Nova A.
Nova A.

Learn the Basics of Dissertation Writing in Simple Steps

10 min read

Published on: Oct 28, 2021

Last updated on: Jan 31, 2024

dissertation writing

Are you struggling with writing your dissertation? Or are you just starting out and looking for some guidance?

Don't worry, you're not alone. Writing a dissertation can be a daunting task, but fear not! 
 
This ultimate guide to dissertation writing is exactly what you need. With practical tips and guidance, this blog will help you produce your best possible work. 

Whether you're a first-time dissertation writer or a seasoned pro, this guide has something for everyone. 

So keep reading and get ready to become a dissertation writing expert.

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What is a Dissertation?

A dissertation is like the ultimate research project you'll tackle during your postgraduate studies. You'll dive deep into a topic, gather tons of information, analyze data, and share your findings with the academic world.

Think of a dissertation as a long and detailed essay that you're writing to show off your skills and knowledge. But it's not just about recalling information. You'll need to bring something new to the table, like an innovative idea, a fresh perspective, or a unique way of looking at the topic.

It's a challenging and rewarding experience that requires a lot of time and dedication. But in the end, you'll emerge as an expert in your field with new insights and a sense of accomplishment.

Dissertation Vs. Thesis

Dissertations and theses are both academic papers that are used to showcase a student's research and writing skills. Although both are common projects in colleges and universities, the main difference between the two is their purpose and scope.

A thesis is typically associated with a master's degree program and requires the graduate student to conduct original research on a specific topic. 

On the other hand, a dissertation is typically required for a doctoral degree and is a more extensive and in-depth study of a topic. It requires the student to conduct original research, analyze the results, and make contributions to their field of study. It typically requires a longer period of time to finalise than a thesis.

Want to learn more about how the two differ? Check out this insightful read on the difference between dissertation and thesis writing!

What is the Dissertation Proposal Process?

The dissertation proposal process is the first step toward completing your dissertation. It's an opportunity to present your research idea and get feedback from the committee members.

The process usually involves writing a proposal document that outlines your research question, objectives, methodology, and expected outcomes. You'll need to provide a literature review, which is a summary of existing research on your topic.

Your supervisor or committee members will review your proposal and give you feedback on how to improve it. You might need to make revisions or adjustments to your proposal based on their feedback.

Once your proposal is approved, you can move forward with conducting your research and writing your dissertation. This process helps you to refine your research idea and ensure that you're on the right track before diving into your project.

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Dissertation Structure 

When it comes to structuring your dissertation, the approach may vary based on your field and discipline. 

For instance, if you're in humanities, your dissertation may resemble an essay with evidence from sources supporting different perspectives. This may not work for complex theoretical concepts that need a thorough understanding before starting research.

On the other hand, writing a dissertation in the field of science can be challenging. Following your field's requirements and structure is important.

However, here is a general structure for a dissertation

Section

Purpose

Title page

Displays the title of the dissertation and other details

Acknowledgments or Preface

Expresses gratitude and provides additional information

Abstract

Summarizes the dissertation's main points and conclusions

Table of contents

Lists the different sections of the dissertation

List of figures and tables

Lists the tables and figures in the dissertation

List of abbreviations

Defines the abbreviations used in the dissertation

Glossary

Defines technical terms used in the dissertation

Introduction

Introduces the topic and research question

Literature review

Summarizes existing research on the topic

Methodology

Explains how the research was conducted

Results

Presents the findings of the research

Discussion

Interprets the findings and explains their significance

Conclusion

Summarizes the research and provides recommendations

Reference list

Lists the sources cited in the dissertation

Appendices

Includes additional information or data that supports the research

Expert Tip

Learn more about structuring your dissertations with this in-depth read on dissertation structure!

How to Write a Dissertation? 

Writing a dissertation is never easy, but it becomes even more challenging when you're unsure what your final paper will look like. But, with careful planning and organization skills, anything is possible! 

Here’s how you can write a dissertation section by section:

Dissertation Title Page

The dissertation title page should include your name, institution, degree program, submission date, and the title of your dissertation. 

It is important to follow the formatting guidelines of your institution, including font size and style.

Abstract

The abstract is a concise summary of your entire dissertation. It should include the research problem, research methods, major findings, and implications of the study. 

The abstract should be brief and provide an overview of your research for readers who may not have time to read the full dissertation.

The abstract of the paper should answer these questions: 

  • What did the writer do with the paper?
  • What is the aim of your paper?
  • What were the results and implications?

Table of Contents

The table of contents lists all the sections of your dissertation in order, including chapter titles, subheadings, and page numbers. This section helps readers navigate your dissertation and find the information they need quickly.

