Structuring a Dissertation

A dissertation is likely to be one of the longest academic texts you will ever produce, and it will require extensive planning to ensure that your writing is structured, well-balanced and meaningful. If you allow yourself to get carried away and write too much without a solid plan in place, your work will come across as disorganised and important considerations may be left forgotten.

A dissertation is often around 10,000-15,000 words long and will be split up into several chapters. The number of chapters you choose to include will depend entirely on what you are writing about – your tutor will be able to help you when it comes to deciding upon an overall structure. You may also wish to include subchapters and appendices where appropriate to further categorise your writing.

Whilst you don’t necessarily need to have decided upon every single point which you’re going to cover, it is important to have an overall idea of the information which each chapter will include. Think up your chapter titles and write down some bullet points to outline the content of each one. You can play around with these as you go along, but this method will ensure that you don’t miss out any vital information.

Ensure that you leave yourself plenty of time for editing once you have completed the writing process. It might also be useful to ask someone else to proofread your work, as they will be able to spot things which are easy to miss when you’ve been working on a project for a long time. Knowing that you have enough editing time is important in keeping your stress levels down to a minimum, and it will allow you to produce the highest quality of work you possibly can.