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Writing Structure For Law Dissertations

The structure of a dissertation is quite similar to a report.

Although it will depend very much on what you are presenting, the following is an acceptable structure for a law dissertation:

  • Title Page - showing the title of the dissertation and the author
  • Abstract - summarising what the reader can expect to find in the dissertation. Be concise and don't reference or use quotes in this part (150 - 300 words)
  • Table of contents - not including the title and contents page!
  • Introduction - this should be a short summary 100 - 200 words) of what the objectives are/what you are going to write about. Background - this should assume the reader knows nothing and give them a full account of what they need to know to appreciate the issues at stake
  • Methodology - what you are going to do and how you plan on doing it (200 - 300 words)
  • Literature Review - a review of relevant theory and the most recent published information on the issue.
  • Evidence - what you have discovered and what you have concluded from it. This most not simply be descriptive but must make a considered analysis of the findings, moving towards a detailed and visionary strategy for development.
  • Conclusion - what you have discovered and what you have concluded from it. This must not simply be descriptive but must make a considered analysis of the findings, moving towards a detailed and visionary strategy for development.
  • Recommendations - where appropriate. These should emerge from the conclusion, suggest what is to be done, who is to do it and how/when it is to be done, and be justified based on findings, not just the opinion of the writer

(Adapted from Source: 'Dissertations', Stephen Ginns, July 2002)


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