Step-by-step tutorial for creating an outstanding dissertation

By definition, a dissertation is a piece or a long essay written on a particular subject, mostly written as a requirement for the PhD (Doctor of philosophy) degree (or other professional degree) to support the author’s research or findings. However, do not confuse it for just another essay. A regular essay is relatively short, while a dissertation (or thesis) relates to the particular subject you have chosen for yourself. The complexity of a dissertation is subject to variation based on the degree or university, or the topic of the dissertation itself. It goes without saying that you need to write an exceptional dissertation for your academics. How do you write one? Here is how:


Your dissertation should have a clear objective. You should start thinking early on what you want to write about. Consult your supervisor for advice on the scope of your dissertation. When you decide your topic, it’s important you narrow down the scope of your thesis. Be as particular as you can be. You should also decide on what is your dissertation i.e. whether it’s trying to provide a solution, or is it questioning currently held beliefs, or is it simply arguing a particular point of view. Good writing is essential to your dissertation, but it is not enough to make it great. You should be passionate about the topic that you have chosen.

Consult people who are important to your research on initial reading list. List your resources carefully. No source or citation should be left out. Also, make sure your research is as up-to-date as possible. Look for answers to particular questions when reading things. If you have a survey as part of your work, there is always a possibility of delay due to high response time from concerned parties. Also, the time at hand would mean you’ll have enough on hand for several redrafts of your dissertation. Every revision you make will shape your final work.

Structure of your dissertation

There are many ways to structure your dissertation depending on the topic and your supervisor. A basic way of structuring your dissertation is following:

  • Title: This would contain the title of your dissertation, your full name, course, date, institution, and name of supervisor.
  • Abstract: This is a summary of your research and dissertation.
  • Acknowledgement: This should be thanks to anyone who has helped you with your research.
  • Table of content: This would list the chapters and/or sub-section with page numbers.
  • Introduction: This section introduces the subject of your dissertation and describes your objectives. It will also demonstrate your grasp of the subject matter.
  • Main body: This would contain the facts, evidence, analysis, evaluation and discussion of your work. This should be well structured.
  • Conclusion/findings: This is where you’ll tie all the points together to show the crux of your research. Your answer to the central question of your dissertation should be very clear here.
  • Bibliography: This includes the complete list of your sources, formatted correctly and well cited.



The dissertation you write is academic work. While it is not completely original, it still shows your understanding of the topic at hand, key issues and theories. A simple description doesn’t do a dissertation any good. You should adapt an appropriate academic style, avoid colloquialisms, contractions, and vagueness.

Research and planning

A lot depends on how you plan your whole thesis. You should work out a timetable before you start writing anything. The timetable should also account for any delays that may occur. Do not leave anything for the last moment. Being thorough in planning helps you in not only delivering your dissertation on time, but also provides plenty of time for revisions as and when require.