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How to write Dissertation and synopsis

How to write Dissertation and synopsis


About the Author:
Prof.(Dr.) Priya Sepaha
Director, Law Colloquy,
Author, Trainer, blogger, Youtuber

  • What is the importance of your research?

  • Which type of problem your dissertation is going to challenge or raise?

  • Why is it a problem for the research, academic, scientific, technical, the management, or legal community?

  • Why is it important for you to find a solution?

  • How are you going to search for the answers?

    YouTube video on the topic is shared below:

    A step before the Dissertation - How to write a synopsis

    Dissertation topic- The topic is the most important thing for research which should be selected wisely, e.g.:-

    • It should be specific, unambiguous, and explicit.

    • It should not be vague or prolonged.

    • It should be about the general, legal, informative, or technical issues at the national or international level.

    Introduction - It should provide a brief description of the area of the proposed research work in a very concrete, concise, and accurate manner. It must be clear rather than fuzzy and general.

    Review of Literature – The meaning of ‘Research’ is ‘to search again’. That’s why ‘review of the literature’ is an essential and very important part of any research work, which explicit the research work was done previously in the same area of the proposed research. It is essential to plan further research efficiently and in an appropriate manner. The information given in the review should be supported by references.

    Objectives of research - There must be comprehensive objectives of the research work. These objectives will indicate the aim, major aspects, and the overall purpose of the study. It should be clearly and concisely defined. These are broad statements of desired outcomes, or the general intentions of the research, which 'paint a picture' of your research work. The maximum aim or objectives should be up to three. If should not be too extensive. Make accurate use of concepts, which must be sensible and precisely described.

    Justification of the problem- Every objective needs justification. In research, it is essential to justify your objective in a concrete and impressive and remarkable manner. You may take help from the previous research work, cases, reports, etc. There is a possibility to predict the specific and general benefits likely to be achieved as a result of the completion of the proposed research by making comparisons and citing references of the previous works.

    The hypothesis of Study- Hypothesis is a statement that is to be tested for possible acceptance or rejection. Hypothesis are of two types i.e.:-

    Null (Ho) - Null hypothesis is tested for possible rejection.

    Alternative (H1)., which is tested for possible acceptance.

    Significance of Study - It emphasized the significance/ importance of the research work/study i.e. reason and aim of the selection of the topic of research.

    Statement of Problem- The researcher has to clearly identify the problem/issue selected for the thesis/ dissertation.

    Research Methodology- It means a plan of work describing the various aspects of the study in a logical sequence along with the methodologies to be employed. It helps to validate that the researcher has a fairly good idea about the nature of work likely to be involved. The methodology includes the following:-

    Sources of data: Factual information is called quantitative data. Information collected about opinions and views is called qualitative data. There are two methods for this:

    Primary research (field research) involves gathering new data that has not been collected before. For e.g., surveys using questionnaires or interviews with groups of people in a focus group and observations.

    Secondary research (desk research) involves gathering existing data that has already been produced. For example, researching the newspapers and company reports, case studies, diaries, critical incidents, portfolios, books, journals, periodicals, abstracts, indexes, directories, research reports, conference papers, market reports, annual reports, internal records of organizations, newspapers & magazines, CD-ROMs, on-line databases, Internet, videos & broadcasts.

    References and Bibliography - Synopsis should contain at the end a list of references and a bibliography if required. These should be written on a standard pattern.

    Length of a synopsis- It will be difficult to define an overall length for a synopsis for legal research in such varied fields of study. However, it should be concise as far as possible and avoid repetitions. The total length of a synopsis may run from 1500 to a few thousand words.

    Click YouTube video link for Structure of footnote and bibliography below:

    Introduction - The first chapter should include a background of the problem, and a statement of the issue. There must be clarity of the purpose of the study, followed by the research questions. Your whole research work and other chapters should be the answers to the research question you raised. You should provide clear definitions of the terms related to the work. You will also expose your assumptions and expectations of the final results.

    Literature Review –This is the most important and significant part of your research. In this chapter of the dissertation, you will review the research process in the same manner as described earlier. This part reflects your work and efforts.

    Methodology -This part of the dissertation is focused on the way you located the resources and the methods of implementation of the results. If you're writing a qualitative dissertation, you will expose the research questions, setting, participants, data collection, and data analysis processes. If, on the other hand, you're writing a quantitative dissertation, you will focus this chapter on the research questions and hypotheses, information about the population and sample, instrumentation, collection of data, and analysis of data.

    Sample size: The sample size should be normal neither too small nor too large.

