Dissertations are one of the most unique kinds of projects you will ever work on. Dissertations are formatted more differently than other documents. How? Well, think about reading a book. When you open a book to a certain page, look down the center of the pages at the binding. See, these kinds of projects are bound—in leather, like a real book. For this reason, you will need a relatively huge left margin. That means your left margin will be indented two and a half to three inches, meaning you fill up pages relatively quickly. So when you hear about that huge page limit, keep in mind that with the margins you will be using, the document is probably some fifty pages shorter than your page limit.
One of the best favors any graduate student can do for themselves is to see an actual dissertation. A pdf can do wonders and libraries keep whole files full of samples of these projects that are written by every graduate doctoral student as a requirement for their Ph.D. Seeing an actual dissertation, viewing all its components such as the title page, acknowledgments, some quite interesting dedications on the dedications page, as well as the abstract, the rationale and the table of contents—well, those parts take up quite a bit of space and those parts of your book, and it will be a bound book that you can have a copy of and your library will feature a copy of in their own library, are formatted differently than the other parts of your book. For example, you will see that the table of contents is centered differently and one of the more challenging parts of this page of your work will be the many ellipsis that run from the end of your chapter title to the actual page number of the title.
Working on these elements of your dissertation when you are stuck is a great way to feel you are getting something accomplished.
Now, one good thing about your university library is you not only have a right to see recent dissertations but also dissertations from all the years people have graduated. You can choose to view one that is actually near your own topic and right within your discipline. Ask your university librarian to help you locate these pdfs today.
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