May 8 2012

Advantages of thesis/dissertation templates

by Barbie in Thesis/Dissertation

Much of our editing work is with graduate students on their theses and dissertations. Formatting these large documents often becomes a major source of frustration for our graduate student clients. Developing automated frontmatter, dealing with page breaks and section breaks, and inserting page numbers aren’t tasks that many Word users innately know how to complete.

During the spring semester, we¬† were introduced to formatting guidelines for several new schools. It’s always interesting to see schools’ style guides and formatting guidelines because they often vary greatly. Two ideas jumped out at us as highly beneficial.

First, a dissertation template, created in Word, can be very useful for students who just want to write and don’t want to deal with formatting their document. The dissertation template can include heading styles, page numbers, page/section breaks, and placeholders for frontmatter, thus eliminating the need for the students to create these items. Students can simply add their content to the template, and their document is formatted per the school’s guidelines. There’s always a bit of work on the students’ end, such as establishing heading levels and generating the table of contents, but a Word template can take much of the guesswork out of the thesis/dissertation submission process.

Giving students an example of a formatted, approved thesis or dissertation that aligns with school guidelines is another helpful tool. Students can compare their thesis or dissertation to the example, allowing them to identify and correct any discrepancies before format review. The more resources schools give graduate students, the less confusing the thesis/dissertation submission process will be.