Dissertations are long academic pieces that answer particular research questions. A dissertation is an important part of the grading system for a university course. So, you must structure your dissertation well and format it in a specified way.
To help you with your dissertation, we are providing you with a few essentials of the dissertation checklist. Go over them before you submit your final dissertation to avoid any silly mistakes. These are certain simple ways in which you can avoid losing marks and get more readers to read your dissertation.
1. Adhere to a format specified by your professor/advisor/institution
The first impression you give your professor should be good. Do not lose marks because of formatting errors on your part. Follow the format given by your professor to make your dissertation appealing to them. This includes using the specified font type, size, color. Use the right paragraph length and line spacing. Number your pages and points. Also, write your points distinctly. Make your dissertation presentable.
2. Check whether all the sections and information have been covered
While writing different parts of your dissertation, like the introduction, body and conclusion, it is possible that you might have missed a few important points which are part of the answer to your main dissertation question. Go over your data to find out whether you have missed out on important points. At the same time, make sure that you have covered all the sections that have been stressed in your university guidelines.
3. Add a table of contents and an abstract in the beginning
A table of contents is important for a dissertation. It should be a list of the sections, subsections and headings that you have covered in your dissertation. Specify the page numbers as well. This should be done serially, in a point-wise format. As you write your abstract, be aware of all that can be included in it- the context and background of your research, the main point and question addressed, and your analysis and findings. The important points need to be summed up in the abstract. Do not make it too long. Summarize your research and edit the summary to prepare an abstract.
4. Correct any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors
The next step is to check your dissertation for any grammatical mistakes you might have ignored while writing your dissertation. At the same time, go over the spelling mistakes that you come across. They would be underlined by a red or blue colored curvy line. Try to correct them as soon as possible and make your dissertation error-free.
5. Read through your dissertation again and check your research
This is an important part of the dissertation’s final checklist. It is human to make mistakes while working on a project. However, unlike spelling or grammatical mistakes, these mistakes directly impact your research. They become visible as the reader goes through your essay step-wise. As you read through your dissertation you might come across some miscalculations or improper words. Correct these small mistakes. Reread your analysis and conclusion. Are you missing a point? Have you explained your answer in your conclusion?
6. Add an appropriate title/title page
Do not forget to add a title to your dissertation. It should be concise, but not too short and vague. It should give the reader an idea of what you are working on. It should also make the course for which you are writing a dissertation clear. If you are preparing a title page, add your name to it along with the name of your professor or dissertation advisor.
7. Have enough space between different parts of your dissertation
As you structure your dissertation, make sure that you put enough space between different individual points, as also between distinct parts of your dissertation like the introduction, observation, table1, table 2, analysis, conclusion etc. It will make your dissertation neat and tidy. Do not try to fit the parts in a limited space. Use ample space. Try to start each part on a new page. Grading will become more convenient for your professor.
8. Cite sources
Avoid coming under the plagiarism radar by citing sources of information that you have used in your dissertation. Any quotation or paraphrasing needs to be cited. This includes the people you have talked to, papers referred to (along with the author’s name), universities and other institutions you visited for your research and all other points of data collection that you used for your dissertation. In-text citations are also useful when it comes to referencing particular scientific papers.
9. The dissertation should have a logical flow
Go over the main points of your dissertation and check whether they are in a logical order. Make sure that you explain each point well and do not throw information at the reader out of the blue. The reader should make sense of your analysis and conclusion from your observations and explanations following the tables and graphs. Do not give the impression that your explanations are all over the place. The reader should be able to follow your argument.
10. Highlight important points
As you get closer to submitting your dissertation do not forget to highlight important points that you want the readers to pay attention to. Highlight your thesis statement, main question, title, sub-headings, labels and keywords. They will help the reader come back to your research paper or dissertation and refer to the important phrases. Your objectives will stand out, making your analysis and answers clear to the reader.
11. Do not assume a reader’s knowledge
Explain points wherever needed. State the full form before you start using abbreviations. Do not assume that a reader knows all the abbreviations. A reader might not be in the same field that you are working for. So, specify whatever seems vague and explain wherever needed (especially terms that are specific to your field of study). Try to mention the full form in a bracket if you use the abbreviation rarely in your dissertation. If a word does not appear clear, either state the meaning in the appendix or change the word.
Summing up the above points, here is the dissertation checklist you should follow:
- Check the contents of your dissertation for any spelling or grammatical mistakes.
- Correct any other mistakes or miscalculations in the body of your dissertation.
- Explain any points or words that seem unclear and prepare an appendix if need be.
- Add an abstract and a table of contents in the beginning.
- Highlight the main points and keywords.
- Give appropriate titles and labels wherever needed.
- Cite sources you have referred to in your dissertation.
- Include all the sections specified in the guidelines in the right order.
- Space your sections and points appropriately- starting with the introduction, right up to the conclusion.
- Start each section on a new page.
- Format your dissertation according to the mentioned guidelines (font type, size, color, line and paragraph spacing, indentation, text alignment etc)
- Add your name, name of your professor (or dissertation advisor), course name and name of your institution on the title page.
- Check whether your dissertation is logically ordered (points, elements etc).
To Sum Up
I hope this last-minute dissertation checklist specifying the essentials of a dissertation helped you! Just check your dissertation before you submit it and make any necessary changes to the format and structure. Read through the dissertation submission checklist of your institute as well. You are good to go!