Last modified: October 26, 2015
Dissertation are of two types: They can be an extended version of the ordinary essay with more structured research; or they could be another name for doctoral or master’s thesis papers. Writing a term paper is the similar to the end of term/course essay that is familiar to all students, even from high school.
The master’s dissertation format is similar to the research paper outline. Universities usually specify the exact format and outline of the dissertation. The format given here is a general one.
Research paper topics for dissertations in undergraduate and high school courses are usually given out by the tutors, based on the subject or unit that has been discussed during the term and could be the same for all the students.. At the master’s and the doctoral levels, the research question or the thesis statement has to be formulated by the student and discussed with the tutor.
The first type of dissertation follows the usual five paragraph-formula of the essay with the introduction, body and the conclusion. The introduction would contain the thesis statement, a brief background and context of the topic and an overview of the research question. The scope and objectives of the research are also discussed here.
Unlike the ordinary essay, the body of the dissertation is divided into chapters or sections and these will further have subsections. These sections and subsections should have appropriate headings to show what they are about. The chapters are usually numbered 1.0, 2.0 and so on, and the subsections under each as 1.1, 1.2 and so on. These would be listed with page numbers in the contents page along with the list of diagrams and tables and appendices with their appropriate page numbers.
The research conducted by either primary or secondary methodologies are used in dissertations. Primary methodology would involve first hand research that is conducted by the researcher and secondary research would be based on the analysis of literature or research papers that are written by other authors.
The conclusion is a brief summary of what was achieved through the research, an evaluation of the achievements as regards the objectives and suggestions for further research on the subject that were not able to be carried out.
References have to be listed according to the style prescribed by the university or board. The page layout, margins, fonts, line-spacing must also follow the prescribed style.
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