A dissertation paper is a structured paper written by a graduate student which develops a clear idea and responses to the research question. The doctoral paper is regarded as a non-standard academic work divided into chapters and contains more detailed research of the subject matter and evidence.
Creating dissertation is the punchline of a graduate student's academic experience. Picking up an interesting topic, investigating, and highlighting its results based on an academic resume that shows professional proficiency in the student's specialized area.
A successfully submitted scientific paper allows a scholar to get a good position with the prospect of career growth. Such specialists are in great demand as practical work experience on the received qualification, commitment, activity, and self-organization are always cherished.
Generally Accepted Dissertation Types
The scholars distinguish two types of dissertations that you should know before starting to work on your research topic. They are empirical and non-empirical.
Empirical Student Dissertation
Empirical research is a set of methods that involves collecting information obtained by studying an object. This type of paper includes researching on a smaller scale. Writing a good college dissertation involves planning a scientific investigation at the first stage. Then, collecting and analyzing the background information related to your topic, and, in the end, you present your outcomes.
The empirical research methods are observation, measurement, experiment, description, and comparing. Some of these methods are successfully combined in the student dissertations.
Non-empirical Academic Dissertation
The non-empirical or sometimes it’s called library-based involves the following purpose of the dissertation. It’s the observation and measurement of other scholars’ pieces of work. Such a dissertation contains research problems that have already been developed. As a researcher, you can place this work in a certain context and highlight this research's value.
Such dissertation papers are written on the language and literature faculties. The research's practical significance is that the results can be used in lecture and seminar courses for students on rhetoric, linguistics, lexicology, history of language, etc.
Stages for Writing a Dissertation
- Determine a topic within the scope of the discipline.
Sometimes, it could be tough to pick a topic you are willing to study. If you want to get an exciting topic to research and not become disappointed, go over a few resources where this topic is discussed.
Think of ideas that come to your mind while reading people’s opinions. Answer the question if you are ready to merge into the study to contribute to this field even if it takes a lot of time and effort.
Have you already caught the difference between writing a thesis and a dissertation? If you feel positive about it, move ahead!
- Clarify the title and state the question has to be explored.
A lot of inexperienced researchers wonder, “What exactly is a good dissertation?” and if it depends on the research question. The research question is the question that should be answered while your investigation.
Developing a question could be the hardest part of the research. Keep in mind that the research topic should be neither too narrow nor too broad. It needs to be specific. If a question is non-specific, it gives more directions for thoughts, and it will be hard to follow your study.
- Look through the reliable information carefully to understand the essence of the question.
At the first stage, while picking up a topic, you have read some overviews, which is not enough to start the writing process. Study the works of scholars who have researched the current subject before.
- Define a research proposal.
If your academic dissertation involves experimenting, plan its flow carefully, and think through possible negative consequences.
- Pick up the location to conduct research (if necessary) and a target group.
If you conduct interviews, decide who you will ask and where exactly. For example, you can question sports fans at the stadium before or after a match if your goal is to investigate a sports issue.
- Make up research tools and apply them in practice.
Prepare everything that will make your survey smooth. Often, poor preparation can spoil further research development.
- While researching, record all your observations, and progress in a research diary.
Your notes can be short but include valuable information when you create your work. Keep in mind that even brief, but worthy remarks might generate the longest dissertation.
- Organize the research according to the pattern.
The practical part is over, so it’s time to think about how to arrange it in a proper way to get a well-crafted written work.
How to Organize a Dissertation
You can’t find the only scope of common requirements for this paper. It’s important to know all the requirements for your dissertation detailed research as its format can depend on the university and even a degree program.
A common handbook recommends writing a paper sticking to one and a half or double spacing and remember about a wide left margin.
A typical dissertation structure includes the following parts: a title page, a table of content, a list of tables if you have some, an introduction, a literature review, a methodology you have applied, your findings, a discussion, recommendations, bibliography and appendix.
Although you know the dissertation meaning, it is unlikely to remind you of a research paper structure. But, of course, it has some peculiarities. The detailed information about how to write each dissertation chapter, you will learn in our article below.
Skills You Should Have a University Dissertation
The learning process is a continuous activity that aims to develop theoretical knowledge, writing essays, tests, and research papers. Then, there comes a time to write more serious academic pieces of work. A young researcher summarizes theoretical and practical knowledge and starts developing a dissertation.
Students taking this paper writing seriously get a chance to be promoted. But not every member of the teaching staff, not even a student, can write dissertation research as it requires a lot of skills. If you were a studious student during your academic years, you could have developed some vital skills to succeed in your scientific work.
You should be diligent and careful not to miss out on anything that might affect your workflow for starters. It is significant to have the ability to filter information and note really worthwhile facts. Don't forget that the ability to stay focused for a long time is also important.
In addition, you need to have an extensive vocabulary to convey the right message and express your ideas clearly. Keep in mind you should be coherent to catch your audience.
How Long Are Dissertations in General?
Having been assigned a dissertation assignment, the first thing students wonder is, “What’s the dissertation length?” It’s important to know the volume of a dissertation to collect data and evenly distribute it. Most scholars state that the average length of dissertation can vary from 100 to 200 pages.
