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A dissertation and a defense of the dissertation must be approved by an academic committee. Without approval, the candidate will not graduate.

Submit your topic and chapter requirements, meet your writer, then receive your order

Ordering a dissertation from Ultius is easy and hassle-free. Simply fill out your order form, complete with topic, number of pages, and research requirements. Dissertations often require specific information like the specific area of study, your thesis or hypothesis, and any research or course materials you have that are necessary or helpful for your writer to complete your sample.

 
 

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If you are elated with your writers work, you may utilize our requested writer feature on any future orders. Using your writer’s unique writer ID number, you can easily request the same writer for each of your orders. This provides our clients with the opportunity to establish a mutually beneficial professional relationship and ensure consistency throughout all of your samples.

Full project scope or individual chapters

Ultius writers can help you with either just a part of your dissertation, or the entire project

A dissertation is composed of many smaller parts and represents the culmination of your PhD program. It is designed to demonstrate your understanding, skills, and capacity to conduct the necessary research in your field of study. Each part should demonstrate your mastery of the subject with precision and originality. Your final product should contribute positively to your chosen scientific community.

An abstract is a summary of your main article and is placed after the title page. Typically, around 200 or so words, your abstract communicates to readers the overview of your entire study. Because of this, while the abstract comes first in a dissertation, it is usually the last part to be written.

 

Your introduction is the first chapter to your dissertation. A proper introduction will clearly state the background of your chosen topic and the issue you are presenting for research. It should also include the purpose of your proposed study, your official research question, and what you expect to find at the conclusion of your work.

 

In the literature review chapter of your dissertation, you will need to provide a review of the research used in your work. This should include a historical background on the research regarding your chosen subject, an explanation of how the research is relevant to your hypothesis, and an analysis of the empirical resources you are using in your dissertation.

 

The hypothesis of your dissertation is whatever you are trying to prove or disprove in your research. It should suggest a relationship between the tested variables and be a declarative statement. Your hypothesis consists of the results you expect to find at the conclusion of your study. Hypotheses should be written in the present tense.

 

Your methodology shows how you went about answering the question in your hypothesis, and what research methods were used. This could be called the “show your work” chapter.

 

Dissertations can vary in the discussion section depending on whether your study is empirical, involving the collection of firsthand information, or non-empirical, consisting a compilation and analysis of resources relevant to your topic.

 

This chapter of your dissertation serves to present your findings at the conclusion of your research and analysis. Results must always be presented without interpretation, as that part of your work should be placed in the discussion chapter. The results section is simply for relaying the raw data found throughout the course of your research.

 

Your conclusion is the final chapter of your dissertation and needs to wrap it all up concisely. A good conclusion provides a summary of your study and a short restatement of the results. This is the place to explain the significance of your findings to the academic community. Conclusions also include a suggestion for future research on the subject.

 

As you can see from the steps above, a dissertation is intricately compiled of many moving parts. One of the great things about Ultius is that you can order samples for the entire dissertation or you can just order any individual parts. Whether you only need a couple specific chapters, or you simply want to order each piece one-by-one, our Ultius writers can provide a dissertation that fits your specific needs.

Benefits of working with an Ultius writer for your dissertation

Your dissertation is the culmination of your schooling, and working with a professional writer gives you an extra pair of eyes

At Ultius, we understand the careful research and writing mechanics required to complete a dissertation to an exemplary level. A dissertation requires a lot of new research, in addition to the analysis and interpretation of the experiment process and results, something our dissertation writers are highly familiar with. Even if your dissertation is already written and you simply need editing services to finely tune your work before submission, Ultius can meet those needs.

  • Benefits of buying a dissertation from Ultius

    Such an important order as a dissertation may require notes and revisions, as well as a special level of care from our support staff. Ultius is proud to offer unlimited revisions to ensure customer satisfaction and our support team is available 24/7 to meet any additional needs you may have.

  • Multi-chapter editing

    In addition to the writing services we provide, Ultius also provides editing services. Submit your already-written dissertation to our editing team to ensure your work is free of any errors and is presented clearly and concisely.

  • Dissertation specialist writers

    Because a dissertation is such a major body of work, we have a special team of writers qualified to work specifically on dissertations. This ensures that each one is completed by writers who are able to handle them properly.

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Whether it’s about length, style, or anything else, we’re here to answer your questions

It’s normal to have a question or two before you buy a dissertation, and we’re here to answer them for you

We understand how important your dissertation is to you and your academic or professional careers. Therefore, our support staff is always on call to answer any questions or concerns you may have during the ordering, writing, or completion processes. Below, you will find some of the most frequently asked questions clients have about buying a dissertation.

  • Will my writer be capable of writing a PhD level dissertation?

