How to Format Your Dissertation

This is a general guide on how to format your dissertation the right way. You are also advised to check the course or program information and materials provided by teaching staff, including your project supervisor, for subject-specific guidance.

Formatting Your Dissertation

When formatting thesis or dissertation, there are some issues to consider that can help you avoid delays in the approval process due to formatting or conflicts with supervisors. Thus, it is advisable that prior to starting the writing process of the dissertation, please visit the graduate school guideline and review the Thesis and Dissertation Formatting Guide.

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How to Format Your Dissertation

The format of your dissertation paper is often determined by the instructions from your supervisor or department. Most students find t difficult to format their dissertation papers because it includes many requirements correctly. A dissertation formatting should mainly have page numbers and a table of contents for all programs. In addition, your paper format is often guided by the citation style you prefer, for example, MLA, APA Chicago and Harvard. The following is a list of aspects you should fulfil while formatting your dissertation:

  1. Font, font size and line spacing
  2. Title page
  3. Tables of figures and contents
  4. Styles and syntax
  5. Referencing
  6. Headers and footers
  7. Number your pages correctly
  8. Structure

So, let us now evaluate this list one aspect at a time:

  1. Font, font size and line spacing

Your font size and font type should be professional. A default font may include Calibri, Times New Roman and Verdana. These fonts are mostly preferred when writing a professional or educational paper. Your font size should be primarily 10 or 12. In addition, ensure that your spacing line is 1.5 or 1.15, as this makes your document readable and provides a space for your supervisor to post comments between the lines. These formats enhance neatness in your work.

  1. Title page

Every dissertation document should begin with a title page which should be very concise and provide a clear and accurate description of your dissertation. Your title page should not include any other information from your body and should not share a page with your abstract. Therefore, ensure that your title page starts on a new page.

  1. Tables of figures and contents

When writing your dissertation, ensure that you create a table of contents and tables that are well labelled and matched with their page numbers. In your list of contents and figures, ensure that you include contents and figures available in your research work. This format allows you to locate specific contents and tables within your dissertation easily.

  1. Style and syntax

When writing your dissertation, employ different heading styles to help the reader differentiate between chapters, headers and sub-headers. For example, you may use bold letters for headings and italicise sub-headers, or you could use different numbering forms to distinguish between them. When you choose a specific style for your work, ensure to use it consistently throughout your research work.

  1. Referencing

Referencing is essential when writing your dissertation paper because it expresses originality in your work as it identifies sources you consulted while doing your research. These referencing styles must be fixed in your text appropriately and accurately. Referencing styles include APA, MLA, Harvard and Chicago referencing styles. These styles often depend on the instructions from the institution. However, if instructions are not provided, you could use any of these referencing styles. Lastly, before submitting your work to your faculty department, it is vital to run your document against a plagiarism detector to ensure that your work is original.

  1. Headers and footers

A header is a portion that shows at the top of the page, while a footer is a piece that appears at the bottom. Headers and footers are necessary for your work to appear professional. Furthermore, headers and footers inform the reader about what comes before or after the present document. Page numbers, dates, and the title of your dissertation are all included in the headers and footers. It is not necessary to include headers and footers in your dissertation document; instead, it is often determined by your institution or instructions from your tutor.

  1. Number your pages correctly

Page numbering is essential in helping readers easily locate information in your dissertation and determine the complete text’s size. Always ensure to number your pages properly to avoid confusion. In most dissertations, page numbers often appear at the bottom right-hand corner of your document. The page number should appear in your entire document except for preliminary pages such as abstracts, table of contents, and preface. Preliminary pages should use roman numerals.

  1. Structure

After ensuring that every part of your dissertation is correctly formatted, provide that your headers and sub-headers are placed under the right chapter. A well-formatted structure gives your dissertation document a good flow of information. Your dissertation structure should include the following:

  • Abstract: An abstract is a brief discussion of what is in your main dissertation. This section of your dissertation should not be lengthy, usually one paragraph of your entire dissertation.
  • Introduction: An introductory part of your dissertation should briefly introduce your topic of study, state your research work’s aims and objectives, and state your research questions.
  • Literature review: The literature review section introduces and discusses other research sources relevant to your study topic. This chapter should only discuss sources used to support your research work. In addition, this chapter should help you identify gaps in your research area that needs to be filled through research.
  • Methodology: This chapter of your dissertation includes data collection and analysis methods that will be used in your research study. The methodology chapter also helps determine your sample population and acts as a guide for collecting necessary data that fulfils your research goals.
  • Discussion: The discussion section of your dissertation describes your result findings. This section interprets what is presented in the figures in your results. Most readers may skip the body of your research to collect necessary information from your discussion section. Therefore, ensure that your discussion section creates an in-depth interpretation of your findings.
  • Conclusion: You can conclude your dissertation paper with a summary of what is in the body of your research. This section should be concise and brief; usually, one paragraph and its length may depend on the amount of information in the body of your dissertation.

Creating a professional and capturing dissertation paper requires strictly following the format required correctly. A correct format in your dissertation will help boost your grades and makes your work neat and readable. In addition, correctly formatting your document makes it easy for readers to find information within your text. Therefore, ensure that you consult with your instructor on your formatting instructions to help boost your grading points.