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PhD Writing: Tips And Prompts

The English Literature Dissertation Format: General Guidelines


If you’ve never written a dissertation or thesis before, you should know that the format is more closely structured toward an academic book (but not a textbook) and is vastly different from an essay or paper. This project is about original research and very high scholarly quality. When writing an assignment like this, it’s important to be very organized and thorough in every part of it. It will save you a lot of time if you know ahead what you need to do, how to do it and scheduling when you will do it.

Structure for English literature dissertation


Start by reading over the points below. You need to have each of these sections for a successful thesis. Of course, if your teacher wants anything slightly different, refer to his or her instructions before writing. Any guidelines from your teacher trump these ones.

  • Title page: usually your department will have specific requirements for this page, usually including your name, department, level of degree, title of dissertation and the date you’re submitting it
  • Abstract: this is a short summary about 250 to 750 words, of your entire project
  • Content page: even though this is placed at the beginning, you should write it last—it contains all the different page numbers for each section
  • Introduction: this is a simple outline of your thesis, but unlike the abstract, the introduction should lay out the tone, engage the reader in the issue at hand, and smoothly lead into the body of the dissertation
  • Methodology: if you need to have primary research of either qualitative or quantitative, then you have to talk about the methods of your research in this section, including why and how you did it and preference over other methods
  • Review of literature: talk about the current literature available at the time of this writing, comparing your thesis to other works
  • Sequential chapters: this is the main body of your assignment, including the meat of the topic and research
  • Conclusion: summarize all the points you made in the body and fluidly close the things you introduced in the beginning, ending with something poignant
  • Bibliography: you should be working on this from the start to finish of all the other sections, as you cite sources and find new ones
  • Appendices: not all dissertations require any appendices, but if yours does, you should write extra information or include charts and diagrams related to your thesis
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