How to Write Dissertation Chapters

How to Write Dissertation Chapters

Ordering a great dissertation from an amazing team

If you’re hard at work doing your dissertation, it’s good you learn that the best way to do it is dividing it into many different sections. A regular thesis contains the introduction, the literary review, the methodology section and the conclusions. Writing great chapters is a challenge, and one of the most common mistakes is failing to properly arrange them in the paper. So if you find it difficult, the best way to proceed is to leave it in the hands of professionals. Our team will gladly provide an amazing outline for your dissertation and give excellent writing services.

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If what you're looking for is a place to find advice on dissertation chapters, you are more than welcome to use this structure.

A double underlined item needs to be a heading or a title of your dissertation. Unless your dissertation chair instructs you to do so, you shouldn't divert from the headings order. Your work shouldn't be limited by these headings, though. The last page of this document lists the resources for the dissertation.

First chapter: Intro

The introduction should specify the central problem or question leading to your research, as well as properly explain the reasons for it. This reasoning process is often called a theoretical argument. It gives the study justification, regarding how much the information you're about to provide is needed, with the purpose of developing or testing a theory that further justify, describe or explain a certain phenomenon in education. More information on a good introduction can be found in the APA manual.

  1. Overall layout of points of interest – preparing the stage (3-4 paragraphs)
  2. Meaning of the issue
    1. Provide specific reasoning correlated to the topic in question.
    2. Why is this study meaningful?
    3. It shouldn’t be a long chapter, but it should have a big impact!
    4. What are your reasons, in theory and practice, for seeking answers to your proposed research questions?
  3. Going through the theoretical basis of the study
    1. You will most likely need a theoretical basis for organizing the variables taken into consideration when you answer the research questions. You will have to justify your hypothesis will help the reader properly understand the study. The Chapter 2 Literature Review should analyze all theoretical views.
    2. Important terms and constructs should be properly defined, while defining operational definitions should be done in the methods section.
  4. Literature crucial to your work should be critically analyzed and criticized
    1. You should use all studies found in existing literary works that have all the constructs and variables that can be found in the proposed study.
    2. This may be done by taking only some variables and examining them, and then repeating the whole process with a different set of variables, as current literary research does not contain all of them.
  5. Stating the problem
    1. Be short and to the point when stating the research purpose.
    2. The problem statement should be preceded and supported by the introduction.
  6. Hypotheses and questions for the research
    1. Usually, the person doing the research will have some questions, each with a number of hypotheses.
    2. Variables here shouldn’t be operationalized. The language of constructs should be used when writing questions and hypotheses.
    3. A question used in the research needs to be formed as a question, suggesting a relation between constructs; note that it should be testable (with empirical methods, if possible).
    4. Writing declarative statements in the predicted or expected direction is called making hypotheses. They’re usually written in the past tense and can be called research, theoretical or scientific hypotheses.
    5. An example of a hypothesis:
      • Question: How does dyslexia affect the learning abilities of teenagers suffering from it?
      • First hypothesis: Teenagers who accept their dyslexia diagnosis are far more likely to use coping strategies to help them focus on one particular problem than those who will not accept their learning disability.
      • Second hypothesis: Teenagers who accept their dyslexia diagnosis will be more reliant on support from the community than those who will not accept their disability.
      • Third hypothesis: Teenagers who do not accept their learning disability will have coping strategies that are more avoidant than teenagers who accept their dyslexia diagnosis
      • The second and third hypotheses are crafted in such a way that each group's coping strategy is presented. Also, the terms aren't operationalized.

Second chapter: reviewing literature

This is the chapter where things already written in that specific area of interest are reviewed. Added literature should support the theoretical starting point of the paper and should show that the author has a good understanding of the findings and ideas relevant to the topic. The APA manual contains more information regarding literature reviews.

  1. Historical context
    1. Every analyzed aspect needs to be put into perspective; however, remember that a dissertation is not a full chronology so cannot focus on every single detail of the process/event in question
    2. Show context for all the relevant variables and analyze all the issues that affect your study.
  2. Theory should be linked to the questions and hypotheses in the research
    1. What are the theoretical models and perspectives of your research?
    2. Different theories should be compared so your dissertation has a solid theoretical foundation
    3. Bind that theoretical foundation to the problem highlighted in the paper.
  3. Questions and hypotheses from existing empirical literature connected to the research
    1. This part should include:
      • Literature linked to each variable
      • Literature linked to specific combinations of variables that are relevant to the theme
    2. Do more than simply list the studies, and try to find similarities and common points that bring them together. Transitions should be used to link one section to another
    3. Show the pluses and minuses of previously conducted studies and discuss how you plan on to improve upon the pluses and avoid the minuses in your own one.
    4. This part should be organized with headings and subheadings. A concept map showing all relevant literature should be considered, as this section should fully show your methods of deduction and reasoning, starting out with a broad picture and narrowing it as you go along.

Third chapter – method

This chapter should offer enough information regarding used methodology to allow the entire study to be replicated. Some parts of this chapter should be analysis, participants, procedure or instruments. The APA manual provides further information regarding the methods section.

