Afterword of a dissertation

Date published by Date updated: March 24, 2017

An afterword is often a reflection about the period of writing your dissertation or performing research. Write about your experiences and what you have learned, maybe take the chance to thank people.

Most students prefer to write a preface instead of an afterword. If you want to use an afterword, then place this in your document before the reference list.

What belongs in an afterword?

Reflection

In the afterword, you have room to reflect. It is important to reflect on your experiences of the past period. What have you learned, what would you do differently next time? Has your view of the research question changed?

The following questions can be answered in your afterword:

  • What went well and what did not?
  • What would you do differently next time?
  • What have you learned from the process?
  • How was the collaboration? (if you wrote the dissertation with others)
  • Who do you want to thank? (if you have not yet done this in the preface or acknowledgements)

No afterword, but you still want to reflect?

Would you rather not use an afterword, but you still want to have a separate chapter to reflect? Then replace your afterword with a ‘Reflection’ chapter.

Expression of thanks

In an afterword, you can thank the people who have helped and supported you. This is already done in many theses in the preface or in a separate acknowledgements section. So, if you have already written your acknowledgements, then omit the words of thanks from the afterword.

First-person (“I”) form

Just as with a preface or the acknowledgements, the afterword can be written in the first person. The afterword may contain a personal note, but should always remain professional.

What does not belong in the afterword?

It is important to realize that an afterword is not about the topic of the dissertation. In the afterword, you don’t write about the research and the research findings. An afterword relates only to your own experiences.

If you have points of improvement that relate to the research, then these belong in the discussion, not in the afterword.

Afterword checklist

Example afterword

We have written an example of an afterword, so you will be able to see what an afterword could look like.

View example

Is this article helpful? (your vote is anonymous)
Processing your vote...
Your vote is saved :-)
You have already voted. Thanks :-)
2 visitors think this article is helpful. 2 votes in total.
Scribbr prof

Your dissertation without language mistakes and blunders?

Get help from a professional Scribbr editor.
More info & rates » Trustpilot score of 9.8

Article by Michelle Mertens

Michelle is responsible for the support at Scribbr. Day in day out she receives many questions about thesis proofreading, how to write a thesis and how to prevent plagiarism. She loves to write clear and easy to understand articles about these topics to help students out.

Comment now