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The Basics of Formatting A Dissertation

So, you have finished writing your dissertation. Congratulations! The hard part is finally behind you. You’re not quite done yet, though. You still must format your dissertation correctly so that it meets your university’s guidelines. What does formatting a dissertation usually entail, though? The answer can vary based on your university and academic program. That said, some things apply to all dissertations. Read on as we give you a rundown on the things you need to keep in mind when formatting a dissertation.

Revisit the Style Guide

The formatting guidelines of a dissertation depend on your university. Your university will usually provide you with a style guide and template that walks you through the formatting requirements. Most students check these at the beginning before they begin writing  their dissertation. There’s a lot in a style guide that you might miss out on when you’re actually writing the dissertation, though.

So, once you have a complete draft, you can review the requirements again. Most style guides offer information on the following:

How to format the document (page layout, title page format, fonts, line spacing, headings, headers and footers, page numbering, object numbering, tables, chapters, footnotes/endnotes, references, etc.).

The length and placement of the abstract.

How to add copyrights, dedications, and acknowledgments.

Formatting the Table of Contents.

The referencing style you need to use.

How to add additional lists for figures, tables, and abbreviations.

Check Page Numbers and Chapter Placements

One of the essential components  of formatting a dissertation is making sure your page numbers correspond to the Table of Contents. An easy way to do this is by comparing page numbers for the beginning, the middle, and the end of the document. If there’s a break at any point, you can easily detect and fix it. Make sure you also refresh your Table of Contents after you make these changes.

Chapter placements are very important too. In this case, you want to make sure that every chapter begins on a new page. We suggest using the option of “Page Breaks” when doing this. This way, your chapter placements won’t be disrupted by any new additions to the dissertation. You should also check the placement of headings and subheadings within each chapter. As a rule of thumb, you should not have any headings or subheadings at the bottom of a page with the text on the next page. If this happens, you can move the heading to the next page too and improve your presentation.

Check Consistency of Headers and Footers

Most dissertations tend to have a running header/footer. If you have a header/footer of some kind in your document, you need to make sure it appears on every page of the dissertation. If there’s a break at some point, you can add the header/footer again and re-check for consistency.

Proofread Your Dissertation

Once you have made sure your dissertation is appropriately formatted, you can proofread it. You can try to proofread the dissertation on your own, but it’s better if you get someone else to do it for you. This approach is much more effective because a third party can catch the mistakes that you might miss, and offers a fresh set of eyes.

You could seek the help of a peer or hire a dissertation proofreading service here. The former option may prove cumbersome because you’ll have to keep checking in on your peer’s progress. If your peer is pressed for time, he or she might not be able to do a very thorough job, as well. A professional proofreading service can serve as a useful alternative. It can:

Check for spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors.

Improve your word choice and flow.

Highlight issues in sentence structure, clarity, and formatting.

Offer feedback on improving the dissertation.

If you cannot hire a professional proofreading service and must proofread your dissertation yourself, then here are some tips that can help you out:

Read the passages that you don’t like out loud. This approach can help you pinpoint the problematic bits and fix them.

Work backward. People are more diligent about writing quality, grammar, and spelling in the initial chapters of a thesis. They tend to pay less attention as they move further down the writing process and are prone to making more mistakes due to a lack of time and other factors. The same applies to proofreading too. You might proofread more carefully in the beginning but lose track as you get to the end. Starting with the last few chapters can help you avoid this and identify any errors and fix them.

Look for different types of errors during each proofreading session. For instance, you can focus on spelling errors the first time around. Once that’s done, you can look for grammatical mistakes, problems in sentence structure, punctuation errors, and so on.

Wrapping It Up

Formatting your dissertation can be a tedious and time-consuming process. It’s also essential, though. If you are interested in seeking the help of a professional proofreader, we suggest reaching out to Edit911. They offer premium proofreading and editing services and can help you prepare your dissertation for submission. Get in touch with them today to learn more.

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