A considerable emphasis is placed on the presentation of your work. The presentation is not simply judged on aesthetic character but on whether, or not, the work is presented in a clear and logical manner and is, both, technically correct and at a sufficiently high technical level. Your dissertation should convey all the required information to the reader but it must not be cluttered with unwanted information. Before you start to write, select the relevant material and arrange it logically. Write as simply, clearly and concisely as possible, and strive for objectivity. It is best to plan out the structure of a report and the contents of each section before attempting any detailed writing.
The dissertation should comprise identifiable components. You may use the following as a guideline:
Title page: Title of project and name of author.
Abstract or Summary: Should be no more than 350 words (equivalent to about one page maximum), and give a succinct but clear account of the main points of the work, the background to it and the main conclusions.
Contents: An ordered table of Chapters and section headings with page numbers.
List of tables and figures: An ordered list of tables and figures included in the dissertation with corresponding page numbers.
List of symbols and notation: A list of all mathematical symbols used together with any other relevant notations employed.
Introduction: This should be a clear exposition of the objectives of the work together with relevant background information, history, justification and scope. This is one of the most important chapters. Make sure that the reader wants to read further: if you have lost your reader by the end of the Introduction you have a struggle to get him or her back!
Literature Review or Background Theory: This provides a review of relevant theories and previous work in the subject area. You need to demonstrate sufficient level of understanding of the concepts being described though critical assessment of the context, applications and limitations, and how they relate to your project objectives.
Main body of text: These chapters contain the bulk of the thesis. It is here that, “Experimental Method”, “Design Concepts”, “Design Outline”, “Mathematical Analysis”, “Numerical Analysis” are given. These should be described in as many Chapters as are necessary to cover the work. Just which of the above sections are included will depend on the nature of your project. Make use of tables, graphs and diagrams (as necessary) to illustrate your work.
Results and Discussion: It is here that you take your results and critically evaluate and interpret them. What do your results mean? Exercise your powers of reasoning and objective thought. How do the results compare with literature and your set objectives? This separates those who merely collect data from those who understand what it means!
Conclusions: This is a summary and succinct outline of the main points you have achieved. No discussion should be included here. No information should be included which has not appeared elsewhere in the dissertation.
Recommendations and suggestions for future work: Based on what you have done, what should be done now? Should it be repeated by different methods or should it be abandoned?
References:A list of cited references appropriately numbered or identified in the text and listed here in a standard manner
Appendices: The appendices are a good place to put useful and essential information, which would otherwise clutter up the main text and disturb the flow. For example, charts, tables, risk assessment form, detailed mathematical derivations, computer programs, manufacturer’s data sheets; etc. Appendices should be properly labelled (e.g. Appendix A, B) and given appropriate titles.
The chapter headings, main headings, second and subsequent level headings should be numbered (e.g. 7, 7.1, 7.1.1 etc.).
Equations should be indented by one centimetre. Leave one line spacing between paragraph and the equation, and all equations must be numbered, e.g.
where σis the stress, Pi is the internal pressure, Do is the outer diameter and t is the wall thickness. Note that equations are part of a sentence and usual punctuations rules apply.
Figures and tables should be cited in text as "Fig. 2.1", "Table 6.4" as appropriate, where Fig.2.1 refers to the first figure in chapter 2. The figure number and title should be placed directly beneath the figure, while and table number and title should be placed directly above the table. Avoid, where possible, the use of figures, data or graphs photocopied or scanned directly from another text or manual. You should instead, where possible, adapt and carefully redraw it in your own style showing only what is relevant to your needs. Where a figure or table has been copied or adapted from another source, a reference to the source must be made in the title of the figure or table, with the phrase “Taken from [Ref]” or “Adapted from [Ref]”, where Ref should be replaced with the source reference.
(Source - University of Aberdeen School of Engineering Project Guidelines for Students)