Dissertation Outline Writing Guide

Writing a dissertation is a daunting and time-consuming task. Since a dissertation is a crucial project in a student’s academic life, it is essential to establish appropriate strategies to write a compelling dissertation. Creating a detailed dissertation outline is one of the measures to take to ensure all parts of a dissertation are perfectly presented according to the set guidelines. In this guide, we describe how to write a dissertation outline and make the dissertation writing process easy.

Chapters in a dissertation

Before we do an in-depth analysis of the dissertation chapter outline, let’s first of all, understand the major parts of a dissertation outline as described below:

  1. The Abstract

In all dissertations, an abstract gives an overview of what the research project is. This section highlights to the reader the purpose of your dissertation project, investigation background & context, methods, findings, and the contribution of the project to your field of study.

  1. The Introduction

After the abstract is the introduction which describes the dissertation’s focus by analyzing the topic in detail, again, the introduction helps the reader to evaluate the existing gaps and how the research will help fill the existing gaps.

  1. The Literature Review

Being the largest section of a dissertation, the literature review gives an in-depth overview of the already existing research on the same topic or context.

  1. The Methodology

The methodology section of a dissertation is basically the beginning of the project. The methodology section highlights to the reader the strategies, designs, and processes that were taken to collect the information.

Also, this section describes the validity of the methods used to collect data and the justification of the same methods while describing the data collected.

  1. The Results

This is the fifth section of your dissertation outline. It is in the results section of a dissertation that you discuss the results of the study. You should also highlight how the results help to address the main questions of the topic. Also, while you update the results section, be sure to also provide evidence supporting your findings.

  1. The Discussion of Results

Sometimes, this section is usually combined with the results section. However, unless stated otherwise, presenting this section on its own is the best approach.

In the discussion section of a dissertation, you not only highlight the results as in the results section but discuss the results in detail.

As you discuss the results section in detail, remember to update the reader on the research purpose and how they align with the results.

Depending on your dissertation’s project nature, you can as well interpret the research findings as you compare the findings with already existing research and their contribution to literature.

  1. The Conclusion

Finally, like any other academic paper, your dissertation outline must have a summary of everything you’ve presented in the paper. That is why the conclusion section is essential when crafting your dissertation outline.

In the conclusion section of a dissertation outline, focus on reminding the reader about the key elements of the project, highlighting the significance of the project, the contribution of the project in your field, and the possible limitations you experienced during the research phase.

Finalize by outlining the practical application of the research project and the possible research gaps you’ve realized after the study.

Tips to help you craft a perfect outline of a dissertation

Now that you understand an ideal dissertation plan, what can you do to ensure your dissertation outline stands out? The tips below will always come in handy

Start by choosing a researchable topic in your field of study to ease the process of finding relevant information:

  • Before you think of the main thesis, go through academic reviews, journals, and manuals to gain inspiration.
  • Review a dissertation outline example to have a better understanding of a perfect dissertation chapter structure.
  • In every step, you take when making a dissertation outline, ask the help from the tutor to ensure you are moving in the right direction.
  • As you research the information for your dissertation outline, ensure you take some notes to help you craft a dissertation outline.
  • Make sure all the information you present in your dissertation aligns with the details you’ve presented in the introduction section.
  • Before you write an outline, have your tutor review the information you’ve gathered first.
  • Write a list of objectives you intend to accomplish in your dissertation before you start writing the outline.


A dissertation outline is a perfect tool to ensure your dissertation project stands out. Following the insights highlighted in this guide will help you create a compelling dissertation outline without making mistakes.

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