Dissertation Guidance

Thread Starter


Joined Oct 22, 2011
Ok so it appears there are a few educators in the forum..
I'm currently doing my final year project at uni (english uni)
Need to do my dissertation/final report for the project..
Does anyone have any tips/templates/guidance as to the ideal format?
Never really been too great at writing reports... i can waffle on about general unrelated c**p for ages.. relevant interesting stuff.. no..
Any help much appreciated:)


Joined Mar 24, 2008
Start with an outline with all the pertinent points. This is what I do for my text book articles. It also has the advantage of allowing you to review it with your professor in less than 5 minutes without reading the unfinished writing.

If you are missing something they will be able to add it, after that it is up to you.


Joined Jul 16, 2011
Best method I've found is to pee all over your work.

P- Point: Start with a statement, your opinion or fact.
E- Example: Give at least one example which backs up your point.
E- Explain: Explain the example in context.

Occasionally you might want use have peed, in which case;

D- Develop: Develop the point and explanation, perhaps with use of historical events and context, or with other works in the genre/subject/era.


Joined Jan 6, 2004
Maybe it won't fit your needs but in my reports I always sate:

What I was aked to do.

What, when and how I did it. Being chronological is a must.

Information (data) collected along the process.

Conclusions (if required). Do not make the mistake of providing data here. Rather common mistake!

For things that have different and valid names, use only one along the whole text. Be consistent with names and units.

Data must not repeat unless necessary.

The outline, as mentioned by Bill, is a powerful tool. Word has a mode exactly for that and you can outline anything in minutes provided you know what you are talking about. It allows changes on the fly.

If you get your outline right, you have chances of your report being better organized and complete. It helps you to think in an orderly way.

And be concise, rigth to the point.
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Joined Mar 9, 2011
it also depends on the report. Is it a research on a particular topic? Is it a paper covering a project? You should have been given an outline of what is expected from you in terms of content, if not, talk to your instructors.

For all papers, in general, you have to clearly introduce your topic, provide the reader with necessary background information, give the reader an outline of what to expect in your paper and that will set up your paper for you. From then on you develop your topic with appropriate points. If it is research, then support is derived from literature sources. If it is a project, then you look at the data etc...

In short, to avoid rambling:
- define your audience (this helps to determine level of difficulty and how much background info yo provide)
- clearly state your topic
- outline your main points
- state what conclusions you want to draw

once those are done, you can go through the main points and see how you want to present them - research, experimental data, etc...

In terms of actual formatting: use sections and subsections, tables, figures and appendices