General Dissertation Formatting Rules For Undergraduate Students

Writing a dissertation is a difficult task, even if you’re an undergraduate student. You need to do extensive research, analyze data, introduce your own ideas, and make conclusions. All that may appear to be fascinating if you’re interested in your topic, however, setting margins and writing bibliography lists is torture for many students.

Simple Dissertation Formatting Guidelines

Here are the most important rules you have to apply to make your dissertation readable:

  1. Set the margins.
  2. They are generally 1.5 inches for the left one and 1 inch for the rest. These are the minimum limits, but you can make them larger. The first page of the introduction, abstract, of each chapter, and of the table of contents has a two-inch top margin.

  3. Use one font.
  4. The minimum font size is 10, but 12 is commonly recommended. Superscripts, endnotes, and footnotes should be no more than 2 points smaller than the rest of the text. The point is to use one type everywhere. For example, it may be Times New Roman.

  5. Number the pages.
  6. Both Roman and Arabic numerals are used. Number all the preliminary pages like the abstract, preface, contents, and a list of illustrations with Roman numerals. Numerate the others with Arabic ones. There’s no number on a title page. To make it easy, insert section breaks where you have to start a new pagination.

  7. Make tables and figures clear.
  8. Ensure the readability of your illustrative material. Avoid using very dark background colors. Make a title and a legend for each table, diagram, and figure. Table legends are above them and figure legends go below.

  9. Cite properly.
  10. Pay sufficient attention to the bibliography list. Include all the information about a source you refer to and don’t repeat one book several times in a list.

  11. Space the lines.
  12. Spacing depends on a formatting style, but commonly, the text is double-spaced. Footnotes and endnotes are single-spaced.

More Formatting Tips

Apart from the general rules, the formatting styles used for academic writing (MLA, APA, Chicago, and Turabian) have their own specifications. Use only one style throughout your work. Find out their particular requirements on the Web or ask your supervisor for instructions.

Check the headings, so that they aren’t left alone at the bottom of the page. While printing, make sure the text, tables and figures are clear and visible. The paper you print on should be white, not grey or yellow. Remember that consistent formatting makes your paper easy to read and understand.

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