I am currently in the process of writing my masters thesis. During my research I found this another thesis and I really like the way it is organised and structured.

By structure, I mean the heading titles, the organisation of results and their order etc, for one chapter only. Although the topic of both thesis are similar but I will be presenting my own original data and results in the thesis.

Would it be ok for me to closely copy the structure of another thesis or could that be seen as plagiarism?

  • Is your plan to use it as a starting point for yours? Or to use it for yours?
    – corsiKa
    Sep 13, 2017 at 17:12
  • It is almost certainly mandatory.
    – emory
    Sep 13, 2017 at 17:20

2 Answers 2


Generally, as the purpose of the thesis is to convey information and as you are not plagiarizing the content, it should be fine to follow the organizational structure of another work, especially if it serves that purpose.

After all, most publications encourage or enforce some kind of organizational or structural guidelines in their papers.


It is usually fine to copy the organizational structure of another thesis or journal article. However, you should take a short pause just to think through whether that is the best way to structure your own writing.

As an aside, in some fields, it is almost mandatory to write your article/thesis to follow a certain organizational structure. For example, virtually all original journal articles in the health sciences follow a very standardized structure known as introduction, methods, results, and discussion (IMRAD).

Source: Sollaci, Luciana B., and Mauricio G. Pereira. "The introduction, methods, results, and discussion (IMRAD) structure: a fifty-year survey." Journal of the Medical Library Association 92.3 (2004): 364.

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