Planning your dissertation writing

One good way is to open a Word file for each section and add information as you find it. Each section generally has its own introduction, main argument and conclusion. The following template gives the common structure of a dissertation in the usual order.

best dissertation planning

Dissertation Structure


Should give an overview of what your dissertation is about; the research question or hypothesis; why it is relevant or important.

Literature review

This may take more than one chapter. It includes previous work done and defines the current state of research in your field and explains why you have chosen a particular area to research. It deals with the theory underpinning your work and puts your work in context. It will probably include a large number of references to the literature in your chosen field and shows that you have read around your subject. It may be arranged in more than one chapter.


Should detail the method you are using and explain why it is appropriate and other methods you have considered. It will identify disadvantages as well as advantages of your method and any variations or amendments.


This section should present the main findings of your research. You may include charts, tables etc. It is important to analyse your findings rather than describe them.


Have you answered the research question? Are you able to confirm or reject the hypothesis? This section discusses how the findings are related to the underpinning theory. It’s better to avoid these dissertation mistakes in order to make your paper clean. You should link your findings to the literature presented in the literature review.


The conclusion reviews your work as a whole. Have you answered the research question? So what? What do the findings imply? Make sure you explain your findings, discuss any implications and make appropriate recommendations.