What Do Theses and Dissertations Look Like?
As you embark upon this important element of your academic career, you should be aware of what a dissertation or thesis looks like. After all, how can you write a dissertation chapter if you've never read one before? Advisers often focus on the content of your dissertation or thesis since this is the culmination of a stage of your academic career and as such should showcase your writing, research, and critical thinking skills-but the form of a dissertation or thesis is tougher to teach.
In every discipline there are expectations as to what a dissertation or thesis should include and how it should be formatted. Even though as a writer you have control over how to explain your ideas and how to organize them within the text, scholars in your field have agreed upon how a dissertation/thesis should be organized, what certain chapters you should include, or how many chapters (minimum) a dissertation or thesis should have, and how those are formatted, just as an example. This is where seeing and reading what other writers within your discipline and department have done will be helpful-and you should do this sooner rather than later.
Reading not just for content but also for form will help you understand better how to put together your dissertation or thesis.