    Writers at Ultius are required to have at least a four-year degree in order to be allowed to fill any order. Orders requiring a higher level of knowledge or academic experience are only available to writers who possess the proper qualifications to complete it. Writers without the proper proficiencies are unable to access orders of a higher level.

  • Is there a limit on how long my dissertation can be?

    At Ultius, you are able to completely customize your order to fit your needs, including the page requirements. Orders are charged by the page and by the requested completion date, so as long as your writer has a reasonable timeframe in which to complete your sample, you can order as many pages as you need to.

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These questions are just a few of the common concerns our dissertation customers tend to have before placing an order. If you find you still have questions that have not been answered above, please feel free to contact our support staff and they will happily help to meet your needs.

Examples of dissertation writing from Ultius writers

Our specialized dissertation writers have invaluable experience in completing dissertations

Sample Dissertation on Information Technology and E-Commerce

Sample Dissertation on Information Technology and E-Commerce

With the ever-growing dominance of the Internet as the universal medium to purchase and sell goods, it is imperative to study how it works from a technological perspective. In this sample dissertation, we will visit how e-commerce has grown over the last several years, highlighting how the Internet has changed the production and flow of goods and services.

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Sample Dissertation on International Violence

Sample Dissertation on International Violence

This sample dissertation is concerned with the causes of riots and collective social violence. The root causes are explored within context to the theoretical framework of social identity theory. The root causes were attributed to being caused by socioeconomic, ethnic and racial differences among individuals, especially immigrants and racial minorities

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Sample Dissertation Introduction: The Future of Cable Television

Sample Dissertation Introduction: The Future of Cable Television

The rapid advancement and effects of technology continue to be a topic that warrants research and analysis. This sample dissertation explores the history and future of cable television. A 21-year-old man that had spent more than half of his life without even having electricity developed the first system.

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Want more samples? Check out our free samples page or use our site search.

The articles above are merely a few examples of the kinds of dissertation samples our writers can provide. When submitting your order, you can customize it completely to fit your needs and adhere to any guidelines you may require. Our writers can tailor each order to fit the unique needs of each client and assignment.

Components of a great dissertation

Chapters to Include in Your Dissertation
 
A dissertation includes eight chapters: abstract, introduction, literature review, hypothesis, methodology, discussion, results, and conclusion.

The writing of a full dissertation evolves both from your research progress and feedback from a supervisor. Pay attention to recommended chapter lengths and the value that each chapter has.

If your guidelines indicate an introduction is worth ten percent, but the methodology weighs fifty percent, you’ll know that you’ll need to spend more time on developing your methodology.

As you complete each section, be sure to go back to previously written sections. Pay attention to details, but also the big picture. Ask yourself if there are any discrepancies between the information in different sections and whether any points need to be better aligned.

Questions to consider while writing your dissertation

  • Are your assertions logical and innovative?
  • Did you include both data and analysis?
  • Are the details of your methodology reflected within your data?

Ask yourself if there are any discrepancies between the information in different sections and whether any points need to be better aligned.

In this guide, we will cover the components of a great dissertation, and then how to produce them. Ultius has also put together a helpful infographic detailing the 10 best practices for writing your dissertation as well.

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  • 1Abstract

     

    A dissertation abstract acts as a preview to the main components of your larger dissertation

     

    The purpose of the abstract is to give insight into your dissertation topic, the type of information your literature review will cover, your thesis, and whether you’ll be conducting an original experiment or study.

    Most dissertations include an original experiment or study, the abstract will also need to include a summary of its details. The abstract must be persuasive and solid enough to convince an academic committee that the complete dissertation is worthwhile.

    Keep it short

    The average abstract is approximately 350 words. This equates to about a page and half of double-spaced text. However, some academic programs require your dissertation abstract to be slightly longer. Be prepared to write up to two single-spaced pages.

    Highlight your main points

    While your abstract serves as overview of your dissertation, it is not the same as an introduction. Rather, the abstract needs to provide a summary of the dissertation thesis, a highlight of the literature you’ve reviewed that your thesis is based on, the justification for your experimental study, what your study will be attempting to answer or solve, and your study’s methodology.

    Organization

    The abstract needs to include at least one sentence for each section within the dissertation. You need at least a one sentence summary for each section. In terms of what information to put at the beginning of the abstract versus the middle and the end, this image represents a typical structure:

    Writing an Abstract
     
    The abstract is an overview of the topic, research question, hypothesis, methodology, and findings of a dissertation.

    Discoveries and interpretations

    When you write the summary describing your study, you should move beyond what your study has done or what it will do. Instead, you should provide details on what your study has uncovered or what you hope it will uncover.

