Dissertation: Example of Correct Formatting

This page describes general formatting rules. Doctoral candidates should follow strict requirements specified and accepted by their institutions. However, there are some general recommendations for future PhDs. This article includes basic rules to follow.

Examples of dissertations formatting: what to include

  • Choice of style
    Some institutions allow their students to choose the formatting style for a dissertation. As a rule, students are expected to learn and use a particular style used by the journals in their specific areas of study. The following styles are most commonly used:
    1. APA (American Psycological Assosiation)
    2. MLA (Modern Language Association)
    3. Turabian/Chicago
  • Margins
    If you look through some example dissertations in the web, you would probably notice that the text is easy to read. That is because the margins adjusted as follows:
    1. Left: 1,5 inches
    2. Right: 1,5 inches
    3. Top: 1,25 inches for all pages except Table of Contents, Acknowledgements, List of Figures and Tables, Bibliography, chapters and Appendices which should begin 2 inches from the top;
    4. Bottom: 1,25 inches
  • Spacing
    As a rule, any example of a dissertation or another academic paper is double spaced. However, there are parts of the text which should be single-spaced. They are:
    1. Titles, headings and subheadings;
    2. Large quotations;
    3. Footnotes;
    4. Figure captions;
    5. Explanatory materials;
    6. Appendices.

Example dissertation formatting: avoid mistakes

  • Numbering
    Students should organize and number sections and pages of their dissertations attentively. Remember to place the numbers on the right side of pages.
    1. Reviewing some examples of dissertation, you will also note that a title page must not be numbered.
    2. As a rule, dissertations examples consist of the title page and the main body, which also includes bibliography, illustrations, and appendices.
    3. Every page in the main text of the manuscript should be numbered in Arabic numerals.
  • Graphs, tables, and charts
    You can use color for graphs, tables and charts only. Avoid using color in references. Even if you identify figures and lines on charts and graphs, make it clear by using specifications and symbols.
  • Bibliography
    When formatting a bibliography, use single spacing. If you have an Appendix section, make sure to include your bibliography before it. Some students make a common mistake including a separate reference list after each chapter. Instead, you should make a single bibliography at the end of a dissertation and include all the sources you have used.
  • Special formatting style
    Make sure to adhere to the formatting rules of your university before you start writing dissertations. Some institutions have very special guidelines, and you should learn them ahead. As a rule, notes about formatting styles are available at university libraries.

We recommend you to ask your professor to show you an example of dissertation and consult you about the details of dissertation formatting. Ask him/her to give you some advice about what books or journals to read and use them as a source while writing your paper.