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Writing Top-Notch Dissertation Table Of Contents
What is a PhD dissertation table of contents? A table of contents of a dissertation is an outline of the major chapters and sections of your graduate dissertation. It points readers to the exact page numbers they must reference to find information that is important to their research. While it may seem like an APA dissertation table of contents is easy to put together, there are many things that students must consider.
If you are writing a contents section for a discipline within the American Psychology Association, you should include all level one and two headings. Some people include level three headings, but this is optional and should be avoided if the section goes over two pages in length.
The section helps your readers easily sort through your document which may run hundreds of pages. It helps them save time by being able to turn precisely to the part of your dissertation that relates to the information they are gathering for research or their interests.
How To Make a Table of Contents PhD Dissertation?
We have mentioned MS Word as a tool for creating a dissertation table of contents APA. It is certainly a fast and efficient way of getting your table of contents put in order accurately. But there are occasions when you may need to put the table of contents by yourself.
APA Style Dissertation Table of Contents Formatting Rules
You can easily create a table of contents for an APA document using a technical tool. A dissertation table of contents word is a reliable tool for doing this. Some general formatting rules you should be aware of are as follow:
The table of contents in a dissertation document should come between the abstract and the introduction sections. The table of contents should always be written in the same size and font as the rest of the dissertation document. Depending on the length and structure, you can use up to five heading levels. But as stated above it is best to remove lower levels when the table of contents goes beyond two pages. Each heading level should be formatted different and be consistent throughout the dissertation document. For example:
You can find a good dissertation table of contents template on the web by visiting an academic writing and editing site or by visiting your department’s home page. Both places have a lot of templates to fit various types of assignments.
Dissertation Contents Page Writing Tips
Graduate students must recognize that they need to shift some of their energies away from other projects and responsibilities to focus on their respective dissertation projects. They are someplace in the middle of being undergraduate and professionals. Their work as graduate students often defines the kind of work they will be doing in the following decades. A contents page may not seem that important on the surface, but it is an essential component to a well-written dissertation that will be noticed by your peers. Here are eight great tips to follow to put a great table of contents dissertation together:
- It is Easy to Write the Contents at the End, But Wait Don’t Too Long
Most students find it easier to wait until after they complete their dissertation before creating the table of contents. This is because students will write several drafts and make several changes throughout the dissertation process. Just make sure you don’t wait until the last minute. Creating a table of contents requires the same attention to detail you apply when doing the rest of the dissertation. You need to take your time and leave room to thoroughly review and proofread.
- If You Are Going to Hire a Proofreader, the Contents Cannot Be Ignored
If you hire a professional proofreader, you need to make sure that he or she reviews the entire document. This can be addressed beforehand so that it is clear what it is you’re expecting and paying for. Don’t send individual sections because you can easily overlook the need to send the table of contents.
- Be Precise When You Make Changes in Your Dissertation Document
When you make changes to your dissertation as you write your second and third drafts, you need to be precise about pagination changes that come along with adding, rearranging, or deleting content. You might consider a separate document of notes to remind yourself of checking each section to ensure you are aware of pagination changes.
- Make Sure You Include All Sections, Chapters, and Sub-Sections
Your Table of Contents should include all sections, chapters, and sub-sections to start, then you can begin to remove them in reverse order if your table of contents goes over the recommended two pages. For example, if the table of contents reaches three pages, remove all of the sub-sections starting with the lower levels (5 th level, 4 th level, etc.) until you bring the table of contents to two pages.
- Even If You Use a Tech Tool, You Should Always Verify the Info
We’ve stated several times throughout the article that there are several technical tools you can use to automatically number your pages and then create a table of contents. This can save you a lot of time when writing the first and second drafts. But before you submit a final copy of your dissertation, you need to ensure the table of contents was created accurately by doing a visual check.
- Ask Someone to Review the Accuracy of Your Table of Contents
It’s always a good idea to have a second pair of eyes to check your work from start to finish. Ask them to double-check the accuracy and consistency between the table of contents and the pages that appear throughout your document. If you have stayed on schedule, the person reviewing can be careful and point out what you need to fix.
- Check that Your Document (Page Numbers) Prints Out Correctly
Your dissertation should have Arabic page numbers (1, 2, 3…) from the start to finish except in your introductory and closing sections (e.g., abstract, table of contents, appendix, and bibliography) which should use lower case roman numerals (i, ii, iii,…). When you review a printed copy, go page by page to ensure everything is in order and appears in the right place (e.g., top or bottom of the page).
- If You Use Tabs in Your Document Make Sure They Are Placed Correctly
Further Dissertation Contents Assistance
For more help with a dissertation table of contents, you can contact our customer support team 24/7 by chat, email, or phone. They can direct you to more free resources on our site or put you in contact with one of our academic experts. Each expert holds a higher education degree and specializes in a specific discipline. So no matter what field you are working in, we are sure to have someone that has the knowledge and experience to put together a great table of contents for dissertation to suit your exact needs.