    You also need to demonstrate your ability to interpret your study’s results. If you have not conducted your study yet, you’ll want to briefly touch upon your interpretations of the potential results.

  • 2Introduction

     

    An introduction should give the reader cause to invest in the dissertation research question

     

    An introduction should give the reader cause to invest in the dissertation research question. The content needs to give the reader a thorough overview of what to expect within the full dissertation.

    Although the introduction is placed near the beginning of a dissertation, it isn’t necessarily complete before the dissertation’s remaining sections. Once the rest of the sections are complete, then the introduction is written. The original outline is often revised as changes are made to the complete dissertation.

    Outline the foundation

    Map out an outline that summarizes the content you anticipate writing about in your subsequent sections. Include a statement about the research problem, your thesis statement, and a summary of each of the sections included in the dissertation.

    Include a few concrete examples, such as the results of your study. You’ll also want to ensure that you dedicate some space to defining terms used in your dissertation that your audience may be unfamiliar with.

    Use enticing language

    The introduction is your chance to spark interest in your dissertation and your research study. If readers can’t grasp the importance of the main research question, they’re more likely to reject the need for the study.

    Use language and phrases that resemble storytelling. Good stories are built with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Stories also use imagery and descriptive language and also reveal insights in original ways.

    Original thought

    Don’t flood the introduction with literature citations. The majority of the introduction’s content should consist of your original thoughts, observations, and reflections.

    Be sure to state your reasons for studying your topic and demonstrate why it’s important to the academic community. If there are any implications beyond the academic community, be sure to substantiate these as well. Remember your audience needs a reason to keep reading.

    Be strategic

    Do not include any information that isn’t expanded upon in the rest of the dissertation. Also, do not try to include every piece of information in your dissertation, but rather the most prominent and interesting points.

    The language you use should be inviting and accessible. This means that both an academic and relatively non-academic audience can comprehend it.

  • 3Composing a thorough dissertation literature review

     

    A literature review for a dissertation requires an advanced set of analytical skills in comparison to a regular literature review

     

    A literature review will need to embody a particular focus, justify its coverage of the literature, be organized according to a historical, conceptual or methodological format, discuss the researcher’s pre-existing biases, and be geared towards an academic supervisory committee.

    In order to be accepted by the committee, dissertations must contain a literature review that is well-written, and reflects solid critical thinking and data collection skills.

    Details to include in a literature review
     
    A literature review covers the main details needed to support the methodology and research.

    Begin with a purpose

    You need to have a clear sense of why you’re conducting your literature review. Keep in mind what your dissertation is seeking to accomplish.

    The literature review will not only need to substantiate your knowledge about your topic, but provide complete justification for your dissertation thesis, methodology, results, discussion and analysis.

    Some potential main purposes for a dissertation literature review include:

    • Drawing a significant connection between theories and practices
    • Identifying and contrasting what has been implemented in the field versus what needs to be implemented
    • Gaining insight into which variables tied to the topic have the most/least impact
    • Determining how significant a problem is and justifying its significance

    Characteristics

    A dissertation literature review takes on six different characteristics. Within each of those six characteristics are various angles you can take.

    CharacteristicAngles
    ConcentrationTheories, practical implementations, research methods and results
    ObjectiveDetermine main problems, critical analysis, synthesis
    Point-of-viewNeutral, supportive of a perspective
    StructureMethodological, historical, conceptual
    ScopeAll-encompassing, wide with some selectivity, focused on main points, narrowed to a significant point
    ReadershipPublic, practitioners, academics, academic specialists

    Milestones

    In general, there are five main milestones you should be cognizant of as you go through the process:

    1. Coming up with the main problem or question
    2. Collecting the data
    3. Determining whether the data is relevant/irrelevant, useful, supporting, opposing
    4. Analysis
    5. Presenting for feedback/evaluation

    While you may find that you complete additional tasks, these are the main steps in the process you’ll go through as you compose the literature review.

  • 4Hypothesis

     

    The sciences often call upon dissertation writers to use a hypothesis in lieu of a thesis statement

     

    The hypothesis section of a dissertation is typically required of certain academic disciplines.

    A hypothesis section lets readers know what you believe the data from your study will reveal as the answer to your research question. In most cases, you are also required to state the null hypothesis, which typically reflects the direct opposite of the hypothesis.

    What is a hypothesis?

    A hypothesis has to reveal a collective pattern or answer. A hypothesis also has to be something that can be tested.

    There are three main types of hypotheses:

    Hypothesis typeDefinition
    ExplanatoryA statement that seeks to explain an observation. The statement can be tested, proven true, or proven false.
    GeneralizingA statement that describes a pattern that has been noticed or witnessed.
    PredictionA statement that predicts a certain variable will impact other variables within restrictions of an experiment.

