If you want to write a good, comprehensive, and properly formatted dissertation, then you have to follow a proper dissertation format. The dissertation format, prescribed by most of the universities is generally similar and follows a conventional layout. There are ten basic components that combine to make up a thorough and complete dissertation format. Students should follow the pre-requisite dissertation format, unless otherwise stated. Spacing between the titles and paragraphs of a dissertation are very important and students should keep in focus the spacing factor while following the dissertation format. The components of a conventional dissertation format are as follows:
Title Page: This is the foremost page of a dissertation. It contains the title of the dissertation, followed by student’s name. The students should also mention about the submission status of the dissertation on the title page. The name of the department or the university and the date of submission are also included in the title page of the dissertation.
Abstract: The abstract is a short summary of what an individual student is planning to do in the dissertation. A brief introductory section, most preferably the issue or problem being selected to be discussed, is included in abstract. The methodology chosen to be used and expected findings and conclusions are an integral part of abstract.
Dedication and Acknowledgements: In this section, students should mention the names of those teachers, faculty members, and colleagues, who have provided a helping hand during the course of completion of the dissertation.
Table of Contents: This provides a list of chapters and topics covered in the dissertation. The standard spacing for table of contents is 1.5”, and all the entries in the table must be in normal fonts.
Introduction Chapter: The first chapter provides the basic idea about the problem to be addressed. Purpose of the study, rationale, aims and objectives of the dissertation are also included in this chapter. Students are advised to mention about the assumptions, limitations, and significance of the selected topic being researched.
Literature Review Chapter: The second chapter, the literature review, is primarily based on analysis of previous researches. The literature review should be coherent in nature, i.e. the flow of the literature content should be smooth. Only relevant headings on the topic should be included in the dissertation structure.
Methodology Chapter: This is the most important chapter that holds the dissertation together. The methodology chapter defines the path of the dissertation. Any misunderstanding or a loophole in selecting the correct methodological approach can ruin the overall dissertation structure. There are three basic research approaches used in dissertations, i.e. qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method. It is the researcher, who should decide about the progress of the dissertation’s methodology. Information regarding the design of the research; data collection; sampling technique; selection of instrument; development of questionnaire, hypothesis and research questions; and reliability and validity of the overall dissertation, should be duly included in this chapter.
Discussion and Analysis Chapter: In this chapter, the overall findings and outcomes of a particular study are presented. Any analysis carried out by employing qualitative or quantitative methods is also reported in this chapter. Occasionally students tend to incorporate tables, figures, and graphs related to findings, in this chapter.
Conclusion Chapter: This is the last chapter of the dissertation. It includes the summary of the whole dissertation, followed by implications, limitations, and recommendations for future research. Conclusion should be short and concise in nature.
References: Students use many books and journal articles to help themselves in making dissertations. The reference page provides a list of all the books and articles used to carry out the research in alphabetical order. The entries used for in-text citations are included in the reference list.
Bibliography: It is to be noted that References and Bibliography are two different things, but students tend to use them interchangeably. In a bibliography, only entries are listed, which are just used for reference but are not cited in the original document, i.e. the main body of the dissertation structure.
Appendices: Appendices contain extra information about a particular topic, on which the dissertation is based. It is a good practice to include tables, graphs, figures, and questionnaire in appendices section of the dissertation format.