Undergraduate dissertations

Structure

A key feature of a successful dissertation is how it is organised. A clear structure enhances both the finished quality and overall impression.

Characteristics of good structure are:

  • i. The order of the discussion is natural and logical to any reader.
  • ii. The order and nature of the discussion are readily apparent from the introduction that draws a ‘map’ for any reader.
  • iii. If you use headings and subheadings, make sure they accurately reflect what follows them.
  • iv. Sections are of appropriate length e.g. if you announce that you are going to study a topic using Bourdieu’s theory of cultural capital you will need to have more than three or four lines about his theory.
  • v. Discussion and analysis develop progressively throughout the dissertation. Make sure that you keep moving your argument forward and that you are doing what you said you were going to do in your introduction.