The Correct Dissertation Format: 6 Simple Tips For Students

Writing a dissertation is by far the hardest academic task that most students will undertake in their academic careers. Not only is it by far the longest paper that most students will write, it also involves doing primary research, which is a whole new process. With that being said, when it comes to formatting, most students would much rather be able to concentrate on their research and actually writing the paper, than having to be concerned with nit picky formatting details. One of the best ways to streamline the formatting process is to start with the right format from the beginning. Use these 6 simple tips to learn how to format your dissertation correctly:

  1. Use the correct formatting style
  2. Depending on the subject and field you are studying, the format that you use will vary slightly. The first thing you need to do is find out what the correct format for you to be using is: whether it is MLA, APA, Chicago, or Harvard. The easiest way to find this out is to ask your advisor—because they are the ones who will in large part be grading your work, you want to make sure you use the format that they prefer. The next thing to consider is, if you are planning on submitting your paper for publishing, what the submission requirements for the journal you are considering are. Don’t get too bogged down in this, as you can always reformat it, but it is helpful to have an idea from the beginning.

  3. Write an excellent abstract
  4. Writing an excellent abstract will help to pull together your paper, making it more effective, approachable, and eliminating confusion that you might otherwise have to solve with formatting.

  5. Include a table of contents
  6. This will help your reader navigate your long, and likely complex paper.

  7. Use multiple heading
  8. Using multiple levels of section headings, which will correspond with your table of contents, will help you to organize your paper more clearly and tie together the different ideas and concepts you are exploring.

  9. Use the correct in text citation style
  10. This will be dictated by the overall formatting style that you use, though is generally pretty straightforward including the author’s name and year of publication.

  11. Use the correct formatting for your bibliography
  12. How you format your bibliography will also be dictated by the formatting style you use.