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Core Elements Of Dissertation

What Are the Core Elements Of Dissertation?

The core elements of a dissertation include the title page, introduction, literature review, methodology, results, conclusion, and recommendations sections. No dissertation is complete without these sections, regardless of the field of study.

Dissertations must follow guidelines set by the department, and the core elements ensure you do not deviate from set templates. These elements are the main structure of your dissertation and could determine the page length of your academic research.

Let’s see the main templates of a dissertation and vital information about each section below.

What are the Core Elements of a Dissertation?

See the major elements (and optional parts) of a dissertation below:

1.  Title page – shows the topic, student information, department and school name, and the date of submission of a dissertation.

2.  Acknowledgements – the section allows writers recognize all essential academic, research, and family contributions to the dissertation.

3.  Abstract – is a one-page, single-paragraph summary of your dissertation’s topic, objectives, methods, results, and conclusion.

4.  Table of contents – this section shows the location of all parts of your dissertation. It is an essential element to locate every section of your dissertation without stress.

5.  List of figures and tables (not a core element) – a list showing the sub-title of all diagrams or images and tables that appear in the dissertation. This section is not essential to complete some dissertations.

6.  List of abbreviations (not a core element) – a list of words that have been abbreviated throughout your dissertation and their full spelling. It is not a compulsory section in dissertations.

7.  Glossary (not a core element) – a list of technical words used throughout the dissertation, usually written alphabetically; might also appear after the appendices at your dissertation’s end. It is not a compulsory part of dissertations.

8.  Introduction – the section introduces readers to a brief background behind your topic. It also contains sub-sections critical to your research like aims, objectives, hypotheses, definition of terms, and much more.

9.  Review of literature – the literature review section helps readers gain insight about the contribution of other authors to your field of study. It provides you enough opportunities to add your knowledge to existing literature and bridge gaps in current works.

10. Theoretical framework (not a core element) – the section shows how existing theories, concepts, or models guide your dissertation.

11.  Methodology – this section holds information about methods used to retrieve results for your essay. It shows vital details about your study area, data collection and analysis tools, etc.

12.  Results – the Results section reveals vital information about how methods employed produced findings. Dissertations might have several expansive details from research in this section.

13.  Discussion – the Discussion section explains your findings based on results observed. It also shows how your findings align or are against existing research on related topics. Also, the discussion section shares information about unanticipated findings, limitations, and explanations about practical applications of findings made.

14.  Conclusion – the Conclusion section summarizes your dissertation, makes recommendations based on findings and suggests further research based on your essay

15.  Reference list/bibliography – the References page(s) list vital details about sources cited in your dissertation. The list usually contains information like author(s) names’, journal or book title, city of publication, year of publication, and other details. Your chosen referencing style (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) determines how your references list will look like.

16. Appendices (not a core element) – the Appendices section contains every detail writers cannot add to the main body of a dissertation. Some appendix sections contain lengthy tables, charts, records, and other information used to complete the dissertation.

What Next After Completing Your Dissertation?

Writing the major elements in your dissertation is only but the first step to earning your academic qualification. You need to engage a minimum of two more steps for your dissertation to really pull its weight in academic value. All you need to do after finishing the important elements in your dissertation is to:

Proofread and edit

Next, you need to proofread and edit your dissertation to ensure all sections are as they should be. At the proofreading phase, look out for typographical errors and other common mistakes linked to typing long-form text. After that, the editing stage should look for where unintentional plagiarism occurred. This stage also involves properly citing sources and lining them up in your reference list/bibliography accordingly.


Your date with a panel review committee is usually set at the beginning of the academic session. You will need to show the committee how well you understand the topic, your research, findings made, recommendations, and so on.


1.  What is a dissertation?

      A dissertation is a long-form academic essay written to contribute towards a particular or general field of study. Dissertations are written by graduate students                 seeking to fulfil requirements to earn a doctorate degree.

2.  How long should a dissertation be?

      Dissertations should be between 100 and 300+ pages. The topic, bulkiness of research material, broadness of objectives, length of results, and other factors                  determine how many pages are in a dissertation.

3.  How long does it take to complete a dissertation?

      The timeline to start and finish a dissertation differs among institutions. Research to complete a dissertation up to the defense date might take between 1½ and 3 years.

4.  What is the difference between a dissertation and a thesis?

      A dissertation is a long-form essay written to fulfil requirements for a doctoral degree while a student writes a thesis to satisfy conditions to bag a master’s degree.

5.  How many core elements of a dissertation are there?

      There are eleven (11) core elements in any dissertation. No dissertation will be complete without the core sections.

Final Word

The main elements of your dissertation must be written properly to ensure coherence of your research. Properly writing elements of your dissertation also adds valuable contributions to existing research.

Follow the template of your institution while writing a dissertation and consider vital points in this guideline closely. You should be able to complete your dissertation and include all essential sections without stress.