Structure of a doctoral thesis

To finish this article, we leave a basic doctoral thesis structure, which can be of great help to start the construction of your final document:

  • Basic structure of a doctoral thesis
  • Preliminaries
  • Cover page
  • Back cover
  • Approval sheet
  • Dedication
  • Gratitude
  • General index
  • List of tables (or graphics, figures or others, do separately)
  • Summary
  • Abstract


Purpose, the theme and objectives of the work.

Justification of the investigation and relevance.

Advance some contributions that have been achieved.

Chapter I. Contextualization of the problem

  • Presentation of the topic and the problem (Describe it in a clear and detailed way, remember that this is the main input of your research)
  • Formulation of the problem (Research question)
  • Justification of the investigation (Reason for choosing the topic / problem, expected contribution of the study to the resolution of the problem)
  • Objectives of the investigation (one general and several specific)

Chapter II. Theoretical framework – referential

Theoretical, conceptual and legal bases.

Knowledge developed on the subject of study.

Chapter III. State of the question

In a doctoral thesis this is one of the most important chapters, because it is necessary to describe how the problem was approached before its investigation, and to know what conceptual references it has and can use as support in the construction of the thesis.

It should indicate the bibliographic data, the objective or general problem, the collection instruments used and the conclusions.

Chapter IV. Methodological framework

The basic parts are:

  • Type and approach of investigation.
  • Information sources.
  • Techniques for collecting and analyzing information.


Population and sample

Investigative procedure. (This section is important because it describes step by step the process the researcher followed to arrive at the results, from how he designed the instruments, how he applied them, how the data were analyzed, etc.)

Chapter V. Presentation of results

This point can include one or several chapters depending on the investigation, the important thing is to take the necessary pages to describe in detail all the findings of the study. Here you must include graphs, tables, diagrams, maps, etc. that serve as support to present them.

You can present the results like this:

  • For each instrument or technique applied.
  • For each category of study in case of having defined categories at the beginning of the investigation.
  • For each specific objective.
  • According to the systematization of the problem.
  • For each hypothesis drawn in the study.
  • According to the steps defined in the previous chapter (Procedure).

Chapter VI. Analysis and discussion of results

In this chapter you have the opportunity to say what the results you obtained mean, and contrast them with both theory and previous research.

It can complement or refute positions of other authors; accept or reject their hypothesis; verify the fulfillment of its objectives; and most importantly, describe why your research is relevant to your area of ​​study and how it contributes to solving the selected problem.

Chapter VII. Conclusions

They are made according to the objectives set, in it must write the main achievements after implementing the methodology.

Chapter VIII. Proposal for a solution to the problem

At this point he has arrived at where he must raise the final contribution of his study; here he can formulate plans for intervention or improvement to the problem, he can describe the new theoretical or methodological approach to which he arrived with his study, etc. In other words, it is your opportunity to show your personal stance in front of the problem and your alternative solution.


List all authors referenced throughout the investigation.


Include them sequentially according to how you mentioned them throughout the text.