    Data Collection Techniques: (Registration, Questionnaires, interviews, Direct Observations) Analysis of Data: Data is to be analyzed according to the requirement of the topic. After collecting the data, it is to be tabulated. The total variables used are to be included in the study and then the relationship between variables will be analyzed.

    Findings - This is an again very important point in the whole process of the research, for the reason that it reflects your cerebral aptitude or intellectual ability. In findings, you reiterate the research questions and discuss the outcomes.

    Conclusions - In the final chapter of the dissertation, you will summarize the study and briefly report the results and outcomes. Make an emphasis to explain how your findings make a difference in the academic community and how they are implied in practice.

    Recommendations/ Suggestions- This part is the end chapter of your research, which includes a "Recommendations for future research“, where you propose future research that will clarify the issues further. Explain why you suggest this research and what form it should take.

    Bibliography -Use the recommended citation style for your field of study, and make sure to include all sources you used during the research and writing stages.

    Difference between footnotes, references, and bibliography

    Footnotes, endnotes, references, and bibliographies are the sources and references of the materials used in the research work which is mandatory to acknowledge. If the sources are not acknowledged than it falls under the category of plagiarism.

    Footnotes- These are always mentioned at the bottom of the page only under the footer. It reflects references for each page separately.

    References/ endnotes- These are located at the end of articles or in chapters.

    Bibliography- It is always located at the end of research which is the list of all the sources and references.


    • Times New Roman, Size 10/12, 1 line spacing, Justified.

    • Add full stop after every footnote.

    • Months should be written in abbreviated forms: Jan., Feb., Mar., Apr., May, June, July, Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.


    • Volume No. (if any) NAME OF AUTHOR, TITLE OF THE BOOK pg. cited (Editors/Translators Name, edition cited year). Eg:


    • CHARLES DICKENS, BLEAK HOUSE 49-55 (Norman Page ed., Penguin Books 1971) (1853).

    Rules & Exceptions

    • Follow the font format as has been illustrated above, for e.g. the name of the author must be in SMALL CAPS.

    • The first name must always be written before the surname.

    • For two authors, write both their names separated by „&?.

    • In case of citing a book that has been edited, write „ed. or „eds. after the name of the editor. If translated, write trans. after the name of the translator. If both, then first write the editor’s name and then the translator’s name.

    • For more than two authors, editors or translators write the name of the author, editor, or translator that appears first followed by “ et al.”

    • Do not add „p? or „pp? before the page number. Just write the numerical.

    • In case the book is being published by more than one publishing house, write the name of the publisher cited after the name of the editor in sentence case.


    a) For consecutively paginated journals (Where the periodical is organized by volume and page numbers continue throughout the volume, it is a consecutively paginated periodical) Name of Author, “Title of Article”, Journal volume no. ABBREVIATION OF JOURNAL Page on which Article Begins, Page Cited (Year). Eg.

    Charles A. Reich, “The New Property”, 73 YALE L.J. 733, 737-38 (1964).

    Rules & Exceptions

    • For two authors, write both their names separated by „&?.

    • For more than two authors write the name of the author that appears first followed by “et al.”

    b) For non-consecutively paginated journals (works appearing in periodicals that are separately paginated within each issue)

    Name of Author, “Title of Article”, ABBREVIATION OF JOURNAL, date of issue as appears in the cover, at the first page of work, page cited. E.g.

    Barbara Ward,” Progress for a Small Planet”, HARV. BUS. REV., Sept.-Oct. 1979, at 89, 90.


    Author's name, Name of Article/ news report, ABBRV. OF NAME OF NEWSPAPER, Month Date, Year, at pg. no. Eg.

    Ari L. Goldman, O'Connor Warns Politicians Risk Excommunication over Abortion, N.Y. TIMES, June 15, 1990, at A1.


    When an authenticated official or exact copy of the source is available online, citation can be made as if to the original print source without any URL info appended.)

    Name of the Author, Name of the article, INSTITUTIONAL OWNER OF DOMAIN (Month date, year, time), URL. Visited on a date. Eg:

    Eric Posner, More on Section 7 of the Torture Convention, THE VOLOKH CONSPIRACY (Jan. 29, 2009, 10:04 AM), visited on 21/01/18.

    Rules & Exceptions

    • Format for a time as illustrated.

    • Don’t write available at or before the URL.

    • Write the entire URL as appears in the address bar of the browser, remove the hyperlink.


    a) U.S. cases:

    First Party v. Second Party, Reporter Vol. No., Reporter Abbreviation, First Page of Case, Specific Page Reference (Year).

