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Your dissertation starts with small steps: begin with one line or page. Because one is better than zero & you cannot do more than your best!

Parts of a Dissertation: Comprehensive Structure Guide

Dissertations are an essential aspect of graduate degrees. They usually involve lengthy writing based on hours of research and analysis.

Often, graduate students become puzzled about how to take on such major academic work. After deciding on a topic, they usually find difficulty choosing the dissertation’s structure.

A dissertation structure depends on many essential components. Each component is equally important and contributes significantly to the dissertation’s overall success.

In this article, we take on dissertation sections and offer a comprehensive structure guide for students.

What is dissertation structure?

One can define a dissertation structure as the detailed arrangement of research information. It consists of several parts, which are subsequently divided into paragraphs carrying their piece of information. A dissertation structure is vital to the proper flow of ideas and readability in writing.

Various academic disciplines demand a particular arrangement of research information, so not all dissertation structures are the same.

Choosing your dissertation structure

Generally, dissertation structures are identical. However, they vary according to fields of study. Therefore, it is best to consult a supervisor and your department to inquire about the given dissertation structure.

A title, an introduction, a bibliography, headings, and a conclusion are the essential parts of a dissertation that must be included. These fundamental components must be included in every dissertation regardless of the student’s academic level. In addition, depending on the institution, you may need various formatting and reference styles like APA or MLA.

Below, we take a closer look at the basic dissertation writing structure:

  • Dissertation title page and introduction

The best way to write a dissertation is to start with the other sections and then end by writing the introduction. The introduction gives a brief insight into all mentioned in the dissertation.

It sets up your dissertation’s topic, relevance and purpose while telling your readers what to expect in the rest of the dissertation. You don’t want your introduction to carry a piece of different information from your work. Therefore, concluding the entire work before writing a dissertation introduction is best.

  • Literature review

A literature review might be mentioned if there is an argument about what makes a good dissertation. In addition, the literature review helps the reader understand other academic works that exist within your topic. It is also frequently used as the foundation for a theoretical framework, which defines and analyzes the significant ideas, concepts, and models that frame your study.

  • Dissertation methodology

The methodology section outlines how you conducted your study, allowing the reader to evaluate its validity. It often contains an overall approach and type of study, data collection techniques, data analysis methods, and an assessment or justification of your methodology.

In the methodology, your goal is to summarise what you performed correctly. You’d need to do this while convincing the reader that this was the best strategy for answering your research questions or objectives.

  • Dissertation findings and discussion

This chapter can be structured around secondary questions, hypotheses, or topics. Some disciplines keep the findings distinct from the discussion, while others integrate the two. For example, in qualitative approaches such as ethnography, data presentation is frequently used with discussion and analysis.

In the discussion section, you have to examine the effects and importance of your findings as they relate to your research questions. Here you evaluate the results, analysing if they fulfilled your expectations and how well they fit your research framework.

  • Dissertation conclusion, reference list and appendices

The dissertation conclusion should address the major research question succinctly. It should provide the reader with a clear comprehension of your key point and stress what your study has contributed.

Some academic traditions define the conclusion as a brief portion preceding the discussion. You present your general findings explicitly, then explore and interpret their meaning. However, in other circumstances, the conclusion refers to the final chapter, in which you wrap up your dissertation with a final remark on what you discovered. This sort of conclusion frequently includes suggestions for further research or practice.

A reference list includes the details of every source you have cited. Having a uniform citation style is critical, as every style has specific standards for citing sources in the reference list. APA and MLA are common styles, but your program will typically specify the citation style you should use.

Your dissertation should only include information directly related to solving your research topic. Appendices can be utilised for documents like interview transcripts, survey questions, or tables with complete figures.


Dissertation structures are typically identical and only show disparities across various disciplines. Therefore, it can be helpful to understand general dissertation structures and then master the structure required for writing in your field. Following this general structure guide, your dissertations are sure to become less overbearing.