    Connect to your literature review

    Your hypothesis should come from a careful analysis of your literature review, in the same way that your topic and research questions were probably refined from the literature’s information.

    As you’re reviewing the literature on your topic, look for methodologies, results or conclusions that you don’t agree with. If the results and conclusions do not seem logical or sound to you, make note. You can also make note of results and conclusions that raised questions for you in terms of whether they ignored a critical aspect or indicated additional research was needed.

    Variables

    A complete hypothesis contains one independent variable and at least one dependent variable.

    • Independent variable: the variable tested by the research study; stands on its own
    • Dependent variable(s): the variable(s) predicted to change in response to the independent variable. The degree and effects of those changes are tracked as part of the research study.
    Independent and dependent variables
     
    An independent variable is the effect of the experiment, while the dependent variables deal with the side effects of the same experiment.

    Look for testability

    When formulating the hypothesis, analyze it to determine how testable it is.

    • First, is the proposed study something that can actually be accomplished?
    • Will you be able to retrieve valuable data?
    • Are your variables strong and specific enough to test?
    • Will the data you’re able to retrieve give you an answer?

    You may need to continue to refine the first drafts of your hypothesis in order to accomplish these objectives.

  • 5Creating a dissertation methodology

     

    The methodology section of a dissertation details how you’ll conduct your research study

     

    In this section, you’ll explain several key points about your research approach.

    The methodology will address:

    • An explanation of the approach
    • Justification for the approach
    • How your approach compares to past studies and research on your topic
    • How reliable your data is
    • Whether your approach and data have any limitations

    Out of all the sections of a dissertation, the methodology is critical to its acceptance. The research in your methodology needs to be well-thought out, logical, and stand out as the optimal way to investigate your research question.

    What has already been done?

    Don’t duplicate or reinvent the wheel of a previously published research question. Your approach and research philosophy matter, because while they need to be original, you’ll need to keep three different types of philosophical approaches in mind.

    The three philosophical approaches
     
    The three philosophical approaches to keep in mind include: interpretivism, positivism, and post-positivism.

    It’s to your advantage to ensure that someone else can reproduce your results. This helps validate the legitimacy of your methodology and allows future researchers to be able to critically evaluate your methods.

    Consider your alternatives and evaluate the other approaches you could take.

    What are the weaknesses of your proposed approach compared to the strengths of the other available approaches?

    Will your proposed approach yield the best possible data to help you arrive at a solid conclusion to your research question? Is your method realistic and feasible?

    Contingencies

    A single research study cannot cover every gap, and in fact many research studies discover previously unknown gaps. Examine and determine whether there are any ethical concerns and considerations - both in terms of how the data will be collected and how it will be evaluated/used.

    • What will you do to reduce any potential ethical conflicts?
    • In addition, how will you ensure the integrity of the data collection process and the data results?

    Make sure not to include results in your methodology. That will come later.

  • 6Creating a convincing dissertation discussion

     

    A dissertation discussion reviews the data results from your research study

     

    In this section of your dissertation, you’ll present what your study found.

    • Were the results consistent with your thesis statement or hypothesis?
    • What are the main insights you or your reader will be able to gain from the results?

    Devote some time to the results of other studies from your literature review.

    Compare your results with the literature’s. If the results backed up your thesis, you should also be able to explain how your results might have been produced assuming your thesis is incorrect. Also acknowledge any exclusions or limitations, while stating how your topic can be researched further.

    A dissertation discussion needs to match up with the methodology section, in the sense that each result should have a corresponding method. Since the discussion tends to be the longest section of a dissertation, you’ll want to organize it into subsections and consider making use of references to visual aids.

    Main components

    To effectively elaborate on your main research question, you’ll need to include eight main points of discussion:

    ComponentPurpose
    Major resultsTo discuss major breakthroughs or findings
    MeaningsTo discuss what the findings mean and their significance
    Compare and contrastTo show how similar studies' results corroborate, complement or oppose yours
    AlternativesTo eliminate the bias factor in the minds of the readers
    RelevanceTo discuss how the findings are relevant to practitioners and those they study
    LimitationsTo acknowledge aspects the study and its methods excluded which could impact either the meaning of the results or areas for future research
    Future researchTo discuss how your study uncovered aspects that need further research or opened up the need for additional studies
    ConclusionTo reinstate the main message of your study and its results in the readers' minds

    Relate to the methodology

    The discussion of the study’s results needs to be coordinated with the methodology section. Your results need to stem from the techniques identified within the methodology. If you decide to eliminate a specific method, you’ll also need to ensure that you don’t discuss that method’s results here or refer to them.

    For instance, if you originally carried out a survey of a secondary sample set but found it to be unnecessary, you’ll need to eliminate mention to it in both sections.

