A dissertation (or thesis) is one of the most challenging pieces of work assigned to students in college. It is usually considered a major requirement to pass undergraduate and graduate school programs in universities across the globe.
When writing a dissertation, your main goal should be to deliver an original piece that offers in-depth research and analysis on a clear and precise topic. This assignment will not only test your writing prowess but your research and analytical skills as well.
That said, writing a dissertation takes a lot of skill, patience, time, and studying. Unlike essays and book reports, expert-written dissertations can be quite lengthy because they require the inclusion of nine key elements to be worthy of a passing grade. Even so, a dissertation is also considered the most rewarding work a student can create, especially when written with utmost care and attention to detail.
9 Key Elements of a Dissertation
Traditionally, dissertations are written in third person and passive voice. However, there are some journals—both in the academe and in the real world—which require an unorthodox style focused on using the first person point of view and active voice writing.
Aside from that, you may also need to understand some important inclusions in this writing project. To help you out, here are the nine key elements of a dissertation, listed according to their ideal sequence upon publication:
A dissertation title summarizes the purpose, content, methodology, and participants of the study using a handful of words. It must be a precise statement that answers the main question in the dissertation proposal. It should also serve two important roles: a guide for the research and a label to help others find your study.
A dissertation abstract comes after the title page and usually runs the length of 150 to 250 words. It is also considered a summary of the article but provides more details about it compared to the title, serving as an overview of the paper’s entirety. This means the abstract should contain the topic or question for your research, the methods used to study it, and the results, which is why abstracts are often written after the dissertation is completed.
Since the abstract’s goal is to showcase what the study is about, it also serves as a means for the readers to determine whether it will be of interest to them. For this very reason, the abstract should be interesting and written to convey the coverage of the dissertation concisely.
Table of Contents
The table of contents for a dissertation serves as a guide as well as an outline of the other components of the piece. Aside from aiding readers in locating the information they need, it also helps the research author organize the flow of the dissertation. Because of this, it is imperative that you write items in the table of contents using the exact same words used within the text.
In a dissertation, the introduction presents the rationale and significance of the study. It offers a quick roundup of the topic’s background and the theoretical framework. You also need to include the study’s problem as well as the research questions (only applicable for non-experimental studies) or the hypotheses (if experimental).
In this part of the study, you should also state the intended methodology for the analysis and gathering of data. Other things it should show are:
Review of the Literature
As the name suggests, this element of a dissertation covers an analysis of literature related to the objectives of your study. From theories to historical events, you must include pieces you used to draw your research upon in this part of the study.
Moreover, it is important to note that a literature review shouldn’t contain too many quotes. Instead, include a critical analysis—a review—of the works cited in your dissertation and how they support your hypothesis.
This part of the dissertation explains the methods used in gathering and analyzing data. It comprehensively describes the overall research design and offers a justification for the process of selection of samples or subjects.
Style-wise, the methodology should be written in a step-by-step manner, carefully narrating the different stages of the study. This is to ensure that other people can replicate it should the need arise.
The findings of the study should be presented with a discussion of the analyzed data. This part of the dissertation often includes graphs, charts, and tables—all of which provide a visual outlook of the result of data analysis.
A dissertation without a conclusion is a study without a purpose. That said, your conclusion should include the things you deduced from the data you collected and analyzed. Otherwise, writing the paper becomes moot.
Referencing is an important part of dissertation writing because it lends your paper credibility and offers readers a chance to determine the extent of your research. Producing a complete list of references can be tedious but necessary. It is also very important that you follow governing rules in presenting them based on the university guidelines to show how much attention you put into the details of the research which might merit a higher grade.
Final Word of Advice
Although it is a challenging task, working on a dissertation is an important part of university life. Aside from teaching students about the rigors of writing, it also hones their analytical, research, and organizational skills. Learn how to become one of the greatest dissertation writers today by reaching out to our expert pool.
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