How do you write a dissertation outline? In this article, you will learn how to properly write your dissertation chapters and you will also be given a dissertation outline template.

How to Write a Dissertation Outline

  1. Write the Chapter One: the Introduction

One of the ways to write a winning dissertation is by writing an introduction that properly explains your intent. What many students do not know is that the introduction and the analysis, results and discussion chapters are the ones that attract the weightier marks. So, you have to write them well. Here are some important points to note when writing your introduction:

First of all, make sure your introduction properly explains your topic, the main reason(s) for choosing your topic, and the aims of the dissertation. Your introduction should have a hook, a background, and a purpose.

The hook should be the first sentence that captures the reader’s interest. This can be a controversial statement, a shocking question, or a bold declaration.

A dissertation outline example for an introduction can be:

“The original role of journalism is to be the watchdog of society but that watchdog is asleep in today’s century.”

After writing your introduction, write the background. This could be a series of related events that led to your choosing the topic. After writing the background, write the aims of your dissertation. Usually, the aims come in the form of a list. Finally, introduce your topic.

  1. Write the Chapter Two: Review of Literature

Chapter two is usually a review of literary work that relates to the topic that you discovered in the course of your research. Now, this literature could be either hard copies or e-publications. However, it is important to mention that just because you find an article or a video online that is relevant to your topic does not mean you should cite them in your literature review. In academics, the only sources you should use for your research work are academic or authoritative materials.

Like the title implies, this is a summary of related works to your topic that you have researched but found open to further research. In this chapter, you will also show how your dissertation differs from previous research work. This way, your reader will tell that your research is original and just a slight variation of other people’s work.

  1. Write the Chapter Three: Methodology

In this chapter, you will explain the methods and tools you used in the process of your research. For some students, you may not need to write more than 1000 words. However, for other students, you may write as much as 3000 words. It all depends on how much detail goes into your research methods. It is also in this chapter that you will start to use graphs, tables, or charts to illustrate your points.

  1. Write the Chapter Four: Analysis, Results, and Discussion

For some students, the analysis, results, and discussion chapters may be further divided into another chapter: chapter five.

In this chapter, you will break down the results of your research and discuss its implications. You may also need to use graphs, charts, and other visual aids to illustrate your points. It is in your discussion chapter that you will show whether or not you have achieved the aims of your research.

  1. Write the Chapter Five: Conclusion

For some students, this may be chapter six. Here, you will give a detailed summary of what you have done from chapter one to the discussion or results chapter. It is also here that you will give recommendations and leave your research work open to further research.

  1. Write the Overview/Abstract

Although this will come before your chapter one, it is always advisable to write it after. The abstract of your dissertation is a summary of the contents of your dissertation. It is so short that some schools specify that it must be half a page or not more than one page.

  1. Add Your Bibliography, Appendices and Ethical Form

Finally, add your bibliography which is a list of all the sources you used. These sources contain information such as the author’s name, publication year, publication title, location of publisher, and the uniform resource link (URL) if it is an e-publication. You will also write the access dates. Finally, add your appendices and ethical form.

  1. Read Some Representative Examples

To get a better idea of how a dissertation outline should look like, read this example provided below. You can also look for more examples online.

Dissertation Outline


With this guide, you should be able to successfully write your dissertation sample. So, put what you have read to work.