    Perspective

    While you should use a positive tone when discussing your study’s results, refrain from being overt optimism or bragging. You don’t want to give your readers the sense that you are implicitly biased in favor of your own study.

    While most readers will reasonably assume that all personal biases are impossible to eliminate, the content and tone of your discussion should reassure them that you have conducted a relatively neutral analysis.

  • 7Dissertation results

     

    The results of a research study are otherwise included in the dissertation discussion section

     

    A separate results section only presents the data and results gathered from the research study. Any discussion and interpretation of the results should be saved for the discussion section.

    The differences between methodology and results
     
    Methodology discusses how the research was conducted, while the results section outlines the outcome of the experiment.

    Organize by type

    Determine how you’re going to present your results in this section. You’ll need to provide a guide map to your readers, so they know what to expect. If you are going to need to include any other researcher’s findings in your dissertation, these should be placed in the Appendices. Separate positive from negative results and your main findings from your secondary findings.

    Data analysis techniques

    Determine how you’re going to analyze the data you collect. You may find that you are unfamiliar with the best analysis method for your study. Spend time researching what statistical analysis methods exist, including their advantages and disadvantages.

    Detail-oriented

    In the results section, you should plan on sticking to the details of the data. Give the readers enough detail and explanation to reasonably understand the data, as well as the statistical analysis method. In some cases, you may be designing your own equation. Provide an explanation of how the equation works and spell out each of the equation’s components.

    Qualitative vs. quantitative

    With a quantitative study, your data results will consist of equations, numerical results, and numerical analysis. However, a purely qualitative analysis will be lacking these types of numerical results.

    With qualitative studies, you’ll need to be clear and concise in your descriptions. This applies to both your method and the results. You can still leverage charts and graphs with qualitative results in order to facilitate understanding.

  • 8Closing with a dissertation conclusion

     

    The dissertation conclusion is designed to remind readers of the major points of your dissertation

     

    The remaining parts of the conclusion will include a main inference about the information contained within the dissertation, a reiteration of the research study’s limitations, a reiteration of the practical and/or theoretical impacts, and your own opinion about the information presented in the dissertation.

     

    Prior to writing the conclusion, check with your academic advisor for clarification on what to include. In general, you should avoid introducing concepts or material in the same way that you discussed them in previous sections.

    Don’t mention information and concepts that you haven’t previously touched upon. Conclusions should end strong, reminding the readers about the significance of your research study and how the study’s results can be built upon in the future.

    Future-oriented reflection

    Although the conclusion looks back on what the dissertation has discussed, the overall perspective should be forward looking. As you’re reiterating the dissertation’s main points, the research study’s limitations, and the study’s impacts, relate those to how they might be viewed by future researchers or future practitioners. Dissertation conclusion sections typically do not go over four to five pages.

    Main points

    The main points you’ll need to cover in the conclusion can be organized to flow well. The recommended order and importance of each point are as follows:

    PointImportance
    Summary of dissertation's key findingsCritical
    Main inferences from dissertationCritical
    Impacts of the research studyCritical
    Opinion(s) about research study and resultsRecommended
    Concluding paragraph with final conviction of research study's value and meaningRecommended

    Recommendations

    When you write about the impacts of your research study - in particular its results - you’ll need to focus on mentioning recommendations. Depending upon the academic field, these recommendations may be geared towards future research or field practitioners.

    In some cases, you may be providing both sets of recommendations. Academic fields such as business administration tend to be geared more towards recommendations for practitioners, but does not necessarily ignore the theoretical side. When writing recommendations for practitioners, think of yourself as a consultant.

    Relate back to your hypothesis

    Remember that your conclusion is the final opportunity to remind your readers why your research study stands out from the crowd. While the overall tone of a dissertation isn’t necessarily persuasive, it can be argumentative in the sense that you are trying to convince an audience of the validity and importance of your research.

    A good conclusion relates back to the main research question you posed in the beginning, as well as your thesis statement or hypothesis.

Writing a dissertation

Putting a dissertation together can seem intimidating. Complete dissertations contain a multitude of sections, or chapters.

Full dissertations are usually written at the PhD level and the average length can range between one-hundred to two-hundred pages. Dissertation chapters go through several revisions while the candidate works on each piece with an academic supervisor.

Step 1: Drafting the dissertation abstract

Before you write the abstract, you should have a good idea and solid outline of what you want to research

Consider what research questions you’ll be pursuing, what your thesis statement is, your study’s methodology, the study’s actual or expected results, and how you’ve interpreted those results.

Be prepared to run through several revisions, depending on feedback from your academic committee, academic supervisor, or as changes occur to other portions of the dissertation.

