Dissertation – A Brief Introduction


Most students have to write a dissertation at the end of their degree. It can be a challenging task as they don’t know many details about it. The dissertation is a very lengthy document that has a lot of chapters in it. This article covers all the basics of every chapter of the dissertation.

We will go with a list of all chapters in a dissertation, with a brief introduction of every chapter, word count of every chapter, explanation of some important points about that chapter, and some tips on how to write that chapter. So students can get all the important information about dissertation writing under one roof.

Chapter in a dissertation:

Firstly we will know the ingredients of recipe of a perfect dissertation, we need to know that a dissertation is made of multiple chapters. Following are chapters in a dissertation:

  1. Title Page
  2. Acknowledgments
  3. Abstract
  4. Table of contents
  5. List of figures and tables
  6. List of Abbreviations
  7. Glossary
  8. Introduction
  9. Literature Review
  10. Methodology
  11. Results
  12. Discussion
  13. Conclusion
  14. Reference List
  15. Appendices

Title page:

After completion of the dissertation, the Title page is made following the pattern by the student’s educational institute.


This chapter of the dissertation is optional. In this chapter, the writer thanks all the sources who have contributed to the completion of the dissertation.


What Is An Abstract?

It’s the third and one of the most important chapters in the dissertation. As the name of the chapter suggests, the abstract includes the extract of the whole dissertation. Thus, the critical indicator of a good abstract is that it includes information about all aspects of the dissertation and does not leave information about any part of the dissertation. This part is always written at the end of the research.

Word Count:

The average word count for abstracts ranges from 150 to 300 words. However, most colleges and universities are a little rigid about the abstract length, so following the word count suggested by one’s educational institute is essential.

Key Points for Writing a Good Abstract:

In simple words, the abstract of a dissertation is like the trailer of a movie. Therefore, it should be short and engaging so that people can invest their time and concentration in it. Furthermore, it should include every essential part of your paper without giving extra information and exceeding the word count.

An abstract includes:

  • The research problem, and the reason for investigating it
  • Methods used for the research
  • Summary of main results
  • Concluding statement

Glossary and list of table, figures, and abstractions:

These chapters are optional chapters of the dissertation and are added to the dissertation to give additional information.


What Is An Introduction?

Again as the name of the chapter indicates, the introduction of the dissertation introduces the reader to the research problem. The role of the introduction is to make the reader familiar with the topic of the dissertation by providing him with enough information regarding the topic.

Word Count:

The length of the introduction should be 10% of the dissertation’s length. Following this rule, the length of a 10000-word dissertation should be 1000, and 2000 is the introduction length of a 20000-word dissertation.

Level Up The Introduction Using These Points:

While the abstract of the dissertation grabs the reader’s attention, the introduction keeps the reader engaged with the dissertation’s content.  A properly written introduction will develop an interest in the reader.

A good introduction includes

  • Things the reader should know before understanding the dissertation
  • Introduce the reader to the research problem
  • Reasons and objectives for conducting that research
  • Importance of this research

1. Literature Review:

What Is A Literature Review?

The literature review chapter includes all the background information related to the dissertation topic. That contains all the previous studies and research conducted on that topic. This includes background information about weaknesses and ambiguities of that topic or the research gap in that topic and the areas that can be studied in the future.

Word Count:

The length of the literature review is 30% length of the dissertation. For example, if the dissertation length is 10000 words, then the length of the literature review would be 3000 words. If the dissertation length is 20000 words, then the literature review length would be 6000 words.

How to Write a Great Literature Review?

The literature review helps the writer in getting detailed and in-depth knowledge about the research topic. A good literature review is not a summary of all available researches on that topic but a meticulous evaluation and analysis of those sources.

Following the steps written below will help in writing a good literature review:

  • Do a lot of research and find sources (books, journals, articles, etc.)
  • Select the sources that closely relate to your research and carefully analyze the
  • Find similarities between those sources and correlate those resources


What Is The Methodology?

The methodology defines the ways through which research is conducted. This important chapter contains an explanation of the complete process of how the research was conducted.

