Dissertation Outline Format Chapter

Dissertation Outline Format | Chapter by Chapter Guide

The dissertation outline is your framework that will guide your writing process. Generally, the outline would consist of four or five chapters. The third chapter outline would vary depending on the methodology design. Usually, four-chapter dissertations would have the literature review already incorporated in chapter one.

Chapters would have different variations as approved by the Dissertation Committee. However, a typical five-chapter dissertation would follow this outline format:

Chapter 1: Introduction

The first chapter of your dissertation. The introduction should introduce the topic of your research and state the problem. This is the overview of the research and is the starting point of your dissertation.

• Overview

State briefly the reason for the study and what questions your study is trying to answer. You do not need to be detailed as you will have them discussed in further chapters.

• Statement of the problem

Discuss the problem your research will address. State the gaps that your research will try to fill. Provide a brief discussion of the underlying causes or speculations and the resulting consequences.

• Research Questions and Hypotheses

Define your research questions and hypotheses that will guide the direction of the research. Your research questions should be clear, concise, and seek answer to the specific problem you previously mentioned.

Hypotheses is based on a previous research and is used when there is already an existing knowledge on the chosen topic. The prediction is either confirmed or disproved by the data collected through the research.

• Importance of the Study

Discuss the significance of the study. How the research can potentially benefit or add value to the intended audience or to the existing literature.

• Scope of the Study

Define the things that your study will cover. You will narrow your scope to a specific niche that your research will target.

• Limitations and Generalizability

Define the limitations and constraints on the methodology of study that are beyond the control of the researcher. These limitations will impact the interpretation of the findings. Generalizability describes the applicability of the findings outside the scope of research.

• Definition of Terms

Provide definition of key terms relevant to the study.

Chapter 2: Review of the Literature

This chapter provides a review of the current literature related to the topic of the study. The intent is to show the knowledge of the researcher in the area of study. The literature reviewed should support your theoretical framework.

Present your topics, offer evidence, and draw your conclusions. You will also discuss the origin of the theory and its relevance to the study. Finally provide a summary of the main points discussed in this chapter. This should set the stage for your third chapter.

• Introduction and Description

Presentation of the topic or issue. Discuss how and where your research fit in the subject area. Discuss why you chose to review the literature and the rationale for choosing.

• Evaluation

Provide an analysis of the issues, propositions, and conclusions found in the literature. Synthesize, compare the issues, propositions, and results.

• Conclusion

Summarize and synthesize in the context of your topic. Provide suggestions for further study. Identify the gaps in the literature which your research will aim to fill.

Chapter 3: Methodology

The purpose of the study is to educate the reader on how you will carry out the research. You have already defined the problem and justified the reason why there is a need to conduct the study. You will now introduce and discuss the methods of how you will collect the data to answer you research questions.

• Participants

Define the human subjects who will be included in the study. Provide details about your subjects and the methods that will be used, criteria, and the sample size.

• Measures

Measure or instrumentation section provides a description of measurement technique that will be used in the research. Provide proper citations for published techniques. For unpublished measurement, add them in your appendices and provided details about that relevant measurement technique.

• Research Design

Description of research design, terminologies, dependent and independent variables.

• Procedures

Be as detailed as possible to ensure replicability of the study.

• Data Analysis

This should link back to the hypotheses and research questions. Provide a description of the assumptions and rational for choosing the statistical technique.

Chapter 4: Results

The results and findings of the study is presented in this chapter. They should be presented in a specific order according to research questions or hypotheses.

• Text

While all results should be indicated, much detail should be focused on the most important findings.

• Statistics, Tables, Graphs, Charts

Limit the number of visuals that are relevant to the main points of the findings only.

Chapter 5: Discussion

• Summary

Provide a summary of the results and answer the research questions and hypotheses.

• Conclusion

Discuss the implications, refer to the literature review, the conceptual framework, and the limitations of the study.

• Interpretation

Interpret statistically relevant results.

• Recommendation

Provide suggestions or recommendations based on the results for future study.



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