Opening paragraph

Briefly state what your general topic is about and give some background information on it.

Did somebody miss something?

Is there a certain aspect of your topic that has previously been neglected or that you’ve discovered?

Next, delve into the specific research question(s) you’ll be addressing. If you have more than one question, make sure it’s no more than three. Provide logical reasoning for why they’re important.

Middle paragraph

State your thesis. Depending on the academic discipline, the thesis could be stated in the form of a hypothesis. In general, your thesis should be one sentence and state what results you believe to be true and why.

After your thesis statement, discuss the study you’ll be conducting to substantiate your thesis/hypothesis. You’ll also need to include the methodology.

Concluding paragraph

The last section of the abstract should touch upon the study’s aggregate data results or what main results you expect to surface. Provide a brief analysis of the data and relate the results back to your thesis.

Step 2: Writing the introduction

The optimal time to write the introduction is after you’ve written and revised the rest of the dissertation

Writing the introduction for a dissertation is far more intensive than that of a typical essay or research paper. With a dissertation, save the final draft of the introduction for last. This way you can pull out the most important pieces of information from each section of the dissertation. From there you can condense the information, eliminate what doesn’t sync, and decide which points should make up the beginning, middle, and end.

Beginning

Define your main research problem or question. You need to be succinct, but also provide enough background on the problem or question to allow your audience to grasp the subject matter.

What to include in an introduction
 
The introduction should include the thesis statement, support for the research, and the reason the topic was chosen.

Middle

Include a summary of your actual research study, including the data results. You will also want to include a summary of your literature review or at least a few citations from the literature that are a good representation of the existing research on your topic.

Remember to not rely too heavily on citations, but to be strategic about which ones you use and how you use them.

End

Provide a summary of your discussion and interpretation of your study’s results. Include information on whether the data results supported or disproved your thesis, as well as whether the results raised additional questions. Were there any restrictions to the study that might have impacted the results? Finish up by reiterating any impact(s) on academics and practitioners, in addition to the study’s significance.

Step 3: Literature review

The first step to writing a dissertation literature review is to determine the reason why you’re doing it

In order to determine the “why” for the literature review, you need to figure out what research question or problem you’d like to answer. Determine how you’re going to approach your research question.

For example, are you going to be looking at the theoretical or practical side? Next, start focusing on where to gather your sources, how many sources you’ll need, and which sources are the most appropriate to include in the review.

Overview of the details in a literature review
 
The introduction should include the thesis statement, support for the research, and the reason the topic was chosen.

Determine how you’re going to evaluate the information. Are you going to be looking for common ground and patterns, or take on the role of critic and sort through what is feasible in practice and what is not? Finally, Decide what information and analysis to include in your writing, and what to omit.

Determine the problem

First, decide what your objective is in order to determine the problem the literature review will address.

Example:

Objective: To critically evaluate the role of the electoral college in the national presidential election

Problem: How has the electoral college’s role in national presidential elections undermined the notion of democracy?

Once you’ve concluded what your problem will be, start investigating potential sources. As you conduct your investigation, figure out what factors you’ll use to eliminate or include potential sources.

Collect the data

Your chosen scope will come into play during this stage. If you’re wanting to conduct an all-encompassing literature review, you’ll be gathering and reading more sources. On the other hand, if you choose a narrowed focus, you could spend the same amount of time trying to find sources that fit your criteria.

Beyond searching for sources through electronic databases, remember to consult your peers and academic advisors. Also, see if you can locate the sources cited in some of the references you initially find.

Evaluating the data

Here is where you’ll need to read over each source to determine what information is relevant to your review. Determine what to take and what will best serve the purpose of the review, going back to your objective and problem.

Example:

If you’re attempting to demonstrate how the role of the electoral college in national presidential elections undermines the notion of democracy, cite examples from your sources that substantiate that problem. For this example, a historical structure would be appropriate as you could start with the earliest examples and work your way through to the present.

Your point of view is taking the perspective of one side, so in this case it would also be appropriate to cite information that takes the other side of the argument and then critically evaluate the validity of that information. You would likely need to discredit the validity by citing opposing evidence.

Analysis

Put all the information together and either flush out central problems, synthesize themes, or determine the legitimacy/validity of the literature’s information. You can analyze the information using quantitative methods, qualitative methods, or a mixture of both.

QuantitativeQualitativeMixed
Sample set of data is analyzed according to a standard numerical valueIdentify meaningful results according to subjective experienceAnalyze data according to a combination of numerical value and subjective meaning

Presentation

This stage involves revising the information, including what is kept intact, and what is tweaked, reduced and eliminated. Peer reviews and field experts can be an invaluable resource during this stage, especially prior to submitting the review to an academic committee.

