What to Tell in the Dissertation Outline

dissertation outline

The post-graduate wisdom says, “it does not matter how relevant your thesis is, but what matters is who your supervisor is.” However, one should not understand the meaning of this statement in the literal sense. Not every supervisor will choose a proper dissertation topic for you and help you to write a strong dissertation outline. When choosing a topic for a dissertation, assessing relevance while making an outline is not an easy task, and very little will help a graduate student make the right choice. So how do you choose an adequate topic, justify its relevance, and write a proper outline?

A dissertation outline opens with the justification of the relevance of the chosen research topic. The thesis maker should give arguments that testify the importance of the problem considered in the thesis. The relevance of the study is a practical justification for the feasibility of conducting it. It can not be included in the research, analysis, examination, etc. It is inappropriate to set an urgent task to analyze, since this formulation as a solution involves only the application of a general scientific analysis method, which in itself has no scientific and practical value.

Each scientific work is unique in its own right and has its own structure and content. Each scientific research is subject to its own logic and the preferences of the researcher, of course, acting within the framework of scientific methodology and ethics. Regarding ethics and its application to the choice of the relevance of research: if you write a dissertation for yourself as “art for art’s sake,” without any meaningful link to the relevance of the problem for the country and its population (not mentioning the paragraph at the beginning of the introduction about relevance), then we must inform you that this occupation can only be considered ethical if you pay for studying in postgraduate study or for a competition by yourself. If your defense of the dissertation is paid from the budget, that is, from the pocket of taxpayers, then it makes sense to thoroughly substantiate the relevance of the dissertation research in the dissertation proposal outline.

What to Write in the Dissertation Outline

Following the designation of the relevance of the study and determining its practical significance, it is customary to list in which areas of practice, or in what scientific sphere, and in what manner (in what form) the results given in the dissertation are used or can be used. For example, methodological developments can be recommended to scientific institutions and universities, regulatory measures can be recommended to state and government bodies, the direction of the integration processes can be recommended to international institutions, forms and types of activity can be recommended to business entities, etc. It is important that the recommendations are specific and targeted.

The section of the implementation and approbation of work shows some results that have already been achieved by the applicant. If the author has already implemented some personal scientific studies, then they indicate where (in which institutions, organizations, firms, etc.) and what developments have already been applied or accepted for use. The object of implementation can also be the educational process in universities within certain disciplines. Usually, such implementations are confirmed by appropriate acts and certificates. Approbation of the work provides that its results have become the property of a professional or scientific community. The candidate should indicate when, and at which conferences, symposiums, and seminars they made reports or speeches on the research topic.

So, in the dissertation proposal outline, you developed a working hypothesis for the research. If it is confirmed, then you can rejoice and drink champagne. And if not? This is not a failure of research, but it definitely is disappointing. After all, with an unconfirmed hypothesis, it is almost impossible to defend a thesis. Of course, if you are a born speaker and a lawyer, you can do it all. After all, dissertations have been defended without any research hypothesis at all!

Nevertheless, in the case of obtaining unsuccessful results, for you it is necessary either to reformulate the research hypothesis, or to choose a new and prospective thesis direction for the research activity.

The Chapters of the Dissertation Research

The chapters of the dissertation research (usually no less than two or three chapters) constitute the main (by volume) content of the thesis. Sometimes, instead of the chapters, students make up the structure of the dissertation from the sections (at least five), without further dividing them into paragraphs. In them, the student discovers in detail the main theoretical (fundamental) and practical (applied) theses of the dissertation research.

Headings of chapters and paragraphs of the dissertation research should correspond to the text stated in them. The content of the chapters should exactly correspond to the theme of the work and the purpose of the study. The structure (construction) of the chapters of the dissertation and their paragraphs should roughly correspond to the research tasks indicated in the introduction. In chapters and paragraphs, you should follow the logical sequence when presenting the material. So, the thesis should have internal unity. The chapters of the thesis should have approximately the same size, otherwise reviewers and interested persons will have a vague suspicion that the student did not pay proper attention to the issue under study in the shorter chapter, paragraph, or section.

At the end of each paragraph or section, conclusions and generalizations are made on the results obtained in which it is also recommended to refer to the selected publications (“the results of this paragraph are published in …”) to confirm the significance of the results. And at the end of the chapter, general conclusions about the chapter are drawn. The findings of the study are written as follows:

  • Based on the analysis of the prerequisites, both external and internal …
  • The analysis provides grounds to state that in …

In addition, it should be noted that when using ideas or developments belonging to co-authors collectively with which scientific works were written, the applicant is obliged to note this circumstance in the thesis. These references should also be made in respect of the scientific work of the applicant, performed by them alone, and in co-authorship. Should the applicant refer to their publications, the texts of which are fully contained in the thesis? It raises the question that if there are no co-authors, then why refer to yourself? Should you confirm your text with your own articles? Yes, the applicant must refer to their work, even if they completely include their texts in the thesis. In this case, all the published works of the thesis should be placed in the list of the literature of the thesis.

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