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Dissertation Template and Examples of Dissertation Chapters

Overview

The importance of a dissertation template lies in its ability to provide structure, consistency, and guidance throughout the dissertation writing process.

A dissertation template provides students with a structured framework, formatting guidelines, and consistency, ultimately contributing to the successful completion and presentation of their research projects

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Title Page

This section should always be on its own page and without any page numbering

In this page of the dissertation template, you should include the following:

  • Dissertation title
  • Your full name
  • Institutional affiliation (university or academic institution)
  • Department or program name
  • Degree for which the dissertation is submitted (e.g., Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Science)
  • Date of submission (month and year)
  • Any additional information required by your institution or program

Abstract

The abstract page of the dissertation template should include:

  • Should be 250-300 words
  • Brief summary of the dissertation’s purpose, objectives, and research questions.
  • Description of the research methodology or approach used in the study.
  • Summary of the main findings or results obtained from the research.
  • Conclusions drawn from the findings and their implications for the field of study.
  • Recommendations for future research or practical applications based on the study’s findings.
  • Concise overview of the significance or contribution of the research to the academic or professional community.
  • Keywords or phrases that capture the main themes or concepts addressed in the dissertation.

Acknowledgments

In the acknowledgments section of the dissertation template, you should include the following information:

  • Gratitude to individuals, institutions, or organizations that supported or contributed to the research.
  • Recognition of mentors, advisors, committee members, and other academic or research collaborators who provided guidance and assistance.
  • Appreciation for funding sources, scholarships, grants, or fellowships that supported the research financially.
  • Thanks to participants, respondents, or study subjects who volunteered their time and cooperation for data collection or participation in the study.
  • Recognition of colleagues, friends, or family members who offered encouragement, moral support, or assistance during the research process.
  • Any other individuals or entities whose contributions or support were significant and deserving of acknowledgment.
  • Brief expressions of gratitude or personal reflections on the research journey and its impact on the author’s academic or professional development.

Table of Contents

In the table of contents section of the dissertation template, include the following information:

  • List of all chapters, sections, and subsections of the dissertation.
  • Heading titles for each chapter, section, and subsection, including the introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, conclusion, and any appendices.
  • Corresponding page numbers for each chapter, section, and subsection to facilitate navigation and reference.
  • Consistent formatting and indentation to indicate the hierarchy of headings and subheadings within the table of contents.
  • Any additional front matter or preliminary pages, such as the abstract, acknowledgments, list of tables and figures, list of abbreviations, list of symbols, glossary, preface, dedication, or other sections included in the dissertation.

List of Tables

In the list of tables section of the dissertation template, include the following information:

  • Numbered list of all tables included in the dissertation.
  • Caption or brief title for each table, providing a concise description of its content.
  • Corresponding page numbers indicating where each table can be found within the dissertation.
  • Consistent formatting and spacing to ensure clarity and readability.
  • Tables should be listed in the order they appear in the dissertation, typically following the table of contents.
  • If applicable, separate lists for tables included in appendices or supplementary materials.

List of Figures

In the list of figures section of the dissertation template, include the following information:

  • Numbered list of all figures (e.g., graphs, charts, diagrams, illustrations) included in the dissertation.
  • Caption or brief title for each figure, providing a concise description of its content.
  • Corresponding page numbers indicating where each figure can be found within the dissertation.
  • Consistent formatting and spacing to ensure clarity and readability.
  • Figures should be listed in the order they appear in the dissertation, typically following the list of tables.
  • If applicable, separate lists for figures included in appendices or supplementary materials.

