dissertation format

Topics: Scientific method, Citation, The Reader Pages: 11 (2621 words) Published: April 11, 2014


producing the report

BSc (Hons) Psychology
University of Zimbabwe
2013 – 2014

R P Bundy
CONTENTSpage number

Introduction and Objectives2




Hints and Tips8




Most Dissertations are similar in format and to some extent in style. This is partly the result of regulations that require certain components of a Dissertation, and partly conformity to what is considered to be ‘good style’. This set of guidelines details what is expected of a final year honours Dissertation in the Department of Psychology, UZ.

Although many of the following recommendations are not mandatory, a student who wishes to depart from them should do so with caution, and then only after discussing matters extensively with their supervisor. In most cases adherence to these recommendations will produce work that attracts an optimum grade.

Thus the objectives of this booklet are:

to detail recommendations that will assist the production of a student’s best work

to clarify the degree of flexibility in format and presentation that is permitted and appropriate for various types of research design


The format of a Dissertation should follow convention that conveys a sense of quality, focus and organisation.

Format recommendations:

The Dissertation should be:
submitted according to Departmental regulations.

word processed using Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF.

printed single-sided A4.

presented in portrait orientation (except for tables and charts if landscape is preferred).

1.5 line-spaced.

printedin an appropriate professional font (e.g. Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman - if in doubt consult your tutor) size 12pt.

referenced according to the Harvard Convention as interpreted by the APA since 2010.

within the range of 8-10,000 words (not counting tables, quotations, references etc.) ± 10% variation. Thus most Dissertations are between 30 and 100 pages depending on the number of tables, charts, graphics, appendices etc.

In addition:
Colour printing may be used, but is not mandatory. [However be careful of the final effect when printing colour charts in grey scale].

Printing should normally be left aligned or fully justified [with exceptions for indented quotations etc.]. Note that when using full justification Microsoft recommends ticking the “do full justification the way WordPerfect 6.x for Windows does” which will be found in options/advanced/layout options.

Adjust the left margin wider than the right to allow for binding and ease of reading.

Photographs and other images should be printed as part of a normal page and not affixed.

Raw data (e.g. completed questionnaires) are not normally submitted with the Dissertation, although summary data sheets maybe included in an appendix.

See your supervisor for examples of past (and passed) Dissertations and for any questions you may have that are not answered in this booklet.


The following table outlines the structure and content of a standard Dissertation, with sections UNDERLINED IN CAPITALSand subsections underlined in lower case. Each sectionis described according to what itshould contain (indicated by a bullet●) and what it might contain if appropriate (indicated by a bullet ○), and should start on a new page. An approximate word count is given, although this can vary dramatically depending on the nature of the reported research study.

Note that variations to this outline are possible, sometimes preferable and are likely to be used especially when reporting qualitative studies. However, whatever the final structure, the Dissertation should include coverage of all solid bullet points (●).

While good style is not mandatory, it is obviously preferable and expected of a...
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