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Basic Structure of a PhD Thesis


Regardless of your field or specific requirements for a dissertation, each thesis is structured basically the same. There needs to be an introduction, a body to your work and a conclusion. A Thesis is not just a collection of your work or your papers, the thesis IS your PhD, so take time to consider the proper structure for your paper. The following are some basic guidelines for organizing the knowledge you've acquired and the hard work you've put in to your analysis.

  1. Introduction – As the first sentences in your thesis, this is where you will be presenting your problem statement and introducing the basic content, including your personal contributions.
  2. Background – The background sets the tone for how your work will be read. Make sure it is specific to your field and allows the reader to understand the stance you will be taking for the duration of your thesis.
  3. Related work – Try to encompass previous work done on your topic. Has it already been done by means of application, perfomance, models or specific tools used to solve this problem? What has your contribution been to this topic? Write chronologically from the earliest related work you have found to where your idea can be expounded upon.
  4. Technical approach – Provide a brief insight into methods and tools used to assist in the solution of your problem. You should include resources used, analysis, design and the implementation or interpretation of those outcomes.
  5. Critical Assessment – Make sure to demonstrate the effects of your contributions to this project. Compare them with previous works related to your topic and exhibit how your work is an improvement or a better, alternative approach to this problem.
  6. Conclusion – Restate your hypothesis and briefly summarize how your contributions and results satisfied this hypothesis. If somewhere wants to expound on your work, where should they start and what are your recommendations? Did you encounter another problem in your research? Briefly include theses statements and the conclusion of your work.
  7. Bibliography – Make sure to site your sources alphabetically by the first author's last name. Use complete citations and credit every source used to safeguard yourself against the accusations of plagiarism.

Always keep in mind the presentation of your work. Be thorough in your statement of problems, successes, methods and structure. Show that your contribution are logical and effectual and always get feedback before you turn over your work.