You can generate a table of contents automatically in Word. If you have used a lot of tables and figures in your dissertation, you should itemise them in a numbered list. You can automatically generate this list using the Insert Caption feature in Word. If you have used a lot of abbreviations in your dissertation, you can include them in an alphabetised list of abbreviations so that the reader can easily look up their meanings.
If you have used a lot of highly specialised terms that will not be familiar to your reader, it might be a good idea to include a glossary.
How to structure a dissertation
List the terms alphabetically and explain each term with a brief description or definition. The introduction should:. Everything in the introduction should be clear, engaging, and relevant to your research. By the end, the reader should understand the what , why and how of your research. Not sure how? Read our guide on how to write a dissertation introduction. Before you start on your research, you should have conducted a literature review to gain a thorough understanding of the academic work that already exists on your topic.
This means:. For example, it might aim to show how your research:. The literature review often becomes the basis for a theoretical framework , in which you define and analyse the key theories, concepts and models that frame your research. In this section you can answer descriptive research questions about the relationship between concepts or variables. The methodology chapter or section describes how you conducted your research, allowing your reader to assess its validity.
You should generally include:. Your aim in the methodology is to accurately report what you did, as well as convincing the reader that this was the best approach to answering your research questions or objectives. Next, you report the results of your research. You can structure this section around sub-questions, hypotheses, or topics. Only report results that are relevant to your objectives and research questions. In some disciplines, the results section is strictly separated from the discussion, while in others the two are combined.
For example, for qualitative methods like in-depth interviews, the presentation of the data will often be woven together with discussion and analysis, while in quantitative and experimental research, the results should be presented separately before you discuss their meaning. In the results section it can often be helpful to include tables, graphs and charts.
Full versions of your data such as interview transcripts can be included as an appendix.
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Here you should interpret the results in detail, discussing whether they met your expectations and how well they fit with the framework that you built in earlier chapters. If any of the results were unexpected, offer explanations for why this might be. He encouraged physicians to be curious and to investigate for themselves.
Structure of Research
Despite this urging, however, his work remained unchallenged for more than 1, years. Andreas van Wesel — , known more commonly by his Latinized name Vesalius, was among the first physicians to question Galen's authority. He was born in the early sixteenth century into a prominent Dutch medical family that had long served the Holy Roman Emperors. Early in his career Vesalius began to perform human dissections, challenging Galen's dominance with the results. Since Galen had never dissected a human corpse, Vesalius published corrections to his writings, showing many flaws born of blind comparison between humans and animals.
Medieval understanding of the nervous system was basically limited to observations of animal anatomy, tempered by philosophies prevailing since antiquity. The influence of Greek physician Galen of Pergamum AD — on medical theory and practice was dominant in Europe throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance. Galen considered the best physicians were also philosophers, and that philosophy promoted medicine. Galenic tradition held that illness was a result of an imbalance of body fluids, or humors. While dissecting calves, Galen noticed a network of nerves and vessels at the base of the calf brain that he mistakenly assumed also existed in humans.
Galen labeled this area the rete mirabile, and stated that this was the site where vital life spirits were transformed into man's animal spirits. After the advent of Christianity, these spirits were unified into the concept of a Christian soul, and physicians debated the soul's base in the human body, presumably in either the heart or the brain. One of the first discoveries in paleontology was made possible by the use of comparative morphology. In Italian fishermen caught a large shark. It was sent to Niels Steensen — , better known by his Italian name, Nicolaus Steno , who was a Danish anatomist working in Florence.
Steno realized that these stones were fossilized sharks' teeth, and that over time, the living material had been replaced by stone. Comparative morphology also played a large role in the early classification of plant and animal species.
His system was based on the characteristics of plants' male and female sex organs. He grouped them by type then compiled broader groups based on shared characteristics, relying heavily on comparative morphology. Linnaeus's work allowed a vast number of plants and animals to be classified systematically, based not on artificial categories such as domestic animals but on common traits.
His work formed the foundation of modern taxonomy; his method of comparative morphology is still the starting point for classification. Comparing the features of one organism to another helps scientists learn about both. While logic decrees that those with the most similar morphology are most closely related, natural selection sometimes gives unrelated organisms similar forms. Structures that develop in similar ways because they share a common origin are called homologous.
The front appendages of most mammals are a very broad type of homologous structure. Those that do not arise from a similar origin are analogous structures. These develop when a similar environment exerts similar evolutionary pressures on different organisms; examples are the similar shape of dolphins and fish, or the wings of birds and bats. A striking example of evolutionary homology convergent adaptation is the similarity between the eyes of animals in different zoological phyla, such as squid and octopuses, which are mollusks, and those of vertebrates, including animals and humans.
Comparative morphology also provides support for the theory of evolution. By studying both living organisms and the fossils of their extinct ancestors, zoologists and paleontologists can draw conclusions about their origins. By studying fossils, scientists can see how elephants evolved from small, trunkless animals, or how whales evolved from quadrupedal land mammals, losing their back legs as they adapted to life in the sea.
Some of the strongest evidence of evolution comes from comparative studies—comparing structural similarities of organisms to determine their evolutionary relationships. Organisms with similar anatomical features are assumed to be relatively closely related evolutionarily, and they are assumed to share a common ancestor.
As a result of the study of evolutionary relationships, anatomical similarities and differences are important factors in determining and establishing classification of organisms. Some organisms have anatomical structures that are very similar in embryological development and form, but very different in function. These are called homologous structures.
Teaching and exams
Since these structures are so similar, they indicate an evolutionary relationship and a common ancestor of the species that possess them. A clear example of homologous structures is the forelimb of mammals. When examined closely, the forelimbs of humans, whales, dogs, and bats all are very similar in structure.
Each possesses the same number of bones, arranged in almost the same way. While they have different external features and they function in different ways, the embryological development and anatomical similarities in form are striking. By comparing the anatomy of these organisms, scientists have determined that they share a common evolutionary ancestor, and, in an evolutionary sense, they are relatively closely related.