How to Achieve a Proper Dissertation Format

How to Achieve a Proper Dissertation Format

When you finish writing your dissertation, different challenges of deciding how to organize it and what to write are behind you. The next step is to focus on finishing touches. Consider a correct dissertation format to make it reader-friendly. There are many factors that you need to review, including:

  • Fonts;
  • Margins;
  • Tables and graphs;
  • Hyperlinks;
  • A table of contents.

Read the guidelines of your graduate program. Remember that every university has unique rules. That’s because all of these instructions are quite likely to have an impact on your dissertation format and content.

Format your work correctly

Dissertation writing requirements vary from one educational institution to another so that you need to know them and prepare your paper accordingly. What should you include in it? This project has these additional structural elements:

  • Acknowledgments;
  • Abstract;
  • A table of contents;
  • Additional lists for tables, figures, and abbreviations.

Include the page numbers that correspond to a table of contents and make sure that every chapter starts on a new page. Don’t put headings and subheadings at the very bottom.  Your bibliography should meet referencing requirements. There are different styles to choose from, but it’s necessary to stick to the one that your professors outline in assignment instructions. Take the time you need to finish this process and make this complex academic paper easy to navigate and read.

Why does proofreading matter?

It’s paramount to ask others to proofread your final draft because you can easily skip grammar and other errors when you revise your own piece of writing. People don’t have this problem. They can catch all the mistakes that you miss.

If you’re a native English speaker, your paper may have minor errors in styling or language, but others can address them successfully. Otherwise, getting it proofread by others is a must. Proofreading is a process when reviewers look for all kinds of mistakes in spelling, grammar, and punctuation (they may comment on unclear areas).

How to get feedback

To get feedback on your final draft, you can use different options:

  • Turn to your tutor;
  • Ask your peers for help;
  • Use paid services.

What solution to choose? Keep reading to get the answer to this question.

Get feedback from tutors

A tutor is a key resource for you when achieving a proper dissertation format with ease. If you know the supervisor willing to check it and make helpful comments, use this great chance to get a deep insight into how professors will mark this paper. See your tutor not only at the final stage. Get feedback on every chapter to finish your project in a timely manner and get ample time to reread and edit it.

Don’t forget that supervisors are human beings with their priorities. Asking them to evaluate a long dissertation and make comments on its format in a short period of time is a big mistake. Ask tutors about their availability and send them a copy. Give them enough time to provide helpful feedback.

Although supervisors make useful comments, it’s not necessary to amend your paper according to all of them because you’re an expert and your chosen field. These are only helpful suggestions. You’re the one who knows a specific topic in detail after conducting your in-depth research in a given academic area. Maintain the integrity of your project.

Get feedback from peers

Supervisors may not be available to provide you with feedback on your content and organization on time. What should you do in this case? Look for alternative options to submit a perfect draft. Ask peers to give their feedback and keep in mind that their comments aren’t valuable as your tutor’s suggestions because they’re on the same level as you. Evaluate significant changes before making them.

There are certain problems that you may face. Some peers can be busy and lack enough time to help you, while others may not be familiar with your subject. That’s why they may fail to provide valuable advice on your academic paper and help you improve its quality. Peers are still worth asking for their assistance. If they can’t understand certain areas, it’s a sign that you should clarify these parts to make your paper easy to read. Look at your university guidelines before turning to peers.

Buy feedback from third parties

You may feel that feedback from your supervisor isn’t enough because it’s vague or you didn’t submit your project on time. Consider the benefits of using paid services. They can offer comments and suggestions that will be useful for amending your dissertation format and preparing for different defense questions. Look for experts in a particular academic discipline. Be specific when requesting their assistance.

Appendices: basic guidelines to follow

Appendices are important documents that you pay at the end of your final project. Organize them logically to mirror their order. Read submission criteria that outline their presentation. There are certain tips that you should use to end up with correct appendices:

  • Number them in sequence using letters or numbers;
  • Write a corresponding title for this section and indicate it in a table of contents;
  • When presenting tables, figures, and graphs, their structure should be appropriate not to write multiple pages;
  • The font you use in this section should be consistent with other chapters;
  • Let readers easily scan all appendices to find out what they are all about.

A common format mistake that many students make is to include something in appendices that doesn’t appear in their actual dissertation. Don’t make the same error.

Paragraph marks

To format your dissertation in Microsoft Word, use a special feature that shows paragraph marks to avoid turning it into a nightmare. It enables you to see how you structure a layout. This feature is helpful if you need to find the factors that cause mysterious jumps in your text and other similar problems. Use it on a regular basis.

Footers and headers

Footers and headers are crucial because they provide your piece of writing with its professional look. They make it clear to others what paper they read. It’s simple to add footers or headers by double-clicking at the bottom or top of pages, and there are no strict rules that you must follow. Most professors allow you to use these popular choices of what to include:

  • Date;
  • Your name;
  • Your educational institution;
  • Page numbers;
  • Title.
  • It’s up to you which one to choose.

Different heading styles

Students use them to help readers differentiate between sections, chapters, and subsections of their academic papers. Some of them decide to bold the headings of all chapters, while others prefer to italicize lower-level headings for their convenience. Apply the chosen scheme consistently.


Citing all the sources that you use in an appropriate manner is important for a good format of your dissertation. You will face plagiarism if you fail to do that. Follow certain standards and creating your references. Do not forget about literature review.

A helpful checklist to finalize a perfect paper

If you think that your dissertation format is correct, use this checklist:

  • Proofread everything many times;
  • Think about your target audience;
  • Check a table of contents.

How to find and fix all mistakes

A winning dissertation can’t have any typos, spelling errors, or other mistakes, and that’s why it’s necessary to proofread it many times. Show them you care about this piece of writing. The entire text should have perfect grammar to impress all committee members and bring you high grades after submitting and defending it. Don’t ignore punctuation because it matters a lot.

Take your target audience into account

When making final revisions, think about your target readers and determine whether your paper and its content will please committee members. Look at their research programs. Think about their previous concerns. Making all of your readers happy affects how they will grade it and it’s important for a successful defense of your dissertation.

Check a table of contents

Many students fail to submit an impressive dissertation and format it properly only because the pages they indicate in a table of contents don’t match sections. This problem is easy to solve. University requirements and guidelines can be strict so that only a few students succeed to meet all of them after the first submission. Use helpful checklists to save yourself from trouble.

Final words

Achieving a correct format of your dissertation can be a time-consuming and tedious academic task, but you need to complete it to get high final grades. What if it’s too difficult for you to handle? Don’t overlook this process. Get top-quality expert assistance and turn to online professionals who will do this job for you and relieve your academic stress.