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The Table of Contents should follow these guidelines:
- All sections of the manuscript are listed in the Table of Contents except the Title Page, the Copyright Page, the Dedication Page, and the Table of Contents.
- You may list subsections within chapters
- Creative works are not exempt from the requirement to include a Table of Contents
Table of Contents Example
Here is an example of a Table of Contents page from the Template. Please note that your table of contents may be longer than one page.
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Creating an Automated Table of Contents
Located in the Home tab, Word’s Style Gallery makes it easy to set consistent, one-click formatting for headings throughout your document. It is these style settings that Word uses to create an automatic table of contents. Using an automatic table of contents will save you the huge headache of dealing with dot leaders, spacing, and having to completely re-type your table of contents if the order of your pages changes even a little. Plus, styles are easy to use! Step-by-step how-to instructions are included below for setting heading styles and then inserting a table of contents in Word 2010, Word 2013 or Word 2011 for Mac.
- Printed Instructions (TOC Word 2010)
- Printed Instructions (TOC Word 2013)
- Printed Instructions (TOC Word 2011 for Mac)
- Printed Instructions (TOC Word 2016 Mac)
- Printed Instructions (TOC Word 2016 PC)
- Creating a Manual-Entry Table of Contents
Working with Outline Style (Numbered) Headings
Numbered headings can be very tricky and many citation styles do not require their use. If you are working with a style the does require it, however, Shauna Kelly's blog has some great help .
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How to Create the Best Table of Contents for a Dissertation
Published by Owen Ingram at August 12th, 2021 , Revised On September 20, 2023
“A table of contents is an essential part of any article, book, proceedings, essay , and paper with plenty of information. It requires providing the reader’s guidance about the position of the content.”
When preparing a dissertation , you may cram as much information into it as appropriate. The dissertation may be an extremely well-written one with a lot of valuable information to offer. Still, all that information could become perplexing if the reader cannot easily find the information.
The length of dissertations usually varies from a few pages to a few hundred pages, making it very difficult to find information that you may be after.
Instead of skimming through every page of the dissertation, there is a need for a guideline that directs the reader to the correct section of the dissertation and, more importantly, the correct page in the section.
Also read: The List of Figures and Tables in the Dissertation .
What is the Table of Contents in the Dissertation?
The table of contents is the section of a dissertation that guides each section of the dissertation paper’s contents.
Depending on the detail level in a table of contents, the most useful headings are listed to provide the reader concerning which page the said information may be found.
The table of contents is essentially a list found at the beginning of a dissertation , which contains names of the chapters, section titles and/or very brief descriptions, and page numbers indicated for each.
This allows the reader to look at the table of contents to locate the information needed from the dissertation. Having an effective table of contents is key to providing a seamless reading experience to the reader.
Here in this article, we will uncover every piece of information you need to know to write the dissertation’s abstract.
This article helps the readers on how to create the best table of contents for the dissertation. An important thing to note is that this guide discusses creating a table of contents in Microsoft Word.
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Styles for Dissertation Table of Contents
Making an effective table of contents starts with identifying headings and designating styles to those headings.
Using heading styles to format your headings can save a lot of time by automatically converting their formatting to the defined style and serves as a tool to identify the heading and its level, used later when creating a thesis table of contents .
Each heading style already has predefined sizes, fonts, colours, spacing, etc. but can be changed as per the user’s requirements. This also helps once all headings have been created and you intend to change the style of a certain type of heading.
All that is needed to change the style of a type of heading is automatically reflected on all headings that use the style.
Below is how the styles menu looks like;
To allocate a style to a heading, first select a heading and then click on one of the styles in the ‘Styles’ menu. Doing so converts the selected heading to the style that is selected in the Styles menu.
You can style a similar heading level in the same style by selecting each heading and then clicking on the style in the Style menu.
It is important to note that it greatly helps and saves time if you allocate styles systematically, i.e., you allocate the style as you write.
The styles are not limited to headings only but can be used for paragraphs and by selecting the whole paragraph and applying a style to it.
Changing Appearance of Pre-Defined Styles
To change the appearance of a style to one that suits you,
- You would need to right-click on one of the styles to open a drop-down menu.
- Select ‘Modify’ from the menu. This would display a window with various formatting and appearance options. You can select the most appropriate ones and click ‘OK.’ The change that you made to the style reflects on all headings or paragraphs that use this style.
Further changes can be made to headings, but using styles is an important step for creating the table of contents for the thesis. Once this step is completed, you can continue to create a thesis table of contents.
Also Read: What is Appendix in Dissertation?
Things to Consider when Making APA Style Table of Contents
- The pages before the body of the dissertation, known as the ‘Prefatory Pages,’ should not have page numbers on them but should be numbered in the Roman Numerals instead as (i, ii, iii…).
- Table of Contents and the Abstract pages are not to contain any numbers.
- The remaining pages would carry the standard page numbers (1,2,3…).
- The section titles and page numbers in the dissertation table of contents should have dotted lines between them.
