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How to Write a Dissertation Paper

How to Write a Dissertation Paper

A dissertation paper is written for the final project presented before the completion of student’s doctoral degree. The assignment’s form is very similar, although the Ph.D. project is far more severe; it does not matter whether it’s an undergraduate or a Ph.D. dissertation.

Why do Students Writing a Dissertation Paper Consider it Difficult?

Dissertation paper

Dissertation paper

Most of the candidates are often enthusiastic, but they may be despaired by the intimidating project. The planning, research, and writing processes will be your longest and most complex challenge. The final result will be advantageous, but you may have to face several barriers. These are some of the most common problems when students write their theses:

  • Procrastination. You think the project will take plenty of time and continue to delay the start. It is an enormous problem as the deadline’s approach usually stresses these students. Procrastination is one of the first signs that university writing assistance is needed.
  • Preliminary research. Students with little academic writing experience think that just a few relevant resources must be collected and relevant quotations drawn from them. It is a long way from the truth. You must thoroughly analyze and discuss these materials in the paper.
  • Poor writing skills. The thesis paper must comply with strict academic rules.

Guidelines of Writing a Dissertation Paper

Step 1: Writing a Dissertation Paper Proposal

For the final thesis project, a dissertation paper proposal is intended to convince the committee members to commit themselves to a valuable, interested, and complex issue. This paper is a shorter paper than the final dissertation, but it is also essential because you think about a significant problem and plan to collect and write the essay. Although the proposal is not obligatory in your school, you still should write it and talk to your mentor about things.

Structure of a Dissertation Proposal

Your proposal must have a smooth and easy-to-follow format to write a good dissertation paper. The following are the points to be included in the proposal:

Dissertation title

 Objectives– Target up to three objectives. If you are too extensive at this point, your plan will seem to have no focus, so you need to narrow it down.

Literature – Ask your mentor if specific references should be listed in this section. If this is not the case, you need to mention the fields of study, thought schools, and other information sources you will use during the study stage.

Research – This is the main section where your research question’s ideas will be developed. The field of research should be clearly outlined.

Methods – The dissertation project may be non-empirical (where the resources come from projects previously published) or empirical (if you collect data through questionnaires or other methods). The methods of data collection must be explained in this section.

Possible results – Where do you think the research and analysis will end after all? Explain the results which you expect.

Timeframe – Create a schedule to explain how your thesis writing phases are handled within a specific timeframe.

Reference list: Please ask your mentor if this part is to be included, and he will give you the instructions.

Step 2: Conduct an Extensive Research

The dissertation research phase will determine your overall project development. It must be methodical and practical, as you won’t waste your time reading and analyzing irrelevant resources. Here are some tips for you to get through:

Have a specific timeframe

It’s important to find sufficient resources to understand the phenomenon in which you are concerned, but at some point, you have to stop researching.

Many students fall into a trap: they think they need to read everything they’re going to do about the dissertation question. How long are you planning to spend in research? Make a schedule and stick to it. The research shows that you have read the subject, understand the previous research, and understand its limitations.

Search for your sources in the right place

In the research stage, the Internet is a good starting point. However, you must realize that all you read is not true on the Internet. Double-check your findings and make sure they come from a confidence-built resource. When identifying reliable academic sources, use Google Scholar. It is important to note that Wikipedia is not a reliable source, but if you check the reference list on the pages you wish, it can lead you to some great publishing.

At this point in project development, librarians are helpful. Do not avoid the library itself and ask the librarian to submit some exciting publications to you.

Organize your resources

It would help if you took notes. Otherwise, you will not find out where a significant argument you intend to use is located. Use Evernote, Penzu, or another online tool to write notes and reference sources on your impressions.

Step 3: Write your Dissertation Paper

Surprisingly, many students have some confidence during the last two stages, but when they realize that they don’t know how to write a dissertation, they. Remember: up to this point, you have done a great job already, so you need to continue. When you have a plan, it’s all easier.


  • Write an Outline

You have the thesis proposal, a preliminary overview of the thesis. However, it would help if you still had a more detailed outline for the large project. Were you led in an unforeseen direction by the research stage?

Dissertation Paper’s Outline

Title Page

Your dissertation title, name, department, institution, degree program, and presentation date are contained on your first page. Sometimes your student number, your supervisor’s name, and the university logo are included. Many programs must format the title page of the dissertation.

