How to Create a Good Dissertation Outline

How to Create a Good Dissertation Outline

When you're working on a dissertation, this usually takes a lot of time to come up with this complex document in a proper way. Needless to say, it requires time-management and fulfilling all the small parts of the big task on time. You can find many sources and tips on how to write a successful dissertation and follow all the steps thoroughly but without a good plan, it will be difficult to fulfill this job fast.

A dissertation outline is a detailed plan that helps to create the entire document without wasting your time. A structure of any dissertation has an overall purpose of keeping students focused on the offered topic, so no time is wasted and no extra ideas are introduced while working on it. Planning a thesis academically enables collecting the required data and getting it structured scientifically in a logical way.

We suggest writing an outline due to the following reasons:

  • A proper dissertation outline will save a pile of your time. Some students think it isn't worth writing an outline and waste their time. But when you are trying to create a dissertation without an outline, you will waste even more time.
  • A good dissertation outline will help you to create a successful manuscript. Thanks to the detailed plan, you will not forget anything important and put all the paragraphs in the right order.
  • The process of making a dissertation outline will teach you to be more attentive, accurate, and thoughtful. It's a great skill when you can make a plan for your future paper before writing.
  • Thanks to the dissertation outline, you will not repeat things many times, plus you will be able to write the entire work without rereading everything from the beginning to understand what you could add.

Different professors might prefer different dissertation outline structures, yet in the majority of cases common structure consists of five sections like in general scientific paper, consisting of intro, detailed literature review, methodology, analysis of presented data, and conclusion paragraph.

Useful Hints on How to Write a Dissertation Outline

These simple but effective tips will help you to create a successful outline for the future dissertation:

  • First of all, choose a good topic for your future dissertation and make sure it's well-researchable. Before you start writing, you need to understand there are enough sources to support your arguments.
  • Choose the main thesis for your dissertation. We suggest reading journals, books, and reviews on the selected topic.
  • Discuss the chosen topic and thesis with your professor. Focus on methodology, argumentative position, and approach. Show the found sources to explain your choice.
  • When you are reading books, journals, and articles, don't forget to make notes for the dissertation outline.
  • Write each section for the dissertation according to ideas without extra explanations and introductions.
  • Create a dissertation proposal that contains notes and an appendix. 
  • Present all the details to your professor and leave out all unnecessary facts and ideas.
  • Avoid writing any new ideas in the dissertation conclusion. It's better to concentrate on the possible additional research and future objectives.
  • The list of objectives should be composed before you start writing. Use it as a checklist after your entire document is completed. 
  • Proofread your document thoroughly to find and correct all the mistakes. 

Dissertation Sections for an Outline

Remember that different dissertations will have quite different outline templates. In this guide, we will give an example of a 5-chapter outline.

  1. Introduction. This part includes a general introduction of a chosen subject plus a description of a problem you are going to highlight in your paper. You need to present to the readers the purpose of your research. Pay attention to the significance of the study. Provide all the definitions for the used terms in your manuscript. If it's necessary, you can include some additional details of your study at the end of this section.
  2. Literature Review. This chapter includes a review of the chosen problem in various sources. Add a detailed review of all the sources you have used for your dissertation outline writing. 
  3. Qualitative Methodology. This section must show your research design. It includes scientific questions, provides analysis, describes objects or participants of your future dissertation study. Then you have to create a paragraph with data collection and also an extensive analysis. Don't forget to cite sources when it's necessary. At the end of this paragraph, write a short overview of the chosen method for research.
  4. Methods of Quantitative Research. In this part of the dissertation, you need to write a description of the problem, include problem questions, and create a hypothesis. This chapter includes statistics and samples of research related to methodology. Plus, you should include what instruments you have used to collect data for your research properly. Analyze this instrumentation at the end of this part.
  5. Combined Methodology Analysis. This method requires a short overview and pattern for your strategy. Focus on your dissertation hypothesis and the main goals of your paper. Include samples and relate this part to the methods you have chosen before. Include to your analysis both opinions and citing scientific articles and journals. 
  6. Research Results. This is a chapter that explains the outcomes of your dissertation. We recommend organizing the results by hypotheses or research questions. Start from what you have found during research and make a summary at the end if it was successful or not. 
  7. Conclusion. The last paragraph of your outline must contain a detailed summary. Of course, you have provided the results above but in conclusion, you need to make analytical thoughts to comment on the outcomes and sum up results. Start with a discussion of the subject and describe your research. If possible, write suggestions for any investigation you have made additionally. Of course, don't forget to check everything not to forget any important thing. In conclusion, you can include your opinion. 

Effective Help in Creating an Outline

If it's difficult to make a successful outline for your future dissertation, it's not shameful to ask for help. First of all, you can ask your scientific supervisor and get direct help from the professor. Some students are afraid to ask but this is an advisors' job to guide you through the complex writing process. If this doesn't help a lot, ask a professional writing service to help you with the outline without wasting time.