Dissertation Chapters: The Five Chapters of a Dissertation

The structure of a dissertation varies from course to course. However, the most common form of a dissertation involves five chapters with the abstract or a conclusion part instead of the results and discussion part. A dissertation requires a rigorous description of each of the five chapters. Most students find this process difficult; therefore, navigating around these chapters requires a clear understanding of the content of the dissertation paper and the writing process. The chapters and the structure of a dissertation depends on the provisions of your school and/or subject of study, but it is usually divided into at least five (5) chapters. Here are the five (5) chapters of a standard dissertation:

  1. Chapter I: Introduction.
  2. Chapter II: Review of Literature.
  3. Chapter III: Methodology (Research Design & Methods)
  4. Chapter IV: Presentation of Research (Results)
  5. Chapter V: Summary, Implications, Conclusions (Discussion)

The title page, abstract, and reference list are also crucial components of the dissertation. These additional features, however, will not be explored in this section. If you are unsure about how to format your dissertation, always consult your department’s standards and your supervisor.

  1. Introduction

The introduction part of a dissertation establishes the aim of the dissertation by explaining the context of the dissertation’s topic. The introduction also gives the background information about the case, aims and objectives of the subject, definition of the research scope, and importance of the research. Further, the introduction chapter of a dissertation addresses the paper’s focus and provides an overview of the dissertation paper. It’s vital to remember that, even while your abstract summarizes your study, your introduction should be written as if the reader hasn’t read the abstract because it’s regarded as a separate document. As a result, your introductory chapter should begin at the beginning of the dissertation. Finally, when writing a dissertation, the introduction should be able to answer what, why, and how and it should provide interest for the reader to engage in the remaining chapters of the dissertation.

  1. Literature Review

This chapter is a crucial part of evaluating the dissertation literature. This chapter of the dissertation helps you identify gaps in the paper, develop an approach or argument for the topic and create a solution for any problems identified in the dissertation paper. The chapter also helps strengthen the existing knowledge by building new data and writing a literature review before the dissertation is because it forms a basis for the theoretical framework. In the literature review, one has to analyze and define the models, concepts, and key theories for the research. Again, certain colleges may want you to concentrate more on some of these areas than others, while others will have more or fewer criteria, and so on. As always, examine your brief and consult with your supervisor to ensure that you understand exactly what is required of your literature review chapter.

  1. Methodology

Having investigated and become familiar with the knowledge in the literature review, you get to the next chapter of the dissertation. In this chapter, one lists the methods they will have to use in the dissertation in terms of data collection and analysis. These methods may include both qualitative and quantitative methodology. This chapter gives legitimacy to the paper by providing insight into the efforts put into data collection and analysis processes. Importantly, this chapter demands specificity – don’t hold back. Specify exactly what you’ll be doing, including who you’ll be doing it with, when you’ll be doing it, how long you’ll be doing it, etc. Furthermore, be sure that you defend every design decision you make. Finally, you want to describe what you did in the methodology section while also persuading the reader that this was the ideal strategy to answer your research questions or objectives.

  1. Research Findings

This chapter contains a list of what the writer has managed to find throughout the research. It is also where the writer justifies the study by providing an elaborate discussion of the research paper. For example, data presentation is typically intertwined into conversation and analysis in qualitative methodologies such as in-depth interviews. Even yet, data from quantitative and experimental research should be presented separately before assessing their importance. As a result, the fourth chapter generally consists of merely a presentation and explanation of the data, rather than a discussion of its significance. In other words, it is descriptive rather than analytical, as the objective of the data is indicated in the discussion chapter. Tables, graphs, and charts are utilized extensively in this chapter. Think about how you want to present your data. Instead of just repeating what you’ve written, utilize tables and figures to add value to your writing by adding extra information or illustrating the findings. Some colleges, however, will require you to combine these two chapters so that you may present and analyze the material at the same time. Hence when writing a dissertation, you must check with your institution to see what they prefer.

  1. Conclusion

This is the last chapter of a dissertation paper. Being the previous chapter, the writer mentions their result and provide a clear process the results helped them achieve the aim and objectives of the dissertation paper. In the conclusion/ discussion chapter, the writer may include charts and graphs if any are needed to represent the viewpoint. In this chapter, as the writer, you may also mention the methods used in collecting and analyzing data; this will help you strengthen your case further. In this chapter, you must discuss the results to justify if and how the aim of the dissertation paper was met. On the other hand, you might choose to discuss the challenges faced and how they influenced the results of your research.

When all that has been achieved, you may suggest further where necessary. This is the point where you can choose to separate the conclusion chapter and the recommendation chapter. However, you can include the suggestions in the conclusion chapter of your dissertation. Finally, after you have provided a clear justification for your dissertation, you can end your dissertation paper by providing a clear process of your work and how you managed to do it. Note that it is very important to describe your conclusions in relation to your research questions clearly.