9: Dissertation Structure

  • Be clear on the structure require for your dissertation by your department and advisor.
  • Ask your advisor to recommend recent dissertations that you can model yours after, and/or go to the library and look at dissertations in your area of research.
  • Make sure that you spend time with your advisor early in the process, going over a specific structure for the dissertation and your chapters/sections.
  • Go to your graduate school office and get a copy of the formatting requirements of the university.
  • You will also want to investigate your school’s requirements concerning human research subjects early in the process. You might need to gain Institutional Review Board approval.
  • Realize that the format or structure of your dissertation may change as you research and write, so be flexible with your initial plan.

Three Possible Dissertation Structures (Taken from Robert L. Peters’ Getting What You Came For)
These structures are general. Check with your advisor to find out appropriate structures in your discipline.

Three Possible Dissertation Structures