Skip Nav

The components of a doctoral dissertation and their order

Introduction

❶This is where you elaborate on your findings, and explain what you found, adding your own personal interpretations. The material found in the appendix is not essential to the dissertation, but can be helpful for the reader who seeks further information.

This article is a part of the guide:

But What If We Take a Closer Look at Chapters in a Dissertation?
What Are the Chapters of a Dissertation?

The research problem does not have to be a statement, but must at least imply what you are trying to find. Many writers prefer to place the thesis statement or hypothesis here, which is perfectly acceptable, but most include it in the last sentences of the introduction, to give the reader a fuller picture.

The idea is that somebody will be able to gain an overall view of the paper without needing to read the whole thing. Literature reviews are time-consuming enough, so give the reader a concise idea of your intention before they commit to wading through pages of background. In this section, you look to give a context to the research, including any relevant information learned during your literature review.

You are also trying to explain why you chose this area of research, attempting to highlight why it is necessary. The second part should state the purpose of the experiment and should include the research problem.

The third part should give the reader a quick summary of the form that the parts of the research paper is going to take and should include a condensed version of the discussion.

This should be the easiest part of the paper to write, as it is a run-down of the exact design and methodology used to perform the research. Obviously, the exact methodology varies depending upon the exact field and type of experiment. There is a big methodological difference between the apparatus based research of the physical sciences and the methods and observation methods of social sciences.

However, the key is to ensure that another researcher would be able to replicate the experiment to match yours as closely as possible, but still keeping the section concise. You can assume that anybody reading your paper is familiar with the basic methods, so try not to explain every last detail. For example, an organic chemist or biochemist will be familiar with chromatography, so you only need to highlight the type of equipment used rather than explaining the whole process in detail.

In the case of a survey , if you have too many questions to cover in the method, you can always include a copy of the questionnaire in the appendix. In this case, make sure that you refer to it. This is probably the most variable part of any research paper, and depends on the results and aims of the experiment. For quantitative research , it is a presentation of the numerical results and data, whereas for qualitative research it should be a broader discussion of trends, without going into too much detail.

For research generating a lot of results , then it is better to include tables or graphs of the analyzed data and leave the raw data in the appendix, so that a researcher can follow up and check your calculations. A commentary is essential to linking the results together, rather than just displaying isolated and unconnected charts and figures.

It can be quite difficult to find a good balance between the results and the discussion section, because some findings, especially in a quantitative or descriptive experiment , will fall into a grey area. Try to avoid repeating yourself too often. It is best to try to find a middle path, where you give a general overview of the data and then expand on it in the discussion - you should try to keep your own opinions and interpretations out of the results section, saving that for the discussion later on.

This is where you elaborate on your findings, and explain what you found, adding your own personal interpretations. Ideally, you should link the discussion back to the introduction, addressing each point individually. In keeping with the hourglass principle, you can expand on the topic later in the conclusion.

The conclusion is where you build on your discussion and try to relate your findings to other research and to the world at large. In a short research paper, it may be a paragraph or two, or even a few lines.

In a dissertation, it may well be the most important part of the entire paper - not only does it describe the results and discussion in detail, it emphasizes the importance of the results in the field, and ties it in with the previous research. Some research papers require a recommendations section, postulating the further directions of the research, as well as highlighting how any flaws affected the results. In this case, you should suggest any improvements that could be made to the research design.

No paper is complete without a reference list , documenting all the sources that you used for your research. This should be laid out according to APA , MLA or other specified format, allowing any interested researcher to follow up on the research. One habit that is becoming more common, especially with online papers, is to include a reference to your own paper on the final page. Check out our quiz-page with tests about:. Martyn Shuttleworth Jun 5, Parts of a Research Paper.

Retrieved Sep 14, from Explorable. It is not necessary to identify the person s to whom the work is dedicated. Examples of a dedication are:. Patribus a pueris semper parendum est. The epigraph is a short quotation or a poem, which usually serves to link the book to other, usually well-known, published works.

The source of the quotation is given on the line following the epigraph and is usually aligned right, often preceded by a dash. The table of contents should contain the title and beginning page number of everything that follows it: If some chapter titles are too long, consider choosing alternative short titles to be used in the table of contents.

Do not include the contents in the table of contents unless you want to make a joke. The list of illustrations contains all illustrations in the dissertation and the page numbers where they can be found. If there are various kinds of illustrations, the list can be divided into parts, such as Figures, Maps , etc.

The titles of the illustrations need not correspond exactly to the captions printed with the illustrations themselves; you can use shortened titles. The list of Illustrations is usually titled simply Illustrations , but appears as List of Illustrations in the table of contents. A list of tables usually titled just Tables but entered in the table of contents as List of Tables contains all tables and their page numbers.

