Dissertation Guidelines Checklist
The purpose of this checklist is to provide generic advice helpful to any student from any discipline. It is hoped that this will not conflict with guidelines set out by individual departments, but if it does, then your department’s policy must take priority over anything contained here
Click on the items to see more information and guidance.
You should aim to have correct spelling and grammar throughout your dissertation. Your dissertation is a long document so you should make use of the built-in Spelling and Grammar check.
This can be found from the 'Review' tab in Microsoft Word (other word processing software will have a similar feature).
Clicking the 'Spelling & Grammar' button will open a dialogue box, this will give you the option to make changes suggested by Word or keep the text as it is.
You should aim to have correct punctuation throughout your dissertation. For information on punctuation useage please visit our Punctuation Guide.
You need to ensure that your dissertation is correctly and consistently referenced throughout to avoid plagiarism and uses the universities accepted referencing style. For more information on referencing at Marjon please visit the Student Handbook and our Referencing FAQS LINK.
Students can choose to use a referencing generator or manager to keep track of their references and make sure they are formatted correctly. The university has it's very own referencing generator, MARGen, which uses the specific version of Harvard used at Marjon.
Other referencing managers are available, for example Mendeley, support materials for Mendeley can be found on the elearning & TEL Help site.
In your dissertation, your reference list must be in alphabetical order, it is possible to sort your list using the 'Sort' option in word. This option can be found on the 'Home' tap in the paragraph group.
Alternatively, you can watch the short video below on sorting the reference list in Word. Other word processing software will have a similar option.
To ensure that your quotes are presented consistently throughout your document you can use a 'Quote' text style in Word. This will allow you to specify specific formatting for Quotes which can easily be applied to text.
To modify the 'Quote' style within word you will need to locate it from the 'Style' dropdown on the hometab. If you right click on the style you can choose to modify it.
A suggested style might be:
- Alignment: Justified
- Before: 12pt
- After: 12pt
- Line Spacing: Single
- Left: 1cm
Once you have set up the style you can easily apply it to your quotes by highlighting the text and selecting the 'Quote' style.
Once you have added captions to all the figures and tables in your document (see section above) you can add a list of figures and list of tables to your document using the built it options in word.
To do this you need to go to the 'References' tab and select 'Insert Table of Figures', from this dialogue box you will need to select either 'Figure' or 'Table' from the 'Caption Label' dropdown.
Watch the video below demonstrating how to add a list of figures.
The guidance states that you are required to have a seperate page numbering system for the first 6 pages of your dissertation, before the start of chapter 1 and no page numbering on your title page. This first numbering system must be in lowercase roman numerals.
Before the start of your first chapter you should have the following pages (if applicable):
- Title page
- Table of contents
- Table of figures/tables
- Glossary of terms
- Statement of originaility
It is possible to add different page number systems to a large document using a 'Next Page Section Break'. This break will split your document into sections and allow you to change the formatting of each section independantly.
You can add a section break from the 'Page Layout' tab and using the 'Breaks' dropdown to select 'Next Page section Break'.
Watch the video below demonstrating how to add the different numbering systems to your dissertation.
You need to include a specific title page at the start of your dissertation. This has a set layout to ensure it fits with the Marjon dissertation front covers. The image below shows how the front cover should be laid out.
The box containing the dissertation title must be in a specific place on the page to fit the box on the front cover. You also need to ensure you change the margins for the front page only back to 2cm all round. The dimensions and positioning are show below:
- Height: 5cm
- Width: 10cm
- The box should not have a border
- Horizontal: Absolute position - 5cm - to the right of - page
- Vertical: Absolute position - 6.6cm - below - page
- Make sure to select the 'Lock anchor' option.
- Make sure the text is aligned 'Middle' in the box
Watch the video below to see how to ensure your dissertation title is in the correct position on the page.
Your dissertation needs a table of contents which lists the sections of your document. You can easily set this up by applying heading styles to your main and sub headings. You can modify the heading styles by right clicking on the style and clicking modify.
Once you have applied heading styles throughout your document you can insert an automatic table of contents from the 'References' tab. This table of contents will take your headings and automatically add page numbers. You can then right click on the table to refresh it when changes are made to the document.
Watch the video below to see this in action
You need to include a statement of originality in the first section of your dissertation, before you begin the main text. The statement of originality should include the following text:
I confirm that I have fully acknowledged all sources of information and help received, and that where such acknowledgement is not made, the work is my own.
Your dissertation needs an abstract which concisely summaries your document. This allows readers to quickly find out if your work is relevent to them and whether to read it. Your abstract should be within the first section of your dissertation before you start the main text.
For more information on writing a summary visit our guide.
In order to allow your dissertation to be bound correctly you need to have specific margins applied to the document. To apply custom margins in Word go to the page layout tab and click the Margins dropdown. Go all the way to the bottom of the dropdown and select 'Custom Margins'.
This will open up a dialogue box in which you can input the following margins:
- Left - 3 cm
- Right - 2 cm
- Top - 2 cm
- Bottom - 2 cm
Your dissertation needs to be in either Arial or Calibri font, size 12. You can change the font style and size from the hometab in Word. In order to ensure you apply the correct font throughout the document you can edit the 'Normal' text style to ensure it uses the correct font. To modify the style, locate it from the hometab and right click and select modify.
Throughout your dissertation you need to ensure that each chapter or section starts on it's own page. To make sure this you can add a page break in Word. This will ensure that the chapter always starts on it's own page, no matter what content is added or removed before it.
To insert a page break, go to the 'Insert' tab and select 'Page Break'. You can also use the shortcut - Enter + Ctrl.
You need to print and bind 2 copies of your dissertation to submit, you will need to ensure that you have printed everything that needs to be in colour correctly.
To print specific parts of your document in colour you need to specify the location in the printing dialogue box to select the pages which need to be in colour. To do this you will need to specify the Section and Page number. This wil ensure the correct pages print in a large document as in your dissertation you have multiple page numbering systems.
Double clicking or opening the footer of the page will tell you what section you are currently in.
p2s3 to print the second page of your third section.
Your dissertation is a large and important document, you do not want to risk only have it saved on a memory stick etc... Your N drive is backed up everyday and is a safe place to store your document, it is also good practice to email yourself a copy. Both these measures will help you avoid losing anything important if, for example, you lost your memory stick.