List of Abbreviations (if applicable)

In this section of the dissertation template, you should include:

  • Definitions of abbreviations or acronyms used in the dissertation
  • Arranged alphabetically with their full forms

List of Symbols (if applicable)

In this section of the dissertation template, you should include:

  • Definitions of symbols or mathematical notation used in the dissertation
  • Arranged alphabetically or by category

Glossary (if applicable)

In this section of the dissertation template, you should include:

  • Definitions of specialized terminology or jargon used in the dissertation
  • Arranged alphabetically with explanations or definitions

Preface (optional)

In this section of the dissertation template, you should include:

  • Author’s personal reflections or comments on the research process
  • Explanation of the motivation, challenges, or significance of the research

Dedication (optional)

In this section of the dissertation template, you should include:

  • Personal dedication or tribute to individuals, such as family members, friends, or mentors
  • Brief message of appreciation or sentiment

All the above sections are known as preliminary pages of a dissertation. Their arrangements, except the Title Page, depend on the outline provided by your institution.

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Chapter One: Introduction

This chapter should be approximately 10% of the total word count of the dissertation

Research Background

This section of the dissertation template should include the following information:

  • Contextual information about the research topic, including its importance and relevance to the field of study.
  • Overview of existing literature related to the research topic, highlighting key theories, concepts, and findings.
  • Discussion of gaps, controversies, or unanswered questions in the literature that the research aims to address.
  • Explanation of the significance or implications of the research topic for theory, practice, or policy.
  • Historical background or evolution of the research topic, if applicable.
  • Identification of the specific research problem or research question that the study seeks to investigate.

Problem Statement

This section of the dissertation template should include the following information:

  • Clear articulation of the research problem or issue being addressed.
  • Identification of the specific gap, controversy, or challenge in the literature.
  • Explanation of why the problem is significant or important to address.
  • Concise statement of the research question(s) or objective(s) guiding the study.
  • Contextualization of the problem within the broader field of study or discipline.

Purpose and Significance of the Study

This section should include the following information:

  • Explanation of the overarching purpose or aim of the study.
  • Justification for why the research is significant or relevant.
  • Discussion of the potential contributions or implications of the study.
  • Statement of the intended audience or beneficiaries of the research.
  • Clear articulation of the goals or objectives of the study.

Research Aim

The research aim should be:

  • Concise statement of the primary goal or objective of the research.
  • Description of what the study intends to achieve or investigate.
  • Alignment with the broader purpose of the dissertation.
  • Specificity in outlining the focus or scope of the research.
  • Clear indication of the intended outcomes or contributions of the study.

Research Objectives

The research objectives should be:

  • Specific and measurable sub-goals that support the overall aim of the research.
  • Clearly defined actions or tasks that need to be accomplished.
  • Aligned with the research aim and designed to address different aspects of the research question.
  • Sequential or hierarchical in nature, building upon each other to achieve the overall aim.
  • Realistic and achievable within the scope of the study.

Research Questions

The research questions should be:

  • Clear and focused inquiries that guide the research process.
  • Directly related to the research aim and objectives.
  • Specific and well-defined, addressing key aspects of the research topic.
  • Often formulated as interrogative sentences to articulate what the study seeks to investigate.
  • Designed to generate empirical evidence or insights to address the research problem.

Research Hypotheses (If Quantitative Research)

The research hypotheses should be:

  • Testable statements or predictions about the relationship between variables.
  • Based on existing theory, literature, or empirical evidence.
  • Clearly articulated and specific, stating the expected outcome of the study.
  • Formulated as declarative statements, indicating the expected direction or nature of the relationship.
  • Aimed at providing empirical support or confirmation of theoretical propositions.

Brief Description of The Research Methodology (Optional)

This section should include the following information:

  • Overview of the research design or approach employed in the study.
  • Description of the data collection methods and techniques used.
  • Explanation of the sampling strategy and sample size determination.
  • Discussion of any instruments, tools, or measures utilized in data collection.
  • Brief outline of the data analysis techniques or procedures employed.
  • Justification for the chosen methodology, highlighting its suitability for addressing the research questions or objectives.

Overview of the Dissertation Structure

This section should include the following information:

  • Brief summary outlining the organization of the dissertation.
  • Identification of the main chapters or sections included in the study.
  • Description of the sequence and flow of content within the dissertation.
  • Explanation of how each chapter contributes to the overall argument or narrative.
  • Clarification of any supplementary materials or appendices included in the dissertation.

