8 Basic Things You Should Know About Graduate Dissertation Structure


A good structure is one of the key elements of successful academic papers. When it comes to structuring a dissertation, undergraduate students often make a lot of mistakes. Before you begin composing your own text, it’s important to at least learn about the basic structure that your paper should meet. Otherwise, your academic work won’t meet the standards stated by your university.

A Graduate Dissertation Structure: Chapters to Include

  1. An abstract.
  2. This is a small section that provides a quick overview of your entire paper, including the outcomes of your work. It shouldn’t include any details but rather give your readers an idea of what they should expect from your paper. Mostly, abstracts are used as previews to academic works in electronic databases.

  3. An introduction.
  4. The first chapter of the main body of your thesis should accomplish several tasks. Firstly, it should present your topic and state the goals of your project. Secondly, it should explain the significance of your work within the field. Lastly, it should illustrate the scale of your project and provide a brief description of the next chapters.

  5. A survey of the literature.
  6. In this chapter, you should write about the theoretical background that your research is based upon. Also, you should mention previous studies that have a strong impact on your project. Make sure to elaborate on the books and academic papers that you relied upon most of all during your work.

  7. Research methods.
  8. The next thing is to write about the strategy that you’ve picked to do your study. Elaborate on your methodology and explain why it suits your dissertation better than other methodologies. Thoroughly illustrate each test and experiment that you engaged in conducting your research so that your work can be replicated by the reader if needed.

  9. Research outcomes.
  10. The first goal of this chapter is to present the raw results that you got having conducted your research. Then, it’s needed to interpret your findings and explain their significance. You may also discuss your results and indicate how much they differ from your expectations.

  11. A conclusion.
  12. The last part of the main body should wrap up everything presented in the previous chapters. Based on the outcomes of your study, you should also suggest a few directions to continue the research you’ve started.

  13. A list of references.
  14. In this section, you should present all the academic works, web articles, and books that have been used during your work in an alphabetical order.

  15. Appendices.
  16. Lastly, you should have a section where the big and complex tables and graphs should be placed so that you don’t have to put them in the middle of the body chapters and ruin their smooth flow.

Steps to Take to Complete Graduate Dissertations Successfully

Knowing the basic structure that your paper should meet isn’t enough to create a successful thesis. You should also organize your work in the following sequence:

  1. Come up with a narrow topic to research.
  2. Conduct a thorough study on the chosen topic.
  3. Make an outline of your thesis.
  4. Write a draft.
  5. Proofread and edit your draft.
  6. Let your professor examine your thesis before the submission.
  7. Make the last corrections following the advice of your professor.

Now that you know how to structure your paper and what steps to take during the work on this project, you aren’t likely to disappoint your committee. Remember to make decent preparations for your defense, however.

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