It could depend on the discipline and school department. As a rule, each educational institution provides students with a dissertation handbook or template at the beginning of the academic year. But sometimes, students forget about it when it’s time to start a dissertation paper.
Comparative Characteristics of Dissertation and Thesis
The notions “thesis” and “dissertation” are often confused and can be even taken as synonyms. The term “thesis” comes from a Greek word meaning “proposition.” That means that you go over the existing scholarly writings and present proposals to contribute to the current field.
Meanwhile, the meaning of the word “dissertation” is a Latin word translated as “discussion.” That means you come up with a fresh idea, develop it, and provide a general overview.
When do you write a dissertation? A dissertation highlights new discoveries in the report. It aims to contribute to the new experience or add some fresh theories in the field you are studying. It is considered a treatise without a goal to get an academic degree.
A dissertation work requires a lot of time to complete as you need to devote some time to possible experiments. The length of your dissertation is a serious difference in the area of a dispute concerning dissertation vs thesis.
A thesis is an academic paper presenting the author’s analysis and outcomes. Any thesis is written to assist a candidate to get a degree or appropriate qualification.
The goal to create a thesis is to prove that you have solid knowledge and a deep understanding of the topic you are exploring. A thesis explores all depth of topic throughout the work, and, in the final part, the topical issue and outcomes are summarized.
Thesis and Dissertation Structural Distinctions
The major difference between thesis and dissertation is the volume. A thesis is shorter, up to 100 pages, while a dissertation work could be from 100 to 200 pages. Let’s try to find out what’s it all about?
A thesis reminds you of pieces of academic work you are used to writing since becoming a student. You conduct a deep study, analyze, and then comment on your findings and explain how it relates to your research field. A thesis aims to demonstrate your critical thinking and discuss the current information in-depth.
Meanwhile, a dissertation is a complex work, and it’s likely to be a few times longer than a thesis. The purpose of a doctoral dissertation is to get a new, valuable result. Your dissertation involves an extremely large scope of information that should be researched, analyzed, and described. Besides, you may do an experiment (if a discipline allows it) to support or contradict the existing idea.
Academic Paper Module Arrangement
The evaluation of your academic paper depends on the higher institution establishment. Your teaching staff took care of you and prepared a dissertation guide with the table containing the list of questions you might have before starting to do dissertation in-depth research.
The dissertation guide contains information about your future academic supervisor, possible days, and time to have meetings to discuss your paper.
If you have a poor memory, the handbook will remind you of the date of submission, the relevant length of the dissertation, and classes you can attend and get some additional points. Besides, all the mid-term dates to present your dissertation parts are mentioned in the guide. As you see, this module is helpful to plan and start writing an academic piece of work. Due to it, you manage to keep a lot of information in your head.
If you have got to this point, that means you have already known the answers to the questions like, “What exactly is a dissertation?” and “What is the purpose of a dissertation?” Now it’s high time to learn how to structure your paper to catch and hold the reader’s attention and make it easier to follow the discussion.
Some researches find the definition of a dissertation as difficult as its structure, but it’s not that. A dissertation has three main parts: an introductory part, the main body, and a finishing part.
In its turn, every section has certain chapters. An introductory part consists of a title page, a table of contents, a list of tables, and an abstract. The main body includes an introduction, a literature review, methods, results, discussions, and a conclusion. The final part should have references and appendices.
The title page includes your research title, which usually doesn’t exceed 18 words. In this case, the shorter your title is, the better. Besides, it’s necessary to have a running head, a page number in the right upper corner of the page, mention the author’s name and affiliation, and the author note.
Table of Content
Here you will give a heading of each dissertation chapter and its page. It helps the dissertation readers move easily between pages and find the information they are looking for at once.
List of Tables and Figures
If you do any experiment, you should have the final numbers collected in the table to support your argument. It would be inconvenient to leaf through a thick pile of sheets to observe your research results.
In this part, you should summarize what you have done throughout your work. You start with the idea of why your study is important, how you have investigated it, and what you have found. In addition, you have to give implications for your findings. A good abstract is about 200 words.
First of all, an introduction has to cause the desire to read your work and understand the purpose of your dissertation. But at the same time, you manage to explain what motivates you to take up this topic, and why it’s important to study it.
Before investigating your topic, you definitely need to get familiar with previous research in the current field to know what other researchers have done in the past. You identify where there is a gap and try to place your study within the existing ones.
In this chapter, you describe how you have analyzed the data and what tools you have used. You also need to explain why you chose exactly this methodology and why it’s more effective to explore your issue.
Whatever you analyzed, you got certain results, and now you need to present them. No need to discuss and explain the outcomes; just demonstrate what you got in the course of research.
And now you can discuss what you have found. You try to reflect if the previous study supports your results as well, or you have a conflict with previous research within your academic work. You speculate about these things trying to identify what could be a reason for not matching your results with the previous ones.
You repeat the information here like what you have done, what you have reached, what methods were used, etc. As a rule, a conclusion is a brief review of the overall study. It should be as informative as possible.
This part could be considered as one of the important as it can help to avoid plagiarism issues. This section includes a list of books, journals, newspapers, and digital resources you have used in your work. You should place all sources used in alphabetical order.
Here you put all those things you have done for your research paper. You present to your audience that you have conducted some interviews, surveys, questionnaires, etc. All this information you summarize in the appendix.
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