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Top 5 useful tips to remember when writing a dissertation structure

Jun 29, 2013 - Posted to  Dissertation Writing
There are many who have thought about going on to complete their doctoral degree who will never do so specifically because of the dissertation that is required for completion. A dissertation is a work that must be completed to obtain your doctoral degree. It is a complex assignment that requires commitment, an abundance of time and a command of the information that you have learned throughout your education. There are many guidelines that must be followed to writing and conducting your dissertation, adhere to some key tips before and during writing it, can minimize the stress involved and the likelihood of it being accepted the first time.

What is a dissertation?

A dissertation is a work that must be completed to earn a doctoral degree. There are many different types of doctoral degrees that you can earn. A dissertation is a paper, based on a study, that you do to show that you have a command of the information and that you can contribute successfully to further the field of study in the future. It is like your right of passage from a student into a professional. A dissertation is unlike any other paper that you will write during your academic career. It will command more time, commitment, and focus than any other paper you will ever write and it can be very daunting.
A dissertation is comprised of many structural components. All must be included for it to be considered a valid work to be published which is the goal of any doctoral dissertation. The structures of the dissertation are:
  • Title page
  • Abstract
  • Table of contents
  • Body
  • Comprehensive bibliography
Depending on the field of study the dissertation is for, there may be additional component which have to be included such as tables, graphs and findings. The key to writing a successful dissertation is having a clear definition of what the requirements are prior to beginning.

What should be included in the components of your dissertation?

Although every dissertation will have its own set of guidelines, there are parts of the structure which will be standard. Making sure to include the right information in the appropriate areas will make the difference between a valid dissertation and one which will not be accepted.
  • The title page is where you will state the title of your dissertation. It is important to choose a title that is specific, clear and concise. The title should not be vague but indicate specifically about what the paper is about, its content and the purpose of it. Pinpointing the key points is an important aspect of the title
  • The abstract is the part of the paper where you will summarize the intention of the paper. It is a synopsis of what your dissertation is about and what you found during the research that you did to write it. Completely objective in nature, it is a clear statement of what you did and what the results of what you did were, nothing more, nothing less. There is no room for interpretation, just facts and statement of methodology and results
  • The table of contents is where you will lay out the what the paper contains. It should be the guide map to the paper. An outline of what is contained within your dissertation, it is an explanation of the different sections of your paper, where the research and other components are to be found
  • The body of the dissertation is where you will include the research you found, any research that you did, the explanation for your findings and the specifics of what you did to come to the conclusion that you did. It is an explanation of, and for, the entirety of your paper and the work that it is based on
  • The comprehensive bibliography is the place where you will add all the places that you obtained your research from. It is a place to give acknowledgement to any works that you used during your research in writing your paper, or conducting your research. Everything you consulted must be included in this section.

Five tips to remember when writing your dissertation

  • Be clear and concise
  • Follow the instructions outlined and include everything that is required
  • Get help when needed
  • Make an outline before beginning
  • Don't rush through it
The validity of your dissertation will depend on your thesis statement and the clear and concise nature of how well you have proven, or disproven it. It is not as important to prove what you set out to as to explain why you did or you didn't. Many make the mistake of thinking that the research is only useful if it proved what you set out to. There is equal validity and usefulness in not coming to the conclusion that you thought you would as well.
The key to writing a dissertation is to follow the guidelines and instructions. If you don't include exactly what is required, write it as stated, or follow the instructions, it will not be accepted. Not only is a dissertation a way to show your command of the material, it is also used to display your ability to follow rules and guidelines. Dissertation counselors and mentors are there to help, use them to the fullest. They are there to keep you on path and to help you get through it. Don't think that going to them for help is a display of your weakness, gaining help from the community is a demonstration of your strengths. Making an outline from the beginning is the only way to make sure to stay on task and to include everything that you need in your paper. It will keep you on the path to successful completion. Take the time you need to complete it. Although you want to begin your career and move past the academic chapter, taking your time to do it well, and correctly the first time, will save you from frustration and wasting unnecessary time in having to redo it over and again.


Writing a dissertation is a huge undertaking. Although overwhelming, if you take the time to lay out the steps needed and follow the instructions and guidelines which are outlined for you, successful completion can be easier than you think.
By Kevin Demlon. Kevin is a freelance writer. He shares his knowledge with anyone looking for academic writing help and useful guides on editing and formatting.
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