- All the Prefatory pages, Sections, Chapter Titles, Headings, Sub Headings, Reference Sections, and Appendices should be listed in the contents’ thesis table. If there are a limited number of Tables or Figures, they may be listed in the dissertation’s table contents.
- If there are many figures, tables, symbols, or abbreviations, a List of Tables, List of Figures , List of Symbols, and List of Abbreviations should be made for easy navigation. These lists, however, should not be listed in the thesis table of contents.
- The thesis/dissertation must be divided into sections even if it is not divided into chapters, with all sections being listed in the table of contents for the thesis.
Generating Dissertation Table of Contents
First, to generate the Table of Contents, start by entering a blank page after the pages you need the table of contents to follow.
- To do so, click on the bottom of the page you want before the Table of Contents.
- Open the ‘Insert’ tab and select ‘Page Break’.
- This will create a page between the top and bottom sections of the Table of Contents area.
By the time you reach this section, you would have given each heading or sub-heading a dedicated style, distinguishing between different types of headings. Microsoft Word can automatically generate a Table of Contents, but the document, particularly the headings, needs to be formatted according to styles for this feature to work. You can assign different headings levels, different styles for Microsoft Word to recognize the level of heading.
How to Insert Table of Contents
- Place the cursor where you want to place the Table of Contents on the page you added earlier.
- On the ‘References’ tab, open the Table of Contents group. This would open a list of different Table of Contents designs and a table of contents sample.
- You can select an option from the available Table of Contents or make a Custom Table of Contents. Although the available Table of Contents samples is appropriate, you may use a custom table of contents if it is more suitable to your needs. This allows you to modify different formatting options for the Table of Contents to satisfy your own
Updating the Table of Contents
As you proceed with editing your dissertation, the changes cause the page numbers and headings to vary. Often, people fail to incorporate those changes into the Table of Contents, which then effectively serves as an incorrect table and causes confusion.
It is thus important to update the changes into the table of contents as the final step once you have made all the necessary changes in the dissertation and are ready to print it.
These changes may alter the length of the thesis table of contents , which may also cause the dissertation’s formatting to be altered a little, so it is best to reformat it after updating the table of contents.
To update the table of contents,
- Select ‘Update Table’ in the References tab.
- This would open a dialogue box. Select ‘Update Entire Table’ to ensure that all changes are reflected in the contents table and not just the page numbers. This would display all changes and additions you have made to the document (Anon., 2017).
Using this guide, you should understand how to create the best table of contents for the dissertation. The use of a Table of Contents, while being important for most written work, is even more critical for dissertations, especially when the proper methodology of creating the table of contents is followed.
This includes the guidelines that must be considered to correctly format the table of contents so that it may be shaped so that it follows the norms and is effective at helping the reader navigate through the content of the dissertation.
The use of Microsoft Word’s Table of Contents generation feature has greatly helped people worldwide create, edit, and update the table of contents of their dissertations with ease.
Here in this article, we will uncover every piece of information you need to know how to write the dissertation’s abstract .
Are you in need of help with dissertation writing? At Research Prospect, we have hundreds of Master’s and PhD qualified writers for all academic subjects, so you can get help with any aspect of your dissertation project. You can place your order for a proposal , full dissertation paper , or individual chapters .
Is it essential to add a table of content to the dissertation?
Yes, it is important to add a table of content in a dissertation .
How to make an effective table of contents for the dissertation?
Using heading styles to format your headings can save a lot of time by automatically converting their formatting to the defined style and serves as a tool to identify the heading and its level, used later when creating a thesis table of contents.
How do I update the table of contents?
You may also like.
A literature review is a survey of theses, articles, books and other academic sources. Here are guidelines on how to write dissertation literature review.
Your dissertation introduction chapter provides detailed information on the research problem, significance of research, and research aim & objectives.
When writing your dissertation, an abstract serves as a deal maker or breaker. It can either motivate your readers to continue reading or discourage them.
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- Dissertation Table of Contents in Word | Instructions & Examples
Dissertation Table of Contents in Word | Instructions & Examples
Published on 15 May 2022 by Tegan George .
The table of contents is where you list the chapters and major sections of your thesis, dissertation, or research paper, alongside their page numbers. A clear and well-formatted table of contents is essential, as it demonstrates to your reader that a quality paper will follow.
The table of contents (TOC) should be placed between the abstract and the introduction. The maximum length should be two pages. Depending on the nature of your thesis, dissertation, or paper, there are a few formatting options you can choose from.
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Table of contents
What to include in your table of contents, what not to include in your table of contents, creating a table of contents in microsoft word, table of contents examples, updating a table of contents in microsoft word, other lists in your thesis, dissertation, or research paper, frequently asked questions about the table of contents.
Depending on the length of your document, you can choose between a single-level, subdivided, or multi-level table of contents.
- A single-level table of contents only includes ‘level 1’ headings, or chapters. This is the simplest option, but it may be too broad for a long document like a dissertation.
- A subdivided table of contents includes chapters as well as ‘level 2’ headings, or sections. These show your reader what each chapter contains.