Introduction

The introduction sets the stage for your dissertation. It should include:

  • A clear statement of the research problem
  • The significance of the study
  • Research questions or hypotheses
  • A brief overview of the research methods used

The introduction should provide enough information to engage the reader and make them interested in the research.

Literature Review

The literature review provides a comprehensive analysis of previous research and relevant literature in your field. 

It should identify gaps in the literature and show how your research addresses those gaps. You should critically evaluate and synthesize the literature to develop a theoretical framework for your study.

Methodology

The methodology section explains the research methods used in your study. 

It should include a clear description of your research design, data collection procedures, and data analysis techniques. You should justify the research methods chosen and explain how they address the research questions or hypotheses.

Results

The results section presents your findings in a clear and concise manner. You should include both quantitative and qualitative data and use tables, graphs, and charts to illustrate the results. 

You should also provide a clear explanation of the findings and how they relate to the research questions or hypotheses. Think of the best ways in which you want to present your data!

The results of the research can be given in the following way:

  • Beginning with an overview of what was found, followed by details.  
  • Moving immediately to a section detailing each result.
  • How will you organize the results?
  • What will the balance be between word space across all findings in your paper?

Discussion

The discussion section interprets your findings and compares them to previous research. 

You should evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your study and discuss their implications. You should also provide recommendations for future research.

Conclusion

The conclusion should summarize your research findings and their implications. You should restate the research problem, research questions, or hypotheses and provide a clear answer to the research questions or hypotheses. 

You should also discuss the practical implications of your research and provide recommendations for future research.

Bibliography or Reference List

The bibliography or reference list includes all sources cited in your dissertation. You should use a consistent citation style, such as APA or MLA, and list the sources in alphabetical order.

Appendices

The appendices include any additional materials that support your dissertation, such as survey instruments, interview transcripts, or additional data tables. 

You should label and number each appendix and refer to them in the text of your dissertation as necessary.

Dissertation Examples

Understanding the dissertation process will be difficult if you have not gone through examples before. 

The examples provided below are a great way to get started with your dissertation.

Dissertation Topics

The right topic can make or break your dissertation. It is one of the most important elements in any writing, and coming up with a good one isn't easy. There are so many factors to consider! 

The writer should choose a topic they are interested in to research it more deeply.

If you are still trying to decide on your topic, take a look at this list of dissertation topics.

  • Issues with Foreign Exchange Systems
  • The psychology of customers
  • Examine the intersection of ecology and arts.
  • Strategies for Treating Infectious Cysts
  • How to control illegal immigration?
  • Renewable energy in home design.
  • Economic Recession and Small Business
  • What is the role of foreign direct investment?
  • Social Media Requires New Marketing Strategies
  • Discuss the ethics of automated vehicles.

Expert Tip

Need more topics for your writing a dissertation? Check out these interesting and unique dissertation topic ideas for inspiration!

Dissertation Writing Tips

The average student has trouble writing a dissertation for many reasons. The main reason is that they don't have enough time to complete it. 

But it's essential to plan well in advance if you want your dissertation completed on time. The task cannot be done within a few hours, so dedicating this free-up space will help tremendously later!

Follow these tips to speed up the writing process and write a professional dissertation quickly!

  • Carefully pick your topic: Pick a topic that you are passionate about and is relevant to your field of study. Research thoroughly to ensure that it is not too broad or too narrow.
  • Understand the requirements: Carefully read the guidelines and requirements provided by your institution. Ensure you understand what is expected of you in terms of structure, formatting, and content.
  • Create a clear structure: Establish a clear structure and steps in dissertation writing to create a timeline to help you meet your deadlines. Set achievable goals for each chapter and section, and ensure that your writing flows logically.
  • Write as you research: Don't wait until the end to start writing. Begin writing as soon as you have gathered enough information for each section. Writing as you go will help you stay on track and ensure that you don't forget important details.
  • Keep exploring the research question: Question everything, even your own assumptions, and findings. Be willing to change direction or adjust your research methods if necessary.
  • Edit with just as much care: Editing is a crucial part of the writing process. Take the time to proofread your work, check for grammatical errors, and ensure that your writing is clear and concise. Consider seeking the help of a professional editor or a final dissertation writing checklist to make sure you’ve covered all that's necessary.

Following these tips will make your research project more effective and impressive.

You are now equipped with valuable tips on how to write a dissertation successfully. However, if you are still struggling, don't worry! 

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Nova A.

WRITTEN BY

Nova A. (Literature, Marketing)

As a Digital Content Strategist, Nova Allison has eight years of experience in writing both technical and scientific content. With a focus on developing online content plans that engage audiences, Nova strives to write pieces that are not only informative but captivating as well.

As a Digital Content Strategist, Nova Allison has eight years of experience in writing both technical and scientific content. With a focus on developing online content plans that engage audiences, Nova strives to write pieces that are not only informative but captivating as well.

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