Dissertation Overview

The traditional dissertation is organized into 5 chapters and includes the following elements and pages:

  • Title page (aka cover page)
  • Signature page (aka committee page but without signatures)
  • Copyright page (strongly recommended to protect your scholarship)
  • Abstract (We’ll emphasize spending quality time refining the abstract as it’s widely read)
  • Dedication page (optional)
  • Acknowledgments page (optional, but highly recommended)
  • Table of Contents (We’ll recommend that you use auto formatting with Word headings)
  • List of Tables (if applicable)
  • List of Figures (if applicable)
  • Dissertation Body, 5 Distinct Chapters:
    • Chapter I: Introduction
    • Chapter II: Review of Literature
    • Chapter III: Methodology (Research Design & Methods)
    • Chapter IV: Presentation of Research (Results)
    • Chapter V: Summary, Implications, Conclusions (Discussion)
  • Footnotes (if separate from dissertation)
  • References
  • Bibliography (rare but valuable for other researchers – ask your chair)
  • Appendix (can include consent forms and other research documents)

Chapter 1: Introduction

  • Introduction
  • Background of the Problem
  • Statement of the Problem
  • Purpose of the Study
  • Research Questions
  • Significance of the Study
  • Definition of Terms
  • Assumptions, Limitations, and Delimitations
  • Conclusion

Chapter 2: Review of the Literature

  • Introduction
  • Search Description
  • Conceptual or Theoretical Framework
  • Review of Research (organized by variable or themes)

Chapter 3: Methodology (Qualitative)

  • Introduction
  • Research Design
  • Research Questions
  • Setting
  • Participants
  • Data Collection
  • Data Analysis
  • Conclusion

Chapter 3: Methodology (Quantitative)

  • Introduction
  • Research Design
  • Research Questions and Hypotheses
  • Population and Sample
  • Instrumentation
  • Data Collection
  • Data Analysis
  • Conclusion

Chapter 3: Methodology (Mixed)

  • Introduction
  • Research Design
  • Research Questions and Hypotheses
  • Setting and Sample
  • Data Collection
  • Data Analysis
  • Conclusion

Chapter 4: Research Findings

  • Introduction
  • Findings (organized by Research Questions or Hypotheses)
  • Conclusion

Chapter 5: Conclusions, Discussion, and Suggestions for Future Research

  • Introduction
  • Summary of Findings
  • Conclusions (organized by Research Questions or Hypotheses)
  • Discussion
  • Suggestions for Future Research
  • Conclusion

Are you feeling stuck, unmotivated or overwhelmed?

Academic Writing Coaching

$5500 per hour
  • A weekly or monthly online meeting to help you write your academic papers (such as your dissertation) and prepare other writing  (such as, journal articles) for a professional audience.

Dissertation & Professional Writing Editing

$4500 per hour
  • Writing support for your doctoral and professional writing, from proofreading, editing, style/format editing, to a combination of the three.

Download AU Dissertation Front Pages Templates Here!

(Individual programs have a tailored set of front pages available in their handbooks.)

Loading...