- A multi-level table of contents also further divides sections into ‘level 3’ headings. This option can get messy quickly, so proceed with caution. Remember your table of contents should not be longer than 2 pages. A multi-level table is often a good choice for a shorter document like a research paper.
Examples of level 1 headings are Introduction, Literature Review, Methodology, and Bibliography. Subsections of each of these would be level 2 headings, further describing the contents of each chapter or large section. Any further subsections would be level 3.
In these introductory sections, less is often more. As you decide which sections to include, narrow it down to only the most essential.
Including appendices and tables
You should include all appendices in your table of contents. Whether or not you include tables and figures depends largely on how many there are in your document.
If there are more than three figures and tables, you might consider listing them on a separate page. Otherwise, you can include each one in the table of contents.
- Theses and dissertations often have a separate list of figures and tables.
- Research papers generally don’t have a separate list of figures and tables.
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All level 1 and level 2 headings should be included in your table of contents, with level 3 headings used very sparingly.
The following things should never be included in a table of contents:
- Your acknowledgements page
- Your abstract
- The table of contents itself
The acknowledgements and abstract always precede the table of contents, so there’s no need to include them. This goes for any sections that precede the table of contents.
To automatically insert a table of contents in Microsoft Word, be sure to first apply the correct heading styles throughout the document, as shown below.
- Choose which headings are heading 1 and which are heading 2 (or 3!
- For example, if all level 1 headings should be Times New Roman, 12-point font, and bold, add this formatting to the first level 1 heading.
- Highlight the level 1 heading.
- Right-click the style that says ‘Heading 1’.
- Select ‘Update Heading 1 to Match Selection’.
- Allocate the formatting for each heading throughout your document by highlighting the heading in question and clicking the style you wish to apply.
Once that’s all set, follow these steps:
- Add a title to your table of contents. Be sure to check if your citation style or university has guidelines for this.
- Place your cursor where you would like your table of contents to go.
- In the ‘References’ section at the top, locate the Table of Contents group.
- Here, you can select which levels of headings you would like to include. You can also make manual adjustments to each level by clicking the Modify button.
- When you are ready to insert the table of contents, click ‘OK’ and it will be automatically generated, as shown below.
The key features of a table of contents are:
- Clear headings and subheadings
- Corresponding page numbers
Check with your educational institution to see if they have any specific formatting or design requirements.
Write yourself a reminder to update your table of contents as one of your final tasks before submitting your dissertation or paper. It’s normal for your text to shift a bit as you input your final edits, and it’s crucial that your page numbers correspond correctly.
It’s easy to update your page numbers automatically in Microsoft Word. Simply right-click the table of contents and select ‘Update Field’. You can choose either to update page numbers only or to update all information in your table of contents.
In addition to a table of contents, you might also want to include a list of figures and tables, a list of abbreviations and a glossary in your thesis or dissertation. You can use the following guides to do so:
- List of figures and tables
- List of abbreviations
It is less common to include these lists in a research paper.
All level 1 and 2 headings should be included in your table of contents . That means the titles of your chapters and the main sections within them.
The contents should also include all appendices and the lists of tables and figures, if applicable, as well as your reference list .
Do not include the acknowledgements or abstract in the table of contents.
To automatically insert a table of contents in Microsoft Word, follow these steps:
- Apply heading styles throughout the document.
- In the references section in the ribbon, locate the Table of Contents group.
- Click the arrow next to the Table of Contents icon and select Custom Table of Contents.
- Select which levels of headings you would like to include in the table of contents.
Make sure to update your table of contents if you move text or change headings. To update, simply right click and select Update Field.
The table of contents in a thesis or dissertation always goes between your abstract and your introduction.
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How to Create a Table of Contents for a Dissertation (APA)
Published by steve tippins on june 20, 2022 june 20, 2022.
Last Updated on: 20th June 2022, 11:22 am
APA Dissertation Table of Contents Format Guidelines
- The table of contents should be double spaced with one-inch margins on all sides.
- It should be written in the same font and size as the rest of your dissertation.
- At the top of the page, write Table of Contents , centered and in bold.
- Although in the body of the paper you can use up to five levels of headings, up to three levels are usually provided in the Table of Contents. Including lower-level headings is optional.
- Indent each subheading five spaces.
- Write all text in title case. In title case, the first letter of major words is capitalized.
- Provide the page number where the main headings and subheadings begin, and provide dotted lines between the heading and the page number.
- Page numbers for the Dedication, Acknowledgements, and Preface should be in lower case Roman Numbers (i, v, x, l, c, d and m.). The page numbers for the rest of the text should be in Arabic numerals (1,2, 3, 4, etc.).
How to Create an APA Table of Contents Using Microsoft Word
Step 1. Instead of manually trying to write and format the table of contents, you can create a generated one using Microsoft Word. To do this, first go to the Home tab. This is where you will choose the styles for the table of contents.
Step 2. The top-level headings will be your chapter titles, so on the right side of the tab, apply the Heading 1 style.
Step 3. The second-level headings will be your subheadings, so apply the Heading 2 style. This will place your subheadings underneath your main headings.