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Chapter Two: Literature Review

This chapter of the dissertation template should be approximately 30% of the total word count.

The literature review chapter contains the following information:

  • Review of relevant literature related to the research topic.
  • Summary of key theories, concepts, and findings in the field.
  • Identification of gaps, controversies, or unresolved issues in the literature.
  • Explanation of the significance or relevance of the research topic.
  • Synthesis and analysis of existing studies, highlighting common themes or trends.
  • Critique of methodological approaches used in previous research.
  • Integration of literature to support the rationale for the research questions or hypotheses.
  • Key gaps in literature that the present study will address

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Chapter Three: Research Methods/Methodology

This chapter should be approximately 15% of the total word count of the dissertation.

Research Philosophy

In the dissertation template, this section written using this criterion:

  • Explanation of the underlying beliefs or assumptions guiding the research.
  • Identification of the research paradigm or worldview (e.g., positivism, interpretivism, critical realism).
  • Discussion of the ontological and epistemological perspectives shaping the research approach.
  • Explanation of the researcher’s stance on issues such as objectivity, subjectivity, and knowledge construction.
  • Justification for the chosen research philosophy based on its compatibility with the research aims and objectives.

Research Approach

In the dissertation template, this section written using this criterion:

  • Description of the overall research strategy or approach (e.g., inductive approach, deductive approach).
  • Explanation of the rationale for selecting the chosen approach.
  • Discussion of how the research approach aligns with the research questions or objectives.
  • Description of specific research methods or techniques used within the chosen approach.
  • Justification for the selected research approach based on its suitability for addressing the research problem or question.

Research Design

In the dissertation template, this section written using this criterion:

  • Explanation of the research method adopted (e.g., qualitative, quantitative, mixed methods).
  • Description of the specific research design employed (e.g., specific type of qualitative research design or quantitative research design).
  • Discussion of the rationale for selecting the chosen research design.
  • Description of the key variables, concepts, or phenomena under investigation.
  • Explanation of how data will be collected, analyzed, and interpreted within the chosen design.
  • Justification for the selected research design based on its appropriateness for addressing the research questions or objectives.

Study Population and Sampling Strategy

In the dissertation template, this section written using this criterion:

  • Description of the target population or group being studied.
  • Explanation of the sampling approach used to select participants or cases.
  • Discussion of the sampling method (e.g., probability sampling, non-probability sampling).
  • Description of the sample size determination process and rationale.
  • Explanation of any inclusion or exclusion criteria applied in the sampling process.
  • Justification for the chosen sampling approach based on its suitability for the research aims and objectives.

Data Collection Methods

In the dissertation template, this section written using this criterion:

  • Description of the specific methods or techniques used to collect data (e.g., surveys, interviews, observations).
  • Explanation of the rationale for selecting the chosen data collection methods.
  • Discussion of the procedures and protocols followed during data collection.
  • Description of any instruments or tools used to collect data (e.g., questionnaires, interview guides).
  • Explanation of how data quality and reliability were ensured during the data collection process.
  • Justification for the selected data collection methods based on their appropriateness for addressing the research questions or objectives.

Data Analysis Methods

In the dissertation template, this section written using this criterion:

  • Description of the specific data analysis techniques used (e.g., quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, mixed methods analysis).
  • Explanation of the rationale for selecting the chosen data analysis methods.
  • Discussion of the procedures and steps involved in data analysis.
  • Description of any software or tools used for data analysis (e.g., SPSS, NVivo).
  • Explanation of how data were coded, categorized, and interpreted.
  • Justification for the selected data analysis methods based on their appropriateness for addressing the research questions or objectives.

Ethical Considerations

In the dissertation template, this section written using this criterion:

  • Discussion of ethical principles and guidelines relevant to the research (e.g., respect for autonomy, beneficence, justice).
  • Explanation of how ethical considerations were addressed throughout the research process.
  • Description of procedures for obtaining informed consent from participants.
  • Discussion of measures taken to ensure participant confidentiality and anonymity.
  • Explanation of how potential risks and benefits to participants were identified and addressed.
  • Description of any ethical review processes or approvals obtained from relevant institutions or ethics committees.
  • Justification for the ethical decisions made in the research process based on ethical principles and guidelines.

