Formatting A Dissertation: 7 Golden Rules You Should Know


You will sink a load of time and energy into writing your dissertation. It’s essential that you have the correct formatting. This area of your academic paper is a relatively easy one to adhere to, so don’t lose points for incorrect formatting. Proper format can be achieved by using one of a number of different software programs available, or by doing it yourself. Both ways are effective, but doing it all by hand does take more time.

Some universities provide a format software to use for your dissertation but many leave it up to the student to get it done properly. There are some general rules to follow, and here are the 7 best things you need to know:

  1. Always put a priority on what your professor asks for. It might be slightly different than what is set out by your style guide.

  2. Follow the guidelines set out by your University or school of education. There may be specific requirements for each field of studies.

  3. The remainder of the rules all come from the style guide you are required to use. Some of the more widely used ones include: APA, MLA, and CMS. They share many rules such as spacing and margins, but have marked differences when it comes to references and citing sources.

  4. Web-related resources have their own rules for citations and references. The specifics can be found within the style guide you are using. If you need an updated version of your guide, simply look online. There are also many books published on this topic if you prefer to follow along in a book.

  5. Purchasing a good formatting software is a great way to go, because much of it is in a fill in the blanks format, where you can literally put in the information required and then it organizes everything according to the style you are using. This is the method that saves the most time. The only disadvantage is that sometimes these software programs can have glitches. Keep your frustration level low by frequently saving and backing up your work.

  6. Not all title pages are the same. Go back and read points 1 to 3 if you are unsure how to format your title page. Since it’s usually the first thing your teacher will see, it’s the most important one to do perfectly.

  7. Know what the common formatting mistakes are and avoid them. They include citations, abstracts, and page numeration.
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