Dissertation Formatting Basics – A Step-By-Step Guide

Writing a dissertation is an important step in your academic career. So, you should conduct a meaningful research, answer an interesting study question, describe your key ideas, and format the document properly. Since there are many vital details to keep in mind, getting a step-by-step formatting guide will help you compose your paper according to the established rules and regulations.

How to Format Your Dissertation – Important Basics

You can get a comprehensive formatting manual in the school’s library or in the writing lab. Either way, it is recommended that you learn the following basic guidelines first:

  1. Use your word processor wisely.
  2. No matter what word processor you work in, you should learn how to use its spell and grammar checker and automate the process of making notes, creating page numbers, and setting spacing, font size, and margins.

  3. Apply the correct settings from the very beginning.
  4. Before you start typing your dissertation, double-space the text, indent the first line of each paragraph, single-space footnotes and block quotations, use at least a 1.5inch margin on the left side of the page, and number the pages automatically.

  5. Find out how to create headings, subheadings, and tiles.
  6. Usually, a major division begins at the top of a new page. Headings should be centered, capitalized, and numbered. It is recommended that you name all of your chapters. Remember not to mix Roman and Arabic numerals.

  7. Cite all the references properly.
  8. You can use bibliographic software to format citations and your reference list. However, make sure that you set the correct formatting style in a chosen program. Ask your academic advisor what style you should choose.

  9. Format tables and figures carefully.
  10. You should introduce and analyze every entry in the text. The tables should be numbered consecutively with Arabic numbers. Both tables and figures should be titled. If they are more than a page long, you should place them in the appendixes.

What Nuances to Keep in Mind – Useful Tips

The aforementioned guidelines will help you format your dissertation. However, you should also keep in mind that you need to structure your paper in a proper manner. It should include a title page; an abstract; table of contents; lists of tables, figures, and images; acknowledgments if necessary; main chapters; appendices; and a list of references.

You can find a separate guide on how to format each of the elements of the assignment provided above. It is a good idea to find a template and study a few well-formatted dissertation samples to get familiar with the formatting style and find out what vital nuances to keep in mind.