Dissertation Plan and Outline Tips

Dissertation writing is one of the longest and most difficult tasks a student may endure. Still, there are positive sides to consider. Unlike many essay types or team projects, it is possible to choose a certain topic of interest and explore it with due analysis and planning. It is crucial to come up with a clear dissertation plan, so there is sufficient focus on a particular topic idea. Since a dissertation requires original research using an undergraduate level writing, it is usually submitted in several sections, which makes accurate planning essential for success and clarity.

Time Management & Staying Organized

The most obvious challenge faced by students in UK universities is submitting assignments on time. Things become even more demanding when the task is to write a dissertation because it involves coming up with a preliminary research proposal, an abstract, topic relevance, and discussing the methodology. A golden rule is to start with one task at a time and progress with a draft of an outline where main objectives and research questions are stated. Such an approach helps to limit subject scope without spending extra time on materials that do not reflect the main thesis.

Start with a brief study of approved topics by taking a look at other similar works as it will help to choose between qualitative or quantitative analysis methods, depending on the subject. As the dissertation plan outline is written, a student should apply an appropriate research method, informing the supervisor about the preferred work style. Taking constant references to an already existing outline draft saves time since it is much easier to track every change or occurring idea without starting over from scratch.

Dissertation Planning Types

Most supervisors in British universities recommend following the same set of rules for every dissertation chapter. Nevertheless, it should not become static because once more literature is studied, there are inevitable changes that should be mentioned. Hence, choose among several planning methods that are suitable for your personal writing style:

  • Linear Presentation. This approach is best suited for those who like to start with the first chapter and continue without skipping parts. One task at a time method has certain limitations, but it helps to keep research on track. Consider following all suggested chapter headers.
  • A Concept Map. This slightly different dissertation planning method is based upon visual representation of each important outline aspect. It assists in overcoming writer’s block and helps introduce ideas by adding them to the concept map as they occur.
  • Preliminary Tasks List. While it can easily become time-consuming, this work style consists of things that should be done, serving as a personal to-do list. A good idea is using it during the literature review stage, ensuring that nothing is missed.

Basic Dissertation Plan Example

Abstract

Chapter 1: Introduction 

  • Background of the main topic
  • Problem statement
  • Study’s purpose
  • Topic necessity
  • Main research questions
  • Hypothesis statement with objectives
  • Terms definition

Chapter 2: Literature Review 

  • Introduction
  • Theoretical framework for research purpose
  • Empirical studies and qualitative research, if applicable
  • General summary

Chapter 3: Methodology Method 

  • Quantitative: Research design;  Samples; Classification; Procedures; Data analysis.
  • Qualitative: Research Design; Participants; Researcher’s role; Data collection; Method; Data analysis.

Chapter 4: Data Analysis & Conclusions

Final analysis of results and information, based upon the main research question.

Excellent clarity regarding how to plan a dissertation starts with an outline. It helps to keep any challenging task within the required framework.