ROUTE #1: Getting Started
ROUTE #1: Chapter-by-Chapter


Deciding what order to write up the chapters

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what order you choose to write up the various chapters in your dissertation, but we would recommend one or two approaches: (a) the traditional route and (b) our preferred route.

The traditional route

The traditional route is one that you will see a lot of students follow. It breaks the write up into three parts:

  1. Write up the core chapters first, typically chapter-by-chapter (i.e., Chapter One: Introduction, followed by Chapter Two: Literature Review, Chapter Three: Research Strategy, Chapter Four: Results and Chapter Five: Discussion/Conclusion), before finishing with the Abstract and Title;

  2. Complete your References and Appendices;

  3. Deal with Dissertation Formatting, which includes completing your Table of Contents, List of Tables and Figures and Abbreviations.

If you managed to find time to write up Chapter One: Introduction, Chapter Two: Literature Review and Chapter Three: Research Strategy before you started to analyse your data, the traditional route is often an appropriate route to take. However, we would still suggest working on your References and Dissertation Formatting before moving on to write up any more of the major chapters because this can save you a lot of time latter on (i.e., the reference list and dissertation formatting often takes a lot more time to get right than students think, and can put unnecessary time pressure on the write up process as your dissertation deadline gets closer).

Our preferred route

We suggest breaking up the write up into seven parts:

  1. Start by focusing on Dissertation Formatting because this allows you to set up your document in such a way that it is easier to update as you go along, saving you time towards the end of the dissertation process;

  2. Write up Chapter One: Introduction next because it helps to remind you what your dissertation is about, what you are trying to achieve, why it is important, and what research questions/hypotheses you will answer later on;

  3. Carry out your Data Analysis (if you haven't already) and write up Chapter Four: Results because it is not only a very challenging chapter, but can have a big influence on your available word count for the remaining chapters;

  4. Write up Chapter Two: Literature Review and Chapter Three: Research Strategy, which can be the most time consuming chapters, but which you should already know all you need to complete because of the work you did in STAGE FIVE: Building the theoretical case and STAGE SIX: Setting the research strategy;

  5. Complete the majority of your References at this stage to avoid finding yourself with insufficient time to complete these at the end of the dissertation process;

  6. Write up Chapter Five: Discussion/Conclusion, followed by your Abstract and Title, which should flow naturally from the five main chapters you have already written up (i.e., chapters one to five);

  7. Complete your Appendices, finish off any References, before updating the formatting you set up at the start of the write up process (i.e., you should be able to automatically update your Table of Contents, List of Tables and List of Figures with just a couple of clicks of the mouse!).

We prefer this approach to the traditional one we highlighted previously because we find it to (a) be the most time efficient, (b) better take into account available word count, and (c) lead to fewer nasty last minute surprises.

Moving forward...

Once you have worked through all 10 STAGES within The Route #1 Process, the Route #1: Chapter-by-Chapter section of Lærd Dissertation helps you helps you through each section of every chapter of the dissertation (i.e., from Formatting to Title, Abstract, Introduction, Literature Review, Research Strategy, Results, Discussion/Conclusions, References and Appendices).

The guides in this section will help you through the main components of writing up, whether you are following Route A: Duplication, Route B: Generalisation or Route C: Extension. In each section of every chapter, we make suggestions about (a) the structure of the chapter, (b) what components to include, and (c) what you are trying to say in each of the components, whilst (d) providing examples to highlight our suggestions. You can access the Route #1: Chapter-by-Chapter section here.

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