10000 Word Dissertation Structure

Dissertation Word Count – How To Follow The Assigned Word Limit Easily?

Underwriting or overwriting; they are two of the most common errors that students make while composing their dissertations.

That is why it is important to know from the beginning how much the dissertation word count of each of the chapter should be. After you have the details of the word count of each of the sections, you can then design your schedule accordingly.

The dissertation word limit is allotted by the university where you study and the

Masters Dissertation word count

may vary from undergraduate dissertation word count or the PhD dissertation word count.

Mostly the dissertation word length is between 10,000 words to 15,000 words but some may even go up to the level of 30,000 words.

But despite the total dissertation wordcount allotted, the main problem begins when students have to break down that word ratio into the headings of the dissertation. Here they make the common error of writing more words for a section that can be explained in less count and less count for a section that deserves more words.

So what is the solution to that problem?

Well, there are many online dissertation word count breakdown calculator websites available that can help you in that aspect. One advantage that they have is that they give an option to select degree level and word count is given accordingly.

But a disadvantage that they serve is that not all of those calculators may be accurate.

So what to do now?

Below mentioned is the dissertation word count breakdown based on the 10,000 word limit. Since we are also giving you the percentage of each of the section, you can also adjust it according to your allotted word count.

This section is the first that is placed in your dissertation and consists of 10% of your total count which can sum it up to 1000 words. It usually consists of the entire ‘Whys’ in your research.

This section consists of understanding of the problem by analyzing the past issues. It usually consists of 25% of the total word count which is 2500 words.

This part usually answers to the question ‘how it is done’ and can sum up to 15-20% of the total word count which will be 1500 to 2000 in this case.

The data collected in the previous section will be presented here and can amount up to 15% of the word count which is 1500 in this case.

  • Discussion, Analysis and Data Interpretation

Here, you will comment on the findings of the data that you have found and will consist of 15-20% that is 1500 to 2000 in this case.

  • Summary, Conclusion and recommendations

This is the last section of the dissertation and will consist of your suggestions on the topic of your research. This will be 15% of the entire dissertation that is 1500 words.

Hence, follow the above mentioned word count and their percentage and you will be able to schedule your dissertation word count in no time.

The following table offers a suggested structure and approximate word count for a dissertation. This is designed to be altered according to the needs of the researcher, and the stipulations of their supervisor and institution. It is important to understand that the table is offered here only as a set of non-specific suggestions for your (hopefully!) very specific project. All dissertations are different, and your supervisor is the best person to talk to about your specific institutional, school, or college requirements, which may vary quite significantly.

Creating your own outline through discussion with your supervisor gives you both a sense of where you are in the process and what needs to be done, whilst also functioning as a reference point when completing smaller intermediary targets. The examples below illustrate a general principle of successful research espoused by this book: a larger project becomes much more manageable when broken down into smaller, clearly defined sections.


Word Count
Pre-theoretic overview500
Why this is interesting?100
Research Purpose600
Aim and Objectives300
Literature Review3000
Historical Overview (of Theory)500
Contemporary Review of Theory1500
Context for Study1000
Methodology 2000
Data Collection Technique600
Sourcing and Selecting Data200
Research Ethics200
Data Analysis Tool(s)500
Empirical Material2000
Presentation of Data500
Theory Development200
Reviewing the Aim and Objectives300
Contribution – Theory300
Contribution – Context
Contribution – Method
Contribution – Management Practice
Methodological Review300
Limitations and Further Research300
Overall Conclusion300


Picture by anneheathen under CC license.

Kevin O’Gorman is Professor of Management and Business History and Head of Business Management in the School of Languages and Management in Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. He trained in Glasgow, Salamanca and Rome as a philosopher, theologian and historian. His research interests have a dual focus: Origins, history and cultural practices of hospitality, and philosophical, ethical and cultural underpinnings of contemporary management practices. Using a wide range of methodological approaches he has published over 80 journal articles, books, chapters, and conference papers in business and management.

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