You must be acquainted with “everything you need to learn about the dissertation” until this point. The first question that arises in the student’s mind is “How long should the dissertation be?” just the thought of the extensive work can give the student goosebumps. At first glimpse, it is mostly intimidating for students. But that is perfectly alright, the size justifies the reason behind the intimidation. As soon as you get into the work, believe me, it’s not as much as you are estimating. Rather, if it is carried out with proper guidance and following the step-wise instructions, it would be a manageable task.
This means that stop worrying you can turn the roller coaster fearful ride into a pleasant journey. Now coming towards the main debate:
So, there is no hard and fast rule to tell what should be the length of the dissertation. There is no fixed size where you can fit your dissertation. It varies a lot with the discipline you are enrolled in and the extent of your research.
The best answer you can find is the past dissertations of your department. You may also consult your co-supervisor, supervisor or the dissertation committee to seek a pattern of the dissertation. That will serve as an apt reference.
When you seek the reference from old dissertations, especially focus on the dissertation approved or conducted under the supervisor of your supervisor. This will not only give you a reference about the length of each section, but eventually, it will give an idea regarding the general dissertation style.
So most you can produce out of it is that go to the library’s dissertation section. Take 5 to 6 concerned dissertation samples and write the word length of each section corresponding to the section name. After viewing 5 to 6 samples you can calculate the average word length of each section.
However, in the succeeding section of the article, we will have a generic overview of the dissertation length.
You might be thinking that why is it important to remain restricted within the word limit?
All sort of scholastic writing requires the writer to write within the confined word limit given. This is necessary for quite a number of reasons. Brevity and descriptiveness are the two must-haves of academic writing and technical business writing. Students might wonder to assure brevity in their writing without compromising the descriptiveness of the content. They might confront problems in maintaining the balance. This is a skill, which can be acquired by practising only. You can understand this by the following analogy: if you want to increase the efficiency of the system then you might have to reduce the weight of your system. The same is the case with writing, using a few words you can increase the efficiency and impact of your writing.
Furthermore, it is necessary to follow the word limit if you want to publish your dissertation in a conference. Publishing the dissertation requires it to be in a particular format. This format depends upon the conference you want to present your paper.
Initially, when you will be asked to write a thesis with 15000 words or a dissertation of approximately 8000 words, it will scare you and you will surely think what will you write? But as soon as you will start writing you will see the words will be consumed at a much faster pace.
The very first thing that you have to do is to section the dissertation according to the given format. Sectioning will reduce your task readily and will give you a crystal clear idea that in how many parts you are going to break your dissertation.
As previously stated there is no rule of thumb for the word limit.
Following is a close approximation of how long your dissertation should be:
|section||Maximum page limit|
The page limit is given, because it will give a more vivid idea regarding the work you have to do in each section. Getting familiarised with the word count helps in many ways. With the clear picture of limit, you can keep a track on the scope of your work, it will save you from overworking on a particular section.
The page limit mentioned above is the general approximation of the maximum number of pages you can have for each section. So, if you find them way more than your content, then don’t lose the weight of your argument by dragging too much. Because it is the game of proving your stance not just the mere filling of the pages.
This is always a good approach to leave some room for additional content. This can be achieved by setting the word limit a little lesser than required, especially in the result and discussion section. The limit often falls short when you discuss your findings and relate them to the previous dissertations. So if you initially don’t leave some extra room in the discussion section you will, might end up confronting a mess. Then you may have to compromise on writing some useful piece of information in the discussion section, or you may have to revert and trim other sections to produce some space. So stick to the Pro tip and always leave room for the addition of extra content. This is might probable that you don’t find any need for addition, then filling up the space is far easier than restructuring the whole dissertation.
In each section of our dissertation you will have to discuss some:
Initially, you won’t be able to understand, but after writing the first draft of the dissertation you will also. Reach to this result that the key is to spend the words where it is essential. Don’t waste too much time and words discussing the peripheral information. Keep your focus on the core topic. Assign the lines or word limit for the peripheral information or format protocol of each section. Focus more on the subject of your dissertation and use words in a better way for proving your argument. For instance, the dedication and acknowledgement section is the “format protocols”. Although, these section won’t help you to acquire grades, but they ought to include in the dissertation. So keep a check on the words used in such sections.
Dissertations mostly require the students to account for all the possible options available for carrying out the methodology or for sampling the data, in addition to justifying their choice. So this is the major thing to keep a check on. This section could be “word eater”. Manage this section vigilantly. As you can’t skip any content because it might compromise the credibility of your dissertation paper. So briefly describe all the available methods for carrying out the research, data acquisition and data analysis. Write but discuss what you find more justified and significant. Allocate more room for justifying your stance.
When students are writing their dissertation for the first time they might waffle a lot. Sections like the literature review want the students to be more critical and selective. So don’t bluntly write whatever you find. Critically analyse the literature review and discuss it critically. Be your own editor.