Dissertation cover page


Writing Dissertations

Author "by" should not be capitalized, and there should be 3 lines of space above and below it. Student's full name is the same under the title and in the copyright. Degree Information Type: A thesis or dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment break to the next line Type: of the requirements for the degree of break to the next line Degree is listed correctly and spelled out i. Department is listed correctly and spelled out. Concentration if present is listed correctly, preceded by: with a concentration in College is listed correctly and spelled out.

University of South Florida is spelled out. Committee Information Co- Major Professor s and committee members' full names and degree credentials are listed. One professor per line. Only the [Co-]Major Professors have titles before their names.

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All other committee members are listed as seen in the examples linked above. In each case the object of the writing was to communicate to yourself, your supervisors, or to others, something about your work. In writing your dissertation you will draw on some of this earlier writing to produce a longer and more comprehensive account. Before embarking on any substantial writing for your dissertation you will need to check the exact requirements regarding:.

There are some conventions that guide the structuring of dissertations in different disciplines. You should check departmental and course regulations.

Title page

The title itself is an important opportunity to tell the potential reader what your research is about. You will need it to be succinct, specific, descriptive, and representative of the research you have done.

There is likely to be a required format for the title page in your discipline, so you need to check what that is. This may be one of the shortest sections of your thesis or dissertation, but it is worthwhile taking great care to write it well.

Completing Your Degree

Essentially, the Abstract is a succinct summary of the research. It should be able to stand alone in representing why and how you did what you did, and what the results and implications are. It is often only one page long, and there may be a word limit to adhere to. The Abstract is an important element of the thesis, and will become a document in its own right if the thesis is registered within any database.

The examiners will therefore assess your Abstract both as part of your thesis, and as a potentially independent document. It can be best to write the Abstract last, once you are sure what exactly you are summarising. Alternatively it can be useful to write the abstract earlier on, as an aid to identifying the crucial main thread of your research, its purpose, and its findings, which could then guide the structure of the dissertation.

It might be useful to look at how others have managed. It is certainly an academic exercise, but perhaps not too different from the concise explanations of your research you may have had to give to relatives and neighbours over the last few years, in terms of its brevity, accessibility, and comprehensiveness. This is your opportunity to mention individuals who have been particularly helpful. Reading the acknowledgements in other dissertations in your field will give you an idea of the ways in which different kinds of help have been appreciated and mentioned. The contents pages will show up the structure of the dissertation.


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This is a useful check on whether amalgamation of sections, or creation of further sections or sub-sections is needed. Although this is the first piece of writing the reader comes to, it is often best to leave its preparation to last as, until then, you will not be absolutely sure what you are introducing.

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The introduction has two main roles:. The purpose of this chapter is to show that you are aware of where your own piece of research fits into the overall context of research in your field. To do this you need to:. This can lead logically into a clear statement of the research question s or problem s you will be addressing.

In addition to the research context, there may be other relevant contexts to present for example:. It can be difficult to identify the best order for sections in this chapter because the rationale for your choice of specific research question can be complicated, and there may be several inter-linked reasons why the research is needed. It is worth taking time to develop a logical structure as this will help to convince examiners of the relevance of your research, and that you understand its relevance.

It will also provide you with a framework to refer back to in your discussion chapter, when you reflect on the extent to which your research has achieved what it set out to do. In these chapters a straightforward description is required of how you conducted the research. If you used particular equipment, processes, or materials, you will need to be clear and precise in how you describe them.

You must give enough detail for another researcher to replicate your study. You will need to check which style of reporting is preferred in your field.


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For example a scientific dissertation would probably have very clear separation between the results and the discussion of those results; whereas a social science dissertation might have an overall chapter called Findings, bringing the results and their discussion together. This is where you review your own research in relation to the wider context in which it is located. You can refer back to the rationale that you gave for your research in the literature review, and discuss what your own research has added in this context.

It is important to show that you appreciate the limitations of your research, and how these may affect the validity or usefulness of your findings. Given the acknowledged limitations, you can report on the implications of your findings for theory, research, and practice. This chapter tends to be much shorter than the Discussion. This section needs to be highly structured, and needs to include all of your references in the required referencing style.

As you edit and rewrite your dissertation you will probably gain and lose references that you had in earlier versions. It is important therefore to check that all the references in your reference list are actually referenced within the text; and that all the references that appear in the text appear also in the reference list. You need to check whether or not the appendices count within the word limit for your dissertation.

Items that can usefully go in the appendices are those that a reader would want to see, but which would take up too much space and disrupt the flow if placed within the main text. Again, make sure you reference the Appendices within the main text where necessary.


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If your dissertation is well-structured, easy to follow, logical, and coherent, your examiners will probably enjoy reading it, and will be able to listen to your argument without the distraction of trying to make all the links themselves. The only way to achieve a consistent argument throughout a piece of writing is by creating some kind of plan or map of what you want to say. It can be useful to think of the research question or topic going like a strong thread throughout the dissertation: linking all the elements of the study, and giving coherence to its reporting.

Archived Material (Dissertations)

Moving from doing the research to writing a comprehensive account of it is not necessarily easy. It can be helpful to break the task down into smaller, more easily accomplished elements. The process of producing your writing plan could go as follows. It can be a good idea to put the word limit to the back of your mind at this point, and concentrate on getting everything recorded in a document. You can always edit upwards or downwards later as necessary. It is likely, and advisable, that you will not wait until the end of your research before starting to write it up.

You may be required to produce one or more chapters for assessment part way through your research. The process described above can be used for any individual chapter you are working on. It is important to be prepared to critique and revise your own work several times.

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