Methodological Limitations

In the dissertation template, this section written using this criterion:

  • Identification of potential limitations or constraints inherent in the research design, methods, or procedures.
  • Discussion of any challenges encountered during data collection, analysis, or interpretation.
  • Explanation of any biases or sources of error that may have influenced the research findings.
  • Description of any limitations in the sample size, sampling approach, or generalizability of the results.
  • Discussion of any unforeseen circumstances or external factors that may have impacted the research process or outcomes.
  • Explanation of how the limitations were addressed or mitigated to enhance the validity and reliability of the research.
  • Justification for the relevance and significance of the research findings despite the identified limitations.

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Chapter Four: Results/Findings

This chapter of the dissertation template should be approximately 5% of the total word count.

This chapter should contain the following:

  • Presentation of the research findings in a clear and organized manner.
  • Description of the data collected and analyzed during the study.
  • Use of tables, figures, and charts to illustrate key findings.

Chapter Five: Discussion

This chapter of the dissertation template should be approximately 30% of the total word count.

This chapter should contain the following:

  • Interpretation of the research findings in relation to the research questions or objectives.
  • Explanation of the significance and implications of the findings for the field of study.
  • Discussion of how the findings contribute to existing literature and theoretical frameworks.
  • Exploration of any unexpected or contradictory results and their possible explanations.
  • Consideration of the strengths and limitations of the study and their impact on the interpretation of the findings.
  • Identification of areas for future research or recommendations for practice based on the findings.
  • Synthesis of the key points discussed and their alignment with the overall aim of the dissertation.

Chapter Six: Conclusion and Recommendations

This chapter of the dissertation template should be approximately 10% of the total word count.

This chapter should contain the following:

Conclusion

  • Summary of the main findings and key points discussed in the dissertation.
  • Restatement of the research aim, objectives, and significance of the study.

Recommendations for Practice

  • Recapitulation of the contributions of the research to the field of study.
  • Reflection on the implications of the findings for theory, practice, or policy.
  • Practical recommendations for application or implementation based on the findings

Limitations of the Study

  • Identification and acknowledgment of potential limitations inherent in the research.
  • Discussion of any constraints or challenges encountered during the study.
  • Explanation of how these limitations may have affected the validity or reliability of the research findings.
  • Consideration of factors such as sample size, data collection methods, and external validity.
  • Reflection on the implications of the limitations for interpreting the research findings.
  • Justification for the relevance and significance of the research despite the identified limitations.

Recommendations for Future Research

  • Recommendations for future research directions or areas for further investigation.
  • Final thoughts or concluding remarks emphasizing the importance of the research and its potential impact.

References

This section of the dissertation template is not included in the overall word count

This section includes:

  • List of all sources cited in the dissertation.
  • Arranged alphabetically by the authors’ last names.
  • Consistent formatting according to a specified citation style (e.g., APA, MLA, Harvard).
  • Include details such as author names, publication titles, journal names, volume and issue numbers, page numbers, and publication years.
  • Provide accurate and complete bibliographic information for each source.
  • Follow the citation style guidelines specified by your academic institution or field of study.

Appendices

This section of the dissertation template is not included in the overall word count

This section includes:

  • Supplementary materials that support the main content of the dissertation.
  • Additional data, tables, figures, or charts that are too detailed for inclusion in the main text.
  • Copies of questionnaires, surveys, interview transcripts, or other research instruments used.
  • Any relevant documents or materials referenced in the dissertation.
  • Detailed descriptions of methodologies, calculations, or analyses.
  • Any other materials that enhance understanding of the research but are not essential for the main argument.

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Dr. Robertson Prime, Research Fellow
Dr. Robertson Prime, Research Fellow
https://bestdissertationwriter.com