Organizing your Dissertation Contents in 5 StepsMonday, August 23rd, 2010
How to prepare a dissertation contents page
Since your dissertation is the most important academic work of your career, you have to take things really seriously! When preparing your dissertation, there are many things to consider. And the dissertation contents page is the first quick look your readers will bump into, so you need to make sure it is clear and well organized. Even though it sounds like a lot of pressure, it is actually quite simple. And if you don’t know where to begin, here we can provide you some general guidelines for preparing your dissertation contents page.
We suggest you to draft your dissertation contents page in your initial planning, since it will help you to structure your dissertation draft. The purpose of the contents page is to provide the reader with a view of the materials covered in the dissertation.
Keep in mind that the dissertation contents must be clear from the beginning. The contents page is the section of the work that shows the readers what topics your dissertation covers and gives basic impression about its contents, so you want it to be right! Here we show you how to prepare in 5 steps.
Step 1: Titles and subtitles
By the time you are organizing your dissertation contents, we can only assume the whole work is written and already divided into sections. Read the given titles and subtitles, and make sure they are clear enough. You may want to rewrite those subtitles that don’t explain the contents of the corresponding section. Make your dissertation as easy as possible for your future readers!
Step 2: List the contents
Whether you write your dissertation contents manually or using software, remember that any table of contents must list in sequence, with page numbers, every chapter, section and subsection of your dissertation. The list of references, the bibliography, a list of abbreviations and any appendices should also be included.
Step 3: Tables and graphics
When preparing the dissertation contents, you must remember to include a list of tables and illustrations which must follow the main table of contents: here you should include every table, graphic, chart, photograph, diagram, etc., everything with its corresponding page number.
Step 4: Format
At the top of the dissertation content page you should write the title and the subtitle. Then, list every chapter, section and sub-section, one under another, showing the reader their hierarchical order with different indentation. It is recommended to dot the path from headings to page numbers. You can easily build a table of contents using very common software, such as MS Word.
Step 5: Proofreading
Before printing the final version, you should proofread the dissertation contents page to make sure that every title and subtitle can be found on the right page.
It is very important for you to follow this simple plan. Preparing a good contents page is not only useful for dissertations: it can be applied on a compare and contrast essay or any other written assignment a bit longer than the usual five paragraphs.