You may need multiple revisions once the academic committee or dissertation supervisor reviews your work. Do not be discouraged by the revision process, as the supervisor and committee are there to help refine your dissertation to increase its chances of becoming publishable material.

Step 4: Writing the hypothesis

After you finish your literature review, look at the notes you made about the information

What unfulfilled question appears to be the most promising in terms of testability? Once you’ve homed in on a single unfulfilled question, see if you can flush out the independent and dependent variables in your hypothesis.

  • Will these variables’ relationships to each other be able to answer your main research question?
  • Can you test the independent variable within the boundaries of your methodology?
After you’ve identified and revised the hypothesis statement, you’ll need to write out the null hypothesis.

Example:

Hypothesis: A restricted diet of 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day leads to a simultaneous decrease in body fat percentage, overall weight, and muscle weight percentages.

Null hypothesis: A restricted diet of 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day does not lead to a simultaneous decrease in body fat percentage, overall weight, and muscle weight percentages

Determine the type

First, determine what type of hypothesis you’ll be using. Is your question going to be making a prediction, describing an observation, or describing a pattern? This will determine how you write the hypothesis and shape it.

  • Prediction: Those who follow a restricted diet of 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day will experience a greater reduction of body fat percentage than those who follow a normal diet of 2,000 calories per day.
  • Observation: A person’s ability to reduce his or her body fat percentage is related to a reduction of calories he or she eats per day.
  • Generalization: A reduced calorie diet has a greater impact on the reduction of body fat percentage than physical activity.

Independent vs. dependent

It’s important to be able to isolate the independent variable, since this is not only the variable you’ll be testing but the variable that will need to be significant enough to drive an impact. The independent variable can best be identified by isolating what factor is causing a difference, or what factor represents a polar-opposite difference.

Scientific method

Be sure to sync your hypothesis with your methodology (covered below). If you’re going to be testing whether a restricted diet leads to an increased reduction in body fat percentage, ensure you have access to enough participants who are able/willing to restrict their diets. It might also make sense to have access to participants who currently have an unhealthy or high percentage of body fat.

Three basic steps in the scientific method
 
The three steps in the scientific method include: coming up with a hypothesis, testing the hypothesis, and examining the results to see if they support it.

While this would be a limitation of your study, since you wouldn’t be testing the effects of a restricted calorie diet on individuals with a healthy body fat percentage.

Step 5: Write out the methodology details

You’ll need to explain the way you’re going to uncover the answer(s) to your main research question

The beginning of the methodology needs to restate the dissertation’s main research question and thesis statement or hypothesis.

Explain how the research study will be conducted, reiterate why it’s happening, when the study will occur, where it will happen, the method analysis, and what the study will cover. Then, you’ll need to go into your justification of why you made the choices you did.

The next section should explain how the data was collected and how the data was analyzed. Finally, you’ll go into any ethical concerns, justify the reliability of the data, and discuss the data’s limitations and whether the data can be generalized.

Question, thesis, method

Write one to two paragraphs that remind your audience what your study is seeking to answer, what position or side of the argument you’ll be seeking to prove, and whether you’ll be using numerical or subjective methods. Be sure to also give a description of your technique. If you’re using a formula, define the variables and how the formula function works.

Data collection and justification

Outline your strategy, the details of how and when you’ll collect your study’s data, and provide rationale for the methodology.

The questions a methodology should answer
 
The methodology addresses the participants in the study, quantitative/qualitative factors, strengths/weaknesses, and analyzes the method used.

Explain why your data is reliable and others can trust its accuracy. Also, explain the reasoning behind limitations to your sample size and analysis. An example would be why only one type of demographic was surveyed. This type of exclusion isn’t necessarily negative, especially if it is necessary to properly answer your question.

Step 6: Write out the discussion

You may also find that as you write your discussion, you’ll need to revise the methodology section

Think about how you want to organize your discussion into various sections, either by the eight points of discussion mentioned previously in this guide or by combining some of those points into larger chunks. Also, determine what results you will present in graphs and charts. Will those be inserted into the body of the discussion or be included in the appendices?

Results, meanings, comparisons

  • What were the main takeaways from your results?
  • Do they reveal certain themes or averages?
  • What do you believe, based on your research and knowledge of the topic, the results mean?
  • How do they differ from other researchers’ results on the same topic?
  • Do your results corroborate another researcher’s?

Be sure to evaluate the meaning of your results and discuss whether those meanings are significant.

Alternatives, relevance, and limitations

The second set of sections should discuss whether personal or outside biases impacted the results. While you should work to mitigate these biases, acknowledge any suspicion of them. This is especially important if your results could be considered controversial or are heavily skewed in the opposite direction of the literature’s results.