Step 4. You will now produce page links to your document. In the top ribbon, click on the References tab and select Table of Contents .
Step 5. If the style does not indicate APA, such as the one below, use the drop down arrow to select APA.
Step 6. Next, choose the number of levels that you want. In this case, you want to be able to have up to three levels, so choose Automatic Table 2 , which has the appropriate heading for a dissertation.
Step 7. Click ok , and you are all set. Microsoft word will automatically generate your dissertation’s table of contents as you write it.
List of Tables and Figures
Your list of tables and figures will be written at the end of the list of information in the body of your paper. You will create these lists the same way that you created the main table of contents.
However, the headings will be different.
Instead of the heading “Table of Contents,” the headings will be “List of Tables” and “List of Figures.” (An example is provided in the table of contents example below.)
Example of Table of Contents
In the example below, there are three level headings. The list of tables and figures are provided at the bottom of the other contents. The sections in your table of contents may be different depending on your college’s requirements.
Updating the Table of Contents
As you continue working on your dissertation, you will need to update the page numbers because they may change.
To update the page numbers, right-click on the table of contents in your document and select the Update field . Then, the Update Table of Contents box will appear.
You can choose to Update page numbers only or all the information in the table of contents by clicking on Update entire table .
Note: For more information, refer to the APA Manual 7 th edition , sections 2.2-2.27.
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Thesis and Dissertation Guide
- « Thesis & Dissertation Resources
- The Graduate School Home
Dedication, acknowledgements, preface (optional), table of contents.
- List of Tables, Figures, and Illustrations
List of Abbreviations
List of symbols.
- Non-Traditional Formats
- Font Type and Size
- Spacing and Indentation
- Tables, Figures, and Illustrations
- Formatting Previously Published Work
- Internet Distribution
- Open Access
- Registering Copyright
- Using Copyrighted Materials
- Use of Your Own Previously Published Materials
- Submission Steps
- Submission Checklist
- Sample Pages
I. Order and Components
Please see the sample thesis or dissertation pages throughout and at the end of this document for illustrations. The following order is required for components of your thesis or dissertation:
- Dedication, Acknowledgements, and Preface (each optional)
- Table of Contents, with page numbers
- List of Tables, List of Figures, or List of Illustrations, with titles and page numbers (if applicable)
- List of Abbreviations (if applicable)
- List of Symbols (if applicable)
- Introduction, if any
- Main body, with consistent subheadings as appropriate
- Appendices (if applicable)
- Endnotes (if applicable)
- References (see section on References for options)
Many of the components following the title and copyright pages have required headings and formatting guidelines, which are described in the following sections.
Please consult the Sample Pages to compare your document to the requirements. A Checklist is provided to assist you in ensuring your thesis or dissertation meets all formatting guidelines.
The title page of a thesis or dissertation must include the following information:
- The title of the thesis or dissertation in all capital letters and centered 2″ below the top of the page.
- Your name, centered 1″ below the title. Do not include titles, degrees, or identifiers. The name you use here does not need to exactly match the name on your university records, but we recommend considering how you will want your name to appear in professional publications in the future.
Notes on this statement:
- When indicating your degree in the second bracketed space, use the full degree name (i.e., Doctor of Philosophy, not Ph.D. or PHD; Master of Public Health, not M.P.H. or MPH; Master of Social Work, not M.S.W. or MSW).
- List your department, school, or curriculum rather than your subject area or specialty discipline in the third bracketed space. You may include your subject area or specialty discipline in parentheses (i.e., Department of Romance Languages (French); School of Pharmacy (Molecular Pharmaceutics); School of Education (School Psychology); or similar official area).
- If you wish to include both your department and school names, list the school at the end of the statement (i.e., Department of Pharmacology in the School of Medicine).
- A dissertation submitted to the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Public Policy.
- A thesis submitted to the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in the School of Dentistry (Endodontics).
- A thesis submitted to the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in the Department of Nutrition in the Gillings School of Global Public Health.
- A dissertation submitted to the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the School of Education (Cultural Studies and Literacies).
- The words “Chapel Hill” must be centered 1″ below the statement.
- One single-spaced line below that, center the year in which your committee approves the completed thesis or dissertation. This need not be the year you graduate.
- Approximately 2/3 of the way across the page on the right-hand side of the page, 1″ below the year, include the phrase “Approved by:” (with colon) followed by each faculty member's name on subsequent double-spaced lines. Do not include titles such as Professor, Doctor, Dr., PhD, or any identifiers such as “chair” or “advisor” before or after any names. Line up the first letter of each name on the left under the “A” in the “Approved by:” line. If a name is too long to fit on one line, move this entire section of text slightly to the left so that formatting can be maintained.
- No signatures, signature lines, or page numbers should be included on the title page.
Include a copyright page with the following information single-spaced and centered 2″ above the bottom of the page:
© Year Author's Full Name (as it appears on the title page) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
This page immediately follows the title page. It should be numbered with the lower case Roman numeral ii centered with a 1/2″ margin from the bottom edge.