The titles of the tables may be shortened if needed. The abstract includes a concise description of the thesis — the problems discussed in it and their proposed solution. The abstract must focus on the result of the scientific investigation, rather than giving the background and methodology for the investigation.

This is why people read the abstract: The abstract is a self-contained text and should not contain references. If this is needed, then you can include the whole reference in the abstract. The abstract is best written towards the end of the dissertation writing process. The abstract will be the most widely read and published part of your thesis: In the acknowledgement you thank the people who have contributed to your doctoral degree by providing academic supervision, administrative support, food and shelter, friendship, etc.

First and foremost, you should thank your main supervisor, followed by the co-supervisor s and the people who have helped you shape your academic profile. It is a good idea to thank the administrative staff at the Faculty, who will have most likely helped you sort out some problems during your postgraduate studies. You can then continue with thanking your close colleagues, friends, spouse, kids, parents, and optionally God.

The acknowledgements are the only place in the dissertation where you may reveal personal information about yourself and your life. It is less formal than the rest of the dissertation and can include jokes, sentences in foreign language, etc. Keep in mind though that a lot of people who do not know you personally will read this part, so you should not be too personal and revealing.

It is a good idea to prepare a list of people to include in the acknowledgements before one has started writing them. You can begin with this list months before you submit your dissertation; stick a post-it note on your desk and add the names of people to thank as you remember them.

The acknowledgements of a dissertation are the only part that everyone will read I believe that by the end of a defense event, everybody in the audience has read the acknowledgements in the dissertation copy before them.

Make time to write it well and include all people you want to thank to. Be aware that the acknowledgements of your dissertation can form the basis for the selection of your defense committee.

Sometimes, the author may need to add a list of the transliterations used in the book. This is best done in the front matter and can include a table specifying the conversion of each symbol of the source alphabet into a symbol of the target alphabet. The list of abbreviation contains all the abbreviations used in the body text of the dissertation, listed in an alphabetical order. If the list is less than a page, it can be places on the left-hand page next to the first page of text.

The body matter contains the main text of the dissertation. It is commonly divided into chapters, which are often but not necessarily of approximately the same length. Each chapter title should provide a reasonable clue to the contents of the chapter.

Choose short title chapters; in case this is not possible, consider having shorter versions to be used in the Table of Contents and as running heads. The Introduction often includes a literature overview, where the author provides short summaries of works relevant for the topic. The goal with this exercise is twofold: The exact structure of the middle chapters may vary, depending on the scientific field.

Dissertations in other fields may include one or more chapters on the theory and data. In some dissertations, the middle chapters are journal articles where the doctoral candidate is a first author. This model has certain disadvantages. Firstly, the dissertation cannot be easily published as a book later on. It summarizes the conclusions of the scientific investigation, the solutions to the problems stated in the beginning, suggestions for future research, and practical implications of the findings.

This chapter should be relatively short and preferably written in a way that it can stand alone. Avoid copy-pasting sentences from the Abstract and the Introduction. Long chapters can be divided into sections, which can be further divided into subsections and sub-subsections. When a chapter is divided in sections, there should be at least two of them. Just one section in a chapter is illogical and asymmetric — you should not have any sections at all in such case.

The same applies to subsections and sub-subsections. Numbering the sections and subsections in a chapter provides an easy way for cross-referencing. The most common numbering system is the multiple numeration system , where the number of each division is preceded by the number s of the higher division s.

For instance, the number 3. The contents of the back matter are generally supplementary and often non-essential. The back matter of a dissertation comprises the following parts:. The material found in the appendix is not essential to the dissertation, but can be helpful for the reader who seeks further information.


Main Topics

Privacy Policy

Most dissertations follow the same basic structure and are made up of five parts: an abstract, introduction, methods and discussion, conclusions and references. Although the exact detail of each part can vary (such as the numbers of words allowed in the abstract), the inclusion of each part is standard and fixed.

Privacy FAQs

parts of dissertation: Writing your project or dissertation or thesis is a whole different kind of university activity or assignment. There’s no room for trial and error, neither are you allowed to make any adjustments once the work is finished, and it is the most important piece of writing you’ll need to earn your degree.

About Our Ads

A dissertation has three major divisions: the front matter, the body matter, and the back matter. Each of them contains several parts. These parts and their customary ordering are presented below. Click on the link for more information about each particular part. What about parts of dissertation, these are basic things to know. Every successful PhD dissertation involves careful planning, and in most cases a doctoral candidate will be expected to produce a preliminary outline of the dissertation he or she envisions.

Cookie Info

In a dissertation, it may well be the most important part of the entire paper - not only does it describe the results and discussion in detail, it emphasizes the importance of the results in the field, and ties it in with the previous research. Every discipline has specific requirements regarding parts of the thesis. The Formatting & Submission area of this site will give you details related to the particular layout you need to follow, but first, here is a general overview: All theses will have Front Matter which includes an Abstract. How the abstract is structured depends on your field.