Basic Structure of a Dissertation

There will be a number of people reading this that will just simply not know what they should include in their dissertation research paper or how it should be laid out. Below I have put a generalized structure of what a number of academic institutions prefer:


Title page

You will need to include the title of your dissertation, your name, your course title and the name of your supervisor. Some academics will want you to include the course you are on and the word count, whereas others may not.



This will be a page that will be a half to one third filled with an overview and summary of your dissertation. You should keep this brief and ensure you only highlight the main points.



Where you will pass on your thanks to the people who have helped you during the dissertation research and writing process.


Table of contents

This will set out the individual chapters and sub sections, naming them and identifying what page they can be located on.
Some academics will also prefer you to include a list of figures and tables (where appropriate) and also the different sections of the appendices.



This will introduce the reader to your question, problem or thesis and provide a brief outline to the structure of your entire dissertation.


Main body/discussion

This will have a number of different chapters within and you will discuss the literature that has been used to identify the problem and the points that have provided you with evidence and then the analysis, evaluation and discussion of such evidence.



You will want to bring together the different parts of your dissertation, and clearly state what the answers were to your central dissertation research question. You should also look to make suggestions for further research and recommendations were applicable.


Bibliography/ References list

This should list a complete and correctly formatted list of all of the references and source that you have used in your dissertation, whether this be ones you have directed cited from or simply referred to.



You should include any information that would disrupt the general flow of your work and so would include any letters, questionnaires or transcripts.


There may be other sections you are asked to include and could be termed as procedure, methodology, executive summary (or abstract), literature review or recommendations – you should look at gaining some more insight into these.