While working on your dissertation or Master’s thesis, one of the main things to learn is what a dissertation actually is. A dissertation definition can be complex. It can be confusing. For this reason, you may not be able to produce a coherent, understandable and compelling dissertation. This is why it is so important to start with a definition and continue toward a systematic, organized understanding of the concept. So, what are the most important parts of a dissertation should have?
- A good topic; moreover, you should justify the value and importance of the topic for your target audience. Tell your readers what interesting things you would like to share with them. You will have to explain what implications your selected topic has for the field or discipline. In other words, you should explain to your readers why they should spend their time to read your dissertation.
- A good piece of research. You should understand what happened before you, what studies were conducted, and what questions were left without answers. The question you are trying to answer in your dissertation should stem logically from the researches that were done before you. You must be ready to defend the importance of this question in front of your audience. While working on your dissertation, you will notice that some questions were studied thoroughly, whereas others were left unattended. Review more than one source to confirm that the question you want to answer demands your attention. With a body of literature already in your hands, you will see what exactly should be done to produce a brilliant dissertation.
- Finally, you will need to explain how your dissertation is going to be structured. Your readers should know what exactly they will read in your project. Propose a major research question and a few minor ones. Now you are ready to proceed to the next part of your dissertation.
Dissertation Definition – How to Write a Body of Your Master’s Thesis
As you are working on the body of your dissertation, you should know what components it should contain. A body of any dissertation encompasses analytics, theory, and practice. A body of most dissertations contains between 2 and 5 chapters, depending on the specific requirements of the selected academic institution. It means that you will need to perform a critical review and analysis of literature, use or propose a theory, and conduct a practice-oriented analysis of your findings, outlining the implications that these findings may have for practice and discipline.
Speaking of theory, you will have to include a detailed description of either the theoretical framework you plan to use or the theory that you plan to develop based on your findings. As for the practice aspect of the dissertation, it will include the results of your experiment. For instance, you will review and discuss the results of statistical analysis, while considering their effects on the body of knowledge and practice.
Writing a Conclusion of Your Dissertation
When it comes to your Master’s thesis conclusion, you will have to review and justify the results of your study. Be concise. Do not waste the white space of your paper and the time of your readers. If you have conducted four dozens of statistical strategies and have obtained a huge body of results, it is not necessary to present them all. You need to select the most meaningful findings and remind your readers of their importance. Follow a good academic style in writing. Avoid colloquialisms and use professional terminology.
While working on a dissertation, you will follow the basic structure, unless something else is required:
- Title page
- Body (2-5 chapters)
Your introduction will be 10-15 pages long. You will provide background evidence-based information about the importance and urgency of the issue you plan to explore in writing. Review literature sources and research evidence to support the validity of your assumptions. In your introduction, you will outline the topic and subject of research, evaluate what has been done before you, and set the direction for your research and analysis. You should persuade your readers that the topic deserves attention.
By the end of the introductory section of your dissertation, you will define the goals and purpose of your study. You will specify the subject and object of your research. You will also provide a brief insight into the methods and approaches that you plan to use in your project. Make sure that each of these elements is thoroughly and completely justified. Do not make bold statements. Support them with evidence from reliable sources.
This is what you should learn: each chapter should begin with a strong topic sentence, and each dissertation chapter should contain relevant contents, according to its title. Cover each task gradually, step by step. Devote one subsection to each task. Do not mix several tasks in one subsection.
Chapters of Your Dissertation: How Long Is a Dissertation?
Chapter 1 can be approximately 35-50 pages long. This is where you set the methodological and theoretical foundation for your study. Whenever you engage in research, you have the basic theoretical idea and you use evidence to support your stance. You will need to outline the key components of the theoretical approach you plan to use or have already used in your research project. Moreover, it is imperative that you take your time to associate your methods with the selected theory. They should be closely related! Make sure that you divide Chapter 1 into a few subsections, according to each element you plan to discuss in it. For example, you will devote one subsection to methods and one subsection to theory. This way, each subsection will be approximately 15 pages long.
