Warning - all suggestions below are for a dissertation on language learning. Rules in other topics are likely to be similar, but different.
A common structure
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Literature Review
Chapter 3: Methods
Chapter 4: Results
Chapter 5: Discussion
Not everyone does it this way
- The Introduction often includes the Literature review
- Sometimes there is no section heading for the Introduction
- If the Discussion is long, there is sometimes a separate Conclusion
- follow the rules you are given
- read some good examples by previous students
A more detailed look at a possible table of contents
Chapter 1. Introduction
1.1. Aims and audience
1.3. Context and participants
1.4. Literature Topic 1
1.5. Literature Topic 2
1.6. Literature Topic 3
1.7. Summary of Literature
1.8. Research Questions
Chapter 2. Methodology
2.1. Research Framework
2.2. Participants and Context
2.3.1 Interview schedule
Chapter 3. Results
3.1. Theme/Part/Answer 1
3.2. Theme/Part/Answer 2
3.3. Theme/Part/Answer 3
3.4. Theme/Part/Answer 4
3.5. Theme/Part/Answer 5
Chapter 4. Discussion
4.1. Summary of Results
4.2. Suggestions for future research
4.3. Limitations of the research
Appendix 1: Long data
Appendix 2: Long Questionnaire
- Double check your cohesion: if you say "Section 3.1 below looks at X" - please check it is still 3.1, and is still below
- Split it up into stages (chapter deadlines/friend check/teacher check/final draft/paper copy bound and printer). Put these in your calendar
- follow academic conventions
- Average sentence length in an academic report is 20 words or so.
- Avoid over-using the passive (It was noticed that....)
- "Data" is plural, so "As the data shows" is technically wrong (not everyone agrees).
- Use styles for section headings
- less time spent fiddling
- you can autogenerate your table of contents, list of tables and list of figures.
- Watch (link)
- Read the University rules.
- Look at some dissertations by your sempai.
- There are probably rules for margins, binding, paper, font, page numbers, etc
- My preferences, if the university says nothing:
- Left justified 12 point, double spaced Times New Roman font.
- Do not double space tables and references.
- 2cm left margin, 1cm top right and bottom.
- APA style. Here is an example from OWL at Purdue: (link)