How to structure and frame your dissertation

How to structure and frame your dissertation

Alex Grey September 08, 2021

A dissertation or thesis may be a long piece of educational writing supported by original research submitted as a part of an undergraduate or postgraduate degree.

The structure of a dissertation depends on your field, but it's usually divided into a minimum of four or five chapters (including an introduction and conclusion chapter).

The most common dissertation structure within the sciences and social sciences includes:

  • An introduction to your topic
  • A literature review that surveys relevant sources
  • An explanation of your methodology
  • An overview of the results of your research
  • A discussion of the results and their implications
  • A conclusion that shows what your research has contributed

Dissertations within the humanities are often structured as an extended essay, building an argument by analysing primary and secondary sources. Rather than the quality structure outlined here, you would possibly organise your chapters around different themes or case studies.

Other essential elements of the dissertation include the page, abstract, and reference list. If unsure how your dissertation should be structured, always check your department’s guidelines and consult your supervisor.