that you have cited in a reference list sometimes also called a works cited list or bibliography. Each style has strict and specific requirements for how to format your sources in the reference list. To save time creating the reference list and make sure your citations are correctly and consistently formatted, you can use the Scribbr Citation Generator.
Your dissertation itself should contain only essential information that directly contributes to answering your research question. Documents you have used that do not fit into the main body of your dissertation such as interview transcripts, survey questions or tables with full figures can be added as appendices. Making sure all the sections are in the right place is only the first step to a well-written dissertation. Leave plenty of time for editing and proofreading.
Grammar mistakes and sloppy formatting errors can drag down the quality of your hard work. You should plan to write and revise several drafts of your thesis or dissertation before focusing on language mistakes , typos and inconsistencies. My title page includes all information required by my university. I have included acknowledgements thanking those who helped me.
My abstract provides a concise summary of the dissertation, giving the reader a clear idea of my key findings or arguments. I have created a table of contents to help the reader navigate my dissertation. The table of contents includes all chapter titles, but excludes the title page, acknowledgements, and abstract.
My introduction leads into my topic in an engaging way and shows the relevance of my research. My introduction clearly defines the focus of my research, stating my research questions and objectives. I have reviewed the most important literature to show the current state of knowledge on my topic. My literature review does not just summarize but engages critically with sources, evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of existing research.
My literature review shows how my dissertation addresses a gap or contributes something new to existing research. I have clearly outlined the theoretical framework of my research, explaining the theories and models that support my approach. I have thoroughly described my methodology , explaining how I collected and analyzed data.
I have concisely and objectively reported all relevant results. I have evaluated and interpreted the meaning of the results in my discussion. I have clearly stated the answer to my main research question in the conclusion. I have clearly explained the implications of my conclusion, emphasizing what new insight my research has contributed. If relevant, I have included appendices with supplemental information.
I have included an in-text citation every time I use words, ideas, or information from a source. I have consistently followed the rules of my chosen citation style. The end is in sight—your dissertation is nearly ready to submit! Make sure it's perfectly polished with the help of a Scribbr editor. Download and adapt these slides to teach your students about structuring a dissertation. Have a language expert improve your writing.
Check your paper for plagiarism in 10 minutes. Do the check. Generate your APA citations for free! APA Citation Generator. Home Knowledge Base Dissertation. How to structure a dissertation A dissertation or thesis is a long piece of academic writing based on original research. What is your plagiarism score? Compare your paper with over 60 billion web pages and 30 million publications. My literature review discusses patterns, themes, and debates in the literature. I have acknowledged any important limitations of the results.
I have provided relevant recommendations for further research or practice.