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Formatting Your Dissertation (or Thesis): Formatting Checks

Tips for Formatting Checks

  1. Readability and Consistency:

    • Ensure consistent font styles, sizes, and spacing throughout your document. Check that headings, subheadings, body text, and captions follow a consistent formatting style.
    • Verify that paragraphs are indented consistently and that line spacing is uniform throughout the document.
    • Check for consistency in the use of numbering and bullet points in lists or outlines.
    • Pay attention to the alignment of text, such as left-aligned, justified, or centered, and ensure it is consistent.
  2. Page Layout and Margins:

    • Confirm that the margins on all pages are set according to your university's guidelines.
    • Check that the page orientation (portrait or landscape) is consistent throughout the document, especially if you have tables, figures, or other visual elements.
    • Review the page breaks and section breaks to ensure they are placed correctly and do not disrupt the flow of your content.
  3. Heading Hierarchy and Table of Contents:

    • Verify that the hierarchy of headings (e.g., Heading 1, Heading 2, etc.) is structured correctly and consistently.
    • Check the accuracy and formatting of your table of contents, including page numbers and hyperlinks if applicable.
    • Ensure that headings and subheadings are correctly numbered, if required by your university's guidelines.
  4. Captions, Figures, and Tables:

    • Check that figures and tables are properly captioned and labeled with accurate numbers.
    • Ensure that the captions for figures and tables are consistent in formatting, style, and placement.
    • Review the alignment and formatting of figures and tables to ensure they are visually appealing and correctly positioned in relation to the accompanying text.
  5. Citations and References:

    • Verify that your citations and references follow the required formatting style (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) consistently throughout the document.
    • Check the accuracy of in-text citations, ensuring they correspond to the correct sources in your reference list.
    • Review the reference list or bibliography for correct formatting, including author names, publication dates, titles, and page numbers.
  6. Headers, Footers, and Page Numbers:

    • Ensure that headers and footers, if used, are consistent throughout the document and reflect the correct information (e.g., chapter titles, section titles, page numbers).
    • Review the page numbering sequence to ensure it is accurate and consistent, especially if different sections have different numbering styles or starting numbers.
  7. Spelling and Grammar:

    • Conduct a thorough proofreading check for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Use the spelling and grammar check features in Word or consider using external grammar checking tools or services.
    • Verify the correct usage of hyphens, dashes, quotation marks, and other punctuation marks.
  8. Cross-References and Hyperlinks:

    • Check that cross-references to figures, tables, sections, or chapters are accurate and properly linked.
    • Test hyperlinks (if applicable) within your document, such as links in the table of contents or references, to ensure they direct to the correct locations.