How to Start a Dissertation? Dissertation Research Objectives and Questions

Table of Contents

How to start a dissertation?

Many believe that the dissertation introduction, abstract and conclusion should be written before the dissertation itself; however, it’s not like that.

First of all, for time reason, it’s easier to write the paper first, as your introduction can be changed slightly or totally in a different way during the process.

Secondly, when you have the body of your dissertation you can be sure that all information mentioned will be included in the abstract.

Following these, we prepared some rules that can help to start your dissertation and turn it into a masterpiece. Any dissertation preparation has 3 main steps:

  • By the time you have to write your dissertation, you already know the topic, so the Proposal is where you decide and prepare a research plan and methodology, form Research objectives and Research questions. Besides, this is the phase where you should get approval from your instructor and the Institutional Review Board regarding the topic and a research plan.
  • The Research and Data Collection. When you get approval and good to start writing, the next step is collecting data and doing in-depth research for the paper. Make sure to write down all the notes without missing any details.
  • When all preparation steps are done, the direction of your paper is selected, it’s time to start writing!

Dissertation research objectives and research questions

You chose the topic for your dissertation, know what literature you are going to use and now its time to form a dissertation research objective and research questions. Research objectives are specific activities to answer research questions. Besides, they are needed to understand the possible outcome of the study. To do so start the objectives with such words as Compare, Evaluate, Determine, Establish, etc. When you write a good dissertation, your dissertation question should define your paper, set the boundaries for the research and direct the writing process.

Research topic: The Influence of Social media on teenagers in the USA

Research question: What are the impacts of social media on the lives of teenagers?

Research objective 1: Compare the behavior of the teenagers who are obsessed with social media with the ones who either have limited access to it.

Research objective 2: Discover the ways of controlling the access of teenagers to social media.

Research objective 3, 4 …

Dissertation structure

Like any other paper, a dissertation has its own structure that should be followed. A dissertation methodology structure consists of:

  • Title Page that includes some basic information regarding the topic and the writer.
  • Acknowledgement shows gratitude to the people who helped the writer in preparing the dissertation.
  • In Introduction a writer presents all relevant information related to the topic that was selected for the dissertation, stating the purpose and dissertation thesis.
  • Dissertation Literature Review contains information aboutthe published works that are connected and were read before choosing a dissertation topic. Some have doubts regarding what to include in a literature review for a dissertation. In this section remember to mention all the major writers in your field of study.
  • Methodology part includes an explanation of the methods used to conduct extensive research on the dissertation topic.
  • After conducting all necessary research inthe Dissertation Results section you present the findings of the collected data.
  • When the data was presented in the partDissertation Discussion, discuss and evaluate the research findings, underlying if the findings were as expected.
  • Recommendations part is very important as it includes suggestions and recommendations on the basis of research findings.
  • A bibliographyis a part where a write lists allthe relevant and correct information sources used for the dissertation.

Dissertation introduction and conclusion

As we mentioned above, a dissertation introduction and conclusion better be written after the main body. So when the main part is ready and you gathered all the information needed to write an introduction, you should remember that:

  • it is important to provide background data that will help your readers to understand where the topic is going to and direct them to the main body;
  • show your research focus, identifying the areas of your research and the reasons for your study
    specify the value of your paper by providing sub-sections, so those who will read and decide on the merit of your dissertation can see the value it brings;
  • emphasize your dissertation objectives, but while creating them remember the 4 things:
    • Clarity of each objective;
    • Appropriateness to your study;
    • Being reasonable in a sense of being achievable in a particular time frame;
    • Focused to achieve the main aim.

There are some tips that can help you to reach all 4 points. They are:

  • Start simple, go complex! Start with the simplest and the most obvious objective;
  • The keywords, like examine, identify, evaluate, etc, are the key starts to each objective.
  • Don’t overthink the number of objectives, as 4-5 is the optimal number.

The order of these points can be the one that best suits you and your dissertation. Besides, you can add some information that you believe may help your readers better understand where the paper is leading to, for example, research questions.

So now when we are clear with the introduction, it’s time to see how to write a dissertation conclusion. It is known that both introduction and conclusion should match, but NOT repeat. Those who believe that people who mark the dissertation don’t spend too much time reading the conclusion are wrong. This part is the one that will leave the impression on the reader, so you have to follow some rules in order to create a powerful conclusion.

  • Provide the summary of your findings and conclusions you made about the results;
  • Give some recommendations regarding the topic;
  • Include contributions to the knowledge you came to after the writing;
  • The optional part is including some self-reflection information, as it will give a more personal tone.

It is important to remember that the introduction, as well as the conclusion, normally occupies 5% of the total dissertation each.

How long is a dissertation?

There is no exact number about how long a dissertation should be, as on average the length depends on the degree you are getting and the country. If it’s an undergraduate level there are around 10,000-13,000 words; master’s level has around 15,000-20,000 words and Ph.D. up to 50,000 words. However, it is better to double-check the requirements with your mentor in order not to add extra work like shortening your dissertation or trying to expand it.

How to arrange a dissertation front page?

It’s not a secret that a dissertation front page has some requirements regarding the information that should be added.



John Johnson

A Dissertation

Submitted to the Department of International Law

Columbia University

In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements

for the Degree of Master of Laws

December 2019

Remember that the guidance for font page, margins and spacing will be provided by your university.

How to Structure a Dissertation methodology?

A methodology has a different meaning with “methods” and it is a vital section in your dissertation. Methodology in the dissertation is a part that includes an explanation of the methods (qualitative, quantitative, or both) used to conduct extensive research on the dissertation topic and explain the reasons you chose them.

The common types of the methodology include:

  • a scientific study;
  • a study in the social sciences;
  • a study in the arts and humanities;
  • a creative arts dissertation;

While preparing a methodology section you should include the following parts:

  • Review your research question while presenting the methodology part in order to show that it answers the research question you stated in the beginning;
  • Explain the process of gathering and analyzing data.

Analyze the chosen methods and explain why they should bring results.
Evaluate your choice of methods with its advantages and disadvantages, justify its importance over other methods.
Remember that methodology gives great opportunities not only for you to justify the approach chosen for your research question, but it is also a tool for others to use it or adapt in the way that you might not have even seen. So be logic, critical (but not judgmental) and straight to the point.

So in our article, we explained how to write a dissertation and structure a cover page, what should be included in introduction and conclusion, how methodology part should look like, but if you still have questions, please feel free to contact us and our experts will assist you with any issue.

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