Dissertation or Thesis

A dissertation (also commonly referred to as a thesis) is one of the most complex essay forms, with its purpose being to introduce new findings or bring to light new discoveries or theories about a particular topic that the writer has investigated.  Also, a dissertation or thesis traditionally requires that investigative or field research be conducted that correlates with information gathered from a literature review, or collection of previous research into a theoretical matter.  For a look at the key components of a dissertation and what these components should include, please continue reading.


  • State the importance of the dissertation or thesis and why others would be interested in reading it.
  • Explain what problem is being solved by the work.
  • Identify and explain the research methodology used.
  • State the findings or implications of the research and why these findings are important.


  • Include a thesis statement.
  • Use a writing style that is compelling and will grab the reader's attention.
  • Explain how your dissertation or thesis will contribute to research on the topic.
  •  Include a statement about the objective of the study.
  • Provide a breakdown of the chapters where you briefly describe what is covered in each chapter.

Background of the Problem

  • Briefly summarize the major findings on the topic focusing on the missing information and knowledge on the topic.
  • Emphasize the need to fill this gap by pointing out unresolved issues, conflicts in research results, etc.

Statement of the Problem

  • State your motivation for the study and the objective you hope to achieve at the end of the study.
  • Justify the need for your study.

Significance of the Study

  • Explain why it is important to study the problem presented.
  • Explain how it will benefit society, people, the human condition.


  • Describe the participants in the study or subjects.
  • Explain how the data was collected.
  • Describe the procedure followed for the study.

Limitations and Assumptions

  • Outline any assumptions (a self-evident truth) you are making for the study.
  • Describe any limitations, or things over which you have no control, to the study. Conversely, things over which you do have control, i.e., delimitations, should be described as well.

Definition of Terms

  • Define each technical term used in your dissertation or thesis.
  • Define all terms that might have more than one meaning in another context or that might be an exception to the usual definition and then stick with that definition throughout your dissertation or thesis.
  • Keep in mind that terminology used must be clearly defined and that there should be no ambiguity in meaning.

Literature Review

  • This is a critical part of the dissertation or thesis so remember to conceptualize your review before you write it and, after you've written, have it professionally proofread in its entirety.
  • Include the name, date, and author of each study you intend to include.
  • Evaluate, analyze, and interpret the information presented in each study.
  • Formulate and justify your research questions.
  • Explain how your study will make a valuable contribution to existing knowledge in your field of study.

Findings and Discussion

  • Explain what the data collected means by explaining the significant results, important patterns, and the focus.
  • Provide a formal analysis of the data you've presented.
  • Explain clearly what are the limitations of your study as well as the broader implications of your work.

Conclusions and Recommendations

  • Present a summary of what you learned and how this can be applied in your field of study.
  • Discuss what can be learned from your research and possibilities for future research.

General Tips for Writing a Dissertation

  • Once you've defined a term or terms, stick with that definition throughout the dissertation or thesis.  Do not try to find more creative ways to express the same term.  On the contrary, dissertations tend to be repetitive.
  • Make good use of transitional phrases and sentences when you move on from one section to another.
  • Always keep utmost in mind that a dissertation must be original and substantial.
  • Every statement made in a dissertation or thesis must be backed up by original work, published scientific literature, or a reference.

A dissertation or thesis is one of the most complicated and difficult essay forms you will have to write.  Because of this, it is always a good idea to view examples of other dissertations.  Reading other dissertations can not only help you learn how to properly write a dissertation, but if the dissertation is on a topic like your own, the sample dissertation can also be an excellent source of further reading suggestions via the bibliography it contains.  And finally, not only is the dissertation one of the most complex essays you will ever write, it's also one of the most important you will write, so it's critical that you give yourself the time needed to write your dissertation  The literature review alone can take up to six months!

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Recently published dissertations or theses