A brief guide to write a dissertation | Sunday Observer

A brief guide to write a dissertation

17 October, 2021

Today’s article briefs how to write a successful dissertation in life sciences. A thesis or dissertation is a long essay involving personal research, written by the candidate for an undergraduate degree or a postgraduate degree. It is like a storyboard of a researcher. The terms thesis and dissertation are apparently identical.

Different countries and universities define terms thesis or dissertation differently. The process of writing a dissertation is considered by many to be difficult and boring, but for the successful completion of an undergraduate or postgraduate degree, writing a dissertation is a must. The experience of working on a dissertation often lays the foundation for skills development that translates into lifelong benefits. Usually, a dissertation is a document written by students after personal research. Students write a dissertation to qualify for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.

As in scientific communications, when writing a dissertation, it is essential to follow the IMRAD format (Introduction, methods, results, and discussion). The references in the dissertation are kept at the end. The title page (front cover) includes the title of the dissertation centered on the page. The full name of the student and year of presenting the work, followed by the name of the university or institution to which the dissertation is being submitted are also mentioned in the front cover.


The front page should be followed by the declaration statement in which the candidate signs and declares that the work is original and has not previously been submitted to any other university/institution for a higher degree. The table of contents comprises all the main divisions/sections of the dissertation including sub-divisions/sections with corresponding page numbers. The list of figures and the tables also follows the same arrangement as the table of contents.

A list of abbreviations used throughout your dissertation is included in the list of abbreviation page. Acknowledgements are important in a dissertation. Starting from your supervisors and advisors, you should acknowledge all the people involved. Funding agencies, non-academic members, friends and your family members who helped you to make your work successful should also be acknowledged. The abstract of your dissertation should summarise all your findings concisely. The appendices should contain all the data relating to the study that was not used in the main text.

Writing a dissertation benefits academically and professionally. One of the most important benefits of writing a dissertation is that students can present their findings under own topics. A well written dissertation can show and convince your employers that you have done a substantial work. You can also show them that you have the skills needed to do a great and excellent piece of research. They will understand that you have worked hard with dedication.

The format of the dissertation is similar to a research manuscript prepared for publication in a scientific journal. But there are significant differences between the two types. The writing pattern of a dissertation may vary from one institution to another or from one university to another. But, a research paper must conform to journal standards. It depends on the journal you publish.

A dissertation is usually reviewed by selected committee members from the same university or by experts from different countries. A scientific publication is reviewed by a panel of reviewers selected from the journal. A dissertation consists of several chapters. An article consists of several parts or sections. There is usually no specific word limit when writing a dissertation. Word limits apply to a scientific article based on journal guidelines. But a lengthy dissertation can make reviewers boring. The length of the dissertation abstract is longer than the abstract of a scientific article. A dissertation discusses the detailed research methodology used in research.

Presentation style

Specific methods and experiments performed are discussed in a scientific paper. All findings should be presented in the dissertation (negative and positive results). Only selected findings should be presented in a manuscript. A dissertation requires a full discussion of the results and findings. A brief discussion is required in a manuscript. Each university has its own set of rules for the dissertation presentation style and its length. It is useful for students to refer to past dissertations accepted by the university to get an idea of ​​the style and format they prefer. Colours such as black, blue, red and green are used in dissertation covers.

The word plagiarism has a very broad meaning. But in general, it can be simply understood as that you are copying someone else’s work or ideas without their consent. Plagiarism and data manipulation are considered a fraud that universities take seriously. Any data or information obtained from any other source should be cited. The information cited should not be arbitrarily cut and pasted. Even if it is your own thing that you have published in various journals and books, it cannot be published in your dissertation without the approval from the journal or book.

As many universities, these days, publish/store students’ dissertations in online sources, the text needs to be changed. Figures or tables need copyright approvals from the journals and books and should be mentioned with the original reference.

Journals are ready to give copyrights permission for publication purposes. If you publish such, copyright issues can arise. Nowadays, there are easily accessible online programs/software that can check tutorials for the possibility of plagiarism. Therefore, it is advisable to get your dissertations checked for plagiarism prior to submit to the university.