Looking in Detail at PhD Dissertation Structure
This guide explains the acceptable guidelines for structuring PhD dissertations and doctoral theses.
Dissertation structure sample
- Title page
- The abstract (word count range: 150- 350)
- A lay summary of about 150 words:
This is a small description of the main objectives and contributions of an academic project. It is written in a lay man’s language so that anyone can comprehend.
- The preface:
It explains how the writer has contributed to the design of the whole paper, the function of all sections, and data analysis. Sometimes extra information is needed as follows:
- If any information in the project has been published or submitted, it should be listed here.
- The references should have the article tittles, publishers’ names, and the exact chapters which contain the cited information.
- If the paper contains any publications or information that is awaiting publication, there should be a statement to explain these details including the authors, co-authors, or supervisors.
- Other details that should be listed in the Preface include scholarly arifacts e.g. graphics, business plans, pages, films, and policy briefs.
- In case of ethical approval, all responsibilities of the ethics board must be highlighted including pertinent certificates.
- Where the project does not involve ethical approvals and publications, then the Preface should be very brief.
- Note that the Preface should be approved by a professor and this should be reflected in a thesis verification form.
- It does not include introduction, list of publications, or acknowledgement. These elements appear in other sections and appendices.
- Table of contents
This is where the theme and objective are laid out. It should give enough background information so that the public can comprehend. Then a complete review of literature should follow.
- Research chapters
The scholarly presentation of the project should be coherent with the disciplines of the particular field. The chapters must be comprehensive and systematic.
It is the final part of the research that demonstrates the writers proficiency in the field and ability to infer.
- List of tables, figures, and illustrations
- Symbols and abbreviations
This is optional. It entails the contributions by various stakeholders:
- Professional advisors
- Supervisory committee
- Funding sources
- Other students
- Family and friends
- Document body
These are the most important elements in the structure of a dissertation. They should adhere to the guidelines of academic writing. However, the structure may differ depending on the type and area of study.
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