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Correct structure of a dissertation: keep it simple and do it properly

Your Tutor or Professor will have given you a guide to writing a dissertation, but try this template to help you to complete it and keep it simple and do it properly.
Ideally before you start writing your paper, have a look for some dissertation examples, which you can find online, usually for free.

  • Research question and your hypothesis. The actually terminology and language that you use will be refined as you work through your paper. You will find that the more you talk about your work the easier it will be to chose specific words to describe it.
  • Check on additional pages. Make sure that you investigate what other pages you need to include before you submit your work e.g. Title page; contents; appendices etc. Also check where you need to place numbering on the page.
  • Abstract. Although this is the first real section of your work after your have stated your hypothesis, leave writing this until last. Make sure you keep within the word limit as you will lose marks it you go over.
  • Introduction. This is the section that sets the scene. Here you need to include the who, what, why and how of your research. You will need to refer back to this later when you are summing up your findings and making recommendations for future work.
  • Literature review. The is the section where you will give supporting academic evidence to your work. Make sure that you meet the minimum requirements for your paper. Again if you don't meet this requirement you will lose marks.
  • Main/Methodology. This is one of the largest sections of the paper. You need to talk through what you did, how you did it and what you used to analyse that results. Make sure that you follow a logical progression and watch your paragraph construction.
  • Results. Report all of your results and any inferences that you have made in the light of these results. Did you get enough information from the results? What could have influenced unexpected results.
  • Conclusion. Based on the results and other findings, what conclusions can be made and what recommendations can you make for future research in this area. Be specific. Also add what you would do differently if you repeated this project.
  • Bibliography. Add to this section as you work, don't leave it all to the end otherwise you may have problems citing other people's work. Make sure that you are using the correct version of the required referencing system.

This is a simplified guide that gives you all of the basics that can be applied to most dissertation papers, but do check to see if your school gives additional instructions that may be dependent on your field of study.

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