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Basics of Writing a Dissertation

Commencing the journey of composing a dissertation is a significant task in any academic pursuit. This article delves into the fundamental aspects that constitute the foundation of a well-crafted dissertation, offering insights into the essential components and strategies guiding researchers through this scholarly odyssey.

Defining the Research Question – The Genesis of Inquiry

At the core of any dissertation lies a well-defined research question serving as the guiding star throughout the research process. Scholars, drawing inspiration from their field of study, engage in a careful process of crafting a question that not only piques academic interest but also addresses a gap in existing literature. The art of framing a research question is a delicate balance between specificity and relevance, setting the stage for a focused and purposeful investigation.

Literature Review – Contextualising the Research Landscape

The literature review, a cornerstone of dissertation writing, involves a comprehensive exploration of existing scholarship related to the chosen topic. By synthesising diverse sources, researchers situate their work within the broader context of academic discourse. This phase demands critical evaluation as scholars analyse, compare, and contrast existing studies to identify gaps, trends, and methodologies informing their own research. A robust literature review not only substantiates the research rationale but also lays the groundwork for conceptual frameworks and methodologies.

Methodology – Crafting the Research Design

The methodology section is where researchers articulate the strategies employed to answer the research question. This involves a judicious selection of research methods, data collection techniques, and analytical approaches. Whether quantitative or qualitative, the chosen methodology should align with the research objectives. A well-crafted methodology provides a roadmap for data collection and analysis, ensuring the research is both rigorous and ethical. As Creswell (2017) suggests, clarity and transparency in detailing the research design are paramount in establishing the validity of the study.

Data Collection and Analysis – Spotting Patterns and Insights

With the methodology in place, researchers proceed to collect and analyse data. This phase demands meticulous attention to detail as scholars navigate the intricacies of their chosen methods. Whether conducting surveys, interviews, or experiments, researchers must adhere to the principles of rigour and reliability. Once data is amassed, analytical techniques are applied to discern patterns, relationships, or trends. The analysis should not only address the research question but also contribute novel insights to the existing body of knowledge.

Discussion – Interpreting Findings and Significance

The discussion section serves as the platform for researchers to interpret their findings in the context of the research question and existing literature. Scholars critically evaluate the implications of their results, acknowledging limitations and suggesting avenues for future research. The discussion should be a nuanced exploration, offering insights into the broader significance of the study within the academic discipline.


In conclusion, writing a dissertation is an intellectual journey that demands commitment, critical thinking, and methodological rigour. By defining a focused research question, conducting a thorough literature review, crafting a robust methodology, and interpreting findings in a meaningful discussion, scholars contribute to the ever-evolving landscape of knowledge in their respective fields. As Booth, Colomb, and Williams (2008) emphasise in “The Craft of Research,” a well-executed dissertation is not only a culmination but also a catalyst for further scholarly exploration.


Creswell, J. W. (2017). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches (4th ed.). SAGE Publications.

Booth, W. C., Colomb, G. G., & Williams, J. M. (2008). The Craft of Research (3rd ed.). University of Chicago Press.


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