A Detailed Guide to Different Sections of a PhD Dissertation

PhD Dissertation
Throughout the world, doctoral research programs are necessary for developing the higher education system. The educationist and researchers seem more conscious about the quality of their PhD research. The consciousness is somewhat right. Further, the PhD dissertation is an important part of your degree. Moreover, it provides ways for further research. Later on, many students take guidance from the previous PhD dissertations. Yet, to meet the standards, a scholar must know the different sections of a PhD dissertation.

Sections of a PhD Dissertation:

There are a finite number of sections of a PhD dissertation. The student must draft their dissertation by dividing it into six sections. For each section, the students must use the word ‘chapter’. Further, for each chapter, there must be a Number.
  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • Chapter 2: Literature review
  • Chapter 3: Methodology
  • Chapter 4: Results
  • Chapter 5: Discussion
  • Chapter 6: Conclusion

Every section of a PhD dissertation has its own importance and requirement. Given below are some rules or essentials for drafting sections of a PhD dissertation.

An Introduction:

In this section of a PhD dissertation, the scholar should introduce the terminologies. This is a section to discuss the significance of the research. It involves details regarding the problem statement. The writer should know that the reader does not have any prior information about the topic. So, try to introduce the problem statement in a way that the reader can quickly understand. Hence, to write the first section, the following part will help you.
  1. This chapter must consist of many sub-heads. The first paragraph of the introduction must give a brief background. The background must be very relevant to the topic. Further, it must contain a thesis statement. The thesis statement will help to develop coherency throughout the dissertation.
  2. After background, the second section must contain the rationale of the study. The rationale tells the reader what changes a current research can bring to society.
  3. At the last of the introduction section, there should be the following heads;
  • Research questions
  • Aims and objectives of the research

A Literature Review:

The second section in a PhD dissertation is the literature review. In this section, the writer needs to explore the work done by other scholars. This is a platform to give the theoretical proof of the problem under study. It includes theoretical frameworks that a writer should follow in the remaining chapters. This section aims to cite all previous research relevant to the topic in one place.

Further in this section of a dissertation, the scholar finds a literature gap. By identifying the literature gap, a PhD scholar can increase the generalisation of his study. In short, here, a student identifies what the world already knows about the topic? It also explains what we should further investigate about a topic?

Methodology Section:

The structure of the methodology section depends upon the field of the study. Researches that perform experiments to validate the findings have different methodology structures. It involves all the steps a researcher used in an experiment. It states protocols as well as the apparatus necessary to replicate a process. But in business and management, we can organise the methodology section by two methods.
  • Sunders’ Research Onion
  • Honeycomb Model- Wilson

Results Section:

After setting the methodology and evaluating the previous researchers, the next section is testing the relationship between different variables. It includes all analysis and results. In experimental research, it includes the graphic representation of the relations between the variables. In other fields, it states the relationships by using statistical analysis. In this section, you need to write the findings. Once you have analysed the data, the next important step is discussion of this data.

Discussion Section:

In this section, the scholar must give the possible reasons by adding their personal note for the findings. It aims to prove the current research findings by comparing them with others' work. The other’s work may support or oppose the finding. In both cases, the scholar should give probable reasons. It deals with the Why aspects of the findings of a research.


The last section of a PhD dissertation is the conclusion. Like, all academic tasks, it must start with the problem statement. In the remaining part of the conclusion, the PhD scholar must state the research findings. Further, it can also include the future perspectives of the research. It looks good when you end your PhD dissertation with future research suggestions.

In a nutshell, every section of PhD dissertation is important. You cannot afford to miss any of the above-mentioned heads.