Format of Dissertation

The different sections in the part I and II of the dissertation are formatted as per description given below. 

1) Sections In Part I.
i. Title Page
It is the very first page of dissertation. The title is a concise statement identifying actual variables or theoretical issues under investigation and the relation between them. A title should be in minimum possible words that adequately describes the contents of research work/study all the words in the title are to be chosen with great care and the association with one another properly sequenced. This is also important for indexing the study. The title does not contain any abbreviation, chemical formulae, proprietary names and jargons etc.

The title should be written on the top in bold letters, followed by full name of trainee in the order of first, middle, initial and last name alongwith the highest academic degree. Then full name of Supervisor is mentioned under whom the entire research work/study has been completed together with his/her highest academic degree. At the bottom the name of department and institution is to be given, where research work/study has been conducted. The date of submitting Dissertation is given at the lowest end of the title page.

ii. Supervisor’s Certificate
It is placed after the acknowledgement and is numbered in the Roman numeral.

iii. Dediction
It is an optional section, in which trainees normally dedicate their Dissertation to their parents, brother, sister, teachers, friends, spouses and/or children. The dedication is written in the center of a separate page in one or two lines and numbered in Roman numerals.

iv. Acknowledgement
This section is designed to offer thanks or appreciation to the efforts of individuals or organizations for help, advice or financial and material assistance extended by them during the research work/study. The trainees should not forget to mention the names of there colleagues, statisticians, the computer operator and spouse, if applicable, as well as the supervisor. This is the best place to show gratitude and appreciation. Technical help and other contributions like financial and material support are acknowledged in a separate paragraph. This section is placed after the dedication on a separate page and numbered in Roman numerals.

v. Table of Contents
It is an important section of part I that contains the main headings of the text in the dissertation, annexes and page numbers in Arabic and Roman numerals. Sub-headings are also used where necessary. Table of contents is written on separate page(s) and numbered in Roman numerals.

vi. List of Tables
All the tables of dissertation are listed together with titles and page numbers in this section. It is written on separate page(s) and numbered in Roman numerals.

vii. List of Figures / Graphs / Illustrations
All the figures, graphs and illustrations drawn for the dissertation are listed with titles and page numbers in this section. It is written on a separate page and duly numbered in Roman numerals.

viii. List of Abbreviations
A list of all the abbreviations used in the dissertation along with full words is written on separate page(s) and numbered in Roman numerals. Only standard abbreviations are used in the dissertation.

2) Sections of Part II:

i. Structured Abstract
It is the first section of the dissertation. The abstract is a brief account of the dissertation, summarizing the information given in each major section. It is different from the conclusion and identifies the basic contents of the dissertation. It is written in past tense, emphasizing on important aspects of the dissertation. The abstract is around 250 pages words written under the following headings:

  • introduction
  • objectives
  • main outcome measures,
  • study design
  • setting
  • subjects
  • methods
  • results
  • conclusions.

At the end of abstract, three to ten (3-10) key words are identified and written. Selected key words should be from the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH), List of Index

ii. Introduction
It is second section of the dissertation that presents the specific problem under study and reflects:

  • The importance of the topic selected
  • The rationale of the study and discusses the background.

Before writing introduction in the dissertation, the trainee should study relevant literature retrieved from published papers. Relevant articles are selected, which improve the understanding of the topic. Only pertinent references are cited but not extensively reviewed in this section. Rationale of the study should be mentioned at the end of introduction.

iii. Review of Literature
Review of the literature is essential. A comprehensive review of the current status of knowledge on the selected topic must be included. It should be a collective review and critique in the candidate’s own words of various viewpoints supported by relevant data, and should not be copied from published work. The review should be properly referenced. References should preferably be of the last five years, including some published in the recent past. However, older references can be cited provided they are
relevant and historical. It is essential to also include a review of the local literature. A special effort should be made to collect and review all work done in Pakistan on the chosen topic. This should include work published in recognized journals and in publications of various societies and medical colleges, as well as abstracts of meetings, conferences or seminars held in Pakistan or abroad. Data collected by others, whether published or unpublished, must be acknowledged whenever included.

iv. Objectives
Objectives are statements of intentions. They inform the reader clearly what the researcher plans to do in his/her work. The must identify the variables involved in research. Objective should start with an action verb and be sufficiently specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound (SMART).

