Creating a Doctoral Dissertation Outline: General Advice 

A dissertation outline is created immediately after deciding on the topic of your doctoral project. It summarizes all things you should do and ideas you should develop in your paper. It helps you stay organized and not miss any points that may turn to be vital for your academic success. Your outline will consist of two parts: a plan of what you should do and a selection of thoughts and ideas that should be covered in each part of your doctoral dissertation. Here are some tips on how to approach your outline effectively:

  1. Organize your to-do plan it in the same order as you are going to accomplish the tasks.
  2. It will look like a list of activities with consistent and overlapping points.

  3. Don’t spend too much time working on your to-do plan. Start researching and writing, and complement your further goals in the process.
  4. Choose the most suitable method of representing your ideas.
  5. There are two main methods of presentation your ideas in a doctoral dissertation outline: linear planning and concept-mapping. In a linear form of planning, your outline will look like a list of ideas in the order of their development. Concept-mapping, on the contrary, is not so organized and is targeted at visualizing your thoughts in a kind of map. Remember though that if you choose a concept-mapping method for outlining your plans, you will anyway have to transfer it into a linear form to see the right order.

  6. When outlining, be sure to include your dissertation ideas in each of the following points:
    • Introduction.
    • Why did you pick this topic?
    • Research question.
    • Can you explain the meaning of all terms in your research question?
    • Literature review.
    • What scientific works do you refer to when researching the question? What are the key ideas?
    • Methodology.
    • Why do you choose these methods in particular? How will you process the data?
    • Theories in the field.
    • Is your argument supported by any scholars? Are there any opposite views?
    • Conclusions.
    • What conclusions can you draw from the research? How can your research question be developed further?
    • Bibliography.
  7. Improve your outline in the process of writing your doctoral paper. Remember that you may come across lots of new and unexpected ideas in the process of researching your dissertation topic, and changing some points is inevitable sometimes. Be flexible, make your corrections if needed, and your outline will efficiently demonstrate all the job to be done.

Published on November 18th, 2016

 
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