What is a dissertation? If you are writing a dissertation paper, you are probably in the stratosphere of the academic world. The goal of writing one is to display your competency in researching your area of specialty, as well as your capacity to present your results most originally and elaborately.
Writing a dissertation is a demanding task. There is even a name for the group of people who have fulfilled all doctorate requirements except a dissertation. ABDs –“all but dissertations.” The group is large enough to earn its name.
To aid you in this process, the institution provides you an advisor to guide you through how to write your doctoral or Ph.D. dissertation abstract.
The process involved in writing a dissertation proposal and a dissertation paper is the same. This outline can, therefore, aid you in the writing of both pieces.
However, a dissertation proposal covers only the first three chapters of this outline. The rest are specific to a dissertation paper. Let us begin with your dissertation introduction.
In this chapter, introduce your subject topic and describe the problem you are investigating. Incorporate the background of your study and the context for the rest of your paper.
Your research should provide some additional and necessary information—state how this information can be used to develop or test any existing theories on your subject area.
You could also explain how this information can help in understanding and further describing an educational phenomenon.
Organize your theoretical argument or your ratiocination in connection to the research problem. Describe the most appropriate theoretical perspective. Explain how this will help interpret the phenomenon under study.
Include the definition of essential terms.
This is what the introduction has been leading up to. State the purpose and relevance of your research.
These are derived from the problem statement. It should be in the form of a question and should suggest a relationship between the concepts. It should also be empirically testable.
Each research question will have a hypothesis.
In this chapter, you review what has already been written on your topic of research. The literature you cite should support your hypothesis.
This chapter should include a historical background. Incorporate the significant factors impacting your study. Include history on all relevant variables.
Mention any theoretical models relevant to your research. Illustrate any comparisons between existing theories.
Describe how your theoretical framework applies to your research problem.
The literature you cite in this section should relate to the individual or combined variables relevant to the background of your study.
Mention the strengths and weaknesses of the methods used in past studies. Mention the measures that you may be building on, or hoping to improve in your research.
Use headings and subheadings to organize the material in this section.
This chapter should start broadly and subsequently narrow down in focus as the section progresses.
In this chapter, you should provide in sufficient detail the methods used in the study. This chapter mainly includes the following sections;
Participants – here describe the subjects participating in your research. Mention any critical characteristics of the items involved. Add methods of sample selection and the sample size.
Measures– mention any new or unpublished instrument or technique you use. Describe this in detail.
Include the reliability of your methods and tools. Mention any published instruments or methods and reference them with appropriate citations.
Research design – provide a general description of the research design. You may give a list of independent and dependent variables of your study and their definitions.
Procedures– these should be described in sufficient detail in a way that the reader could replicate the study if so desired.
Data analysis – here, restate your research questions and hypotheses. Each hypothesis should be addressed using statistical analysis. Describe your rationale for the analytical techniques you choose.
Here you will present the results of your analyses. This should be done in an orderly fashion, using the research questions generated in the first chapter.
Use the hypotheses for each subject to outline and organize your findings.
Results should be presented without any interpretation. Information in this chapter may be shown in tables and figures.
Tables and figures should include all relevant information so that they can be understood without reference to the text.
Summary – In this section, provide an overview of your results briefly. Describe the results in non-statistical terms. Provide any answers to your research questions and hypothesis.
Conclusions – discuss the implications of your results concerning the literature you reviewed. Mention whether your findings supported or differed from your theoretical position.
Limitations – mention any weaknesses that limit the validity of your findings. Include any factors outside your control that may have affected your results.
Recommendations – mention any suggestions for future studies based on your results.
A well-written dissertation must add to the body of knowledge of the subject area.
This, unlike other types of research papers, does not report on something that is already known. Dissertations mainly rely on primary sources of data in most cases.
They may be based on direct observation by the writer or on experimental data.
By following the above steps, you will realize that you are well informed on how to write a dissertation outline and paper.
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