Top Tips for Writing Chapters for a Thesis or Dissertation

This guide describes the various sections and/or sub-sections that should be included in a dissertation. You should find the advice provided here useful when trying to work out what sections to place where and in what order. In fact, uses this template when asked to help with dissertation projects.   

A dissertation should be structured as follows:

  • A cover or title page
  • An acknowledgements section
  • A dedication section, if required
  • The paper’s abstract
  • A ToC (Table of Content)

This is a list of:

  • The main sections and any sub-sections in your paper
  • Any charts or tables in your paper
  • Any illustrations or figures in your paper
  • The Introduction Chapter

    • This section introduces the reader to your study or research project
    • Mentions any businesses or organization(s) covered in your study.
    • Provides a statement concerning the research question or problem
    • Sets out the objectives of the project
    • Describes the paper’s structure.
  • Literature Review

    • Chapter introduction
    • Discusses and sums up any literature the writer has reviewed
    • Recaps on the research question or problem.

You need not be too descriptive about any literature you review. A good rule of thumb is to provide two similarly balanced critiques of any two works by authors with different opinion on a particular topic.    

  • The Methodology (or Methods) Chapter

    • Set out your view of your research or dissertation project
    • Describe your research approach
    • Talk about your research strategy
    • Tell your readers how you gathered topic-related data
    • Say how you analysed this data
    • Describe any problems you had getting access to data
    • Discuss issues related to reliability, validity, and any assumptions or generalisations in your work
    • Say if you encountered any ethical issues
    • Mention any limitations related to your project.

When writing a methodology chapter, it is essential to justify your reasons for selecting a specific methodology or approach over other available options. If the method you chose falls into the positivity category rather than the interpretative variety, why did you do so? The following sections are next:

  • The Results/Findings Chapter

    • In the event you used quantitative-style research, you should provide all relevant figures with a description of the results or findings. 
    • If your research work is of the qualitative variety or if you used case studies, you will need to present your most crucial findings along with a description of these.
  • The Discussion Chapter

    • Provide justification for choosing a particular topic
    • Recap on the literature you reviewed and your choice of methodology
    • If you used sampling, describe and justify this
    • Briefly review your findings or results
    • Provide a description of any analysis you did. Divide your research question or problem and address each individual part in terms of your literature review and results. Then summarise the answer to the complete question or problem.
  • The Conclusion Chapter
  • The Recommendations Chapter
  • Bibliography or List of References
  • Appendix or Appendices where applicable.

Being good at story telling is an advantage when it comes to writing a worthwhile dissertation. While you may not be expected to interview or survey various groups or individuals, it is important you understand any business operation that features in your study. You should additionally understand any literary works you review and any methods you use, to the extent at least that you are able to write a convincing dissertation or thesis that fully addresses your research question or problem.