  1. Participants
    1. The IRB clearance for human subjects should be fully documented in the paper and submitted after the proposal.
    2. The reader should have enough detail on the subjects to be able to visualize them. Their characteristics should be presented here instead of the results section.
    3. The methods used for selecting the sample should be described in detail. This is not the section in which to fully disclose criteria for inclusion and exclusion, though.
    4. The sample size should be determined by conducting and reporting a power analysis. The final document should include these findings, along with an explanation if the final analyses have significantly more or less subjects.
    5. If an attrition occurred, information about the ones who dropped out, along with their reasons, should be fully disclosed.
    6. Missing information should be handled and discussed.
    7. This is a section where a survey’s rate of return should be mentioned
  2. Measures
    1. If you use a new measuring technique or an undocumented instrument, make sure you give a detailed description. The appendices should also contain copies of instruments that were not published. If you use unpublished instruments, you’ll probably need to use analyses for validity and reliability.
    2. Necessary citations should be used when working with instruments or techniques that are already published and have been used before.
    3. Evidence of the validity and reliability of used measures should be explicitly stated. If previous studies do not provide that information, the procedure and instruments need to be piloted. All instruments should come with information proving their validity to the present study.
    4. This section should be formatted according to the measured constructs. When measures contain more constructs, the measure assessing them needs to be clearly described, and its reliability and validity properly explained.
  3. Design research
    1. A general description written in accepted terms should be provided when it comes to the research design. Possible internal and external validity threads to the design should also be highlighted.
    2. Both dependent and independent variables should be listed, along with their operational definitions.
    3. A diagram or figure of the design often proves useful.
  4. Procedures
    1. The procedures' description should be detailed enough so that anyone wanting to replicate the study would be able to do so.
    2. Any used survey should come with the data collecting method, return rate, along with a description of general procedures and reasoning for non-responders.
    3. Any copies of used materials should be added to the appendix.
  5. Analyzing data
    1. All questions and hypotheses in the research should be restated.
    2. A statistical analysis should follow each hypothesis
    3. A short description should be included, along with the assumptions leading to the statistical analysis and reasoning for each statistical technique.
    4. Specify what alpha levels are used to pinpoint statistical significance.

Fourth Chapter: Results

Results of all analyses are presented in this chapter, most commonly in order of research questions, and any results of supplementary analyses (that were not initially planned, but needed along the way) are listed as well. No interpretation should come with the results, as they should be included in chapter 5.

  1. Nomothetic Studies’ presentation order
    1. Descriptive statistics such as frequencies or standard deviations, for each variable present in the study.
    2. Initial statistical analyses
    3. Each question or hypothesis answered by a statistical analysis
    4. The dissertation chair should be consulted when deciding the order for single-study, small or qualitative studies.
  2. Research questions and hypothesis answered by statistical analyses
    1. Questions and hypotheses should be used as an outline for organizing results
    2. Every hypothesis and question needs to be restated along with all the assumption test results and the analyzing of data that provides answers to those hypotheses and questions.
    3. The test statistical power and size of its effect should be reported
  3. Structuring information into tables and figures
    1. All tables or figures used need to correspond with references in the actual text
    2. Figures and tables shouldn't need reference to the text; in order to be properly understood, their description should contain full information about them
    3. The tables and figures need to be placed immediately after they are mentioned in a text, whenever it's possible.

Fifth Chapter: Discussion

The results need to be interpreted and correlated with the questions within the research, and other literature should be taken into consideration when discussing them. You also need to present the limitations and implications regarding further research. The APA manual contains further information on methods sections.

  1. Summary
    1. The summary of results should be brief
    2. Non-statistical terms should be used when discussing results, and the research question and hypothesis have to be answered.
  2. Conclusions
    1. Headings should be used when organizing this section
    2. The results implications need to be explicitly discussed. Theoretical background and literature findings that are relevant to the subject will also be integrated.
    3. Cite the studies in the literature review when pointing out both consistencies and inconsistencies in their results.
    4. Specify if your findings confirm or contradict existent knowledge on the subject matter
    5. If you clearly specify your intentions, it is perfectly fine to speculate regarding the meaning of the results.
  3. Limitations
    1. An impairment or weakness that threatens the results' internal or external validity is called a limitation. An example of this would be a limited study sample, like a sample where all participants are male. A thorough analysis prior to the study conception should pinpoint most limitations, so the ones that remain are those who are beyond the researcher's control.
    2. Limitations often occur in situations such as the results being too generalized, or controls that are impossible to meet. An example would be using intact groups instead of random assignments, and how that would affect the overall result interpretation.
  4. Future research recommendations
    1. Specific guidance should be provided regarding the dissertation findings and their correlation with existing empirical and theoretical base.
    2. Explain the need for the proposed research and the shape in which it should be presented.

References appendices

All sources used during your research for the dissertation should be included in this section. The sources are listed alphabetically, with each new source starting with a new line. The actual formatting will depend on the academic format you are structuring the paper in. Since APA is one of the most common dissertation formatting styles, you should once again visit their website for the latest updates on referencing guidelines.

Finalising your work

A dissertation is a very complex and lengthy assignment, which is why it will, most likely, require a lot of editing. Of course, you cannot start proofreading your work as soon as you finish it - this will not make any sense at all. However, you can safely get back to it later - this way, you'll catch not only minor typos but also logical flaws (if any).

If you do not have the time to edit a dissertation on your own, there is no shame in contacting a professional editor. In fact, it would be wise to do so in any case - given the complexity of the assignment. Apart from writing dissertation chapters, our team will gladly lend you a hand with the proofreading. This way, you can stay absolutely certain that every aspect of your academic work is truly polished to perfection.

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