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Secrets To Completing A Decent Dissertation Structure Outline

The outline of a dissertation includes two aspects which are a drafted composition of what you want to tell the audience and a detailed list of what to do. Coming up with a list of what to do is simple. The tasks are the chapters you need to cover and you have to arrange them in the right order but some will overlap. The outline must state clearly your thoughts of each and every section of your paper. You can make a draft of what you want to say in two ways: concept -mapping and linear planning. The two methods have distinct merits and demerits.

Your work will develop as you keep on writing and sometimes it is okay to divert from your original plan. However, don’t go too much off-track.

  1. Linear planning
    In this outline mechanism, tasks are enlisted in the order of how they will be tackled. It is a very clear outline but making changes along the way is hard. You can ask your supervisor to give you suggestions on chapter headings. The following is linear dissertation outline sample.
    • Introduction
      Explain the reasons for your study and factors that led to the choice of the subject matter.
    • Research questions
      Elaborate terms used in research questions and clarify all terminologies.
    • Review of literature
      Highlight all the key philosophers, theorists, and thinkers. Outline the key ideas and the underlying theories.
    • Research methodologies
      Explain the strengths and weaknesses of various methods used in your data collection e.g. interviewing, questionnaires, and physical observation.
    • Data presentation
      Use diagrams, charts tables, to represent what you find.
    • Data analysis
      A comprehensive discussion of data.
    • Conclusions
      Make suggestions on future studies and explain new concepts that you have found relating to research questions.
    • Appendices and bibliography
      Write down all you resources and references for the information you got.
  2. Concept-mapping your dissertation
    This is more of a visual method for writing your thesis. However, you will still need the linear structure hence you have an additional task of changing the concept map to a different form. Good news is that it allows you to make changes in your to-do list as you move along without revisiting the entire map.

It is important that your dissertation chapter outline remains coherent throughout, i.e. all chapters should have a similar design. This will enable you to write a concisely and tightly structured thesis without any confusion or redundancy.

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