A dissertation or thesis is a document submitted in support of candidature for a degree or professional qualification presenting the author's research and findings. In some countries/universities, the word thesis or a cognate is used as part of a bachelor's or master's course, while dissertation is normally applied to a doctorate, whilst, in others, the reverse is true.
The term dissertation can at times be used to describe a treatise without relation to obtaining an academic degree. The term thesis is also used to refer to the central claim of an essay or similar work.
A typical thesis has a title page, an abstract, a table of contents, a body, comprising the various chapters, and a bibliography or (more usually) a references section.
Dissertations vary in their structure in accord with the many different areas of study (arts, humanities, social sciences, technology, etc.) and the great differences between them. Dissertations normally report on a research project of some kind, and the structure nearly always reflects this by a) introducing the research topic, with an explanation of why the subject was chosen for study, b) reviewing relevant literature and showing how this has informed the research issue, c) explaining how the research has been designed and why the research methods being used have been chosen, d) outlining the findings, e) analysing the findings and discussing them in the context of the literature reviewed.
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