Inclusion of this page offers you, as the author, additional protection against copyright infringement as it eliminates any question of authorship and copyright ownership. You do not need to file for copyright in order to include this statement in your thesis or dissertation. However, filing for copyright can offer other protections.
See Section IV for more information on copyrighting your thesis or dissertation.
Include an abstract page following these guidelines:
- Include the heading “ABSTRACT” in all capital letters, and center it 2″ below the top of the page.
- One double-spaced line below “ABSTRACT”, center your name, followed by a colon and the title of the thesis or dissertation. Use as many lines as necessary. Be sure that your name and the title exactly match the name and title used on the Title page.
- One single-spaced line below the title, center the phrase “(Under the direction of [advisor's name])”. Include the phrase in parentheses. Include the first and last name(s) of your advisor or formal co-advisors. Do not include the name of other committee members. Use the advisor's name only; do not include any professional titles such as PhD, Professor, or Dr. or any identifiers such as “chair” or “advisor”.
- Skip one double-spaced line and begin the abstract. The text of your abstract must be double-spaced and aligned with the document's left margin with the exception of indenting new paragraphs. Do not center or right-justify the abstract.
- Abstracts cannot exceed 150 words for a thesis or 350 words for a dissertation.
- Number the abstract page with the lower case Roman numeral iii (and iv, if more than one page) centered with a 1/2″ margin from the bottom edge.
Please write and proofread your abstract carefully. When possible, avoid including symbols or foreign words in your abstract, as they cannot be indexed or searched. Avoid mathematical formulas, diagrams, and other illustrative materials in the abstract. Offer a brief description of your thesis or dissertation and a concise summary of its conclusions. Be sure to describe the subject and focus of your work with clear details and avoid including lengthy explanations or opinions.
Your title and abstract will be used by search engines to help potential audiences locate your work, so clarity will help to draw the attention of your targeted readers.
You have an option to include a dedication, acknowledgements, or preface. If you choose to include any or all of these elements, give each its own page(s).
A dedication is a message from the author prefixed to a work in tribute to a person, group, or cause. Most dedications are short statements of tribute beginning with “To…” such as “To my family”.
Acknowledgements are the author's statement of gratitude to and recognition of the people and institutions that helped the author's research and writing.
A preface is a statement of the author's reasons for undertaking the work and other personal comments that are not directly germane to the materials presented in other sections of the thesis or dissertation. These reasons tend to be of a personal nature.
Any of the pages must be prepared following these guidelines:
- Do not place a heading on the dedication page.
- The text of short dedications must be centered and begin 2″ from the top of the page.
- Headings are required for the “ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS” and “PREFACE” pages. Headings must be in all capital letters and centered 2″ below the top of the page.
- The text of the acknowledgements and preface pages must begin one double-spaced line below the heading, be double-spaced, and be aligned with the document's left margin with the exception of indenting new paragraphs.
- Subsequent pages of text return to the 1″ top margin.
- The page(s) must be numbered with consecutive lower case Roman numerals (starting with the page number after the abstract) centered with a 1/2″ margin from the bottom edge.
Include a table of contents following these guidelines:
- Include the heading “TABLE OF CONTENTS” in all capital letters, and center it 2″ below the top of the page.
- Include one double-spaced line between the heading and the first entry.
- The table of contents should not contain listings for the pages that precede it, but it must list all parts of the thesis or dissertation that follow it.
- If relevant, be sure to list all appendices and a references section in your table of contents. Include page numbers for these items but do not assign separate chapter numbers.
- Entries must align with the document's left margin or be indented to the right of the left page margin using consistent tabs.
- Major subheadings within chapters must be included in the table of contents. The subheading(s) should be indented to the right of the left page margin using consistent tabs.
- If an entry takes up more than one line, break up the entry about three-fourths of the way across the page and place the rest of the text on a second line, single-spacing the two lines.
- Include one double-spaced line between each entry.
- Page numbers listed in the table of contents must be located just inside the right page margin with leaders (lines of periods) filling out the space between the end of the entry and the page number. The last digit of each number must line up on the right margin.
- Information included in the table of contents must match the headings, major subheadings, and numbering used in the body of the thesis or dissertation.
- The Table of Contents page(s) must be numbered with consecutive lower case Roman numerals centered with a 1/2″ margin from the bottom edge.
Lists of Tables, Figures, and Illustrations
If applicable, include a list of tables, list of figures, and/or list of illustrations following these guidelines:
- Include the heading(s) in all capital letters, centered 1″ below the top of the page.
- Each entry must include a number, title, and page number.
- Assign each table, figure, or illustration in your thesis or dissertation an Arabic numeral. You may number consecutively throughout the entire work (e.g., Figure 1, Figure 2, etc.), or you may assign a two-part Arabic numeral with the first number designating the chapter in which it appears, separated by a period, followed by a second number to indicate its consecutive placement in the chapter (e.g., Table 3.2 is the second table in Chapter Three).
- Numerals and titles must align with the document's left margin or be indented to the right of the left page margin using consistent tabs.
