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PhD Thesis Presentation - Basic Guidelines
General Layout and Format of theses
There is no standard University or Departmental lay-out. Apart
from some very basic rules and guidelines (below), how you decide
to lay-out your thesis is largely up to you and your supervisor.
Whatever style you adopt, however, the most important
considerations are clarity and consistency. Remember, this is an
examination - you want to convince your examiners of the soundness
of your research and the quality of your analysis, not distract
them with unnecessary stylistic flourishes.
- The thesis may be typewritten or word processed if a high
quality printer is used.
NB: double -spaced text on one side of the paper only at 12
point size is generally recommended.
- Candidates are advised to use Spicers plus fabric,
international paper size A4 (210mm x 297mm) 70g/m2 weight for the 2
copies to be submitted for examination.
NB: Any good quality white bond of at least the recommended
weight and A4 size may be used.
- The binding margin should be at least 40mm with 20mm on all
- Photographs should be on single weight paper. The paper should
preferably be the full size of the page allowing for standard
margins around the photographs, but if this is impossible and it is
necessary to mount small photographs on the page, a guard 25mm
wide, of the same thickness as the photograph should be mounted on
the left hand edge of the page. Mounting should always be done by
using photographic mountants as some glues can stain prints whilst
others lose their adhesive qualities with time.
NB: It is increasingly the case that candidates scan photographs
and incorporate them directly into their word processed text.
Colour printing of photographs on special photographic paper can
usually give very good results.
- There is no one rule for how you present chapter, section and
sub-section headings. You may choose to use numbers, but you could
just use different font styles (i.e. bold, italic, underline) to
differentiate between each. What is important is that you decide on
a style and stick with it consistently. While section headings help
with sign posting and keeps the reader abreast of where your
presentation is going, it is not recommended that you divide up
your thesis beyond sub-section level.
Format of References and Footnotes.
- Department of Social Sciences in general uses the Harvard
system of citation. See your research student handbook or check out
the web where there are many very extensive sites that give details
about the Harvard system of citation.
NB. Even within the Harvard system of citation there are a
number of different ways of doing it. Thus, for example, while most
social science journals tend to follow the Harvard system, each has
their own house style. The point is that while you have to work
within the Harvard system, find a style you like and stick with it
- You may choose to use either Footnotes or Endnotes (either at
the end of each chapter or the end of the thesis). Footnotes are
easier for the reader to refer to, but can sometimes prove
difficult in formatting and printing. Endnotes are easier to
format, but make it more difficult for the reader who has to
continually move between pages and/or sections of the thesis.
If you are worried about any aspect of this a) speak to your
supervisor, b) have a look at one or more PhD thesis (available in
the department) or c) have a look at a reference book, e.g. A
Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses and Dissertations
(Heinemann, London, 1982).