Writing a Dissertation – A Step by Step Guide


Writing a dissertation is an important part to the fulfillment of your graduation programme. It is also a part that requires hard work and adequate preparation. Despite the preparations, dissertation writing is likely to remain a daunting task.

Most institutions have therefore come up with ways of supporting their students throughout the dissertation writing process.

Choosing your dissertation topic

Take time to think about your topic choice. It is better to begin a few days later than to start earlier only to get stuck along the way due to difficult research topic.

• Choose a topic that is personally of interest to you.

• The closer a topic is to real life issues the better. Complicated theoretical expositions will only serve to overload your projects.

• Choose as current an issue as possible. A topic such as the pros and cons of e-commerce would have been interesting 10 years ago but we have more current issues today.

• A complicated dissertation topic will be more challenging to manage so choose a simple topic.

Getting ready -what you need to know

• Anxiety usually builds up at the prospect of writing a dissertation. Do not panic!

• Understand the importance of this project to the success of your academic career.

• Make sure you fully understand the requirements set by the dissertation committee

• Think about your topic; do you have a valid research question? What will you do in carrying out your research?

• Come up with a plan of action. Create a reasonable schedule that allows you to work in bits and stick to it.

• Know what help you will require and where you may find it.

• Keep a journal and jot down ideas as they come to you.

• Create an outline keeping your purpose in mind.

• You can get help from a professional dissertation writer

Typical Dissertation Structure


This is an overview of the dissertation and is meant to give the reader a general idea of both your objective and results. You should keep it brief between 75 and 125 words.

Table of Contents Page

This displays the arrangement of the main sections and often subsections with respective page numbers. One page where possible is an appropriate length.

Chapter 1: Introduction

A detailed account of your research question and why it is worth examining. State your hypothesis here and give a summary of your conclusion. Keep it simple, clear and to the point not forgetting that the introduction should be about 10% of the entire project.

Chapter 2: Literature Review

In this chapter, you consider other people’s ideas and theories in relation to your research. You should compare and contrast at least 10 other sources and a couple of theories/models. This chapter consists of about 20% of the dissertation.

Chapter 3: Methodology

Here you outline and defend your research design. You also explain how you collected empirical data. Did you use interviews, questionnaires etc? What were the main challenges?

Chapter 4: Findings

This is an important chapter in your dissertation and also the largest. It forms about 30% of the project. This is where you bring out the findings deriving from an in-depth analysis of your empirical data. Be careful not to give your interpretation or draw conclusions here.

Chapter 5: Discussion

You are now ready to connect the evidence from your own research with aspects of your literature review as well as discuss your main finding.

Chapter 6: Conclusion

State the conclusion(s) you draw from your work clearly. What is you take on the effectiveness of your research design? Ensure that all the questions raised in earlier chapters have been addressed adequately. Indicate what further research can be done to strengthen your conclusion and give recommendation if any is required.


On a separate page, list all the references such as books, articles and websites as well as all the sources of empirical data. Entries are made in alphabetical order according to the required writing style.


This is where you add other relevant research materials such as interviews, sample questionnaires, tables etc.


Source by Jacob Mureithi

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