- Page numbers must be located just inside the right page margin with leaders (lines of periods) filling out the space between the end of the entry and the page number. The last digit of each number must line up on the right margin.
- Numbers, titles, and page numbers must each match the corresponding numbers, titles, and page numbers appearing in the thesis or dissertation.
- All Lists of Tables, Figures, and Illustrations page(s) must be numbered with consecutive lower case Roman numerals centered with a 1/2″ margin from the bottom edge.
If you use abbreviations extensively in your thesis or dissertation, you must include a list of abbreviations and their corresponding definitions following these guidelines:
- Include the heading “LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS” in all capital letters, and center it 1″ below the top of the page.
- Arrange your abbreviations alphabetically.
- Abbreviations must align with the document's left margin or be indented to the right of the left page margin using consistent tabs.
- If an entry takes up more than one line, single-space between the two lines.
- The List of Abbreviations page(s) must be numbered with consecutive lower case Roman numerals centered with a 1/2″ margin from the bottom edge.
If you use symbols in your thesis or dissertation, you may combine them with your abbreviations, titling the section “LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS AND SYMBOLS”, or you may set up a separate list of symbols and their definitions by following the formatting instructions above for abbreviations. The heading you choose must be in all capital letters and centered 1″ below the top of the page.
How to Create a Dissertation Table of Contents | Word Examples, Templates
A good table of contents is the road-map for your dissertation. It lists all the sections and subsections of your dissertation and guides where to find specific information.
The table of contents should be formatted clearly and concisely so that readers can easily navigate through your work. The table of contents should be divided into sections and subsections.
The section headings should be in bold and centered on the page. The subsection headings should be flush left and in italics. The page numbers for each section should be listed in Arabic numerals. The table of contents should also include a list of figures and tables. The list of figures should be centered on the page and in bold. The list of tables should be flush left and in italics. The page numbers for each figure and table should be listed in Arabic numerals.
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Most importantly, the table of contents should be accurate and up-to-date. inaccuracies can lead to confusion and frustration, so it is important to take care when creating your table of contents.
The table of content should include:
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to creating a TOC, there are several elements that should be included in every dissertation. Here are things that every dissertation TOC should include:
- Introduction : An overview of the research problem and an introduction to the research methodology.
- Literature review : A summary of the existing literature on the topic, highlighting gaps in current knowledge.
- Research objectives : A statement of the specific goals that the research is seeking to achieve.
- Research questions : The specific questions that will be answered by the research.
- Research methodology : A detailed description of the methods and techniques that will be used to collect and analyze data.
- Data collection and analysis : A description of how data will be collected and analyzed, including any statistical tests that will be used.
- Results and discussion : A presentation and interpretation of the findings from the research, including a discussion of their implications.
- Conclusion: A summary of the main findings from the research and their implications for practice.
- A list of the tables and figures is included in your dissertation.
- A list of the appendices included in your dissertation.
- A list of references for all the sources you consulted during your research.
- A Glossary of terms used in your dissertation.
- An Index to help readers find specific information quickly and easily.
The following should not be included in the table of content:
A dissertation table of contents is essential in organizing the different parts of your paper. However, several sections should not be included in your table of contents.
The abstract should not be included as it is a summary of your entire paper.
The acknowledgments section is not necessary as it simply thanks those who have helped you with your research.
The list of abbreviations is not needed unless you have used a lot of technical terms in your paper.
How to create a table of content in Microsoft word
A table of contents is a great way to organize a long document. Microsoft Word makes it easy to create a table of contents, and you can update it automatically as you make changes to the document. Here are the steps:
- Open the document in Microsoft Word.
- Place your cursor where you want the table of contents to appear.
- On the Insert tab, click on the Table of Contents icon.
- Choose one of the automatic styles or select “Custom Table of Contents” for more options.
- The table of contents will be generated and inserted into your document.
How to update a table of content in Microsoft word
One of the most important things to do when writing a document in Microsoft Word is to keep the table of contents up-to-date. Fortunately, Word makes it easy to update the table of contents, even if the document is long and complex.
Here are the steps:
- Go to the References tab and click on the Table of Contents icon.
- Select Update Table.
- Choose whether to update only page numbers or the entire table.
Basic Example of a Dissertation Table of Contents
1. Introduction ………………………………………………………………………………………… 1
2. Literature Review ………………………………………………………………………………… 4
3. Methodology ………………………………………………………………………………………. 7
4. Results and Discussion ……………………………………………………………………… 11
5. Conclusion and Recommendations …………………………………………………. 15
6. References ………………………………………………………………………………………… 18
7. Appendices ………………………………………………………………………………………. 21
Need Help Creating a Table of Contents for a Dissertation?
Dissertation writers at Tutlance can help you with every step of your dissertation, from planning and research to writing and editing. And if you need help creating a table of contents, they can do that too.
A table of contents is an outline of your dissertation, listing all the chapters and sub-chapters in order. It’s a helpful tool for both you and your readers, as it gives an overview of the structure of your dissertation and makes it easy to find specific sections.
