Dissertation Table of Contents in Word | Instructions & Examples

The table of contents is where you list the chapters and major sections of your thesis, dissertation, or research paper, alongside their page numbers. A clear and well-formatted table of contents is essential, as it demonstrates to your reader that a quality paper will follow.

The table of contents (TOC) should be placed between the abstract and the introduction. The maximum length should be two pages. Depending on the nature of your thesis, dissertation, or paper, there are a few formatting options you can choose from.

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Explanatory Research | Definition, Guide, & Examples

Explanatory research is a research method that explores why something occurs when limited information is available. It can help you increase your understanding of a given topic, ascertain how or why a particular phenomenon is occurring, and predict future occurrences.

Explanatory research can also be explained as a ’cause and effect’ model, investigating patterns and trends in existing data that haven’t been previously investigated. For this reason, it is often considered a type of causal research.

Note: Be careful not to confuse explanatory research with exploratory research, which is also preliminary in nature but instead explores a subject that hasn’t been studied in depth yet.

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What Is Peer Review? | Types & Examples

Peer review, sometimes referred to as refereeing, is the process of evaluating submissions to an academic journal. Using strict criteria, a panel of reviewers in the same subject area decides whether to accept each submission for publication.

Peer-reviewed articles are considered a highly credible source due to the stringent process they go through before publication.

There are various types of peer review. The main difference between them is to what extent the authors, reviewers, and editors know each other’s identities. The most common types are:

Relatedly, peer assessment is a process where your peers provide you with feedback on something you’ve written, based on a set of criteria or benchmarks from an instructor. They then give constructive feedback, compliments, or guidance to help you improve your draft.

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Exploratory Research | Definition, Guide, & Examples

Exploratory research is a methodology approach that investigates topics and research questions that have not previously been studied in depth.

Exploratory research is often qualitative in nature. However, a study with a large sample conducted in an exploratory manner can be quantitative as well. It is also often referred to as interpretive research or a grounded theory approach due to its flexible and open-ended nature.

Note: Be careful not to confuse exploratory research with explanatory research, which is also preliminary in nature but instead explores why a well-documented problem occurs.

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What Is a Focus Group? | Step-by-Step Guide & Examples

A focus group is a research method that brings together a small group of people to answer questions in a moderated setting. The group is chosen due to predefined demographic traits, and the questions are designed to shed light on a topic of interest.

Focus groups are a type of qualitative research. Observations of the group’s dynamic, their answers to focus group questions, and even their body language can guide future research on consumer decisions, products and services, or controversial topics.

Focus groups are often used in marketing, library science, social science, and user research disciplines. They can provide more nuanced and natural feedback than individual interviews and are easier to organise than experiments or large-scale surveys.

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Unstructured Interview | Definition, Guide & Examples

An unstructured interview is a data collection method that relies on asking participants questions to collect data on a topic. Also known as non-directive interviewing, unstructured interviews do not have a set pattern and questions are not arranged in advance.

In research, unstructured interviews are usually qualitative in nature, and they can be very helpful for social science or humanities research focusing on personal experiences.

An unstructured interview can be a particularly useful exploratory research tool. Known for being very informal and flexible, they can yield captivating responses from your participants.

Note: Unstructured interviews differ from other types of interviews because none of the questions are predetermined in topic or order. The other three most common types of interviews are:

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Semi-Structured Interview | Definition, Guide & Examples

A semi-structured interview is a data collection method that relies on asking questions within a predetermined thematic framework. However, the questions are not set in order or in phrasing.

In research, semi-structured interviews are often qualitative in nature. They are generally used as an exploratory tool in marketing, social science, survey methodology, and other research fields.

They are also common in field research with many interviewers, giving everyone the same theoretical framework, but allowing them to investigate different facets of the research question.

Note: Semi-structured interviews are a mix of structured and unstructured interviews. While a few questions are predetermined, the others aren’t planned. The other three most common types of interviews are:

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Structured Interview | Definition, Guide & Examples

A structured interview is a data collection method that relies on asking questions in a set order to collect data on a topic. It is one of four types of interviews.

In research, structured interviews are often quantitative in nature. They can also be used in qualitative research if the questions are open-ended, but this is less common.

While structured interviews are often associated with job interviews, they are also common in marketing, social science, survey methodology, and other research fields.

Note: Structured interviews differ from other types of interviews because the questions are predetermined in both topic and order. The other three most common types of interviews are:

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Types of Interviews in Research | Guide & Examples

An interview is a qualitative research method that relies on asking questions in order to collect data. Interviews involve two or more people, one of whom is the interviewer asking the questions.

There are several types of interviews, often differentiated by their level of structure. Structured interviews have predetermined questions asked in a predetermined order. Unstructured interviews are more free-flowing, and semi-structured interviews fall in between.

Interviews are commonly used in market research, social science, and ethnographic research.

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Thesis & Dissertation Acknowledgements | Tips & Examples

Acknowledgements-section

The acknowledgements section is your opportunity to thank those who have helped and supported you personally and professionally during your thesis or dissertation process.

Thesis or dissertation acknowledgements appear between your title page and abstract and should be no longer than one page.

In your acknowledgements, it’s okay to use a more informal style than is usually permitted in academic writing, as well as first-person pronouns. Acknowledgements are not considered part of the academic work itself, but rather your chance to write something more personal.

To get started, download our step-by-step template in the format of your choice below. We’ve also included sample sentence starters to help you construct your acknowledgments section from scratch.

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