Doctoral Thesis Editing Tips: How To Pick Up The Right Format For Your Paper
There are two factors that can make formatting your doctoral thesis a major challenge. The first is the size of the paper: many doctoral papers will be hundreds of pages long. To properly format a paper of that length can be a serious undertaking. The second factor is that the exact formatting required of you will likely vary with universities and programs. The formatting of any academic paper will be specific to the discipline and subject it is written under. And on top of that, your doctoral program may have specific requirements.
These tips can help you to decide which format you should be using for your doctoral thesis:
- Ask your academic advisor for requirements and samples
- Look at past doctoral theses in your University’s library
- Consult standard formatting
- Use software to help you format your sources
The easiest way to decide which format to use for your thesis is to ask your advisor what the requirements are, and if they can provide any samples for you. Chances are they have kept the work of past students on file, and can pick out an exceptional example for you. Getting a good sample can also help you in the writing of your paper. For instance it can provide guidance about what detail your abstract should go into, what to include in your table of contents, or how to set up your methodology or results sections. And best of all, you can be sure that it is what your advisor and program will be looking for, because they provided it.
Another good way to find past examples for your program is in your university’s library. Most masters and doctoral students will have their thesis bound and put in the library’s collection. Also, increasingly, some are available digitally.
There are several standard academic formats, including MLA and APA. Typically most disciplines will use one standard kind, for instance English and literature typically use MLA, where the social sciences typically use APA. If there is no guidance available to you specific to your program, use a standard format.
Formatting your paper has two components—the layout format on the page, including headers and sections, and source and citation formats. There are several excellent softwares, some of which are free, that will keep track of all your sources and format your citations for you. For a paper that will likely have dozens of sources, this can make the process much easier for you.