Dissertation Structure

Dissertation Structure

A question always strike in the mind of UG/PG/Research scholar of M.Phil and PhD that how to write a good thesis/dissertation or what is the best structure of dissertation. Although it’s answer varies for person to person or university to university. But still there are some key points that can be follow to write a perfect dissertation structure. First think you have to clear in your mind that which kind of research you / are doing?

Research is of three kinds: Primary research, secondary research and tertiary research.

Primary research is the research which contains laboratory study, case study.

Secondary research is the research which draws conclusions from already published results, impact of results drawing from primary research.

Tertiary research is the research which based on secondary research such as literature survey, impact of existing author’s research in literature.

The basic dissertation structure has three major divisions

  • Front matter
  • Main matter/body
  • End matter

Front matter further contains the following things:

  • Title page –Again it depends on your parent’s institution form where you have to submit your dissertation. Title page contain title of thesis, name of the student, registration number of student, name of the supervisor(s), name of department and name of the university. One thing you have to focus here, always choose an informative title which described your research. Avoid lengthy and complex title.
  • Certificate – It is given by your supervisor which has a statement that the work done by author is original.
  • Declaration – It is a self attested certificate given by researcher/author.
  • Acknowledgement – Here you can acknowledge the persons/institute who gave you their support in completing your dissertation work directly or indirectly.
  • Abstract / Preface – This section is the backbone of the whole dissertation. It should be concise summary of your entire dissertation. Here you can briefly lay out one by one your research problems in form of chapter’s. At the end you should mention bibliography.
  • Table of contents – It contains whole thesis titles with page numbers. Front matter page numbers should be in roman style and rest should be numeric style. Title page contains no page number.
  • List of figures  – It contains all the figures contained in your thesis with page numbers.
  • List of tables  – It contains all the tables contained in your thesis with page numbers.
  • List of symbols – It contains list of unfamiliar terms with their meaning.

 Main matter – The main matter includes the following information.

  • Introduction – It should contain the basics information about topic. Should explain briefly basic terminology / preliminary used in substantive chapters. You should also mention what you are doing in thesis and, the purpose and merits of the proposed study.
  • Literature survey – Here you should explain in detail what study previously has been done by various researchers and what methodology they used. It should be deep and through study. If possible you should try to differentiate the two distinguished problems and find the research gap between them. That helps you more in defining your problem for future study.
  • Methodology used – Here you should explain which method is used to solve the problem? Why you have chosen this method? What the merit of your method is?
  • Construction of chapters/substantive chapters – Divide your work into small chapters to explain various stages of your work. It also depends on the length of your dissertation. Average chapters are from one to five. Some person made introduction, literature survey and methodology as chapter. The substantive chapters explain the sub topics related to you main topic.
  • Results and discussions – It should explain results out come from your study in the form of tables or figures. It should clearly explain what the significance of the results is? You can also compare your results with already published results or you can compare theoretical results with experimental of simulated results.
  • Conclusions – It provides the summarize information about the results in the relation to the stated problem. You should explain up to which extent you are successful to get the results of the problem. Make points to describe the conclusions.
  • Future scope of the study – Try to find the gap in the study and provide indication how this study can be take for further investigation. What are the limitations of the present study?

End Matters – It is the referential materials. It contains the following things.

  • Appendix – It is optional part of the dissertation. Here you can explain mathematical calculation, procedure and data in details. You can make more than one appendix depending on your requirement.
  • Bibliography – List the references which you cited in your research/study. Writing bibliography is again depends on university format. It can be alphabetically, year wise and used wise. Always be sure that all the reference which you listed in bibliography should be properly cited at respective place.



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