How to plan & structure your dissertation? - easy tips for starters

Your dissertation is a large project, one with which you are probably unfamiliar and one which you will probably never write again. This is a project that you will spend a great deal of time with during the course of your academic career and its completion is necessary for your graduation. That being said it is important to understand all aspects of the planning and structure for your dissertation.

In order to plan your dissertation you need to first select a topic. The topic you select is not as simple as you may think. The assignment is an incredibly long piece of writing and as such you need to make sure that the topic you select Canby analyzed and completed within the allotted space. Many students have to refine the first topic they select because it is too broad. Do not be worried if the first topic you select cannot be covered in the space allotted. You can take measures to refine your topic to something more manageable. Some institutions require a project proposal. If your academic institution requires a proposal you must conduct rudimentary literature reviews and research to show that there is adequate existing literature on your topic which you can use to support the arguments you make in the task. This is a strategy of successful dissertation writers.

The structure is really contingent upon your subject matter and your academic area of expertise. Each academic institution should provide you with a template that outlines the requirements and the exact structure that you are to follow. You're it advisor is a great person to lend a hand in this regard. In most cases the dissertation will be ordered as follows:

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  • Introduction
  • literature review
  • methodology
  • results
  • discussion

Within each of these chapters there maybe subsections like the scope of your project or the participants or even the demographics. Again the actual structure is truly contingent upon your fields and the type of dissertation you are completing. A scientific presentation will vary from a literature presentation.

  • It might be in your best interest to have somebody else at your work before you send it to your advisor. You spend a great deal of time with this particular task and as such you may not be the best judge for small errors. And while your advisor can help navigate the structure and provide you with feedback for your overall subject matter it is not their job to catch small typographical or grammatical errors. It may be best for you to ask a close friend or trusted family member to review each of your chapters as you write them for small errors like this.
  • Make sure you set up a schedule. Having a good schedule will keep you on track to finishing your completed work on time. The first Component to your schedule is your personal work schedule. It is your responsibility to establish a personal work schedule which includes a set goal for what you are going to research and how much you are going to write each and every day.

This goal should be established from the beginning of your project taking into account the final due date and it should be established such that you are able to complete all of your work with a few weeks to spare. You want these few weeks to spare because they give you the opportunity to compensate for days lost during the week or perhaps sick days. This schedule extends beyond just your personal work schedule and includes your schedule with your advisor. You must take into account their work schedule and the fact that they are just as busy as you are if not more so. It is important for you to establish a regular schedule wherein you will provide a written chapter each week or every other week at the same time and then meet with your advisor the following week to discuss the changes you need to incorporate.


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