    Eg: Meritor Sav. Bank v. Vinson, 477 U.S. 57, 60 (1986).

    b) Indian cases:

    Case name, (year of a reporter) Vol No. Reporter Abbreviation, First page (year of a decision if different from year of a reporter (India, if not evident from context) Eg:

    Charan Lal Sahu v Union Carbide, (1989) 1 S.C.C. 674 (India). Reporters that depart from this format shall be written in their own format. Eg:

    Jabalpur v. Shukla, A.I.R. 1976 S.C. 1207 (India).

    Rules & Exceptions:

    • Do not italicize the case name.

    • If there is more than one party, list only the first party.

    • Italicize the procedural phrases, e.g., In re, Ex parte, etc.


    a) U.S. Law

    The official name of the act, U.S.C. title number Abbreviation of Code cited sections symbols and span of sections containing statute (Date of Code edition cited). Eg:

    Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 9601-9675 (2006).

    b) U.S. Constitution

    Abbreviation of Constitution cited Abbreviation for Amendment No of amendment cited, section symbol and no. of section cited. Eg

    U.S. CONST. amend. XIV, § 2.

    LA. CONST. art. X, pt. IV. c)

    c) Indian Law

    Act name, Act No., Acts of Parliament, Year of Volume (India, if not evident from context). Eg:

    The Copyright (Amendment) Act, 1992, No. 13, Acts of Parliament, 1992 (India).

    d) Indian Constitution


    INDIA CONST. art. 1, cl. 2.


    "Ibid and Op.cit"

    • Ibid. (abbreviation for the Latin Ibidem, meaning "The same").

    Refers to the same author and source (e.g., book, journal) in the immediately preceding reference.

    • op. cit. (abbreviation for the Latin opus citatum, meaning "the work cited").

    This refers to the reference listed earlier by the same author.

    • Ibid. refers to the immediately preceding reference; op. cit. refers to the prior reference by the same author.


    R. Poirer, "Learning physics," (Academic, New York, 1993), p. 4.

    Ibid., p. 9.

    T. Eliot, "Astrophysics," (Springer, Berlin, 1989), p. 141.

    R. Builder, J Phys Chem 20(3) 1654-57, 1991.

    Eliot, op. cit., p.148.


    "Id." is an all-purpose short form citation that may be used for any cited authority except internal cross-references.

    "Id." always refers to the immediately preceding cited authority, either in the same footnote or the previous footnote so long as it is the only authority cited in the proceeding footnote.

    Sweatt v. Painter, 339 U.S. 629, 632 (1950).


    NOTE: Sources cited in explanatory parentheticals or phrases or as part of the case prior or subsequent history are not counted as intervening authorities preventing the use of "Id."

    Any change in what is being cited, such as page numbers, needs to be indicated after "Id."

    Id. at 45.


    "Supra" may be used to refer to certain types of previously cited materials as well as internal cross-references. Rule 4.2 contains a complete, detailed list of which materials may and may not be cited to using "Supra." Note, however, that in general most forms of primary legal authority (cases, statutes, etc.) should not be referred to using "Supra."

    NOTE: This is also true for materials such as restatements, legislative documents (other than hearings), and model codes that typically have similar citation formats.

    "Supra" citations are most commonly used for secondary authority, such as books and periodicals. Therefore, the most common format for a Supra short form citation consists of the author's last name followed "supra," offset by a comma. Immediately after "supra" is the word "note" in ordinary type, followed by the number of the footnote in which the authority was first cited in full:

    15. Philip D. O'Neill, Jr., Verification in an Age of Insecurity: The Future of Arms Control Compliance 45 (2010).

    25. O'neil, supra note 15.

    A pincite offset by a comma should indicate changes in what portion of the authority is being cited. An "at" is typically necessary to avoid confusion:

    28. O'neil, supra note 15, at 52.

    If a work has an institutional author, use the complete institutional name; works without an author may be cited to by the title, while unsigned student-authored law journal works should be cited by the appropriate designation such as "Note" or "Comment."

    NOTE: The typeface convention from the original source should be used for the author's name or title in a "supra" citation.


    The term 'hereinafter' is used when using another short form would be impractical, cumbersome, or confusing.

    Two typical circumstances where a "hereinafter" is appropriate are when an author name or title is long and unwieldy for a normal "supra" short-form citation and to distinguish between two or more authorities cited originally in the same footnote which could easily confuse with each other.

    To use "hereinafter," at the end of the first full citation and enclosed in square brackets, but before any explanatory parenthetical, and write "hereinafter" followed by a shortened form of the authority, typically a paraphrase of the title or designation of the type of document as long as unambiguous.

    NOTE: The shortened hereinafter form should be in the same typeface as the original.

    Subsequent citations to the authority will function as supra citations but will use the hereinafter designation in place of the full author or title.