Word Count:

The length of the research methodology is 15% of the dissertation length. For example, if the dissertation length is 10000 words, then the length of the research methodology will be 1500 words. While if the length of the dissertation is 20000 words, then the length of methodology will be 3000.

How to Write a Methodology:

Type OF Approach Used In Research:

The first step of writing a methodology is defining the type of research that has been used. There are two types of approaches:

  • Qualitative approach:

It is based on non-numerical data like interviews, photos, videos, audio, etc. it focuses on how and why something happens.

  • Quantitative Approach:

It is based on numerical data collected through surveys, questionnaires, and statistics. However, it focuses more on how frequently something happens.

Sometimes a mixture of both of these approaches is used.

1. Define time horizon:

The expected time for project completion is called time horizon. There are two types of time horizon

  • Cross-sectional:
    • Data that is collected in one go over a certain period is called one-shot or cross studies. In a cross-sectional study, multiple groups are studied at the same time.
  • Longitudinal:
  • The longitudinal study is when the researcher collects data multiple times and compares those data sets to find a particular answer. The same group is studied multiple times.
    • Example:

A study that is conducted on the productivity level of employees before and after the lunch break.

2. Type of data collected:

  • Primary data:

If you have collected data personally by conducting surveys, interviews, questionnaires, etc., it is primary data.

  • Secondary data:

If you have used previously used or collected data like data sets etc., it is secondary data

3. Describe the relationship between analysis and research:

In this part of the methodology, results found from research are explained;

The approach used for the research defines the method used for analysis. For example, statistical analysis can be used in a quantitative approach, while philosophical analysis can be used for analysis in a qualitative approach.

This part of the methodology clearly defines the relationship between the research and the analysis. If the purpose of the research was to find the characteristic of the target population then descriptive stats is used. If the research has to be generalized then inferential stats are used.

The methodology is undoubtedly a significant part of the research and should be written carefully. However, sometimes it can become difficult for students to do this. In such cases, they often go for dissertation help to get experts to write their dissertation.


What Is The Results?

In this chapter, the findings of the research are stated. In the qualitative approach, results are not written with discussion. However, in qualitative research, results are written in combination with another part of the dissertation known as discussion.

Word Count:

The word count of the results should be 5% of the dissertation’s length. That means for a 10000-word long dissertation. The results section should be 500 words long, and a 20000-word dissertation result section should have 1000 words long result chapter.

How to write the results:

Researches performed using the qualitative approach has a separate chapter for results. In the results chapter, the actual findings of the research are written clearly and concisely. Students have to write a detailed analysis of the research is written in the results. The results are derived from statistical analysis of the quantitative approach, and in the qualitative approach, results are interpreted without any statistical analysis.


What Is the Discussion?

This chapter includes the interpretation of the results and also explains how your results relate to the research problem. The writer gives a detailed interpretation of the result, coordination between results and research question, the limitations affecting that research, and the expected events that happened during the research

Word Count:

The length of the discussion is 30% of the dissertation length. For example, if the dissertation length is 10000 words, then the length of the discussion chapter will be 3000 words. While if the length of the dissertation is 20000 words, then the length of the discussion chapter will be 6000 words.


What Is The Conclusion?

This chapter answers the research question. It also includes recommendations like the researches that can be conducted and gives the reader a clear picture of the research results. It is a summary of all the essential points of the dissertation and also includes recommendations for future researches.

Word count:

The length of the conclusion is 10% of the dissertation length. For example, if the dissertation length is 10000 words, then the discussion chapter’s length will be 1000 words. While if the length of the dissertation is 20000 words, then the length of the discussion chapter will be 2000 words.

4. Reference list:

What Is a Reference List?

The list of all sources used in the research of the dissertation is cited in a reference list. It is also referred to as a bibliography. It is written using various referencing styles like APA, MLA, and Chicago, etc.

5. Appendices:

What Are The Appendices?

Additional information that cannot be included in the main heading is added in the dissertation using a separate chapter known as appendices. Appendices include interview transcripts, survey questionnaires that were used in the research.

Last Remarks

This is a brief introduction to a dissertation that will help students in writing a quality dissertation. A good dissertation will help students secure a good grade and good opportunities for the future. Good Luck!