Writing a dissertation is daunting for most of us, there’s no doubt about that. So, how are you supposed to know where to begin, or even how to write a dissertation at all? Here are some answers to those questions you’re probably asking, like how long should a dissertation introduction be, how should I structure it, and what to include in a dissertation.

How long should a dissertation introduction be?

Now, while this obviously depends on the word count of your dissertation, you should still be aiming to write a certain amount in your introduction. Here you should introduce what your dissertation is about, and anything else the marker should know before reading the rest of your work. This includes main points or arguments, and the research background and context. An introduction should also include why you chose this topic and why it’s important or unique. If your introduction includes all of this, then it will be long enough. Although, if you are stuck, I wouldn’t write any less than 500 words for an introduction, but again it depends on the overall word count. Consider ten percent a good benchmark.

How to structure your dissertation

Start writing your dissertation on your laptop after you know how long it should be
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Structuring your dissertation can be tricky, especially since when you start writing it. You will probably jump back and forth between different sections, which is completely normal and all part of the process. Anyway, you’ll obviously want your introduction at the beginning of the dissertation. The middle section will be your research. This is where you should talk about what you researched in your literature review, and how it relates to your topic. You should also talk about how you carried out the research and your results. This part will be different for every course. In a science-based degree, you will probably have to include graphs and evidence of physical research, whilst someone doing English will be reading and citing different works. Then, to summarise your findings, you need a conclusion, and finally a bibliography and appendices (if necessary).

What to include in your dissertation

A dissertation is probably the first big writing project most of us has ever done, and it’s really daunting wondering how you’re going to reach the word limit. Something that every dissertation needs is an understanding of current research. This will make up the bulk of most people’s dissertations, so it’s important to research as much as possible and ensure you have enough of it to include in your work. Then, you also need your own work. Whether this be findings or opinions, experiments or readings, you should include your own opinion on the topic, and what you did to reach this opinion. This is where graphs and research will help you back up the argument you’re making. You might also want to note down limitations or things future research could do differently. These are great points to make in your conclusion – just try not to be too negative on your own work.

When should you start your dissertation

How long should a dissertation he?
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The most obvious answer to this question is as soon as possible. The sooner you start, the less work you’ll have to do coming up to the deadline. Although, it can be hard to find time to write it whilst you have work for other modules as well. You should do your research, experiments and anything else you need to do before Christmas. This means after Christmas, you can start writing your dissertation knowing all the researching is done. Again, it’s best to get a first draft done as soon as possible, just so you have time to edit. If you struggle with getting work done, talk to your supervisor, since they could help keep you on track with progress. Here’s more tips on how to get your dissertation done and dusted.

How long should a dissertation conclusion be?

Writing conclusions can be difficult, since it does sound a bit like you’re repeating everything you’ve just said. Your conclusion should basically summarise the end result you came to after all the research and work you did. You should answer the question your dissertation asks, and say what backs this up, or what made you come to this conclusion. The conclusion should be around a similar length to the introduction, but should also be concise. As mentioned, it might be nice to reflect on the strengths and limitations of your study design, and how future research might improve it. You could also include a section on the contribution of your findings to the broader academic field. Find more about what to include in your conclusion here.

Hopefully this has made the whole thing less daunting. You might also want to check out our post on how to choose a dissertation title. And for those of you who’ve already submitted dissertations, read our fun article on the inevitable stages of handing in your dissertation!