Understanding how to structure a PhD thesis can seem like a dark, mysterious art. Yet it needn’t be. Behind each PhD is a fairly predictable and tried-and-tested structure. You start by introducing the thesis, then you lay the foundations, then you get down to business, then you discuss what you’ve found and tie it all together.
Or, put differently, we can say that a PhD is made up of four distinct sections:
In this post, I want to explain what they are, how they relate, and why thinking about your thesis in this way can help you as you plan, structure, and write it.
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1. The introduction stage
2. The foundation stage
3. The core stage
4. The synthesis stage
Your PhD thesis.
All on one page.
Use our free PhD structure template to quickly visualise every element of your thesis.
How the four sections relate to one another
- Literature review
- Theoretical framework
- Empirical chapters
- Discussion chapters