Dissertation Outline Structure and Example

Dissertation Outline Structure and Example

Getting educated is a time-consuming process that requires persistence and diligence on your part. Everyone who decides to enroll in college and get one of the highest degrees should be ready to cope with various types of assignments. The latter has always been one of the biggest challenges for young people since they have to somehow combine studying with personal life, a part-time job, etc. Written tasks are an inevitable part of any curriculum, so it doesn’t matter what academic institution you choose. Besides, you shouldn’t forget that the higher your education level becomes, the more challenging assignments you get. For example, writing an argumentative essay may seem trivial compared to a dissertation. The latter requires more preparation and effort since there is too much at stake. In fact, your future career and life prospects will depend on its quality. So it is when a dissertation outline comes to the rescue. 

What Is a Qualitative Dissertation Outline?

An outline is supposed to help you stay on track and not miss anything important when working on your paper. It is like a guide that indicates what steps you should take to achieve your academic goal. When you have a structure of a dissertation in front of your eyes, you stay more focused on the topic, so you will not waste time rewriting and excessively editing parts of your paper. Instead, you will gather only the required information and organize it right away to make your text flow logically and look holistic. Dissertation stands out from other written assignments with its length, so it can be easy to confuse or repeat the same information twice. A well-tailored outline will help avoid such situations, so it is worth paying special attention to its drafting.

You should be ready to submit a dissertation proposal outline to your professor or university committee since they decide whether your topic has the right for life and meets their requirements. If they accept it, you should write the whole paper according to it. Your academic institution may bring some changes to the outline structure of your dissertation, so you should carefully examine the demands provided. We’ll consider the classic one, which consists of a few required sections. 

How to Make a Dissertation Outline 

When it comes to crafting dissertation paperwork, you should adhere to the formal academic writing format. It is crucial to pay attention to details and tailor a great outline to determine your starting point. What things should you consider before you immerse yourself in writing?

1. Choose a Good Topic

You should do a little research to find a topic you will be interested in, so your passion will become the main driving force. It is worth paying attention to those you can break down into parts. Proper research is a time-consuming task, but you will not succeed without it. You can even try out several themes before you submit the final option to your professor for approval. A good topic is already half the battle. 

2. Develop a Methodology for Collecting Information

You should define what types of data you need to find to complete your assignment. The internet is full of all possible information, but you should know what you are looking for. Data collected must be within your topic, so it is better to skip interesting but irrelevant information. Keep in mind your theme while searching. 

3. Create the Structure of Your Dissertation

Every element plays a significant role in crafting your dissertation paper. If you have no idea how the latter should look, it is worth searching for examples on the internet or asking your mentor for help. Focus on the key ideas and supporting arguments when working on the draft of your paper since all evidence provided should revolve around the thesis statement. 

Tips on Writing Your Dissertation Outline

A dissertation paper runs the table when it comes to university assignments. Students move to a completely new level and face an increased number of demands. That’s why it is crucial to learn how to craft a well-tailored dissertation outline. A few tips and tricks may come in handy when you proceed to write your paper:

  1. Pick up a relevant area of study you are interested in or know well, so it will not be a big deal to support the thesis statement with enough arguments.
  2. Devote time to looking through various manuals, reviews, journals that have something to do with the subject before you proceed to create the Ph.D. thesis outline.
  3. Turn to your advisor if you have any concerns, highlighting your argumentative stance, methodology, approach. Provide the ready-made outline or sources for approval. 
  4. Search for scientific works within the theme, read them carefully and take notes, mentioning the source right away.
  5. Brainstorm the thesis, specify its key parts.
  6. Work on the dissertation proposal using your notes and the reference list.
  7. Make sure your proposal specifies only crucial moments and your tone of voice sounds convincing.
  8. Don’t mention any new ideas in the conclusion but summarize all the information you’ve mentioned before this part.
  9. Create a list of objectives in advance as a personal guide for proofreading the ready-made paper.
  10. Carefully proofread your dissertation, polish all the ambiguous moments, and make sure it looks holistic. 
  11. Leave everything for a few days after you finish the last sentence since your eyes can be blurred so that you can miss some minor mistakes.
  12. Check all the quotations throughout the paperwork to make sure you specify everything correctly.

Dissertation Outline Example

If you are a visual learner, the chances are high that you need to see an outline example with your own eyes to get its essence and decide what to do next. Indeed, when you have a ready-made outline in front of your eyes, it is much easier to understand what scope of work awaits you ahead. Bear in mind that even though it is the most common dissertation outline, it can differ from one your professor expects you to submit. Thus, it will never be superfluous to examine demands provided to your paperwork. However, if you have none, you can follow the example mentioned below:

Front Part

  • title;
  • abstract;
  • list of content.

Dissertation Chapter 1 Outline: Introduction

  • intro;
  • explanation of the key topic and its background;
  • issue statement;
  • research goal and its significance;
  • glossary of terms if required;
  • limitations and assumptions;
  • organization of research.

Dissertation Chapter 2 Outline: Literature Review

  • intro;
  • framework of literature search;
  • theoretical background;
  • review of the utilized sources;
  • assessment of the literature.

Chapter 3 Dissertation Outline: Research Methodology

  • intro;
  • key questions and research design;
  • statement of the selected research method;
  • reasoning of methodology value;
  • instrumentation;
  • data collection;
  • data analysis;
  • limitations;
  • ethical considerations;
  • concluding part.

Chapter 4 Dissertation Outline: Findings

  • intro;
  • findings and their analysis;
  • comparison with the initial aims;
  • concluding part.

Chapter 5 Dissertation Outline: Summary

  • intro;
  • findings summary;
  • discussion;
  • comparison of the findings with ones made by other researchers;
  • suggestions for the topic development and further investigation;
  • concluding part.

List of References

You should pay special attention to the reference list and check out citation rules so as not to miss anything. Otherwise, you can find yourself in trouble. 

Bear in mind that the first three chapters of your paperwork represent your dissertation proposal, so you will work on them before undertaking research. The final two chapters will become the result of your research. It is important not to confuse these moments since they affect the tense you will use in different parts of your dissertation.