The title page is often used to cover your dissertation when printing and binding.


The acknowledgment section is usually optional and allows you to thank all those who have helped you write your Ph.D. This could include your supervisors, research participants, friends, or families supporting you.


The abstract is a short, usually 150-300 words long summary of your dissertation. When you have completed the rest of the dissertation, you should write it at the very end.  In the abstract, make sure to:

  • Describe the main themes and objectives of your research
  • Resume the main findings
  • State your findings

While the abstract is concise, it’s the first part of your dissertation (and sometimes the only one) that people will learn.

Table of Contents

List all your chapters, subheadings, and page numbers in the table of contents. The dissertation’s content page gives the reader an overview of your structure and facilitates navigation of the paper.

Included in the table of content are the appendices to all parts of your dissertation. In Word, you can automatically generate a table of contents.


In the introduction, you will set the theme, purpose, and relevance of your dissertation and tell the reader what to expect in the remaining dissertation. The introduction should;


  • Set your research subject, providing information to put your work into context
  • Reduce concentration and define the research scope
  • Discuss the current state of research on the matter and show the relevance of your work to a wider issue or debate
  • State your goals and research questions and how you will reply
  • Overview of the structure of your thesis

Theoretical Framework

It would be best if you had carried out a literature review to gain a thorough understanding of the academic work already on your topic before beginning your research. That is;

  • Collecting and selecting the sources most relevant (e.g., books and journals)
  • Evaluate and analyze every source critically
  • Drawing links between them (e.g., subjects, patterns, conflicts, gaps)
  • In the chapter or section of the dissertation literature review, it is necessary to summarize existing studies and develop a coherent structure and argument that provides a clear basis for your research. It could show, for example, how your research is doing;
    Addresses a literature gap
  • Takes a new methodological or theoretical view of the subject
  • Proposes an unresolved problem solution
  • Foster a theoretical discussion
  • Builds on existing information with new data and strengthens it

Literature reviews are the foundation of a theoretical framework where the fundamental theories, concepts, and models that shape your research are defined and analyzed. In this section, the relationship between concepts or variables can be answered in the description.


The methodology chapter describes how the study has been done and how it is valid for the reader. In general, you should include:

  • Type of research and approach (e.g., qualitative, quantitative, experimental, ethnographic)
  • Data gathering methods (e.g., interviews, surveys, archives)
  • Details about where and when the research was conducted
  • Data analysis methods (e.g., statistical analysis, discourse analysis)
  • Instruments and materials used (e.g., computer programs, lab equipment)
  • a discussion of any obstacles that have been faced and how you have overcome the research
  • An assessment or rationale for your methods


This section is structured into sub-questions, assumptions, or topics. Report only results relevant to your goals and research issues. The results section is strictly separate from the discussion in some disciplines, whereas the two are combined in others.

For example, the presentation of data for qualitative methods such as in-depth interviews is often intertwined with discussion and analysis, and results should be presented separately in quantitative and experimental investigations before you discuss their significance.

Tables, graphs, and charts can often be used in the results section. Consider how to provide your information best, and do not include tables and figures which repeat what you wrote – they should provide further details or view the results in a way that adds value to your text.


The discussion is where you discuss your research findings’ significance and implications. You should read the results in detail here, discuss whether they fulfill your expectations and how well they fit the framework you established in earlier chapters. The debate should refer to other scientific research to show how your findings fit with existing knowledge. You can also recommend future research or practical measures.


To give the reader a clear understanding of your central argument, the dissertation’s conclusion should answer the main research question. Also, take a final look at what you did and how you did it in your dissertation. The conclusion also often includes research or practice recommendations.

The conclusion section shows how your findings contribute to field knowledge and why your research matters. What did you add to what you knew already?


You should include all sources you cited in a reference list in full detail (sometimes called works cited list or bibliography). It is important to follow a consistent style of reference. Each style has specific strict conditions on how your sources can be formatted in the reference list.

The most common styles of referencing used in UK universities are Harvard reference and Vancouver. You will often indicate which reference style to use in your department – for example, psychology pupils tend to use the APA style, science pupils often use MHRA, and law students always use OSCOLA. Check the requirements and see to it that your supervisor is uncertain.


Your dissertation should contain only essential information that directly answers your research question. As appendices, documents you use that do not fit your doctoral thesis’s main body (such as transcripts for interviews, survey questions, or table with total figures).

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