• How To Format A Dissertation Properly: Useful Recommendations

    Different academic disciplines will often require different rules in dissertation formatting. Because of this you should always consult with your dissertation advisor and check on the department’s main site for any info or templates you need to follow. There are, however, some general rules that should be followed across disciplines. Here are some useful recommendations for properly formatting your work:

    Correct Style Manual

    The first step is to find the correct style manual for your discipline. Usually, you will already know which style guide to use (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.) but you can always find out by checking what formatting style articles within your area of study are written in academic journals.

    Print and Copy Quality

    Your dissertation should be printed in black and white. A sufficient level of darkness should be used for supporting elements such as tables and figures where a gray scale will likely need to be used. Do not use any word art or color accents for effect. Using these can lead to disqualification.

    Avoid White Space

    Generally, white space is view as unprofessional and an attempt to make your work seem longer than it actually is. Avoid having white space more than two inches without any type. This also goes for figures and tables inserted within your main text.

    Line Spacing

    Your entire dissertation should be double spaced with just a few exceptions. When chapter titles, headings, and subheadings go more than one line, use single space. The same is true for your bibliography, footnotes and appendices. Block quotations should also be single spaced.

    Page Numbers

    In a dissertation every page counts, including your title page and your copyright page, however the page numbers do not appear on them. Lower case roman numerals are used in all pages after this leading up the first page of your first chapter.

    Section Order

    Again, depending on your specific discipline of study the section order may vary. But the following contents shouldn’t be left out. Title page, copyright page, acknowledgements, table of contents, lists of tables, figures, etc., forward or preface, the main text, bibliography, and appendices.

    In-Text Citations

    In-text citations are pretty simple. Include the author’s information followed by the year of the publication. If you use a direct quote then you should enter the same information and must include the page number where you found the quote.


    Generally, you should list each entry in alphabetical order by author. Next enter the title of the work and any publishing information. Journal articles are similar, except you list the journal’s name, volume and issue immediately after the article’s title.

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