Formatting is the final stage of your dissertation writing. This is the stage where you no longer have to lose sleep over what to write and organize your thoughts into writing. The next task now is paying attention to the little details and put the finishing touches to make your dissertation reader-friendly.
Formatting your work is relatively simple and straightforward if your dissertation is paper-based, black, and white print. However, if you are submitting electronically, you may need to consider other technology-based details, such as formatting graphs, tables, and charts when converting to PDF. The inclusion of a table of contents and interactive hyperlinks also falls in this category.
- Correctly format your work
Formatting guidelines for the dissertation differ from university to university as well as from department to department. Therefore, you must know your institution and department’s requirements before you submit your dissertation.
Every dissertation contains an abstract, acknowledgment, and a Table of Content at the beginning and a list of abbreviations, figures, and tables if used.
When numbering your pages, they must correspond with your Table of Contents. Each chapter should start at the beginning of a blank page and that headings/subheadings do not end up at the bottom of a page. Your bibliography must also be appropriately formatted to meet your department’s referencing requirements (e.g., APA, Chicago, MLA, etc.)
Formatting is important because it makes your document easy to read and navigate.
- Get your dissertation proofread
When you write and proofread your work, it is convenient to skip some mistakes due to oversight; therefore, you must have someone else proofread your work. Proofreading is a particularly influential move, and chances are, another person will most likely spot the mistakes you have missed and not be sentimental in his/her approach to your work, the way you would be.
- Get feedback from your tutor
Your tutor or supervisor is a great resource to you as you write your dissertation, especially if you have one willing to read and make comments on your entire dissertation. However, the final read of your dissertation should not be the first time your tutor or supervisor sees your work. You should have him/her read and give feedback at the end of every chapter. Since they are experts in the field, it makes the formatting process less cumbersome at the end of your dissertation writing.
- Get feedback from your peers
Your peers, classmates, and fellow graduate students may be a great resource to you during your dissertation writing since there may be times when your supervisor is not available to attend to you or provide you with the right feedback. Since your peers are writing their dissertations too and with different tutors/supervisors, they may use the knowledge gained from writing theirs to help you avoid some common mistakes and pitfalls in yours.
- Buying feedback
Sometimes, your tutor’s feedback is not enough, probably because you didn’t submit your work early or are generally not satisfied with the feedback you got. If this is the case, you may want to have an external third-party read your work and provide the much-needed feedback at a price. However, ensure that this third-party is someone in your field whose feedback and insights can be useful when amending your dissertation or preparing ahead of your defense.