Creating a table of contents can be time-consuming, especially if your dissertation is long or complex. Our dissertation writers can do it for you quickly and accurately, so you can focus on other aspects of your work.
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Tables in your dissertation
Published on November 2, 2016 by Kirsten Dingemanse . Revised on January 31, 2020.
Dissertations and theses often include tables. One advantage of tables is that they allow you to present data in a clear and concise manner without having to provide a lengthy explanation in the text. This is particularly helpful in sections such as your results chapter.
Table of contents
Step 1. decide where to insert a table, step 2. create your table, example of a table in apa style, step 3. assign your table a number and title, step 4. clarify your table with a note (optional), step 5. cite the table within the text, where should you add a table.
Tables are often included in the main body of a dissertation, so that readers can view them straight away. In this case, place the table immediately above or below the paragraph in which you introduce or refer to it.
If you are not allowed to include tables within your main text or your tables are very long, you can instead put them in an appendix to your dissertation. However, bear in mind that doing so might make your text less readable, as readers will always have to turn to an appendix . It’s thus better to include at least key tables in the main document.
Be careful. Never directly import tables from a statistical analysis program such as SPSS, as these tables provide too much detailed information. For instance, if you just want to report the results of a t-test from SPSS, your table likely does not need to include figures related to the standard mean error.
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All word processing programs include an option to create a table. For example, in Word’s top menu bar you can either click on the “Table” tab or select Insert -> Table -> New.
To keep your tables consistent, it’s important that you use the same formatting throughout your dissertation. For example, make sure that you always use the same line spacing (e.g., single vs. double), that the data is aligned the same way (namely center, left or right) and that your column and row headings always reflect the same style same (for example, bold).
If you are using Word, you can also opt to use one of the program’s pre-set table styles. Doing so will ensure that all of the tables throughout your dissertation have the same formatting. You can apply one of these styles by selecting the table and then selecting one of the preformatted “Table Styles.”
For examples of tables in MLA format , check our guide here .
Once you have decided where to incorporate a table, assign it a number (which should then be noted at the top of the table). Different numbering schemes can be used, but the easiest is to just use Table 1, Table 2 and so forth. Numbers will allow you to easily refer to the correct table within the text.
You can also set a table up so that Word automatically assigns it a number. We recommend that you do this, as it will ensure that your table numbers are always correct. For instance, if you add a new table in the middle of your dissertation, Word will automatically adjust the table numbers throughout the rest of the document. Using this Word feature also makes it easy to generate a list of tables .
Automatically numbering tables
To use automatic numbering, click on the tab ‘Reference’ and select ‘Insert Caption’.
It is important that you always give each table a title. If you use automatic table numbering, a table’s title will automatically be noted after its number.
A table title should be clear and comprehensive enough that it does not need to be explained in the text. Readers should be able to understand what a table contains solely on the basis of its title.
Make sure you also follow any title specifications that either your academic program or the citation style you are using dictates. For instance, in APA Style it is customary to put a table’s title under its number.
A note can be used for information that helps to clarify the data in a table. For example, you can specify p-values, define abbreviations or explain further details related to a particular row or column. If you don’t have anything special to convey (and the table is your own creation), you don’t need to include a note.
Table from another source
If you have taken a table from another source, it’s mandatory that you explain this in a note. However, how this should be done varies by citation style . Below we explain how you should handle a table from another source according to the APA Style .
The APA Style specifies that you should write “Reprinted from” or “Adapted from” followed by the title and complete source information of the book or article that you have taken the table from.
It is important that you always refer to your table in the text. This helps readers to understand why the table is included and ensures that you don’t have any “free-floating” tables in your dissertation. All tables should have a clear function.
When citing a table in your running text, mention the table’s number instead of using phrases such as “the table below” (which can create confusion for your readers).
A numbered table in the main document
The table below shows that…
Table 1 shows that…
When referring to a table in an appendix, include both the table number and the appendix number.
A numbered table in the appendix
Table 2 (see Appendix 1) shows that…
There is evidence that… (see Table 2, Appendix 1)
If you automate the numbering of your tables, you can choose to apply cross-references. This feature creates links in your text that lead directly to the corresponding table when clicked. The advantage of this is that the numbering is always correct.
In Word, cross-referencing can be activated by selecting Insert -> Cross-Reference from the top menu bar. From there set the “Reference type” to “Table” and “Insert reference to” to whatever you wish to include (for example, the entire caption or only the table’s name and number). Then select the table to which you want to link and click “Insert”.
Each table has a number.
Each table has a clear, descriptive title.
All tables are consistently formatted according to my style guide or department’s requirements.
The content of each table is clearly understandable in its own right.
I have referred to each table in the main text.
I have correctly cited the source of any tables reproduced or adapted from other authors.
Your tables look great! Use the other checklists to improve your thesis or dissertation.
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Dingemanse, K. (2020, January 31). Tables in your dissertation. Scribbr. Retrieved November 9, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/tips/tables-in-your-dissertation/
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