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The dissertation checklist

A dissertation is unlike any other paper that a student would have written. There are many elements that have to come together. It is not only about content but also about clear and persuasive writing. Students will need a checklist to go through when they are writing a dissertation. The following are the aspects that need to be considered when writing a dissertation.

  1. The various sections: a thesis needs to contain all the parts that the university requires. These might change from one university to the other but it is these parts that are normally seen in all dissertations. Abstract, Acknowledgments, Table of Contents, List of Figures and Tables, Introduction, Background / Literature Review, Materials and Methods (if it is applicable to the type of subject), chapters detailing the work, Discussion / Conclusion, Bibliography, Appendices if any.
  2. The abstract: An abstract is a very important component of the thesis. It is a description of the work and will be read by the examiner. An abstract helps the student form an expectation of the thesis in the mind of the examiner. It is a summary of the thesis and should effectively present the major elements of the work in an abridged form. In a sense the abstract is the introduction to the entire work and can function as a standalone text.
  3. Acknowledgements: it is not possible for a student to write a dissertation without any help from others. The help that has been received from friends, faculty and family has to be acknowledged by the student. This is the section where gratitude and diplomacy needs to be showed. Emotion is acceptable here but do not overdo it.
  4. Page numbers: Please ensure that the page numbers are correct and that the page numbers given in the contents page correspond to the actual page numbers of the chapters. The list of symbols and the definitions should also be accurate.
  5. The introduction and conclusion: The introduction of an essay is supposed to serve as a roadmap for the entire essay. It will give the reader an outline into what the main arguments will be and also the main points that will be covered in the paper. Usually introductions will begin with an orientation that will be a statement that gives the reader an insight into what the topic of the paper is going to be. A dissertation conclusion will briefly summarize the paper. The key findings that have been made by the students that have been mentioned in the paper will have to be mentioned. The conclusions that have been drawn from the research have to be mentioned.
  6. Literature review: you need to acknowledge the literature that has been previously written in order to get the context of your paper. It is this chapter that helps to understand what has been done in the past and what you are contributing to the subject. The key contributions and the issues and disagreements have to be highlighted in this section. The links that these offer between your research and the research of others have to be given here.
  7. The chronology: Ensure that the materials and methods chapter have the chronology correct so that the people who want to follow your style of research can do so.
  8. Details of research: the basic questions about the research that was conducted in the dissertation need to be answered. Why the student did it, what was done, how it was done, what the result was and why the work is important all have to be answered in the paper. This is regardless of the subject and academic discipline. These are all applicable to every academic discipline.
  9. Bibliography: the sources that have been used need to be acknowledged as per the referencing style that has been accepted by the university. The bibliography will contain all the sources that have been used by the student. If you do not give credit to your sources it means that you will have a paper that is plagiarised. Make sure that your paper does not have any unintentional plagiarism as well.
  10. Proofreading: this is a very important aspect of any academic paper and its importance in a paper as consequential as a dissertation cannot be overemphasized. Proofread for correct usages of grammar, punctuation, flow of the sentences, and coherence of the paragraphs and the structure of the paper. Use as many proof readings as you need. If possible use multiple people. It is always better to get another person’s opinion before submitting the paper.

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