Dissertation writing in UK style

Dissertation writing is an important milestone in the way of achieving a post graduate or Ph.D degree. Dissertation is basically a research which intends to solve a specific problem by means of collecting and analyzing data. Dissertation writing should follow some established standards regarding the content and layout.

Different citation styles for dissertation writing

There are several citation style for dissertation writing. Most common styles include:

  • Harvard style.
  • American Psychological Association (APA) style.
  • Modern Language Association (MLA) style.

The content however remains similar in every style but the referencing style and citation style differs. There are pre-established standards under every style which act as rules while writing a dissertation. Universities evaluate the dissertation on the basis of writer’s adherence to these standards. UK style of citation is one of the most commonly used.

The content of dissertation in UK style

The dissertation report generally contains the following chapters and headings in a sequential order:

  1. Abstract: The abstract is a summary of the whole dissertation which guides the readers about the content and purpose of dissertation. The abstract is short and generally written in around 100 words in the form of a paragraph.
  2. Introduction: The introduction chapter starts with the heading ‘background of the study’ to inform readers about the dissertation subject in brief. The introduction proceeds with stating the ‘problem statement’ followed by ‘aims and objectives of the study’. This informs the readers about purpose behind selecting this particular dissertation topic. Next, ‘significance of the study’ is to be provided to justify the dissertation topic. After describing the significance, the ‘limitations of the study’ are also required to be stated clearly. This informs the readers about the scope of dissertation.
  3. Literature Review: The literature review is written to explain the readers all the various aspects of dissertation topic in detail. This is a compilation of secondary data gathered from various sources. Literature review should be written under various sub-headings and in a proper flow.
  4. Research Methodology:Research methodology is written to describe various research tools used under the dissertation. This is also written into various sub-headings. Commonly following headings are written:
    1. A Brief Introduction
    2. Research Theoretical Framework
    3. Research Philosophy
    4. Research Design Strategy
    5. Data Collection
    6. Sampling Plan
    7. Limitations of the Research Methodology
    8. Ethical Issues
    9. Summary
  5. Data Analysis: The complete analysis of both primary and secondary data is depicted here using various statistical and mathematical tools. If the data is qualitative, descriptive analysis is provided.
  6. Findings, Conclusion and Recommendation: The results of the data analysis are written under ‘findings’ followed by ‘conclusion’ and ‘recommendations’ on the research problem.
  7. References: References are provided to acknowledge the sources of data collection. Different universities adopt different referencing styles.

UK ttyle of citation

Let’s have a look at the UK style of referencing. Two main aspects of citations are:

  1. In-text citation: The literature review is mostly a compilation of others’ works and therefore it needs to be properly acknowledged to avoid plagiarism. UK style prescribes an author, date system of in-text citation. At the end of the statement, the citation is provided like (surname of the author, year of publication).
  2. End-referencing:The end-referencing depends on the kind of source utilized for data collection. The referencing is done alphabetically according to the author’s name or the title of the work. The sequence and punctuation should be as following:
    1. Referencing for Books: Surname, initials of the author. Edition. (Year of Publication). Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher’s Name.
    2. Magazines/Journals: Surname, initials of the author. (Date of Publication). ‘Title of the Article’. Title of Magazine. Volume Number, Issue Number. Page Number/s.
    3. Web Resources: Surname, initials of the author. (Date of Publication). ‘Title of the Article’. Accessed on: Date. Retrieved from: URL.

Ankita Agarwal

Analyst at Project Guru
Ankita is working with the editorial board of Project Guru as a Research Analyst and Writer. With Masters in Commerce and Business Studies, Ankita learned much of what she knows about management through experience. She has previously worked in various financial institutions like Birla Global, HDFC Ltd. and Citi Financial. She is self-motivated and writes for the Knowledge Tank section of Project Guru. She has authored more than 80 articles so far in Human Resources Management, Strategic Management, Finance and Marketing. She likes to pen her thoughts about the latest issues gripping these areas across the world.

Related articles



  1. You have covered all the essential step in this article. That’s really an awesome job you have done through this platform.

  2. Thanks for the appreciation! Please keep reading!


We are looking for candidates who have completed their master's degree or Ph.D. Click here to know more about our vacancies.