v. Operational Definition:
May be required in some cases. It is definition of a term specifically telling how it will be measured for e.g.:

a. Morbidity: this encompass a number of aspects viz. prolonged hospital stay, severe pain, immediate complications, long term sequelac. A research must define how a vague term will be measured.
b. Efficacy: These can by measured

i. Time taken in relieve of symptoms which may be pain, fever cough heartburn etc.
ii. Taking into account number of side effects.
iii. Time taken for complete recovery student is requirement to specify how he/she will measure efficacy.

vi. Hypothesis:
A hypothesis is a statement showing expected relation between two variables. A hypothesis is needed in the following study designs:

i. All interventional studies
ii. Cohort
iii. Case control
iv. Comparative cross sectional.

vii. Material and Methods:

SETTING: Name and place where the research work has been conducted – community based or facility based (e.g. hospital, laboratory).
DURATION OF STUDY: How long did the study take.
SAMPLE SIZE: how many patients were included. If there were groups how many per group?
SAMPLING TECHNIQUE: Probability or Non probability.
Inclusion criteria: on what bases were patients inducted in the study.
Exclusion criteria: on what bases were patients be excluded from the study.
STUDY DESIGN: Mention the name of the appropriate study design.
DATA COLLECTION PROCEDURE: a detailed explanation of how the researcher performed research; how s/he measured the variable. It includes:

Identification of the study variables
Methods for collection of data
Data collection tools (proforma/ questionnaire)

DATA ANALYSIS PLAN: A brief statement about what statistical procedures have been used. The exact name of the software and its version used must also be mentioned.
REFERENCES : in Vancouver style
PROFORMA(S): must be according to the objectives  

viii. Results
The results should be in logical sequence with the main results being stated first. The data should be reported in sufficient detail to justify the conclusions. The results section should include the:

    • Number of subjects in the study at its inception.
    • Statistics describing the study population, and the number of subjects who were excluded.
    • Number of subjects dropped out, or lost at any point in the study.

  • To illustrate the main effects, the data should be presented in appropriate tables and figures.
  • Data in tables or figures should not be repeated in the text where only important observations should be summarized.
  • When data is statistically analyzed, information should be included about the tests of significance (such as chi-square or t-test) used, obtained magnitude or value of the test, the degrees of freedom, the probability level. Results should be presented in terms of confidence intervals wherever possible.
  • If one statistical test has been used throughout the manuscript, the test should be clearly stated in the methods section. If more than one statistical test have been used, the statistical tests performed should be discussed in the methods and the specific test used reported along with the results.

ix. Discussion
The writing skills of a trainee are best projected in this section of the dissertation. It is meant to fit the results of current research work into pre-existing pool of knowledge.

  • If a hypothesis existed, whether the hypothesis was supported or refuted by the results should be addressed.
  • The results of the study should be examined and interpreted, and implications described.
  • The limitations of the study should be discussed, including possible sources of bias and how these problems might affect conclusions and generatizability.
  • The implications for clinical practice, in any specific directions for future research may be offered.
  • Similarities and differences between the findings of the study and those of others should be brought out and explained through a review of the literature.
  • The study results should be placed in context with published literature.

x. Conclusion(s)
This is the last section of the text in which conclusions or inferences drawn on the basis of the results of study are described. The conclusions should be linked with the objectives of the study. Recommendations for further research may be included when appropriate e.g. if you find a statistically significant number of cases of anemia of severe degree in the school going girls of a particular area you can recommend further research to probe the cause of anemia in that area. It is important to be careful that
the conclusions should not go beyond data and should be based on the study results and population.

xi. References
CPSP follows the Vancouver reference style. References are serially numbered in the order in which these are mentioned in the text e.g., for the first cited reference the trainee may either put “1” at superscript or in parenthesis at the most relevant place in
the sentence. This reference will then be listed at serial number “1” in the References section of the Dissertation. The next reference will be marked as number “2” at superscript or in parenthesis and listed at number “2” in the References section and so on. References in the text, tables and legends are identified by Arabic numerals within parenthesis. Only reference of articles indexed/abstracted in Medline, Excerpta Medica, Extra-Med and those published in journals recognized by the Pakistan Medical & Dental Council may be listed. The trainee is expected to check all parts of each reference against the original publication, before the manuscript of the Dissertation is submitted to R.T.M.C.

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