Spend time showing your reader why your results are relevant, and why and how the results could impact the field. A discussion of the limitations should state the limitation(s) in terms of the methodology or approach, followed by an explanation of how the methodology or approach could be expanded.

Future research and conclusion

Did your results bring up any questions the results themselves were unable to answer? Discuss those questions here and also suggest that these questions could be developed into future research studies. Alternatively, did your results indicate the need for a follow-up study? If so, briefly discuss what that follow-up study will need to entail.

The conclusion should instill the main idea you want your readers to take away from your study. In other words, what is the most significant revelation and corresponding practical implication your study’s results have produced?

 

You should discuss your dissertation structure and content with an academic advisor or supervisory committee. Samples of written dissertation discussions can also help immensely, since samples demonstrate structure, content and tone.

Step 7: Composing your results

Once you’ve determined how you’re going to present your results, start by defining what type of results you’ll be presenting first

You don’t necessarily have to present positive results before negative results, but this order helps keep your readers motivated. Also, by presenting your main findings before your secondary findings, your readers can get a better sense of what they can take away from your research. Don’t forget to use the correct citation style for your dissertation.

The main findings should not only be more prevalent in terms of recurrence, but also significance. Secondary findings will not necessarily make as much of an impact as your main findings, but are either worth mentioning or raise questions about the need for additional research.

Roadmap

The roadmap you provide to your readers should be contained within the first paragraph of the results section. Tell readers exactly what they can expect to read. State what type of results you’ll be presenting and what methodologies those results stem from.

Writing the roadmap of a dissertation.
 
The roadmap tells the reader what the dissertation will present.

Ideally, the roadmap will consist of one paragraph and provide readers with a complete outline of your results section.

Positive/negative

The data results you captured that reflect on your study in a positive way can be the beginning of your second paragraph. Your primary results in the positive category should go first. If you are presenting visual aids in the appendices, make sure you refer to them in the paragraph.

However, you’ll need to include at the bare minimum an explanation of those results. The data results that retract from your study will need to be presented in a similar fashion.

Main/Secondary

You’ll need to be able to sort out what results can be classified as primary and which can be classified as secondary. The best way to determine what is primary versus what is secondary is to ask whether the results tie in with your research question. Do the results provide an answer to the research question? Do those same results support or discredit your thesis/hypothesis?

The main point to remember is not to confuse the results section with the discussion section, if they need to be separate.

Step 8: Writing the dissertation conclusion

Before you write the conclusion section of the dissertation, it’s helpful to review what’s already been written in the previous sections

Not only will you take the time to re-familiarize yourself with what you’ve accomplished, but you’ll be able to gather the material you need for the conclusion. Pull out the main points of each section, revisit your thesis, look for weaknesses you can strengthen, and think about your recommendations and how your research is different from others. Think about why your research and its results matter, not only to you and your academic discipline, but to the community at large. In other words, how does it make a difference?

Summary and inferences

The first part of the conclusion section needs to review the most significant information from each section of the dissertation. This is also the place where you need to remind the audience of your research question, the thesis or hypothesis, and the main takeaways from the study’s results. Once you’ve written a summary of the key ideas and facts from each section of the dissertation, delve into the main meanings and interpretations readers should grasp from your research.

Impacts, recommendations, opinions

After you’ve gone over your dissertation’s main points and discussed their potential meanings, it’s time to write about the study’s most significant impacts.

How will this data have an effect?
What do you believe that effect will be? As you discuss your recommendations, tie them back to the study’s potential impacts.

How do you feel about the study’s results?
Were they what you expected and why? Do the results prove an idea that was previously unproven or thought of as unlikely?

Think about these questions when in the final writing stage, or editing stage of your dissertation.

Final words

Don’t forget to write a conclusion for the conclusion! While this doesn’t have to be more than a few paragraphs, it should realign with your thesis statement or hypothesis. The concluding paragraphs should state the most significant factor about your study and how future researchers could possibly expand upon it.

If you’re including practical implications, what is the single most important factor you believe practitioners can use from your study to improve conditions in the field? Writing a conclusion can be both simple and complex. On the one hand, you’re going over what you’ve already stated. On the other hand, you’re finding new ways to say what you’ve said before in a way that impacts your readers.

Additional resources

Writing a full dissertation can be an exhaustive, but exhilarating process. You’ll get to witness whether your ideas can withstand a practical simulation. You’ll also get to sharpen your analytical and interpretive skills, while working with senior academic peers.

The task will probably seem daunting, but luckily there are several outside resources including our writer help section, and our dissertation help page. Ultius also offers a wide selection of dissertation sample writing services. Your university’s resources and the guidance of your academic supervisor will be paramount to the development of your dissertation.

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