How Do You Format A Dissertation: 5 Simple Rules To Remember


Formatting a dissertation is a very important task. Everything about the final product of your hard work must be perfect in order for you to defend it successfully. It would be really unpleasant to lose some important points because of silly mistakes that can be avoided. However, it’s not that easy to format a dissertation. There are many things you have to keep in mind when you work on this part of the project.

Look at the top five rules you have to remember when doing this:

  • Choose the right format from the start.
  • In most cases, you will be given a chance to choose which of the existing academic writing styles to use in your work. You need to make a wise decision from the very beginning. Do some research into the journals within your discipline and see what format is most frequently used there. You should also discuss this matter with your dissertation advisor.

  • Don’t disregard the quality of print.
  • Many a dissertation was ruined by something as simple as a faulty printer. It may seem to you that consistency of black color in the letters isn’t important, but it is for the people who will evaluate your work. Therefore, you need to check every printed page to make sure that it’s free of smudges and all the letters are bold, even, and clearly visible.

  • Consider typefaces.
  • Usually, you will be allowed to use typefaces between 10 and 12. Note that you don’t have to restrict yourself to only one of them. It’s usually better to use the smaller typeface (10) for tables where every millimeter matters. Don’t ever mix typefaces in the text itself as this will make your dissertation look strange when you print it. Read the guidelines of your chosen format very carefully and use underlining or italics only in the cases defined by them.

  • Avoid white space.
  • There shouldn’t be more than two inches of white space in your paper, even in tables and figures. When you need to insert a table or an illustration of some sort, try to fit it onto the page and leave three blank lines after it before you proceed with the text or insert another table.

  • Don’t mess up the section order.
  • A dissertation must consist of the following sections in this exact order:

    1. Title

    2. Copyright page

    3. Acknowledgements

    4. Table of contents

    5. Lists of tables (charts, graphs, illustrations, etc.)

    6. Preface (only if required)

    7. Text

    8. Bibliography

    9. Appendices (only if used)

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