Chapter 2 can be approximately 50-90 pages long. Here, you will elaborate on the concept and vision of the problem, taking into consideration previous findings, as well as the methods and results of your study. The focal point of this chapter is on communicating and evaluating the results of your study. You will need to summarize the statistical data. You will need to organize the findings by their priority. Then, you will have to generalize your findings.
The purpose of such generalization is to create a compelling picture of your findings in the context of your research and the entire discipline. Besides, you will use your theoretical framework to explain and interpret the results or findings. Make sure that you use robust methods and approaches to justify the validity of your findings. The task becomes particularly stringent if your results do not match the overall picture and does not go in line with previous research findings. You will have to be particularly systematic trying to justify your results.
Finally, there is a dissertation conclusion covering approximately 10 pages. In fact, you will include a conclusion after each chapter. The number of such conclusions should correlate with the number of chapters in your dissertation. Moreover, you should review the requirements for your dissertation to see what your professor expects from you in relation to conclusions. In case of any inconsistencies, your dissertation will never earn the highest grade. Moreover, if you fail to correlate your chapters and conclusions, you will never be able to prove that your study and its results are equally valid.
Now you can proceed to the list of references. Format and organize it according to the style required by your professor. Review the requirements from your academic institution according the amount of sources and follow them.
Finally, you have appendices where you include schemes and tables with data, details of your experiment, and any forms or questionnaires used in your study (e.g., informed consent forms). Number each appendix. Include a list of appendices at the beginning of your dissertation.
Choosing a topic is the very first step of the dissertation writing process. You should be very thorough choosing a topic that matches your area of interest and meets the graduation requirements for your course. Of course, this topic should be urgent and relevant. You should consider everything that was accomplished on this topic before you. For example, you are a postgraduate nursing student. You are free to choose any of the topic below:
- The relevance and practice implications of care bundles in the prevention of hospital-acquired pneumonia
- Patient engagement: how primary care providers empower their clients to make decisions about their health
- Advanced nurse practitioners and the scope of practice – how nurse autonomy impacts patient outcomes
- Financial and practice implications of nurse-led organizational forms in the healthcare system
- Health care disparities and the role of nurses in closing the existing gaps
- How advanced nurse practitioners change the continuum of care
- Nursing shortage and ways to solve the crisis in the U.S.
- The ecology of advanced nursing practice in the U.S.
- Universal healthcare coverage and how it might work in the United States
Formatting the Dissertation
If you want your dissertation to become a printable document and a source of valuable data for colleagues and scholars, you should format it properly. You must always credit other researchers for their work. While working on the dissertation, develop the full list of references used in your project. Note every source where you borrowed the material for your dissertation. If your dissertation is a group project, then you will need to mention all other authors who were working on it with you.
All dissertations should have 1 and 1.5-inch margins. You will use 12-point Times New Roman. However, you may need to use a different font if your academic institution requires. Make sure that the font used in your dissertation is the same throughout the project. Its volume and word count must be according to the requirements provided by your professor or academic institution. It can be 150 pages for a Master’s-level dissertation and 300 pages for a PhD-level work.
Make sure that your pages are numbered in a consecutive manner. You will number all pages, from the title page to the page with references. However, you will not display the page number on the title page. That is, your page numbers will begin from the second page. Do not use any additional symbols. Put the page number in the right upper corner of each page.
Discuss the details of appropriate formatting with your instructor.
Examples of Dissertation Writing
A dissertation definition may vary across academic institutions. However, in all cases, you cannot avoid thesis defense. You can review dissertation examples that will help you structure and format your project according to the fundamental academic requirements. By using examples, you can produce a readable document that will also be suitable for publication.
Titles of your chapters and subchapters will vary depending on the topic and subject of your research. For example, if you are writing a nursing dissertation and your topic is the provision of primary care to close health care disparities, you may write the first chapter titled “Conceptual foundations of primary care and its implications for healthcare disparities.”
If you are working on your pedagogy dissertation and the topic is adult learning, you may begin your dissertation with the following chapter: “Conceptual foundations of andragogy and its implications for adult learning”. Then you will proceed to the analysis of methods and theories to inform your project. You may also evaluate the broad context of your research. Just follow these recommendations, and you will produce an excellent dissertation!