Basic Tips On Using The 5-Chapter Dissertation Format


The 5-chapter dissertation format is regularly used within the humanities and arts disciplines. This format is a simplified form to account for the lack of scientific research that usually comes with subjects like math, biology, chemistry, etc. Despite it being more direct there are still some basic rules students should follow to ensure they meet the requirements. Here are some tips to follow for each chapter:

  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • A lot of students find it easier to write the introduction to their dissertations last, after they have written all other chapters in their work. Your introduction chapter should simply provide an overview of the problem you are researching, the reasons why your work is important, and a summary of what your work is. The last paragraph of your introduction should include your thesis statement.

  • Chapter 2: Definitions
  • The second chapter should define key terms or concepts you will explore and use extensively in your work. This section will generally be pretty short. You should be careful not define every academic term you have encountered. Remember that you will be presenting your work to professionals, so you should be careful not to come off as insulting by defining unnecessary terms.

  • Chapter 3: Research Method
  • If you are indeed working within the humanities your research methods might be limited to library research. Even if this is the case you should provide some explanation towards the kinds of research your limited yourself to. For instance, perhaps you have focused your studies to content produced in the last half-century or you have used content with a specific theme.

  • Chapter 4: Main Text/Discussion
  • Your main text will put forth your arguments and evidence in support of your thesis statement. This will likely be the largest chapter you write, so it’s important that you use headings or sub-headings to break up the content and make the work easier to follow and understand. As with all of your writing you want to keep your English as clear and as concise as possible. This makes reading your dissertation more enjoyable and easier to understand.

  • Chapter 5: Conclusions
  • Finally, this last chapter should summarize what it is you have learned in your research and how it can be applied towards furthering academic work in your field. Remind the reader of your thesis statement and state whether or not your conclusions match your original hypothesis. If it doesn’t it’s okay to state the reasons why it didn’t.