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How to Write a Thesis? PhD Thesis Format

How to Write a Thesis

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A Thesis or Dissertation is a document that presents the author’s research and findings and is submitted in support of candidature for a degree or professional qualification. Thesis statements at the primary argument and it tells supervisors what you want to ascertain. It goes to all depth of topic throughout the thesis work and in the conclusion part, the topic and its finding are summarized. In this article, ilovephd lists the PhD Dissertation or thesis format in detail to know how to write a thesis.

Also Read: 11 Differences Between a Thesis and an Article | iLovePhD

General PhD Dissertation/Thesis Format to Write a Thesis


  • Includes aspects of all parts of the paper. 
  • Introduction, Method, Results, and Discussions are part of it.
  • Is self-contained
  • A Reader can tell from the abstract alone what the paper is about ØUsually 120 words or less


  • Set the scene and problem statement. Introduce structure of thesis, state contributions.
    • States the problem the paper addresses.
    • Puts the problem in the theoretical context.
    • Cites earlier work on the problem.
    • States what the study will contribute to understanding the problem.
    • States the hypotheses of the study.


  • Demonstrate wider appreciation (context). The study should motvate the fellow researchers.
  • The problem statement and the motivation state how you want the PhD to be judged – as engineering, scientific method, theory, philosophy, etc.
  • Survey and critical assessment. Relation to your own work.
  • Extensive literature review will help you to address the research gap.


  • Discuss about the tools, techniques and the approach used to carry out the research and gather data.


  • Another person could replicate your study
  • A reader could study and tell whether conclusions are valid
  • Everything is in the past tense
  • Covers: participants, apparatus, design, procedure etc.


  • Describes the participants and their characteristics
  • Tells how the participants were selected
  • States what inducements were offered for participation
  • Lists species, strain, supplier, age, and other specifics of subjects


  • Lists equipment, computer programs, questionnaires used.
  • If apparatus is specialized, refers to articles that describe it.
  • Describe custom equipment, programs, and the like.


  • This subsection appears only in a report of an experiment, not in a survey, observational study, or the like
  • Describes the logic of the experiments.
  • Lists variables and levels of independent variables.


  • Describes steps in carrying out design.
  • Procedure subsection may be incorporated into the design.
  • List methods of control, such as randomization.
  • Summarizes specialized instructions to participants.
  • Instructions may include a scale for response

Chapter 5-6:  Data

Data part is the important chapter for every researcher how looking for how to write a thesis. it includes Analysis, design, implementation and interpretation of results.


  • Use only past tense

How the Data were handled:

  • Describes any transformations made on the data.
  • Explains any data that were eliminated from analysis

What was found:

  • States principal findings clearly.
  • Avoids description of individual subjects or individual data points.
  • Refers reader to table or figure, if applicable.
  • Doesn’t repeat detailed information found in the table.


  • Doesn’t let a description of statistics substitute for a description of results.
  • Names any statistic used and gives statistical significance of results (value of statistic, degrees of freedom, significance level).
  • Generally avoids describing trends or data points that are not statistically significant.


  • State hypothesis, and demonstrate precision, thoroughness, contribution, and comparison with closest rival.


  • Clearly states whether hypotheses were supported.
  • Interprets results.
  • Avoids introducing further results, except incidental to comparison with other published results.
  • Relates results to those of others.
  • Cites other work discussed.
  • Relates results to theory
  • Discusses limitations and weaknesses of results.
  • Avoids ad hoc explanations of difficulties.
  • Discusses implications for further research.
  • Suggests applications of findings, when appropriate.
  • Avoids undue speculation.
  • States conclusions in the present tense


  • Recommend further scope of your study based on the present work.


  • Restate contribution and make conclusions.
  • The conclusion should solve the real-time problems.

Chapter 10: Additional Information

  • Appendix
  • Bibliography

Also Read: How to Write a Research Paper? Research Paper Format

Additional General Format Guidelines to write a PhD Thesis


  • Starts on a new page.
  • Includes every citation in the text.
  • Does not include any references not cited in the text of the paper.
  • Are in alphabetical order.
  • Uses a hanging indent of five spaces.
  • Citing references at appropriate places in the paper is necessary and important to avoid plagiarism.
  • When you cite a reference, make sure that you understand its relevance to your research work.
  • The references should be listed at the end of the manuscript and each journal has its own referencing style.


  • Reflects awareness that the purpose of a figure is to communicate information. 
  • Uses graph paper for all hand-drawn graphs, but is generally computer-generated.
  • Places only one graph per page.  Exceptions include when frequency and cumulative frequency can be superimposed on the same axes.
  • Is all drawn by ruler or computer, including axes, histograms, and line graphs ØUses black (pencil or) ink only.  Do not  use colour because journals generally do not reproduce colour graphics

Size of Letters and Symbols

  • Uses letters and symbols large enough to be legible when the figure is reduced in size. (A good test is to see if you can read your graph from about 15 feet away).

Axes and their labels:

  • Generally, size graphs about two-thirds as high as they are wide. 
  • Ordinarily, has the origin (where the x and y axes cross) at zero.  If this would result in excessive white space, indicate a nonzero origin with a break.  The origin of the y-axis must be zero for a cumulative frequency.

Size of Letters and Symbols:

Uses letters and symbols large enough to be legible when the figure is reduced in size. (A good test is to see if you can read your graph from about 15 feet away).

Different Symbols, Legends:

  • Uses different symbols for data points that do not belong together and are connected by the same line.
  • Labels two or more types of symbols in a figure or defines them in a legend.  The legend appears somewhere in the white space inside the figure.

Connecting Data Points:

Connects all data points using straight lines only, unless they represent a theoretical function (such as linear regression).  Curved lines should represent relationships or theoretical equations that you have computed.

Drawing Theoretical Lines:

  • Does not treat the dots used to locate theoretical lines as data points.  (These dots are not shown in publications)
  • Does not have lines that extend past data points.
    • Exception: Frequency polygons and cumulative frequency polygons must start at zero.

Hope, this article helps you to know how to structure the thesis or dissertation from general PhD thesis format to know how to write a thesis.

Note: The guidelines for PhD Dissertation or Thesis format may vary from Universty to University.

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