A Guide To Dissertation Structure

As part of an undergraduate or graduate degree, a dissertation or thesis is a  long-winded academic writing assignment based on original research. A dissertation may be formatted differently depending on the subject matter, although it will normally comprise at least four or five chapters.

Dissertation Structure

To compose a high-quality dissertation, you must first understand the dissertation format. In this essay, we’ll walk you through the general Dissertation Structure and formatting step-by-step. Here, we’ll discuss the conventional dissertation/thesis format that is frequently employed in colleges for social science research. This structure, however, might alter slightly at other universities (for example, through the addition of new chapters or the merging of existing ones).

Therefore, you should always ask your university if it has a set structure or pattern that you should follow. If not, it is safe to presume that the structure we’ll be talking about here is appropriate. You’ll still benefit from this post because we’ll discuss the main points of each segment, even if they do have a set framework.

Typical Dissertation Structure

Dissertation formats differ by discipline, although practically all UK dissertations contain the sections listed below. Depending on your particular research topic and degree program, each section’s size and amount of examination will vary. For instance, you will be required to spend a sizeable percentage of your thesis on your conceptual context in the humanities and social sciences. In the majority of Science courses, this is not necessary for a UK Masters Thesis because you will instead concentrate on the choices in methodology you’ve made and the reliability of your findings.


A concise introduction that places your research in its proper context, describes your technique, and summarizes findings is known as a dissertation abstract. Consider an abstract as the academic version of a movie trailer in which you reveal the conclusion of the “story” before the reader decides whether or not to continue reading. An abstract should be brief but should highlight the most intriguing and original aspects of your work. A strong dissertation should begin with an abstract that sums up the purpose of the study and its findings.


The introduction—a crucial component of the dissertation structure—begins every Masters-level study. The introductory chapter contains some details about your study context and overarching objectives and is lengthier and more in-depth than the abstract. This chapter should establish the tone for the rest of the dissertation by presenting a thoughtful, knowledgeable analysis of your subject. Compared to earlier chapters, it is less analytical yet still has an academic air about it.

Literature Review

Typically, the next dissertation section is devoted to a literature review, which, as its name implies, gives a summary of the key ideas and theories that have been developed on the subject at hand. The literature review is crucial to the rest of the dissertation’s organization since it establishes the background for your study and lists the main theories that will underpin it. Depending on your profession, you may focus more on philosophical works in your literature review for humanities issues than you would on science topics, which might call for greater discussion of methodological ideas.


The research methodologies you decide to use for your dissertation will be described in the methodology chapter. But more significantly, it will offer support for your methodology of choice and a thorough explanation of how to use it in practice. You also need to address the design and dissemination of the surveys, as well as why you believe this is the best methodology.

Main Body

The significant content of your dissertation which will address your study, and explain and analyze your findings must be written after the customary chapters on the abstract, introduction, and methodology. Depending on your field of study, the length and content of these chapters will also differ. For example, in MSc courses, you would be less likely to give your results in these chapters and more likely to concentrate on the information gathered from your studies. However, your theoretical conclusions in the humanities and social sciences should be integrated into your general data analysis.


A clear but complete summary of your entire research study should be provided in the conclusion, with special emphasis placed on the importance of your findings. Use this chapter strategically to sell your ideas to your audience, as it is your last chance to contextualize and defend your study. Aim for an honest description and appraisal rather than making generalizations or using useless cliches. Make an effort to answer any possible criticisms of your study. Be clear about the kind of additional study that may be required and discuss any discrepancies or anomalies you’ve found. In your concluding paragraphs, resist the need to use rhetorical flourishes and end with a straightforward, factual conclusion.


Depending on the reference style required by the institution and subject matter, the list of sources for the master’s thesis will differ. Your school will provide you with specifics regarding the style rules, and most of them are available online. Avoid making costly mistakes by paying close attention to the specifics of the style conventions.


An appendix or appendices may also be included in some master’s dissertations. These provide you the chance to give readers more information. Charts, tables, and figures that you use in your text may be included in an appendix, along with important documents that are not immediately available to readers.


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