Schools, Colleges and Universities tend to use research project to test students independent research skills acquired during their time in the school. This research project is an important requirement for an award of a Bachelor or Post graduate degrees.
This article will provide a general overview on how to write your dissertation paper; whether you are writing an Undergraduate dissertation paper or a post graduate dissertation paper.
How to Write your Dissertation Paper: A Step by Step Guide
What is a Dissertation Paper?
A dissertation paper is a long piece of research work, written and submitted to complete an undergraduate degree or postgraduate. It is a formal academic paper based on research or data that is gathered throughout the study period and it requires a lot of time and hard-work.
What is the structure of a dissertation paper?
The structure of a dissertation paper mainly depends on the field of study, but mostly the paper should be divided into four or five chapters( the chapters must include the introduction and the conclusion)
The common structure of dissertation papers include:
- Introduction of the chosen topic
- Literature review
- The methodology of research
- Result/ Overview of research done
- Discussion of the results and what they imply
- Conclusion of the obtained results
How do I structure my dissertation paper?
There are several steps to writing a good dissertation paper. We will assess them step by step so that you can understand how to structure your dissertation to earn you good grades.
- The Title page
This is the very first page of the document. It should have the title of the document and students’ details starting from the name and other relevant details that need to be added. Different schools have different formats, so it’s important to understand the requirements of your school.
This is the second part immediately after the title page. It is sometimes optional in some schools. As the name implies, an acknowledgment centers on giving credits to those that assisted you during the research project.
- The abstract
This is a summary of what the paper is going to talk about. It should be about 150-300 words depending on the size of the paper that you want to write about or the school requirement. It appears after the acknowledgment, It is often written after the completion of the entire paper.
A standard abstract contains the following:
- The main topic and objectives of the research
- The methodology used
- A summary of the results
- And Conclusion
The first part gives the impression of the whole paper, so it should have all the relevant information shortened.
- The table of Contents
The table of contents lists the titles, headings, and sub-headings throughout the paper. Because of the length, there must be a table of content to guide the reader to access the desired information fast.
Every part of the dissertation paper must be captured in the table of content, including the appendices. The best way is by producing the table through Word.
- The Introduction
The introduction sets up the topic that is being researched, gives the relevance and the purpose of the topic, and gives the paper’s thesis. The introduction must:
- Establish and give the relevant background information on the topic
- Focus narrowly on the scope of research
- Give what the reader already knows about the topic
- Give the objectives of the research
- Give the dissertation overview
The introduction needs to be very clear and straight to the point. It must answer the “what, why, and how” questions.
- The Literature Review
A literature review comes before researching to ensure that the researcher understands what is already in existence about the topic. This is to say that:
- You have collected and selected the most relevant sources, e.g., books, and journal articles
- You have critically analyzed and evaluated each source
- You have drawn the connections and links between the sources
A literature review generally summarizes existing studies given by scholars about the topic at hand. It gives a base of research and definition of the key theories of your research
This chapter describes the methods the researcher used during the research.
This section include:
- The overall type of research, i.e., experimental, qualitative, quantitative, or qualitative
- The methods used in collecting data
- Details of when and where the research was done and who did it
- Materials used in research
- Obstacles and challenges incurred during research
- An evaluation to justify the method
The methodology aims to report what was done to collect the discussed information.
This chapter reports the results of the research. The chapter can be built around sub-questions or topics to give a clear view. Give only those reports that are relevant to your objectives of the research.
It is very important to include tables and graphs where necessary to give a clear view of the thoughts that one Is explaining. This procedure will also help the readers to understand the full research results.
This chapter explores the meaning and the implications of the research that was done. It analyzes the results in detail concerning the research topic. The writer should assess whether the results were reached as expected.
There should be a reference to other scholarly works that can enable the reader to understand more about the interpretation of the topics. Be sure to give a detailed discussion
This part should concisely answer the main topic question to give the reader a clear understanding of the results. It should then wrap up with a general reflection of what was done and how it was done. Recommend the research or actions needed. Explain how the findings helped to change your view on the topic.
- The reference Page
This is the last page that must have all the details of all sources used in finding and research. It should follow the style that is required as the instructions dictate.
In looking at how to write your dissertation paper, it is important to note the following:
- Select a topic that will hold your interest for a long time
- Start early to research about your chosen topic, this will be very useful when drafting your research outline
- Be close to your Supervisor; meet him or regularly for guidance and follow up