I worked out a suggested structure for one of my dissertation students, and I thought I’d share it in here too. This is a suggestion only, and you might make changes depending on your own projects. But is always helpful to at least have an idea:

Chapter 1. Introduction (1.5K – 2K) 

  • Background information of your context
  • Why this research is important now?
  • The research aims and objectives
  • Describe the structure of the whole thesis

Chapter 2. Literature review (2K – 2.5K)

  • Define key concepts
  • What do we know about the research phenomena?
  • What do we know about the context of interest?
  • What are the main theories used to study this phenomenon? (you can use tables for this)
  • What are the main methods used? (you can use tables for this)
  • What are the research gaps (you connect the gaps with your research aims and objectives).

Chapter 3. Methodology (1.5K -2K)

  • Research philosophy (Positivist/Critical Realism/ Interpretivist – discuss which one is more appropriate to your own views as a researcher and the type of research you want to do).
  • Research strategy
    • Data collection method (interviews/ focus groups). You need to justify the method, and discuss the steps that the literature suggests one should follow when using the method.
    • Data analysis method (Since this post is about qualitative data, have a look at thematic analysis or template analysis – you also need to discuss why you are choosing one vs the other).
    • Sampling strategy (purposive sampling, convenience sampling ..any other?) Justify your choice and acknowledge limitations.
    • Ethical implications (consent, confidentiality, how data is going to be stored).

Chapter 4. Findings (2K – 3K)

  • RQ 1 — (Add a subheading that relates to RQ1)
    • Theme 1
    • Theme 2
    • Theme 3
  • RQ 2 —- (Add a subheading that relates to RQ2)
    • Theme 1
    • Theme 2
    • Theme 3
  • RQ 3 —(Add a subheading that relates to RQ3)
    • Theme 1
    • Theme 2

Chapter 5. Discussion (1.5K -2K)

  • You could organise this section around the same subheadings as in the findings chapter.
  • The important part of this section is to connect your findings to the wider literature:
  • If your findings support previous findings, need to connect with them and discuss the implications of that.
  • If your findings contradict previous studies – you can theorise why this might be.

Chapter 6. Conclusion (1.5K – 2K)

  • Meeting the research objectives
  • Theoretical contributions
  • Practical contributions (e.g. industry, managers)
  • Limitations
  • Areas future research
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