Complete Structure of a Dissertation – Expert Guidance

Perhaps the most crucial component of a student’s academic career is their dissertation (helpwithdissertation, 2021). If you are assigned to write a dissertation proposal, you may be among the many students who initially feel a little burdened by pulling this all together. To write a dissertation, it is necessary to understand the concept of a dissertation and its proposals. 

A dissertation isn’t a process of gathering information; instead, it is about answering the unanswered question (Goddard, W. and Melville, S., 2004). One tries to answer the question while writing research, and it panics. However, there is nothing to worry about! 

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In writing a dissertation first thing that is important is Proposal. Before starting a dissertation, it is necessary to write Proposal first. It clears your Proposal’s purpose to the professor.

Dissertation Proposal:

Your thesis or dissertation research proposal outlines your proposed work plan, including your main topic, primary research questions, research methodology, and the impact of your study. In short, your Proposal should answer the WH questions, i.e., What, How, Why, When, What topic you want to research, How you will learn this topic, Why this is important, and When and Where you found this topic. 

A student is usually supposed to clear his intentions regarding his work or thesis proposals. Your Proposal should be designed to justify and plan a research project to show how your project contributes to existing research and demonstrate to your advisor and committee that you understand how to conduct discipline-specific research within an acceptable time frame and budget. 

Most proposals are written vaguely for the academic advisor or committee, so it is crucial to apprehend what they are looking for before drafting your Proposal. 

Structure/Format of Research Paper: 

Focus on a research format is essential because, without a format, your dissertation will be illegible for further marking. The format varies between academic fields, but most dissertations should at least contain the following sections:

  • Title Page
  • Introduction
  • Literature Review
  • Methodology
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography

Below is a detailed discussion on what to include in each section. 

  1. Title page:

The title page should consist of the primary identifying components of the paper. 


  • The thesis title
  • Your name
  • The name of your supervisor or supervisors
  • Your institution and department name 

You can choose a working title at this point. If you’ve not decided on a final title yet, you can aim to create a title that conveys the central idea of your research in the introduction to get the reader’s attention focused on your research objective.

  1. Introduction:

This demonstrates the relevance of your proposed study in this section. You should introduce the context of your research problem and verify that your research is engaging, relevant, and original. You include the following things in the introduction:

  • Background of the Problem
  • Statement of the Problem
  • Purpose of the Study
  • Research Questions
  • Significance of the Study
  • Definition of Terms
  • Assumptions, Limitations, and Delimitations

Here are some questions to address your problems: 

  • What is known about the problem? 
  • Who does the research impact?
  • What is the subject or area that will be affected by your research?

You can also identify who will find this research fascinating, such as scientists, policymakers, or the general public.

Mentioning key research questions convinces the reader that your project has a foundation in existing knowledge in theory; it also adds authority to your work.

  1. Literature review:

A writer must conduct a literature review before gathering information and conducting research. A dissertation must include a literature review. It is written to provide readers with a thorough understanding of the subject through prior scholarly works.

It is not sufficient to summarize the relevant studies in a literature review. Instead, it calls for creating a structure and argument that will serve as the foundation for the writer’s justification of his research. A literature review reveals the following information about your work:

  • Deficits in the earlier works
  • aids in adopting fresh methodological and theoretical viewpoints on the subject
  • the provision of a remedy for an unresolved issue
  • starts a theoretical discussion
  • By adding new knowledge, it strengthens that knowledge.
  1. Methodology:

In methodology, you start your research on the subject after determining what is already known about it. The methods and procedures used to carry out the study and collect the data are covered in the methodology chapter.

Methodology includes:

  • Research Design
  • Research Questions
  • Setting
  • Participants
  • Data Collection
  • Data Analysis

Describe the following in the research design section. Research type indicates whether your study is qualitative or quantitative, primary or secondary. Give details about the subjects’ sources that describe who or what you will study. Your analysis will employ practical considerations given any foreseeable obstacles due to time scale or resources required to add an extra element to your Proposal and make your research idea shine to readers. 

Include any potential implications of your research related to theory or practice; for example, your results might have the following implications that you can highlight. 

  • Synthesizing existing knowledge and creating a bridge between what is known and unknown. 
  • Challenging current assumptions. 
  • Creating a data-driven basis for further research confirming or developing a theory.


The result presents the research findings. The research chapter is built by using hypotheses, sub-questions, or topics. The only results that should be included in this section are those pertinent to and support the study’s goals.


A discussion section is written after you have the results of your research. The findings’ meaning and implications are discussed in this chapter concerning the primary research question. In this case, the findings are carefully interpreted. The writer should note any novel observations and anticipated outcomes in this section. Make sure the references you include in this section demonstrate how your findings correspond to the body of existing knowledge. A writer can also suggest ideas for additional research in the discussion section.


The conclusion section addresses the thesis statement or research question in detail. The audience is unaware of the main argument in the dissertation’s concluding paragraphs. Also, writing a research paper is always a limited word count. You can do a dissertation word count breakdown by dividing the word count by each section.


  • A bibliography or reference list should include all of the source information. 
  • The source in the bibliography includes the author’s name and other publication information. 
  • The citation format is typically specified in the dissertation guidelines. One must follow the citation style your professor wants you to follow.

Final words:

Dissertation and thesis structure vary according to institute or country. Pupils must always follow the instructions given by their institute only.


Goddard, W. and Melville, S., 2004. Research methodology: An introduction. Juta and Company Ltd. [Accessed date: 10-09-2022]

HWD. 2021. How to write a dissertation. Online available at < https://www.helpwithdissertation.co.uk/blog/how-to-write-a-dissertation/> [Accessed date: 10-09-2022]

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