How to Write a Thesis or Dissertation Introduction

The introduction is the first section of your thesis or dissertation, appearing right after the table of contents. Your introduction draws your reader in, setting the stage for your research with a clear focus, purpose, and direction on a relevant topic.

Your introduction should include:

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How to Write a Thesis or Dissertation Conclusion

The conclusion is the very last part of your thesis or dissertation. It should be concise and engaging, leaving your reader with a clear understanding of your main findings, as well as the answer to your research question.

In it, you should:

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How to Write a Results Section | Tips & Examples

A results section is where you report the main findings of the data collection and analysis you conducted for your thesis or dissertation. You should report all relevant results concisely and objectively, in a logical order. Don’t include subjective interpretations of why you found these results or what they mean—any evaluation should be saved for the discussion section.

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How to Write a Discussion Section | Tips & Examples

Discussion section flow chart

The discussion section is where you delve into the meaning, importance, and relevance of your results.

It should focus on explaining and evaluating what you found, showing how it relates to your literature review and paper or dissertation topic, and making an argument in support of your overall conclusion. It should not be a second results section.

There are different ways to write this section, but you can focus your writing around these key elements:

  • Summary: A brief recap of your key results
  • Interpretations: What do your results mean?
  • Implications: Why do your results matter?
  • Limitations: What can’t your results tell us?
  • Recommendations: Avenues for further studies or analyses
Note
There is often overlap between your discussion and conclusion, but these are usually separate sections. However, in some cases, these two sections are combined.

If you’re unsure about your field’s best practices, check out sample dissertations in your field or your departmental guidelines.

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Research Paper Appendix | Example & Templates

An appendix is a supplementary document that facilitates your reader’s understanding of your research but is not essential to your core argument. Appendices are a useful tool for providing additional information or clarification in a research paper, dissertation, or thesis without making your final product too long.

Appendices help you provide more background information and nuance about your thesis or dissertation topic without disrupting your text with too many tables and figures or other distracting elements.

We’ve prepared some examples and templates for you, for inclusions such as research protocols, survey questions, and interview transcripts. All are worthy additions to an appendix. You can download these in the format of your choice below.

Download Word doc Download Google doc

Location of appendices

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Checklist: Writing a Great Research Paper

A research paper is an extended piece of writing based on in-depth independent research. It may involve conducting empirical research or analyzing primary and secondary sources.

Writing a good research paper requires you to demonstrate a strong knowledge of your topic and advance an original argument. To convincingly communicate your ideas, you need a logical structure and a clear style that follows the conventions of academic writing.

When you’ve finished writing your paper, use this checklist to evaluate your work.

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How to Write an Abstract | Steps & Examples

How to Write an Abstract

An abstract is a short summary of a longer work (such as a thesisdissertation or research paper). The abstract concisely reports the aims and outcomes of your research, so that readers know exactly what your paper is about.

Although the structure may vary slightly depending on your discipline, your abstract should describe the purpose of your work, the methods you’ve used, and the conclusions you’ve drawn.

One common way to structure your abstract is to use the IMRaD structure. This stands for:

Abstracts are usually around 100–300 words, but there’s often a strict word limit, so make sure to check the relevant requirements.

In a dissertation or thesis, include the abstract on a separate page, after the title page and acknowledgements but before the table of contents.

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How to Write a Statement of Purpose | Example

When you apply for graduate programs or scholarships, the admissions committee is looking for more than just a list of grades. The statement of purpose (also known as a statement of intent or motivation letter) is your chance to stand out from the crowd and showcase your motivation, skills and potential. It should:

  • Outline your academic or professional interests and goals
  • Discuss relevant skills, experience and achievements
  • Demonstrate why you’d be a good fit for the program

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